In an ideal world, mutual respect and kindness would be in plentiful supply, and there would never be any conflict or rudeness. However, this isn't the case, and the people who tend to see the worst in society are those who work closely with it. And where travel’s concerned, that tends to be flight attendants.
We've spoken to some flight attendants who have been working in the business for varying amounts of time, on various airlines. Here are ten things they wish their passengers would remember.
“When you ask me if everything’s OK during turbulence, I'm not trying to put a brave face on things; I genuinely don’t mind, so it’s easy for me to look brave. However, do I really know what’s going on out there? No. Only the pilots really know, and they’re not about to shout about it if things are looking ropy. I know as much as you do.”
“It amazes me that people still think the button above their heads entitles them to have special treatment. Sadly not, guys - you’ll have to wait for dinner, just like everyone else!”
“I wish people would remember we’re only human. Drinks get spilled; things fall out of overhead lockers, we’ll accidentally brush past you and wake you as we’re pushing the trolley up and down. Our training didn't specify that we’d have to be perfect.”
“We’re not babysitters! And we don’t have the time to take your kid to the toilet. However, when I see parents whose kid just won’t stop crying, and they've tried everything,my heart goes out to them. The other passengers sometimes aren't very nice to them and they often feel very embarrassed and hopeless about being the ones responsible for a screaming baby.”
“The job doesn't just involve tea and coffee. We’re trained for months before we can start the job; as well as having medical training, we’re also required to memorise and implement safety techniques. I can deliver a baby. I can recognise the signs of a stroke. I know the relevant SEP (Safety and Emergency Procedures), I’m trained in AVMED (Aviation Medicine), I know how to rock customer service, I’ve had restraint training, and I know about aircraft. Do you?”
“I don’t mind a quick chat as I’m pushing the trolley along; don’t worry about saying hello, or asking how I am. So many people treat me like a glorified cashier - it’s quite nice to actually have a conversation!”
“Want better service? Try tipping us; it works wonders. Just do it in a subtle way, where possible. Also - saying please and thank you will ensure we remember you the next time the trolley comes past Oh, and during night flights, I don’t have the power to silence the whole cabin - there will always be someone coughing, snoring or laughing at a film. Just bring earplugs.”
“A lot of people (mainly drunk ones queueing for the toilet) have started conversations with me, and wanted to know if we spend all our spare time during overnight stays either having sex or drinking. Sadly not, as a rule. We’re too tired.”
“I wish people would remember that I’m not responsible for the in-flight menu, and if they want to bring their own vegan, organic, soy-free, nut-free, chemical-free snacks on board, they’re very welcome to. Other people are content to eat, you know, normal stuff. Provide for yourself. We’re not Harrods.”
“I’m not wearing a wedding ring, so you’d rightly assume I’m single, but I do take offence when you ‘inadvertently’ try to touch my legs when I walk past, or smack my bottom. I’m not allowed to retaliate, but believe me, I’d really like to.”