Skip to content

Never Forget to Bring These 2 Things on Every Flight, Experts Say

Your next plane trip may not go as well without these in your carry-on bag.

Everyone has a different routine for how they like to get through a long plane trip, whether it's packing a good book or magazine to pass the time or making sure they have everything they need to get a little sleep. But when it comes to essentials, there are at least two items you may be forgetting to stash in your carry-on that can be vital for both during and after your flight. Read on to see what you should always be packing when traveling by plane.

RELATED: Never Wear This Type of Clothing on a Plane, Experts Warn.

Experts say you should always pack earbuds and a portable charger for every flight.

A woman using the in-flight entertainment on a plane while wearing earbuds

Your carry-on is likely full of essentials when you travel so that everything from your important medications to your most beloved electronic devices never has to leave your side. But if you're planning on using your time in the sky to do a little high-altitude binge-watching of a new show or play your favorite game, experts say you'll want to be sure you never forget to pack both a portable charger and earbuds for every flight.

Not all planes offer power outlets or entertainment systems in their seats.

A USB charger and power outlet plug on the back of a seat on a plane

If you're a fairly regular flyer, you may have grown accustomed to having access to a built-in entertainment system on flights and a power supply by way of a USB outlet or an in-seat plug to keep your devices juiced up for the duration of your trip. But airlines' fleets can differ from plane to plane, meaning the screen and power you were counting on to keep you entertained in the sky may not be available every time you board.

If you realize your plane isn't equipped with its own seatback method of watching movies or shows, there's also a good chance your flight attendant won't have a pair of earbuds to give or sell you when you board, Elizabeth Simpson, an Oakland-based flight attendant, tells The Washington Post. The same can also go for wireless headphones: If you're planning on using an onboard screen, there will be no way to use your hardware to listen in on what's happening without a special connector.

RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Many airlines only offer plugs on some of their flights—and some popular carriers don't offer it at all.

Man wearing face mask and using phone inside airplane during flight. Themes new normal, coronavirus and personal protection.

Maybe you forgot to plug your phone in before heading to the airport. Or perhaps you needed to use your device while waiting in the terminal and it's running lower on power right before takeoff. Whatever the case may be, it's not always possible to be prepared for a trip with a battery at 100 percent. While many airlines will be able to tell you exactly what to expect on board in terms of outlet availability or entertainment systems by checking your flight details on their app, there's always the chance your carrier won't have the services available. In fact, popular airlines such as Southwest still don't offer any way to charge your phone or tablet while onboard, which can be tough if you're using a tablet to watch shows or play music during a long flight. And even if your plane is equipped with a plug, there's no telling whether or not your seatmate might take command of it the entire time.

And even if you're not planning on needing electronics on your flight, investing in and packing a good charger for your trip might be important if you're planning on spending your days roaming around your destination. But if you're bringing along any kind of external power source, you're actually required by law to bring it with you in your carry-on and not pack it with any checked luggage.

"Spare (uninstalled) lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries, including power banks and cell phone battery charging cases, must be carried in carry-on baggage only," the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) writes on their website. "When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or at planeside, all spare lithium batteries and power banks must be removed from the bag and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin."

Don't be afraid to unwind and unplug on a flight completely, too.

Man sleeping on plane

Chargers may be important so you can arrive with your essential devices at 100 percent. But some experts also point out that your time in the sky might actually be the perfect moment to truly disconnect and relax.

"Long-haul flights can be an opportunity rather than an inconvenience; it is all a matter of perspective," Naomi Ritz, from travel company Crossing Travel, tells AirHelp. "We travel for many reasons—for work, to learn, to relax. The best thing you can do on your flight is to get yourself into the correct mindset for your trip."

Take the break from texting and scrolling to catch up on a book, jot down some thoughts in a notebook, or chat with your travel partner. It just might help you arrive at your destination ready to see the world with a fresher outlook.

RELATED: If You're Offered This on a Plane, Just Say No, Flight Attendants Warn.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
Filed Under