It’s been a while but I’ve been busy doing what we all love and had to take some time off from writing (well you got me, I had a bit of writer’s block too). However, I’ve found that the best cure for writers’ block on an airline-related site is to go back online. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE when you work. As I spent my first day on a jet, he hit me like a brick. I dealt with a crowd of passengers (some happy and some angry). So I decided to dedicate this one to those unhappy people by teasing them from the point of view of a flight attendant.
Our craziest flight points are boarding and preparing the cabin for landing. When it boards, we have about a million things we need to do to close that door and make it possible for the plane to take off. Unless you’re sitting in First or Business Class, where most airlines have a dedicated FA to serve you, we don’t have time for specific requests. Your requests for a glass of water, soft drink, etc. they only serve to distract us and reduce our chances of getting you airborne and reaching your destination on time. We only ask for a minimum of patience in this case. Once we are in the air, we will be 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 prepare the cabin for landing. If all the pieces don’t fit into place, the plane is prohibited from landing by FAA standards. So don’t order drinks during that time and forget about using the sink. We can’t land the plane until all passengers are safely in their seats. I’ve been on planes going to O’Hare where a passenger decided to get up to use the bathroom during “sterile” and we had to abort the landing. We lost our place in line and spent another 45 minutes in the air before getting the go-ahead to land. Many passengers missed their connections because of that passenger.
· You are not the only passenger on that plane. You may feel the temperature is too hot or too cold, but we will not contact the flight deck at the request of a single passenger. We usually take complaints from several passengers in your section before we take any action.
During the flight, STAY CLEAR OF THE CABIN DOOR! After 9/11, our first objection is to protect the flight deck at all costs. If you try to get close to it during the flight, it makes us nervous and causes red flags to go up.
During takeoff and landing, TURN OFF ALL YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES. FAA requires that ALL electronic devices be turned off. It won’t kill you to go without them for 20 minutes (10 during take off and 10 during landing). The FAA states that they all have to be turned off, so we need to enforce that rule.
· Flight attendants have more power than you think. If you choose to start fights with us, you WILL NOT WIN. There are a number of proposed laws that favor flight crews. We don’t want to use them, but we will if circumstances require. The results will be that you are removed from the plane while it is on the ground before takeoff or that you are escorted off the plane by police after landing.
If you are starting your trip at an external station (which is an airport that flies to a HUB), arrive early. You may think that the plane will wait for you, but it is not. You must arrive at that airport 2 hours before boarding and at the boarding gate 30 minutes before boarding. If you arrive late to a HUB, we understand it because things can happen outside of everyone’s control. If you are late for an outside station, the fault is clearly yours and 50 to 120 people should not be penalized for poor planning.
· During delays, the flight crew does not have the power to call and demand that your connecting aircraft 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 arrives a little early, we can leave 10 minutes early.
When boarding, place one bag under your seat, another on the roof, and then sit down so others can do the same. It’s that easy.
· Due to 9-11 rules, pilots are NEVER allowed to leave the flight deck during flight to answer your specific questions about a delay or a connection, so don’t bother making that ridiculous demand.
· On board, we will do our best to accommodate a friendly passenger. Conversely, we will also do our best to avoid and ignore a rude and insulting passenger.
The airline classifies all passengers based on how often they fly on that airline. Frequent flyers (even if they’re not seated in Business or First) will always get more amenities than those who aren’t. We get a list when boarding and we know who is who on the plane.
Those of you with young children. The FAA prohibits passengers from entering the flight deck during flights. However, if your child is well behaved and you ask, pilots will often still allow your child to visit the flight deck after we land and the cabin door opens. Between you and me, they still get a charge for introducing kids to aviation.
Those of you tempted to put laptops in seat pockets, DON’T. It is not an FAA-approved storage area for your computer, and the pockets are not designed to support the weight of your computer. I have seen many computers destroyed when they hit the ground.
· Did you know that many parents ignore changing tables in the bathroom and change their babies’ diapers on the same tray tables you use on your flight? To answer your next question, tables are not always cleaned and disinfected between flights.
Blankets are usually replaced between flights, but pillows are not. To avoid getting sick, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on the pillows and use them only for lumbar support during the flight. I recommend bringing your own blankets and pillows for your trip.
· Most airlines no longer offer snacks on the bus. It is advisable to have something to snack on during the flight.
I could go on, but I’ll 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 to making your flight (and especially ours) much more pleasant.
Until next time, fly safe everyone,