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Why You Should Never Order Coffee on a Plane (and Other Lessons from a Flight Attendant) | Frommer's Kat Kamalani

Why You Should Never Order Coffee on a Plane (and Other Lessons from a Flight Attendant)

TikTok can make you laugh, it can make you dance, and now, thanks to the efforts of a savvy, personable flight attendant, it can also help you travel better (when it's time to travel again).

Her name is Kat Kamalani and she's a Salt Lake City-based flight attendant for an unnamed major carrier. On her TikTok channel, she supplies plenty of advice on all aspects of the travel experience. Some of her guidance, which reveals which parts of the cabin are less than sanitary, is surprising:

On drinks: Only order beverages that come in a can or a bottle, Kamalani strongly suggests. That's because anything that uses boiled water—which includes coffee and tea—will be made with water stored in the plane's tanks, and those tanks, she says, are never cleaned. The water is "disgusting," she says. Also never cleaned, according to her: the coffee-making machines. It's the reason you'll never see a flight attendant drinking coffee, she notes, unless it comes from a restaurant in the terminal.

On packing: She recommends using shower caps to wrap shoes because they keep dirty soles from touching clean clothing. She also makes use of packing cubes, which she labels to keep things organized.

On airplane hygiene: Kamalani recommends using a tissue to touch any part of the lavatory door and not touching the safety cards in the seat pockets (they're too dirty). In fact, Kamalani suggests you never reach into seat-back pockets at all—they're not sanitized between flights. She also recommends carrying wipes so you can clean the air vent and the tray table before touching them.

On flying with toddlers: Always bring a pull-up diaper—even if your child is trained. There are times during flights when no one is allowed to get up to use the bathroom, and that's often when toilet accidents occur, Kamalani says.

On your carry-on bags: Kamalani tartly notes that it's not her job to help passengers get luggage into the overhead bins. She says that when flight attendants are injured handling customers' bags, many airlines don't offer insurance coverage. Bottom line, she says: If you can't lift the bag into an overhead bin yourself, you should check it.

In addition to tips—and there are many more than those I included here—Kamalani takes viewers into the "secret" parts of planes, talks about the treatment celebrities receive, and shares some poignant thoughts on parenting and on her recent miscarriage.

It's an unusually informative, intriguing TikTok account. Brava!