When it comes to being ready to fly, no one’s better prepared than our cabin crew. Cathay Pacific Flight Attendant Ella Chan has nailed down her routine and the perfect carry-on bag – full of essentials to keep her occupied, feeling great and ready to fly. We caught up with Ella as she shared her secrets to making each flight a great one, revealing the seven things you have to pack in your travel bag for a smooth journey.
Want to pack like Ella? Everything she’s curated below is available when you shop with Cathay, meaning you’ll be able to snap up her must-haves with your miles, or pay with Miles Plus Cash to pick up even more essentials.
“We have so many electronic devices nowadays,” says Ella, “which makes a good charging cable essential.” While many planes come equipped with charging ports at your seat, it never hurts to be well prepared for your destination with a multi-charger – especially given that hotel rooms never seem to have enough plug sockets.
Ella is always sure to bring a travel adapter as well. “This is really essential for me too, especially when you’re travelling to different countries where the outlets are different.”
Don’t spend your time charging just one device when you can charge four all at the same time. This rapid charging block by Belkin comes with four ports for USB-C and standard USB cables, allowing you to charge your phone, laptop, wireless headphones and more, simultaneously.
Chungking Express Tote Bag
Moleskine Limited Edition Notebook in Sakura
Dior Backstage Lip Glow Set
One of Ella’s chosen carry-on essentials onboard is an easily foldable tote bag, ideal for last-minute purchases or souvenirs. Better still is one that reminds her of home, like this bag themed after the classic Wong Kar-wai film Chungking Express. Even if she’s a million miles away from home, the print on the bag brings her right back.
“I love that movie, and it also reminds me of Hong Kong,” she says, “so I’d love to take it to travel all over the world as well.”
Take a piece of Hong Kong with you wherever you go with this tote bag illustrated with scenes from Chungking Express. It’s small enough to slip into your carry-on suitcase, and big enough for those unexpected duty free purchases.
If you’re not in the mood for a film or can’t get to sleep on a flight, taking time to work on a hobby is one way to stave off the boredom while travelling. In Ella’s case, she’s a talented artist and brings her sketchbook with her everywhere she goes.
“I like to sketch and sometimes I’ll jot down some interesting things during the journey,” she explains. “That’s why my sketchbook is a carry-on essential for me.”
Ella adds that she sometimes sketches during her rest periods in the air, or when she’s at her hotel between flights. It’s a nice change from an adrenaline-pumping movie, and practicing a hobby can help you destress on your flight and arrive at your destination feeling motivated to explore right away.
Moleskine is known for its sleek notebooks, and this one features a charming cherry blossom print patterned across its fabric cover. Whether you’re a budding artist like Ella or a poet in the making, you can opt for a plain paper notebook ideal for sketching or a lined notebook to scribble down your next sonnet.
If there’s one thing Ella can’t live without on a plane, it’s a killer lipstick. But rather than vivid hues, her priority is hydration – which can be a challenge when you travel as much as she does. “I always take a moisturising lipstick, not just any red one – I really need it because it’s quite dry in the aircraft,” she explains.
Enjoy the best of both worlds with Dior’s deeply hydrated tinted lip balms. Available when you shop with Cathay as a two-piece set, you can choose from a natural rosy shine or a coral hue depending on your mood – either way, their moisturising formulas have been designed to protect your smile, even in the skies.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
Chloe Les Parfums 4-Piece Set
As with dry lips, keeping your face moisturised is another priority for Ella. She typically uses a facial spray – and other cabin crew members have their own in-flight beauty hacks to keep their skin glowing and hydrated on a plane. “It’s not for me, but some crew prepare facial masks,” she says. “I seldom do it though, because I find it can be quite messy if I do it in-flight – so I prefer the spray!”
When you’re sitting down for your flight, you don’t have to take the cabin crew shortcuts. Ella picked out this Kiehl’s cream as the ideal travel go-to. Apply a generous helping of this non-greasy formula, designed to provide your skin with maximum hydration and leave you more glowing than when you boarded.
A quick and easy way to refresh yourself after a flight is to add a spritz of perfume, especially if you’re coming off a long-haul flight or you’re too exhausted to reach for your beauty bag. “Sometimes I don’t do full makeup after a flight,” says Ella. “But a spray of perfume makes me feel refreshed – and those around me, too!”
The only thing to bear in mind? Remember to select smaller fragrances if you’re planning to bring them onboard, as you’re typically limited to liquid containers of less than 100ml. The last thing you want is for your expensive perfume to be confiscated during a security check.
Two of Chloe’s signature fragrances have been bundled into miniature 5ml bottles in this set selected by Ella – the ideal size for carrying in your check-in luggage. Featuring Chloe Nomade - a woody, freesia fragrance - and the signature floral Chloe Eau de Parfum, you’ll be reaching for these bottles again and again.
Finding the ultimate cabin bag is a tall order, as there are many things to bear in mind. Before picking yours, remember many airlines have both weight and size restrictions so it’s best to opt for a smaller suitcase with a light shell. Four-wheeled bags with wheels that spin in all directions will make trundling down the plane aisle so much easier, while a side handle is always a bonus in case you need to squeeze your suitcase into an overhead baggage compartment.
Look no further for Ella’s perfect cabin bag. Crafted from sturdy but lightweight aluminium, this classic Rimowa piece is as sleek and stylish as it gets. With a combination lock and compartments inside the bag, you’ll be able to keep your belongings secure, organised and looking good.