Flight attendants are the face of the airlines. It's their job to ensure that your flight is as pleasant as possible. They go out of their way to ensure our travel is uneventful. (By the way, uneventful is preferred. Incidences, delays, and other events before, during and after flights make for a miserable experience.)
But are we doing our best to treat our flight crew well?
In a recent chat with one of my favorite airline attendants, Typhanie King shares her best tips and insider secrets about the friendly skies.
1. Be mindful that not all travelers are going on vacation.
Many travelers are in transport for care for medical conditions and others are on their way to bury family members.
"I see a lot of tears. Nearly on every flight. Many people are sad, and I go out of my way to make the flight as easy as possible for them."
So, though you may be on a honeymoon Jamaica or a girls trip to Italy, there are those passengers who do not want to "turn up."
2. Flight attendants are not overpaid waiters or waitresses.
Their primary duty is for safety, mandated by the FAA.
"A big misconception is that we are there to hand out snacks and drinks. That is apart of our job. But there are Federal Rules that require a certain number of cabin crew members, depending on the flight size and length of the trip. We spend months training and learning all of the rescue procedures and rules of aviation."
3. The most critical parts of the flight are during takeoff and landing.
So if your instinct is that those are the scariest moments of a flight, then your fear should be validated with this info. This is also the reason why everyone, including the in-flight crew, is required by law to sit down and buckle-up!
4. The many rules you hear before and during flight are created by the federal government.
So it is pointless to try and negotiate them with the flight crew. It is actually illegal for the flight staff to break any rules on your behalf. The consequence will be fines and even jail.
"When we say sit, you must sit. That's not trying to be a grade school teacher. It's the law. The same goes with turning off cellphones, elevating seat backs, arm rests, and more. We didn't write or create any of these rules. But we are obligated to uphold them."
5. You can ask for the whole can of soda!
"The reason we pour it in a cup goes back to the old days of service. It's just good customer service to pour your drink in a cup. Many people prefer to drink out of a cup. But you can certainly ask for the entire can of pop."
6. Please don't side eye the mom's with screaming infants on the plane.
In fact, our flight attendant says that you can even offer to lend a helping hand.
"I promise you that most times is not the mother's fault that the baby is losing its mind. Adults are the ones who can decide to board the restricted areas of an airplane. But babies, who are used to being free, sometimes just can't take it. Add to that their ears popping and other factors like being too hot or too cold - the little ones are just uncomfortable."
7. Don't fly while congested.
Believe me, it's painful. But not only that, it can actually result in permanent damage to your eardrums. Sometimes it is not always an option to change a flight if you get a cold, so to protect yourself from hearing loss and other side effects use earplugs, which will help your ears adjust to the pressure changes. Also try taking medicine like Mucinex or a nasal spray, that will liquefy the mucus, which will reduce risk of pain.
8. Did you know that the pilots can control the air temperature on the airplane?
Most flights are chilly when airborne. A myth is that the temperature is because of atmospheric pressure.
"That's incorrect. The pilots actually control the air in the cabin. Unfortunately, when in the air, the cabin door is locked so the only way to reach them is by calling. We'll do it if there are enough complaints from passengers or if we're uncomfortable."
So speak up if you're too cold!
9. Warning for barefoot passengers.
"That's just disgusting; even in socks. The restrooms are used by hundreds of people, and believe me, most people have bad aim! I can't take it when people walk to the bathroom barefoot. That floor is not something you want to step on without shoes!"
10. The biggest difference between Economy comfort and Economy?
It's simply that there is more leg room. The seat sizes are the same.
11. You can change your seat once you board.
"But only before the cabin door is closed. Once you are seated, make your request to the flight attended for the desired seat. When the coast is clear, we'll move you up!"
12. Flight attendants have good memories.
Whether you treat them well or very poorly, flight attendants will remember your seat number when it comes time for the payoff.
"Most people are indifferent. Traveling can be a hastle and a pain. We get that. But if someone goes out of their way, looks us in the eye, and asks how I am doing, I will go out of my way to treat them extra special. That may be a free drink, extra snacks. However I can help."
Watch the archived Periscope of our flight attendant chat here.
Which tip did you find the most insightful?