7 travel secrets I learned as the daughter of a pilot

Get the Full StoryReuters Nir EliasGrowing up, it never occurred to me that my dad’s job was uncommon. I had friends whose moms and dads were teachers, police officers, retail managers, and everything in between, but nothing matched the reaction I received when I told someone my father was a pilot.

Some kids were used to their parents’ typical nine-to-five work schedules, the occasional late-night overtime, or even attending an office holiday party or two, but when you have a pilot as a parent, it’s a completely different dynamic.

It was a common occurrence to not see my dad for days at a time while he was on business trips. I would carry on with my usual day-to-day schooling and extracurriculars and he would fly from Miami to New York to Phoenix and back again, and then we’d catch up when he had a few days off in between flights. Super casual, no big deal.

To put things into even more perspective, he is literally a professional traveler and was lucky enough to share that with us kids. Some of my most cherished memories include the times he’d bring me along on his trips to Vancouver or Chicago. He’d be in the captain’s seat and I would be one of his passengers, and we’d explore a new city for just 24 hours before hightailing it back home.

Having a parent that flies planes for a living gave me access to a side of travel that not everyone is privy to, and there are definitely things that even seasoned travelers would never notice.

Keep reading for the lesser known travel secrets only a pilot’s kid would know.There are certain times you should and should not travel.

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You might already know there are certain times of year when it’s absolute chaos to travel namely the holidays and summer vacation , but it gets a little more specific than that. If you’re already planning next year’s vacation, keep the offseason in mind when budgeting for airfare.

The latter part of winter is the optimal time to travel think late January, February, and early March, right before spring break season as well as that awkward time between the end of summer and the start of the holiday season: September or October. Looking for just a few days away? Fly out on Saturdays and Tuesdays for the best rates and less crowded flights, or on Wednesday if you want to take the gamble. The reason? Businesspeople don’t often travel on those days, which means emptier flights and airports.

The flight attendants aren t just there to serve you drinks.

Adam Berry Getty Images

Sure, it’s definitely a perk to have that drink cart come around mid-flight, but flight attendants actually serve an important purpose: to keep you safe.

The Federal Aviation Association FAA has strict training programs in place that prepare flight attendants for the worst, including fire safety, survival training, and first aid skills, as mandated by the FAA’s Cabin Safety Subject Index i.e., the complete guide to everything aviation . Flight attendants are also required by the FAA to have the ability to evacuate an aircraft in 90 seconds with 50 of the exit blocked, according to Business Insider.

Pilots sleep schedules are regulated.

Jelena Danilovic Shutterstock

It goes without saying that pilots are heavily trained in their specialty – it takes a ton of studying and a load of responsibility to fly a giant metal machine and keep hundreds of passengers safe at the same time – which is why pilots are required to get in their full eight hours every night.

It all changes based on how many pilots and crew members are available for each flight, but pilots are given the opportunity to get their full eight hours of sleep per night meaning they’re never worked to the point where they aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep and are required to have 30 consecutive hours off every seven days so they can refresh and recharge their batteries before taking another trip. So even if you’re on a red-eye flight with a super early landing time, you can feel confident that your pilot is ready to go.

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