Hello my fellow flight attendants. It’s been a while, but I’ve been busy doing what we all love and had to take some time off from writing (ok, you caught me, I’ve also had a bit of writers block). However, I found the best cure to writers block in an airline-related site is to get back on the line. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE when working. As I spent my first day on a jet, it struck me like a brick. I dealt with a multitude of passengers (some happy and some angry). So I decided to dedicate this one to those unhappy people by giving them some incite from a flight attendant point of view.
•Our craziest points of flight are boarding and preparing the cabin for landing. When you board, we have about a million things we need to do to get that door closed and make it possible to get the plane in the air. Unless you’re sitting in First or Business Class, where most airlines have a dedicated FA for taking care of them, we don’t have time have time for specific requests. Your requests for a glass of water, soda, etc only serve to distract us and reduce our chances of getting you in the air and getting you to your destination on time. We’re only asking you for a minimal amount of patience on this one. Once we’re in the air, we’re at your complete disposal. I don’t think a few minutes of patience is too much to ask. During the landing process, we only have a small window to get the cabin ready to land. If all pieces don’t fall into place, the plane is forbidden to land by FAA standards. So don’t ask for beverages during that time and forget about using the lav. We can’t land the jet until all passengers are securely in your seats. I’ve been on planes going into O’Hare where one passenger decided to get up to use the lav during “sterile” and we had to abort the landing. We lost our place in line and it took another 45 minutes in the air before getting approval to land. Many passengers missed their connections due to that one passenger.
•You’re not the only passenger on that jet. You may feel the temperature is too warm or too cold, but we won’t contact the flight deck on the request of one single passenger. It usually takes the complaints of several passengers in your section before we will take any action.
•During flight, STAY AWAY FROM THE COCKPIT DOOR!!!!!!! Post 9-11, our first objection is to protect the flight deck at all costs. If you make any attempt to go near it during flight, it makes us nervous and makes red flags go up.
•During take-off and landing, TURN OFF YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES All OF THEM. FAA requires that ALL electronic devices are turned off. It won’t kill you to do without them for 20 minutes (10 during take-off and 10 during landing). FAA states all must be turned off, so we must enforce that rule.
•Flight Attendants have more power than you realize. If you choose to start fights with us, YOU WILL NOT WIN. There is an array of laws put forward that favor flight crews. We don’t want to use them, but will if the circumstances call for it. The results will be you getting kicked off the plane while on the ground before take-off or being escorted off the jet by the police after landing.
•If you’re starting your trip at an out-station (that’s an airport that flies into a HUB), show up early. You may think that the airplane will wait for you, but it won’t. You should arrive at that airport 2 hours before boarding and at the gate 30 minutes before boarding. If you’re late at a HUB, we understand because things beyond everyone’s control can happen. If you’re late at an out-station, the fault is clearly your own and 50 to 120 people shouldn’t be penalized for your poor planning.
•During delays, the flight crew doesn’t have the power to call and demand your connecting jet be forced to wait for you to arrive. No airline will delay a flight of 250 people to wait for 1 person. Don’t waste your breath asking.
•Many airlines allow us to close the doors 10 minutes early, so if everyone shows up a bit early, we can depart 10 minutes early.
•When boarding, put one bag under your seat, one in the overhead, and then sit down so others can do the same. It’s that simple.
•Because of 9-11 rules, the pilots can NEVER exit the flight deck in-flight to answer your specific questions about a delay or connection, so don’t bother making that ridiculous demand.
•On board, we will go out of our way to accommodate a friendly passenger. Conversely, we will also go out of our way to avoid and ignore a rude and insulting passenger.
•All passengers are ranked by the airline by how often they fly that airline. Frequent Flyers (even if not seated in Business or First) will always get more amenities than those who aren’t. We get a list upon boarding and know who is who on the jet.
•Those of you with young children. FAA forbids any passengers from entering the flight deck during flights. However if your child is well-behaved and you ask, the pilots will often still allow your child to visit the flight deck after we land and the cockpit door is opened. Between you and me, they still get a charge in introducing children to the world of aviation.
•Those of you tempted to put laptop computers in the seat pockets, DON’T. It’s not an FAA approved stowage area for your computer, and the pockets aren’t designed to support the weight of your computer. I’ve seen many computers destroyed when they slam to the floor.
•Did you know that many parents ignore the changing tables in the lav and change the diapers of their infants on the very tray tables you use on your flight? To answer your next question, the tables aren’t always scrubbed and sanitized between flights.
•The blankets are usually replaced between the flights, but the pillows aren’t. To avoid getting sick, it’s advised to avoid sleeping on the pillows and only using them for lumbar support during the flight. I recommend bringing your own blankets and pillows for your journey.
•Most airlines don’t provide snacks in coach anymore. It’s wise to being something to munch on during the flight.
I could go on, but I’m going to stop there. I’ll save more suggestions for a future article. I hope all passengers reading this will heed my advice. It will go a long way towards making their flight (and especially ours) much more pleasant.
Till Next Time, Fly Safe Everyone,
is a career airline employee and an avid off duty traveler. He spends his work days as part of a flight crew crisscrossing North American for a commercial airline and his off days going anywhere in the world he can grab a free flight with friends and a great hotel deal. He is a regularly featured contributor at Airline Devils!