Destination I Do
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Travel Tips to Keep Your Flight Attendant Friendly

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words and photo by Cranky Flier

I have no doubt that you’ve heard of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater’s breakdown last week. He appears to have lost it for one reason or another, made a crude PA announcement, grabbed a beer, popped the emergency slide and just gone home. While nothing a passenger can do should ever push a flight attendant to this point, that doesn’t mean you should be pushing their buttons. There are plenty of obnoxious passengers out there, so here’s how you can avoid being one of them. (Note: There are plenty of obnoxious flight attendants out there too, but that’s a different story.)

DO NOT throw things at a flight attendant but DO write a complaint letter. Sure, you might feel like it when that 150 year-old flight attendant gives you a scowl, but it will generally just get you into trouble if you throw something at her. If you have beef, get the flight attendant’s info and write in to the airline afterward to complain.

DO ask for help with heavy bags, but DO NOT expect help. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Most flight attendants won’t help you lift a heavy bag. It’s either an airline concern about paying workers comp or it’s not in the contract. Some flight attendants will still try to help, so it can’t hurt to ask, but don’t expect much.

DO ring the call button when you need something, but DO NOT ring it every five minutes. Some flight attendants will try to tell you that the call button is there for emergencies. That’s a load of crap. It’s there if you need something from the flight attendant. Now, if you happen to need something every five minutes, you’re likely to get some dirty looks and a scolding. Nobody needs something every five minutes.

DO NOT get up when the seat belt sign is on. I know, I know. You’ve been bouncing around for ages and you just need to pee, but you should try to hold it as long as you can. The pilots will generally only keep the sign on when there’s a threat of turbulence (though not always). You remember hearing about those flights where people break their neck when a plane hits turbulence? That is almost always someone who didn’t have a seatbelt buckled when it should have been. Don’t be that person. Flight attendants don’t want to have to scrape you off the ceiling.

DO say “please” and “thank you.” You’d be amazed at what a little common courtesy can do. Flight attendants are out slinging drinks and throwing peanuts all day long, and a lot of people aren’t very friendly about it. Just a simple “please” and “thank you” along with a smile can do wonders.

DO NOT yell at the flight attendant for all the problems you have with the airline. You’re finally winging your way to Omaha after a 3 hour delay and a missed connection in Chicago. This airlines sucks, right? Well, don’t yell at the flight attendant for it. Do you think he had anything to do with the delay or missed connection? Nope. I know he’s an easy target since you’re in a metal tube and he has nowhere to hide, but there’s nothing he can do from up there anyway.

If you’re flying for your destination wedding or your honeymoon, the last thing you want is to be tied up with flex cuffs and humiliated in front of your groom. Just be nice, have some common courtesy and enjoy the ride.

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