10 Tips On Being a Better Passenger- From a Flight Attendant

by on June 12, 2014 · 144 comments

in Airline Industry, Lifestyle, TPG Contributors

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Ever wonder what you can do to endear yourself to your flight crew? Want to know why some people get upgrades and preferential treatment and others don’t? Curious about how your in flight etiquette is perceived? Meet Cary A. Trey, an anonymous flight attendant for a major US carrier flying mostly international routes, here to set the record straight on what makes a good airplane passenger–and what doesn’t. This is his first contribution for TPG, but expect more!

Enjoy flying? Yeah, right. In today’s world of TSA patdowns, mergers, cost-cutting, paying for bags (and everything else) and the highest passenger to crew ratios ever, how on earth is anyone supposed to enjoy the experience anymore? Long gone are the days of chateaubriand sliced in the aisle, people dressing up to fly and passengers idly chatting with each other while a piano is being played softly in the background in the upper deck lounge on the 747. None of that is coming back anytime soon (or ever…). The following list may well help you maintain some sanity by endearing yourself to your crew and thus ensuring that you receive some of that old world service that we all thought disappeared along with Pan Am. Follow these tips, and not only will your crew love you, but you’ll be treated like the VIP that so many of you think you are.

1. Pack only what you can carry (and lift!)

Carry On 1

As airlines diminish their free checked luggage allowances and increase checked bag fees, the size of the carry-ons we see coming on the planes is also increasing. How many times have you been told by a surly, overworked gate agent that you need to check your bag because there’s no space left? One too many, I’m sure. And if you do manage to get the bag on the plane, half of you turn to your crew to lift your 75-pound behemoth of a bag into the overhead because it’s too heavy for you. I suggest the fridge test. After packing your bag, lift it up and stick it on top of your fridge. If you can’t do that, check it.

And better yet, get the credit card associated with your airline of choice. The $95 annual fee equals four checked bags, not even. You’ll get priority boarding and thus avoid being told that there’s no space left, and you can check your heavy bag that you couldn’t put on top of your fridge for free. Best of all, you won’t have to ask the crew to do the heavy lifting for you and thus avoid making them dislike you before the boarding door has even been shut.

2. Come prepared

Nobody knows you better than you, so anticipate your own needs. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “Can you give me water? I have to take a pill,” I would be on an island somewhere doing something other than writing this column. First, just ask me for water. After all, part of my job is to provide these things when you ask for them.

Second, no need to tell me what the pill is for. Honestly, I’m not interested in your grapefruit-sized kidney stones, your depression brought on by your puppy drowning in the washing machine, your terrible seasonal allergies you inherited from your grandma in Boise– just ask me for water. But also remember that if you ask me during boarding, there are 185 other people who also need to take a pill for something or other.

So better yet, anticipate that you have to take a pill and grab a bottle of water. When traveling with babies and toddlers, remember that just like adults, they poop too, so bring diapers. Coming to the back galley and asking for diapers, bottles, toys, etc. will not only not impress your crew, it makes you look like an incredibly irresponsible parent.

You’ve been a vegetarian going on 10 years now, you know that you’re in the second to last row of the plane and you forgot to order a veggie meal, rather than give me the stink eye when I tell you I only have chicken left, tell me ahead of time that you forgot to order and I’ll be happy to put aside a pasta for you. Better yet, stop at Shake Shack before you get onboard and grab a mushroom burger, which I suspect will be far better than then pasta-ala-sodium that I’ll save for you.

3. Amuse your children

Baby Cry 3

We’ve all been there – you’ve just drifted off to sleep (despite being contorted into a position that would impress the most seasoned Cirque-du-Soleil acrobat) when a shrill cry goes up and continues for the next three hours. Nobody likes unruly children on an airplane and 99% of the time it’s the parents’ fault. Know what makes your children tick.

That cartoon show that you hate (and they love) and you forbid at home? That’s exactly what you need to download on your iPad. That’s something they don’t get at home and it will keep them amused for hours. Then you need Plan B – Crayons and paper, Plan C – The other show you can’t stand on the iPad, Plan D – Snacks they like that don’t contain enough sugar to make them go postal, etc. etc. etc. As you well know, children’s attention spans are shorter than most of Elizabeth Taylor’s marriages and you need to plan accordingly.

Not only will the passengers around you thank you, but your crew will love you and might even offer to chip in keeping little Tom, Dick or Harriet amused. Unless they start behaving like dicks, in which case we’re out. You should have trained them better. When plans A-D fail, reach into your purse and pull out the Benadryl. If you’re not comfortable drugging your child, offer it to the passengers around you and the crew. Voilá, you’re back in our good graces.

4. Listen to announcements

Announcements Alt 4

I know, you travel more than I do and you know them all. So then why do you not comply with any of them? Every time (yes, 100% of the time) I say “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Coca Cola-ville. Please remain seated with you seatbelts fastened…” I see and hear about half of the seatbelts in the cabin come undone. Do you take your seatbelt off when you get off the highway in your car? No. Do you want to be like the woman last summer who broke her nose when she went face first into the bulkhead because we stopped short and she wasn’t belted in? No. Do you want to put the people around you at risk because you’re not belted in and now your 190 pounds of mass is at risk of flying through the cabin and hurting someone? No. So just leave your seatbelt on!

We make the announcements because we have to, yes, but also because we are trying to convey information to you that is useful to both you, the people around you and us. So listen up! I know I’m getting paid, but I really don’t want to say “Beef stroganoff with sautéed vegetables and gnocchi or spicy chicken with paella rice” 265 times. So when I make the announcement, just listen. Your movie is paused anyway, so what else do you have to do? The seat belt sign coming on is not a cue for you to get up and parade about the cabin, as many of you seem to think. So if you really want to wow your crew, show off those listening skills and respond accordingly when we ever so politely ask you to please do something at this time. Thank you.

5. You are not the exception to the rule. Really.

Rules 5

I know you are Silver Elite. That said, waving your elite card at me as you board and throwing your coat in my face with a “hang this” isn’t going to impress me. It also won’t get your coat hung. I will hang everyone’s coats in First Class and then if I have room for yours, and you ask nicely, I’ll hang your coat. What if every Silver Elite on the plane did the same thing you did? A) I wouldn’t have room for any First Class coats and B) It would take me the entire flight to hand them all back.

When we say, “We are on our final descent, so please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened,” this is not your cue to get up. If everyone got up to use the bathroom, we’d land with half the plane standing. When I we say, “Please turn your phones into airplane mode,” and you keep Facebooking and texting, guess what? You haven’t turned your phone into airplane mode.

Nothing will turn your crew against you faster than ignoring what they have to say. (This harks back to #4.) So please, when we ask you to do something, remember that rules apply to everyone, including you. Because there are still so many people that think they are the exception to the rule, by complying you will actually stand out and your crew will love you all the more. Then, after the service when you ask if you could maybe have a few more cookies and could we charge your phone up front (all exceptions to the rules) we’re much more likely to say yes. Ironic, isn’t it?

6. You’ll catch more flies with honey (or chocolates) than with vinegar

Actually, who has ever caught any flies with vinegar? Your flight from Washington, D.C. to Chicago was delayed because of a mechanical fault with the aircraft. Airline’s fault. You see on the app that your bags were not loaded onto the first flight despite the delay. Also, the airline’s fault. You then make your connecting flight by the skin of your teeth only to see that your Elite upgrade has been cancelled and you’re back in cattle class because the gate agent didn’t count on you being an Olympic sprinter. Again, airline’s fault. You’re now worked up into a rage that would make Stalin himself cower, and rightly so.

That said, if you come back to the galley and start screaming and cussing, guess what? I won’t help you. I am fully aware that when in uniform, I represent my company and right now, that is the company that so far today has screwed you like you were the new inmate on cellblock D. However, I personally would very much like to help you. That’s why I was hired to spend eight hours with you instead of loading bags (or not loading them) down on the ramp. So if you come to me, and calmly express that you are angry and here is why, the chances of my helping you increase exponentially.

With the sheer volume of people travelling, bags being loaded and flights taking off, things are bound to go wrong. Ninety-nine percent of my colleagues and I genuinely do care about you and want to help you. (See #7 to discuss the other one percent.) So when the proverbial shit hits the fan, do your best to keep your cool. Take a deep breath. Remember that despite everything that has happened, you are still alive and, in fact, breathing. Then come talk to me and explain your situation. I will be delighted to help rectify things anyway possible.

7. You are only human (and so am I)

After everything that happened in #6, you go back to the galley and calmly explain to Ellie Eastern what happened. Ellie is indifferent and tells you to sit down and deal with it. Already, the battle is lost. Getting angry with her, despite everything that has happened, will only result in air rage charges and a marked decline in the already admittedly horrendous state of your affairs today. So go sit down and wait for someone else to come along and try again.

We all have bad days, both you and I. Ellie has been flying for 40 years, is 82 and still can’t retire. She’s lost her pension, has to fly twice as much as she used to in order to make half the money, and that pilot she had an affair with in 1964 still hasn’t called her back. So yes, she’s a little bitter. Or maybe she’s just having a bad day much like yours. (We all have bad days, no?) Either way, if you see that you’re not getting somewhere with one crewmember, wait until you can discreetly speak with someone else and try again. My mother always told me that timing is everything and that especially applies here. Talk to Ellie’s colleague with Ellie right there and you’re back to square one.

Also, do what you can to eliminate the chance of running into these sorts of situations. There’s nothing you can do to avoid old, surly flight attendants working your flight, but you can book the two-hour connection in Atlanta instead of the 40-minute connection. Yes, you’ll get in later. But you are only human, remember? You are not Haile Gebrselassie and booking a 40-minute connection in the world’s biggest airport is not only a dumb idea, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You are human – give yourself time to walk calmly from one gate to the next with a stop at Starbucks (and a wait on line at Starbucks) along the way. Maybe you can even pick up some chocolates for Ellie. Even the hardened old bags can smile from time to time, it just takes a little box of Ferrero Rocher.

8. Don’t leave garbage on the counters!

This is a big one. You’ve been served your meal, you’ve enjoyed the Michelin star cuisine that we’ve offered you and now you have to pee. So you get up, walk to the galley and dump your tray on the counter. No! This is feral behavior. Do you leave garbage on your kitchen counters at home? No. Would you ever eat at your favorite restaurant again if you saw food being prepared on the same counter dirty dishes were being bussed to? No. Please, just get up, plop your tray back down and go off to do what you must. But for the love of Juan Trippe, don’t leave your trays on the counters.

Trust me, we don’t want to drag the service out any longer than we have to. That said, sometimes serving 300 people takes a little while. As soon as we can pick your garbage up, I promise we will. Leaving trash on the counters where food is prepared will neither endear you to your crew nor to your fellow passengers who see you behaving like the Queen of Sheba. (I’m too good to have my tray in front of me for as long as the rest of you…) If you’re really in a pinch (and you’ve followed the rest of my advice so far) I promise we can find somewhere to put your dirty tray where trash actually belongs if you ask nicely. But please, don’t leave it on the counters. (Or on someone else’s tray – and yes, I’ve seen that happen. It makes no one happy.)

9. Remember that you’re not at home

At Home 9

This is another really big one. All too often, when one of us complains about a passenger or decides we no longer like them, it’s because said passenger forgot they were not at home. Don’t take off your shoes and socks and put your feet up on the walls/bulkheads/seats or armrests in front of you. You don’t think your feet smell, but they do. You’re in 17B and I can smell them from my jump seat back at 32. Picking your nose is fine at home. Not on an airplane. I know you’re in your own little world, watching Game of Thrones and curled up under your blanket, but you’re not on your couch and we can still see you.

At home when you work, you throw papers on the ground and make a mess and that’s okay. On an airplane, you’re making a mess on the floor of my office and it’s a tripping hazard to your fellow passengers and your crew. How about clipping your nails or flossing your teeth? (And both happen all the time) Absolutely not! Please, remember that you are on an airplane surrounded by 300 other passengers and five to 17 cabin crew who aren’t interested in your personal habits.

10. Chocolates

Chocolates 10

Nothing endears you to the crew quite like a box of chocolates. It’s a great way to say, “Thanks for being responsible for my safety and wellbeing for the next one to 14 hours” and also, “I really appreciate that in addition to serving me my choice of peanuts, pretzels and/or cookies, you’ll also restart my heart and/or haul my unconscious, panic-stricken body off the airplane should it start to burn.” It’s what we do for each other usually, and it is just generally a nice gesture – who doesn’t like chocolates? That passenger you saw across the aisle getting spoiled with champagne and desserts from business class? They brought chocolates. The guy next to you who had a flight attendant offer to hang his coat? Chocolates. Most of the people around you that you see being spoiled and treated like rock stars probably brought chocolates. (Or they’re cute and we’re flirting. Either is a good bet.)

Have questions for Cary? Ask away in the Comments below.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Indifferent

    These “flight attendant” posts absolutely kill me. I sit on United flights with hostile flight attendants all the time and would love to write a counterpost: “How to be a better flight attendant” because unfortunately, there are quite a few FAs that could use an internet scolding as well. Waste of print. #1 would be: Stop scolding the passengers. You have a customer facing profession. Act like it.

  • John Cuomo

    100% agree. It should be a reciprocal article.

  • thepointsguy

    Just wait for the counterpoint! What would you include in a response?

  • tls62pa

    1. Stop being entitled because you are in a customer service profession and are expected to do your job.

    And this is coming from a guy who goes to sleep and asks for nothing on majority of my flights.

  • Russel Dann

    I 100% agree with point #6. I fly with Singapore Airlines every 2 weeks (2 leg international flight). Whether I am in cattle class or Business, I have always found if you treat the workers right, from the check in, to the lounge and on the plane, it works wonders. I have had that many added bonuses (free upgrades, seats being blocked next to me so I can lay out and sleep etc), it is worth giving them a P’s and Q’s and a smile.

  • Windycityf

    Totally agree! Sometimes people can be so rude! We should all remember the FA’s primary job is safety, coffee and what not are just extra’s. No need to be rude. A smile will get you a long way. We should all remember to say please and thank you. But they have a stick in the wrong place it’s still a stick and no amount of smiles will fix that!

  • Russel Dann

    I just try and remember that they could be annoyed because of another customer who has treated them like sh.. I have been on flights were I have seen customers abuse the hell out of the FA just because they thought they were better then them (Business Class) and the poor woman was almost in tears. In that particular case, I spoke up against the customer and low and behold, my next leg of my flight was upgraded for free and I was given a rock star treatment when I got on the plane.

  • julda

    amen! after flying foreign airlines i think the us flight attendants need an adjustment. they are not doing us a favor – it is their job! i feel like all they do is bitch and whine about the customer. i wish they would get rid of the majority of them and hire new ones that wanted to please and make your flight pleasant! i should not have to feel scared to ask for something if i need it. most of them suck.

  • hillrider

    Point #10 should be stricken from your post as it’s completely unethical — you’re advocating bribery first and foremost, and stealing from the company as well (” That passenger you saw across the aisle getting spoiled with champagne and desserts from business class”).

    This kind of corruption is not beneficial to a society, especially to the American Dream. Please edit the post and don’t recommend that airline employees should be bribed with gifts or cash. EVER.

  • Justin

    I just flew back from Aruba on United in biz and I think it’s UA policy to have one disgruntled FA and one somewhat happy FA. We had a lady who was definitely moody and one guy who was great. It’s kind of like a game show to see what kind of FA’s you get anymore.

  • Dad

    3a. You know nothing about being a parent.

  • Chris

    4. I too am routing for you to beat that level on Candy Crush, but we haven’t seen you for three hours.

  • Lindsey

    I can’t wait to see the “How to be a better airline employee” post. (I think it should extend to gate agents) #1 Don’t speak to me like a child. #2 Act human and show and bit of sympathy when I arrive at my connecting gate completely out of breath, missing the door’s closing by minutes. I now have to go find a hotel and return to the airport in a few hours. I know you don’t care and it is not your fault. Just PRETEND to be a little human for about 30 seconds when you bark, “see customer service!” #3 Stop looking so grumpy. You’ve had a rough day? Yeah, we can tell. #4 If you’re going to tell me how to buckle a seat belt, I’m not going to listen. Really? Are you speaking to anyone under four years old? I know this is FAA mandated and I’m sorry that it is your job to say it. But I’m not going to listen. #5 Don’t roll your eyes when someone asks a stupid question. I feel so bad for elderly and first time flyers who really have no way of knowing that you’re not boarding their group. Getting angry at them for approaching the gate and asking is heartbreaking to watch!

  • Rob philip

    If you rotate to the right three or four times your panties will be less twisted and you’ll be able realize the humor factor in item #10. For the humor impaired – be nice to the flight attendants (and chocolate is nice) and they’ll be nice to you.

  • Beth

    This guy is certainly not doing his colleagues and his profession any favors with such dreck. Although full disclosure, I stopped reading after this:

    “Nobody likes unruly children on an airplane and 99% of the time it’s the parents’ fault. Know what makes your children tick.”

    I’m not even a parent and I realize what a truly outrageous and inappropriate statement that is.

  • James

    I think the tone of this article is inappropriate and adversarial.

    #4: Sorry, some of those announcements just get old after hearing them several hundred times. Maybe you have to say it, but I don’t have to listen. But the worst are the 10,000 ft. announcements. I like to nod off around takeoff, and there is nothing worse than being woken up 10 minutes after takeoff. I do NOT want to hear about your airline’s co-brand credit card or about how your entire airline family appreciates having me on board. And for the love of god, please turn down the volume.
    #5: Why are you picking on India? Maybe this is true, but the delivery is in poor taste.

  • zeroandme

    Dear flight attendants. You are in a customer service position. You are serving the customer. Stop with the entitlement attitude. If you don’t like what you do, change your job, go back to school, or at the very least, try to smile with some dignity.
    “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

  • Dan Nainan

    Yes, strike point #10 from the post right away, thereby violating another fundamental tenet of the American dream – free speech.

  • MW

    I totally agree with #3! Every single time I get on a plane, there’s someone whose child is screaming for extended periods of time. One or two outbursts over time would be a bit understandable but not when they’re crying for 5 minutes straight. You’re not doing anything to make them quiet down nor have you BEEN teaching them to listen to you in the past. Kids don’t just decide to act up on when they get on a plane; they’ve been allowed to act in that manner in the past and think its acceptable. Its not the kid’s fault, its the parent’s fault. Shut your kids up! No excuses! When I was a child, you had ONE time to act up in public and after the consequences when you returned home, trust me, you never thought about doing it again!

  • dcsells

    What is the point of this post? Nominally, it’s tips on “being a better passenger.” But it was mostly tips on “how to make a flight attendant’s job easier.” Which is great, if you’re a flight attendant. But most of the “tips” just shift the many inherent inconveniences that come from flying on a plane from the flight attendant to the passenger. Again, great, if you’re a flight attendant. But guess what? I’m the one who *paid* money to be there (often a sky-high business fare, even if in coach). You’re the one who *makes* money by being there. Under those circumstances, why, exactly, is it my responsibility to make your job easier? Because it’s a shit job? Nobody put a gun to your head to be in your position. Geez, unlike most of us, you even have a union that makes your job considerably better than it could be.
    I’m not advocating being an asshole to flight attendants or not trying to make their jobs/lives easier. I believe in the Golden Rule, karmic payback, etc. But this post was just a screed fleshed out with painfully unfunny attempts at humor. This could have been a constructive post, and I imagine you’ll get a lot of page views just from the title alone. It could have been a lot more, though.

  • YoureAnIdiot

    Yeah! You know everything about kids! Good job! You’re amazing! Those damned kids have been spoiled rotten! They’re crying! Get off my lawn! Stop all that ruckus! Get off my plane! I am very important!

  • dcsells

    Me, one year ago, before having a baby: “Totally. Preach on!”
    Me, today, with a six-month-old: “You literally have no idea what you are talking about.”

  • dcsells

    Yikes. Know your Constitution, my friend. Government restrictions on speech = bad/illegal. Private restrictions on speech (like by a blogger) = totally fine/legal.

  • MW

    My parents say the same damn thing… Teach your kids to act right! Its clearly a subjective matter and people have their own opinions… this happens to be mine and my family’s opinion. Also, 6 month olds are a bit different that 5 year olds…

  • MW

    People with unruly kids need to take the bus… or swim in the Atlantic. Don’t care, just don’t ruin the trip for the other hundreds of people on the plane.

  • JeffR

    The tone of this post reminds me of a post I’ve been meaning to write: “10 Tips on Being a Better Flight Attendant:”
    - 10. Be nicer
    - 9. Be nicer
    - 8. Be nicer
    - 7. Be nicer
    - 6. Be nicer
    - 5. Be nicer
    - 4. Be nicer
    - 3. Be nicer
    - 2. Be nicer
    - 1. Be nicer

    Seriously, what a nasty little post this was. Oh, and Einstein: Benadryl sometimes has the opposite effect of what you intend: With some kids, it actually winds them up more. Not what you want, so how ’bout you quit telling parents to drug their kids?

  • Mary Lynn Halland

    A wonderfully written, witty piece. I look forward to future postings.

    One question: what can we give the FAs besides chocolates? Not everybody wants to eat such high calorie treats.

  • JeffR

    Seriously — every parent should sit down with their six-month-old before they board a flight and have a heart-to-heart on proper behavior, complete with Q&A session. Alas, the truth is, kids may cry. No matter what the parent does. What a parent CAN and SHOULD do is try to comfort that child once the crying has become. That may mean picking the child up and walking up and down the aisle with him or her, or some other proactive behavior. I have complete sympathy for parents when their child loses it on a flight — when they actually actually try to calm the child down. It’s not the parents whose kids cry that bother me, but the parents who just sit there and go back to their iPads when the kids cry.

  • mrsnarbonne

    I think there’s some good info there but I didn’t like the tone in some parts and thought the comment about India and parents to be in poor taste. Some kids get more wound up on Benadryl. And since the writer referenced catching flies with honey, I think he’d be more persuasive with less sour overtines

  • MW

    Like i said previously, infants are a bit different… there’s but so much you can do. I’m referring to the kids that are yelling at their parent’s telling them “NO!” and “SHUT UP!” then commence the crying while the parents just look at them and do nothing….

  • Susan4563

    Cary, you made my day. Your humor filled, right-on tips, should be mandatory reading for all airline passengers. Just happened to look at the two comments below and already know what kind of relationship they will have on a plane. Attitude is everything and I do not view attendants as my personal servant – as you mentioned, there are often 300+ people to “serve” in a fairly confined space. Thanks for all you do!!!!!

  • Marnie

    I have a 2 year old toddler who… guess what? Acts like a 2 year old and does the same thing at home with all the toys and tv shows in the world for a distraction. Take a child development class before making such comments. Maybe some ya’ll should just retire because you’re looking long in the tooth for a job that really should be for younger people to start their careers. These flight attendants made, essentially, a waitstaff position into a lifetime career because they lack ambition.

  • Indifferent

    Several points, including:
    - Nobody brings me chocolates for doing my job. Do you want me to pat you on the back at the end of the flight as well? Could you use a neck massage? After all, we the passengers are here to serve you, the almighty FA!
    - Have compassion. We probably paid good money to be on the plane, so if I’m going to die if I don’t take a pill, maybe hand me some water? Jeff Smisek kills airline P&Ls, not an extra cup of water. If you state, OVER THE LOUDSPEAKER, “let us know what we can do to make your flight more enjoyable”, DON’T BE SURPRISED IF I TAKE YOU UP ON THAT OFFER. The cup of water would make my flight more enjoyable.
    - If you don’t like your job, quit. Or, if you are forced to perform it against your will, don’t take it out on me.
    - Stop complaining. You have a job as the economy pulls out of a recession. Families are still hurting. Be happy your are employed and stop being overentitled.

    That’s a start.

  • scott

    Totally agree there should be a reciprocal article! Just two weeks ago I was stressing because I only had 40 minutes to make a connecting flight. After everyone boarded the initial flight we just sat on the tarmac while the stewardesses stood by the door chatting with each other and eating soup. This went on for about 20 minutes. At one point I saw the captain walk off the plane, meaning we weren’t leaving any time soon. There was not one announcement about the delay while the window to catch my connecting flight all but disappeared.

  • Ashley

    Having worked in the Hospitality Industry for many years, I can always empathize with fellow customer service workers.
    I’ve learned that a shocking number of people lack common sense, common courtesy and basic manners on the ground, so I can only imagine what a nightmare it can be to assist people in a confined space at 30,000 feet.

  • Adam

    Domestic flight attendants are the absolute worst in the industry. It’s pretty sad really. If they get disturbed for hitting my ‘call’ button then please ask yourself — why should this passenger have to be hitting the button in the first place, perhaps its because I’m not doing my job.

    Related to #1, if you ever take notice on international (esp asian) carriers the FAs actually put your bag in the bin for you — gasp tho on their defense no other carriers have the abundance of AARP members as domestic carriers.

    I think at times domestic FAs forget they are in a service industry, and I will admit there have been some really great FAs on domestic carriers but unfortunately these ones are the exception.

    I always ask for the name of the FA and provide their name, physical description, and flight no in an email to personal contacts at corporate customer care teams (pointless to call in to the main #) and detail the mishaps in service. It may not matter to them whether you are an elite (e.g. waving your card) but it does when you write in to complain. Whether anything comes out of it I’m not sure but the airlines will at least throw some miles my way.

    End rant.

  • Victor

    Or just put a muzzle on the kid for the flight. No one wants Junior kicking the back of their seat, crying, or throwing a tantrum on a plane. Want to raise someone’s blood pressure really fast, put them next to the kid with parents who don’t give a damn. It’s kind of like those parents who see school as a daycare service; they just don’t care.

  • Spanky

    How about a quiet zone on the plane, or kid free flights, or God forbid, actual parenting at home so they listen to you. But then again, my parents spanked me and I straightened up really fast. Too bad corporal punishment is banned.

  • Victor

    I totally understand why some BABIES would cry on a plane, the pressure change on their ear drums is probably painful and they don’t know how to alleviate it. That said, why on earth would you take a 6 month old on a plane. It’s like taking a baby to Die Hard and expecting the explosions to not be upsetting, and then not expecting the resultant crying to be annoying as hell to the other passengers.

  • Logical Luke

    It all comes down to the parents; you’re not going to control an infant too well on a plane once the water works start, but for the love of God, do something about. Don’t just sit there, and smile say “I’m sorry, he’s not usually like this”. To which I’d retort, that’s great, which means he can go back to being quite. Perhaps if the Airlines would charge kids more to fly, or fine the parents for disruptive outbursts, or compensate the passengers around said banshee, parents would a: think twice about bring babies/infants/kids on flights, b: actually parent them at home so the kids know they won’t get away with that $hit in the air, or c: do something when it happens to make it stop. I feel like there’s a lot of logic in setting boundaries, I know my parents didn’t let me walk all over them, or embarrass them in public.

  • YoureAnIdiot

    As opposed to the adult assholes who often ruin the trip for the other hundreds of people on the plane. You’re either a spoiled twenty something with no kids or a crabby senior citizen. OMG, life is happening around me! I’m gonna bitch about it! Loudly!

  • Terry

    Kids can be disgustingly noisy on plane. Think about all the talking and crying…..Parents must know that it’s a public area so don’t take it for granted that kids still young like 2 years old! Who cares? If a parent does not keep his/her kid mouth shut when the kid is crying on plane, then I will.

  • slim

    I am a frequent flier (like most of the people on here, I suppose), and you hit the nail on the head with all these annoying things, but in my many years of flying I have come to realize that the other passengers are not going to do or act in what I want them to; nor will they act in the same way that I do. On many flights, like in life, there will be nice people and rude people, and I, as a frequent flier, have come to accept this and have learned to be patient… but you, on the other hand, chose this profession, so grow up and deal with it. This post just goes to show that you don’t enjoy your job as a FA, you just whine about what you cannot control, so do everyone a favor and grow some patience or quit your job. And FYI, as the father of a 2 year-old, my son does not fully understand how long a flight will be, or why the temperature is different, or why he cannot run around (like kids do), or why his ears hurt on take-off and landing, so when he freaks out, all your silly suggestions don’t always work, but I still do what I can. So stop whining about kids on your flights and stop blaming the parents – who knows, maybe my son is pissed off at FAs like yourself. Lucky for us, we have had nice passengers sit next to use when this happens and they did not whine. In fact, they understood because they are parents too. So again, if you don’t like your job, instead of taking to the blogosphere to whine, go find another job, where you skills in impatience will be a better fit. I pay lots of money to fly and I expect that to include good customer service, not whiny cry babies like yourself. Alternatively, maybe you should limit your intake of sugar and take your favorite cartoon on your next flight?

  • JeffR

    Trust me, the last person who wants to be bringing a 6-month-old on an airplane is a person with a 6-month-old. Sometimes, it’s just unavoidable. And frankly, as a passenger, I’d rather be near a 6-month-old than a 6-year-old any day. They sleep, eat, poop, cry until they sleep, eat, or poop again (which isn’t usually long), and repeat. Now, a 6-year-old, on the other hand . . .

  • ToughestInternetGuyEver

    Big tough guy, huh? Give me your address, I’ll let you try and shut my kid’s mouth. Seriously. What’s your address?

  • Taffygrrl

    Boy, I can’t believe how many entitled commenters there are on here! I personally empathized with every single thing that Cary was saying up above. I’ve never worked on a plane, but I sure fly a lot, and it’s as much of a nightmare to travel next to these jerk passengers as it must be to have to serve them.

    I don’t care if you’re Silver Medallion, you can’t have my underseat space. Your “little boy” who just put his hand up my shirt? Yeah, he’s 13 and he wasn’t trying to snuggle up for a nap, he was trying to cop a feel. You didn’t bring a lovely box lunch with you? Well, don’t try to guilt me into giving you some of mine – your passive aggressive act as you ogle my croissants is annoying. I’m sitting three inches from you and I can SEE you as you’re picking your nose – and wiping it off on our shared armrest is just gross. Same with watching “golden showers” porn on your laptop – I can’t NOT see that out of the corner of my eye when you’re next to me! You want my window seat because you “feel better” if you look out a window? Next time, book one and don’t argue with me if I won’t give mine up!

  • MW

    And the fact that adults can act like this too validates the behavior of these annoying kids and parents? I think not. Anyone who acts in this manner, adult or child, man or woman, young or old, needs to do the same thing…shut the heck up on the plane… period.

  • Clivus

    There’s nothing worse than a flight attendant with a smarmy attitude like this. If restaurant waiters/waitresses talked/acted like this they would be out on their ears.

  • MW

    LOL @ “golden showers” porn

  • Nate Mercier

    I’ve seen my fair share of FA’s that may not be having the greatest day and after serving a bunch of self-centered “elites”…it’s difficult to hide it. I, for one, try to acknowledge that the gate agents, ticket agents, and/or FAs may be having a crappy day as well. Although you’re paying decent money to go on a work trip, act as if you’re going over to someone’s place for dinner. You’re not going to rip their head off if dinner is 5mins late or if your chair has a wobbly leg. Grow-up, act your age, and remember that although you might be an “elite” or in Zone 1….the world does NOT revolve around you.

  • Marnie

    Wow… and exactly how are you suppose to keep a 2 year old’s mouth shut? And if I don’t do it – you will!?!

  • Taffygrrl

    It’s hilarious in theory, but those images are burned in your brain once you see them.

  • Marnie

    Obviously, you don’t have children – a puzzle for a 2 year old? LOL

  • MW

    It’s a parent’s prerogative whether they’re OK with their kid screaming and behaving unruly on the plane. After all, it’s their kid. But it is also the bystander’s prerogative whether to express disdain for it as well. For every action, there is a reaction. Don’t be surprised…

  • dcsells

    Um, but you don’t pay a lot of money to go to someone’s place for dinner. Better analogy: what if you went to a four-star restaurant that charged $400 for a tasting menu? Is it okay to complain if the food is late and the chair is wobbly?
    Now multiply the cost by three to get to the $1,200 fare you just paid, and make the experience not voluntary, like a discretionary trip to a high-end restaurant, but more or less compulsory, because there’s no other way to get to your meeting on the other side of the country. I think under those circumstances a passenger has every right to demand that their high expectations be met.

  • Keepitmovin

    And guess what – parents are focused on their kids not your distain, so it’s wasted energy.

  • #NoKidsOnPlanes

    I pay money to fly too. I pay good money to get there safely, ideally have pleasant FAs, and to NOT have kids flying around me who think the plane is their jungle gym or play thing. If you as a parent can’t get them to sit down, shut up, and sit in their seat through carrots, sticks, or coercion of any kind, they shouldn’t be on the plane. My right to enjoy the service of the plane is just as important as theirs, but parents don’t seem to understand that. The whole kids will be kids things works in a park or your backyard, not the back of my seat.

  • MW

    if they’re not focused on the disdain, then why would they complain about it? Makes no sense…

  • Ashley

    Haha wow- I’m sorry if all of those things have happened to you on a plane, but I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise- people are ridiculous on flights. I totally agree with you about the entitled commenters. Most of the people who said that there should be a reciprocal post have probably never worked in customer service.

  • Matthew S

    Please stop reading your US weekly magazine, romance novel, sudoko, etc. and make another pass through the cabin. Most of us don’t want to be a-holes and ring the flight attendant call button, but nothing makes me angrier than watching you sit there for 2.5 hours straight.

  • A

    Agreed. Also, lol at the ‘no kids on planes’ hashtag

  • Jimmy

    All depends if they are Chicago based or Houston based, I always can tell the difference and luckily most of mine are Houston based since it’s my main hub of travel.

  • Pamela Newberry

    My biggest gripe as a passenger is when other passengers get up while the seat belt sign is on. That being said, I have been on 3 hour flights when the seat belt sign was never bothered to be turned off, despite no evidence of turbulence. What’s up with that? I always use the restroom before I board the aircraft, but after several hours of keeping hydrated I have even been guilty of ignoring the sign. And most of the time the flight attendants just ignore passengers doing this. How are we supposed to know whether or not we really need to have it on?

  • Nathalie

    This is ridiculous.
    Most airline F/A’s have a special gift to make you feel uncomfortable and almost at fault for even being on a flight. Perhaps is their low pay. Perhaps is because in today’s world not all pax are elite and sophisticated and they have to learn how to attend equally to all classes. Perhaps they should learn that a warm true smile puts passengers at ease. You get thrown a plastic tray in front of you with no eye contact or personal touch. I guess with low fares comes low quality of service and you get what you pay for.

  • Michael Hasan

    I worked in the travel service industry for about 6 years, and yes, there are ridiculous customers that we had to deal with. But unless they were being abusive, we always made sure to be polite and professional, even when they were not being so. Yes, a lot of fliers are demanding and rude, but I have been appalled at some of the behavior of flight attendants on recent trips. In fact, I’ve avoided flying United whenever possible to not have to witness their poor service. But when it’s all said and done, it’s the culture of the airline. United has screwed a lot of their employees, so they in turn don’t feel the need to provide good service. Southwest has a radically different culture, and you can see that their employees (even when dealing with tough situations) legitimately seem to like their jobs and their work. Bottom line (for both flyers and attendants) – just treat people how you would like to be treated.

  • CrazyFly


  • CrazyFly

    Kids fly free? Heard of Ear Muffs? Or cotton? Use ‘em next time you hear a child cry on the plane

  • Jimmy K

    Perhaps a reverse piece for those of us who purchased a ticket (and, apparently a box of chocolates) for the employees of the airline?

  • Annkath

    A plane is a PUBLIC form of transportation. Anyone purchasing a ticket can utilize this service (Including children,’GASP’). If you do not want to travel with children, may I suggest a private form of transportation.

  • jill

    I definitely agree with the catching more flies with honey. My child observed more rudeness in the first 5 minutes at the airport a few months ago and commented on it than in her 12 years. Then, we had a 6 hour layover that day and a transatlantic flight with children separated from parents that took all day and several workers to resolve. Um, no I’m not having my children sit next to potential weirdos. They were all kind to me because we were kind back and had a pretty significant issue. I also can’t fathom parents who let their monsters loose and expect others to entertain them.

  • Annkath

    Again, commercial airlines are exactly that, public transportation. That child has a seat just like you do…and it has also been paid for. May I suggest private transportation? Why so judgmental? We would ALL like adults and children to behave perfectly on a plane. Your ‘behavior’ in these comments is no better than two year old throwing a tantrum.

  • Corporate flight Attendant

    That is what they are trained to do. That is what they signed up to do. Knowledge on how to deal with different behaviors is the an important psychological piece of being a well trained aviator.
    Being a Flight Attendant is not only the glamour of saying you have been places, it’s pride ( long lost) of knowing you can provide comfort and excellent service to all pax. Pride It’s also wearing the company uniform of representation however, looking at the shabbiness of most of them, I would say we are well far for what this profession was meant to be.

  • MW

    And if parents don’t want anyone annoyed with them and their loud ass, screaming kids, may I suggest that they actually do something to shut them up.

  • MW

    If expressing my opinion like everyone else is considered the behavior of a two year old, then we’re all two year olds. Yes, its public transportation. But those unresponsive parents who allow their kids to act like vagabonds can consider private transportation too. No one wants to be your bad ass kids if you don’t have the ability to control them. Don’t punish everyone else for your lack of parenting skills…

  • kber

    Reminds me of the first time we flew with my 8 month old. The pressure hurt his ears and, despite the non-stop efforts of myself, my husband and a flight crew that deserved sainthood, nothing worked. At one point a very kind passenger looked over as I tried carrying him up and down the isle and said “Oh honey, I promise this bothers you so much more that it bothers us!” To which the gentleman sitting next to her muttered “speak for yourself” into his newspaper.
    I appreciated her kindness, but knew it was the other guy who was being more truthful.
    Ah well – my son is 17 years old now and knows how to behave himself much better.

  • MW

    … So people can’t control their kids and then want to get mad at you for not wanting to be around those loud crumb-snatchers when they are behaving in this manner. I’ve seen several kids that behave appropriately on the plane! Its not impossible! I’ve seen parents successfully quiet down their kids after telling them to do so! The parents that piss me off are the ones that don’t bother to do anything about their crying and/or unruly children and then expect other people to be OK with it. Its not OK. Anyone that tells you they enjoy hearing hours of crying is lying or has equally bad ass kids.

  • MB

    So just how do these 10 tips get me upgraded????????

  • Amy Truong

    I’m 4’10 and 90 lbs. I think I should be able to have help with my small wheeled carry-on. It fits the carry-on size restrictions and I don’t want to check in a bag when it’s that small. Is it too much to ask for a little help? What else are you guys going to do when we board? Smiling as we board isn’t always enough.

  • Nill

    If you’re gonna b—- at me for not hearing your announcements properly, make the more clearly. How many times do announcements over airplane speakers sound like the teacher from charlie brown…

  • MatthewD

    So you know your child will be unruly and out of control on the plane and yet you still subject the rest of the passengers to it??? Seems inconsiderate to me.

  • Tony

    I have to laugh at 90% of the post’s so far. Yes, the FA’s can be rude and hostile at times and yes it is a customer service profession.However, this is a two way street. now, I’m a nurse and let me tell how rude patients and families can be. I’m there to make you comfortable and prevent the doctors from killing, I’m not there to be your maid or room service attendant. It only takes that one patient or that one passenger to ruin a day.

    Granted there are FA’s and Nurses who are burnt out and should not be in their profession or current job, wouldn’t be nice for the airlines to recognize this and utilize the experience these FA’s have… I think for the most part the FA’s do a good job, and I’m sure the FA’s at UA are so frustrated with the lack of caring that management has for them and the passengers that the FA feel trapped and frustrated. It’s easy for people to say, “Hey if you hate your job, just quit, but remember that the FA’s at UA lost their pension and have started over again and for many they want to quit but can’t. Like many I get frustrated at some FA’s for what appears to be “I don’t care attitude.”

  • AngelaRGonzales

    The following list may well help you maintain some sanity by endearing yourself to your crew and thus ensuring that you receive some of that old world service that we all thought disappeared along with Pan Am

  • Shocked

    I was really surprised by this post coming from TPG. There were several off-color references that I just simply didn’t expect from this blog (i.e. We are not in India, screwed like an inmate in cell block d etc.)

    I can only assume these were attempts at humor, but they really come off wrong – not the kind of thing I would expect to see in this blog.

    Also – the tone of the article was just poor – very condescending and rude (which incidentally is the stereotype about flight attendants – so not really helping your case)

    More so – I subscribe to your blog because I want tips….I think this article could have actually offered some value had it been written in a mutually respectful way (I.e. Here is a tip to get a free drink, comply with xyz policy etc)

    This just came off as bashing travelers – who are the primary audience for your blog….so I can’t really say it was a great idea/content

  • cathn

    It could be like the old smoking/nonsmoking in restaurants – if you’ve got a kid, you’re in the kid section. I’d pay more for non-kid flight!

  • TheGirl FromIpanema

    Hence, I avoid us airlines..

  • TheGirl FromIpanema

    So you’re that guy trying to impress people with your silver elite card?

  • TheGirl FromIpanema

    It’s awfully easy to spill a soda all over them…

  • BenH

    What’s most appalling is that TPG thought that we would want to read this trite article. Remember, you cater to travelers, not those who get paid to provide customer service to them. The whole “flight attendant” (read: steward/stewardess) thing really went downhill post 9/11 when suddenly they were no longer there to make your flight more enjoyable but to act like rent-a-cops. Do they get treated poorly? Likely not any worse than any other customer service position but there-in is the problem is that most of them don’t believe their primary role in in customer service.

  • PHLF

    If your typical flight experience is Singapore Air, you just can’t relate to what the rest of us are complaining about.

  • reeder

    I’m also petite so I have sympathy but want to share another opinion on this. The truth is most US Flight attendants don’t get workers comp for injuries from bag lifting and a fellow passenger certainly doesn’t get compensation for the like. So a year or two ago I decided to aggressively cut down on luggage weight so I can lift it myself, even if I need to hop on the lower step built into some seats or onto the seat to do so safely. Yes, it is nice if someone offers to help lift a carry-on, but by choosing not to check it, you agree to carry it yourself. “Helping” can mean someone lifts it for you vs lending a hand and sharing the weight with a coordinated lift.

    It wasn’t the size of my carry-on which made it the most awkward to lift, it was the weight. Many non-US airlines have carry-on weight restrictions which help make passengers aware of what their carry-ons weigh. Do you know what your fully loaded bag weighs? Mine used to be over 22 lbs (8-10 lbs for a wheeled bag). That’s almost 25% of your total body weight! That’s more than a large sack of dog food, large sack of rice, or even a 9 month old baby and lifting it above your head and pushing it forwards. Or pulling and controlling the lift downwards so it doesn’t hit someone.

    But wait, what about those service friendly Asian airlines, you wonder? You mean the ones with flight attendants the same size as you and likely wearing heels? Yes, many will offer help with bags. But if your bag is heavier than what most domestic passengers will take (a reasonable sized personal item which can be carried as a hand bag or briefcase) then offer to share the lift. I’d feel bad if I injured others just because I wanted to bring more stuff.

  • shay peleg

    Please do

  • Arcanum

    A counterpoint article would be funny. Just make sure that you’re keeping cabin crew and gate staff separate. People are mixing them in their comments.

    My personal pet peeve – flight attendants who say they are “primarily here for your safety”. Yes, safety is an important part of your job, and in an emergency (God forbid) I hope my cabin crew knows what they’re doing, but your PRIMARY role is customer service. Don’t use safety as an excuse to justify subpar service.

    Like it or not, we live in a globalized society, and your foreign competitors have great service. Want me to fly your airline instead of some Middle Eastern carrier with outsourced crew from Thailand? Make me WANT to fly with you. People in every other field have been forced to compete internationally. Airlines are just late to that party.

  • shay peleg

    I think the delta flight attendants don’t have a union but not sure

  • shay peleg

    Delta takes care of their employees and you can notice it in their happiness

  • Arcanum

    LOL. Agreed. My sister calls flight attendants “sky waitresses”. She’s in the restaurant industry so she can say that.

  • Arcanum

    Rag and chloroform always works.

  • shay peleg

    Shena lol

  • CFA

    That is what they are trained to do. That is what they signed up to do. Knowledge on how to deal with different behaviors is the an important psychological piece of being a well trained aviator.
    Being a Flight Attendant is not only the glamour of saying you have been places, it’s pride ( long lost) of knowing you can provide comfort and excellent service to all pax. Pride It’s also wearing the company uniform of representation however, looking at the shabbiness of most of them, I would say we are well far for what this profession was meant to be.

  • Drifter123go

    The last time I checked, you’re paying to get from point A to point B. It just so happens that airlines offer the perks (if you pay for them) of booze and more plush seats. Just because you pay more for a ticket doesn’t entitle you to be unpleasant towards FAs or anyone for that matter (we won’t even go into how big spenders look down on coach/economy). Just because you’re the one who paid the bill doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to get upset at someone who may not be having a perfect day or isn’t the most pleasant person in the world. Remember, they deal with people like you all the time.

  • Diapers for Dumps Giveaway

    Box of chocolates gets busn class food to my econ seat…?
    Why can’t I just eat the box of chocolates….?

    Would $50 tin of caviar get me econ–>busn transfer….?

  • DMartin

    I decided awhile ago that treating the service employees in every segment of society as first-class citizens has been nothing but a benefit to my life experiences. Customer service is a hard way to make a living. I plan to stock up on chocolates before my next flight.

  • GFYS

    Sensitive Suzy! Go Away!

  • John

    How arrogant. These people are there to serve us (forget the crap about them being their for our safety – If there’s anything wrong with the plane they will be the first ones out). The arrogance of assuming we should have any desire to please them is just infuriating. When I fly outside the US most are friendly. Here, they are friendly only when you are in business class, and sometimes they are as*holes even then. I often fly business and seeing the difference is startling – people in coach are treated like cattle. We need to fire them all and start over. I think we should all film them with our iPhones and post it all to this blog. That might change things.

  • qstpss

    Ok, these are asks to human “to be human”. But generally people are different and it is a task of flight attendant to not being angry with anybody. And about kids… 99%?? Not every person is a good mom or dad. This is not the reason to go crazy but the reason to develop your skills and help unexperienced mom. Etc, etc…

  • Rusty Longwood

    - Don’t be a flight Nazi. Ok, we get it, you’re here for our safety and have all sorts of regulations to comply with. But you don’t have to be a Nazi about it. You and I know that cell phones don’t crash planes, so just lay off interrogating me if something’s off or not. No one ever got hurt because their coach seat was reclined 5 degrees during landing- maybe you could just let it slide and give that fellow 40 more minutes to snooze.
    - Don’t be a tour guide. Pilots, we appreciate all the care you put into flying. It may surprise some of you to know this, but you’re here to get us from point A to point B, not to give us a scenic tour of flyover states. We really are not elated that you’ve elected to turn on the PA, interrupt our movies or whatever else in order to give us a 5 minute description of the names of canyons and mountains we’re passing over. It’s great that you know we’re going over the Grand Canyon and such and such state, not so much that you interrupt us about it. Constant in-air updates about changing headwinds, ground temperatures and slight schedule adjustments of a few minutes are similarly not appreciated. If we’re going to be in the air an hour longer circling around our destination because of poor conditions, by all means, let us know. But everything else is just you doing your job, how about you just chat with your copilot about it?

  • playyourpart

    You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Haven’t you ever heard the phrase “Only a hillbilly sits around thinking about the best way to catch flies?”

  • gaius

    I wonder who’s the sensitive one?
    The op posted in a very logical manner expressing his or her own opinion. That’s all. You need not to agree and no need to tell people to go away.

  • inhindsight

    To me, the 3 cardinal rules for airlines passengers are:
    1. Don’t be rude. You don’t have to be friendly but be polite and respectful.
    2. Don’t be an entitled jerk. Buying a ticket doesn’t give one the right to treat other people like crap.
    3. Be considerate, rational, and open minded. Encountering one rude FA doesn’t mean the rest of the airline is out to get you.

    Consequentially the three cardinal rules for flight attendants should be:
    1. Don’t be rude. You don’t have to be friendly but be polite and respectful.
    2. Don’t be a power-abusive jerk. Just because you are a FA doesn’t give you the right to treat your passengers like cattles.
    3. Be considerate, rational, and open minded. Encountering one rude passenger doesn’t mean all passengers are out to get you and make your life miserable.

    See how this is a two way street?

  • Joe Flyer

    #1) Seems that all y’all flight attendants and crew WANTED that merger with ParkerAir. Now you’re not happy. Guess what: live with it. Most of us didn’t want it either. #2) Don’t take it out on the other pax when one nimrod is obnoxious. We recognize boorish behavior & don’t like it either. But piling on by the flight attendants only makes it worse. #3) some of us have had bad days, too. Deal with it.

  • Tired of bad FAs

    Agreed…Frankly if you primary responsibility as a FA is safety then why the h*ll are there different classes of service…

  • Northwoods traveler

    When you boil it down (removing the degree to which some of this is stated, like the idiotic 99% parents’ fault comment) this is all common sense. Treat your fellow man as you would like to be treated. The whiny, complaining, venting tone of this article is probably polarizing travelers and FAs. As a side note, I travel primarily on Delta out of MSP and I think the FAs are pretty fabulous for all they do.

  • V.i. Lenin

    I disagree. I think there is the same pattern abroad as it is in the US. We all are people and we don’t need servants. Nobody needs to be fired. No reason to be overly sensitive. Just follow the good advice and realize we all are just people and master and servant does not apply and you may be happier when flying.

  • taryn

    The article started out great, but the ageism (“old, surly flight attendants”) and misogyny (“hardened old bags”, “pilot she had an affair with in 1964 still hasn’t called her back”) caused me to stop reading. I presume the readers of this site are both genders and a wide variety of ages. Let’s not encourage prejudice.

  • taryn

    I agree, Shocked. Thatnks for letting me know that it’s not typical of TPG posts. I’m new here, I didn’t want to think that it was the norm.

  • taryn

    Annkath, there’s no need to exaggerate. I’m sure few would complain about a well-behaved kid who is properly monitored and controlled. But it’s not acceptable if a kid is screaming and running around, kicking the seats, or engaging in any other kind of unruly behavior. Prepare your kids for flying. Teach them how to be quiet and respectful and reward them for their good behavior. If your kid is feral and you have no control, then may I suggest that you use a private form of transportation?

  • taryn

    Ugh, what kind of loser would watch porn on a plane? Can’t wait for 4, 8, 12 hours???

  • Sean

    He sounds like a cry baby who expects to be coddled on the flight, is asking shamelessly for chocolate (why not beg at the gate prior to boarding with a begging bowl, and during disembarkment also at the gate). As for vegetarian which US airlines still serves food. And I no longer travel US carriers international due to rude, arrogant flight attendants like this who accuse you of air rage for asking for water or heaven forbid, coffee with cream. If he does not like being in the hospitality industry (yes,that’s what he is in, not, I am there for your security baloney) he should find another occupation. And if our grumpy fellow has doubts, he should fly a foreign carrier such as Emirates or Qatar or Singapore or Malaysia airlines to experience true and genuine service.

  • Sean

    You sound like a rather stupid girl, assuming yo are female from your name. What a stupid remark.

  • Sean

    Wrong. It is only after 9/11 and TSA rules that they have conveniently started chanting the mantra of we are there for your safety. While foreign airlines are still known for excellent service, it was only till early 1980s that US airlines had excellent service. And people like you don’t help propagate this myth that they are there just for safety. I do need water on a 2+ hour flight and I can’t bring food on a 8 h flight. So I avoid US airlines like the plague.

  • donnyh

    I’m paying for a service. These articles smack of the “How Much to TIP” articles. Chocolates–give me a break.

  • Cary A. Trey

    Rusty, let’s review. A) Nazi is a terrible choice of language. Comparing your cabin crew to the people who mercilessly slaughtered millions of Jews and others across Europe is just incredibly poor taste. B) Having your seat reclined on landing can very much result in someone getting hurt. Just ask the folks on OZ 214. Everything is fine until it’s not, and unfortunately, in aviation, when things go wrong they can do so in a very big way. Therefore, we have certain rules in place to minimize the risks to both you and us and ensure that everyone gets there in one piece. Also, having someone bring their seat up does indeed mean that they’ll probably be awake for landing, but more importantly, they’ll be alert. That’s important if and when anything goes wrong. And lastly, yes, I do absolutely agree that once we’re in the air, PA use needs to be at an absolute minimum and I brief with pilots about this every trip. (See, we really are on your side, I promise.)

  • Cary A. Trey

    Matthew, I couldn’t agree with you more. One of the first things I mention when I brief a crew is to be alert and attentive when on duty. I’m sorry that this has been your experience of late.

  • paleoforthemasses

    I’ve flown a lot in my life, and I can safely say that I’ve never encountered an absolutely horrid flight attendant. I guess you just have very bad luck, my friend.

  • paleoforthemasses

    I do agree with all your points, except the last one. You’re allowed to complain about your job. I’m sure even YOU have complained about your own job at some time or another.

  • paleoforthemasses

    Oddly enough, I sort of agree with you on this. There is so much “safety” stuff, it’s almost nauseating. Instead of telling me “Have a good trip!” almost ALL my co-workers and supervisors say “Have a safe trip,” it’s like — what’s that supposed to mean? Kind of annoying, in a way.

  • jtl

    How to be a better passenger. #1. stewards/stewardess leave your ego in the terminal. #2. If you had a bad day/night at home then wait until you return to take it out on someone. #3. Don’t be insulted because your cast is life is much less than the traveler’s. #4. Take a class in politeness or attend a Miss Manners session. #5. Remember, it’s not the passengers fault you did not like the person you saw in the mirror this morning.

  • jtl

    No, he’s the guy who is put off by a high graduate who is mad at the world because she has to serve food and drinks on a plane when she thinks she really should be someone important

  • jtl

    Dear Guest. You brief pilots; unless you’re the Captain I don’t think you brief anyone; as a matter of fact the pilots direct you and make the decisions. If someone is removed from a plane, contrary to popular belief, it is the Captain who makes that decision not the steward/stewardess. If someone has a problem with raising their seat, etc. why not just tell them it’s an FAA rule instead of trying to present yourself as ‘the’ authority. Belief you need to look up the definition of nazi used in the context which Rusty used it the term. And last please don’t continually make yourself look like an idiot, just serve our drinks and try to be nice.

  • jtl

    plaeofforthemasses complaining about your job is good as long as you have the intestinal fortitude to complain to someone who can remedy the situation, instead of looking like a fool for everyone to see.

  • jtl

    I’d say you’re exceptionally untruthful, as I”m been flying for over forty years and continually witness horrid flight attendants. As a matter of fact look at airline complaints and percentage of complaints about service personnel and disportional when compared to other airline services.

  • jtl

    MW, you’re an idiot (sorry, don’t any other way to say it). Kids have all sorts of issues when flying, from being restricted to on their way to see a specialist for some terrible disease.

  • jtl

    Hey Logical Luke. Here’s a grand idea, next you have to travel why don’t you drive or gone by surface vessel; being you’re comments are idiotic and doubt if anyone wants to interact with you.

  • jtl

    MW, if you have a problem with unruly kids then why don’t you follow your own advice? Most parents are embarrassed by unruly/ill kids and wish for nothing more than the child quiet down.

  • Guest

    So this flight crew is annoyed because people ask for water even though it is her job to serve water, and anything else a passenger wants. Then she shameless is asking for chocolates. is she a beggar standing around the block? or is this an open bribe solicitation? A lot of time the announcements are not clear and there is no in seat video to hear it clearly. She is annoyed because someone did not catch her menu announcement. Grow up lady, don’t complaint about doing your job. As for forgetting to order vegetarian meal, most of the time it is the airline that forgets to get it on board. So don’t assume it is the passenger. A few decent foreign airlines print the meal request on the boarding pass, so stupid crew like this can’t argue with the passenger. She can of course still be rude and a jerk. If you hate the job so much go find another occupation, but don’t act like a jerk and tell me how to behave. As a passenger who has paid, I am tired of your I am there for your safety lecture. Most US flight attendants are obese, 50+ and can hardly lift a bag, so it is hard to imagine how they will help in a true emergency.

  • Sean

    So this flight crew is annoyed because people ask for water even though
    it is her job to serve water, and anything else a passenger wants. Then he shamelessly is asking for chocolates. is he a beggar standing
    around the city block? or is this an open bribe solicitation? A lot of time
    the announcements are not clear and there is no in seat video to hear it
    clearly. He is annoyed because someone did not catch his menu
    announcement. Grow up lady, don’t complaint about doing your job. As
    for forgetting to order vegetarian meal, most of the time it is the
    airline that forgets to get it on board. So don’t assume it is the
    passenger. Most foreign airlines print the meal request on the
    boarding pass, so stupid crew like this can’t argue with the passenger. He can of course still be rude and a jerk. If you hate the job so
    much go find another occupation, but don’t act like a jerk and tell me
    how to behave. As a passenger who has paid, I am tired of your I am
    there for your safety lecture. Most US flight attendants are obese, 50+
    and can hardly lift a bag, so it is hard to imagine how they will help
    in a true emergency. Let me remind you that your primary job is no different than that of a waiter and so if you can’t fulfill that role, find another occupation.

  • Annabell

    Cary- I loved reading that. It was hilarious and we are so bringing chocolates on our next flight ( with four little ones). Thanks for the tips and laughs!

  • Mike


  • dale71

    what a DOUCHEY article. This isn’t professional in the slightest, and it smacks of just a cranky unhappy FA who doesn’t want to work anymore. this part screamed cold-hearted — “Honestly, I’m not interested in your grapefruit-sized kidney stones, your depression brought on by your puppy drowning” — just stop there. you don’t like people, and don’t like your job… go open up a mail order biz on ebay, because, well, like I need to explain why!

  • Hoolian

    HA! wow, I know exactly what kind of passenger you are, and you sir are the worst kind, the kind that makes me cringe because of your arrogance, but makes me cringe more so because you are so arrogant of your ignorance..ok… What about the FAA inspector in plain clothes that’s watching the flight attendants just “let that guy snooze with his seat reclined” (and btw, its only the last 10 mins or so of flight u need to bring ur seat back up asshat). He would be obligated to violate her/him for not correcting the seat recline etc.. with the cell phones. you wanna know why we prefer u to turn off ur cell phone? because assholes like you don’t turn them off during the safety announcements and you freak the fuck out whenever there’s an emergency, you panic and you cause the situation to be much worse than it is. That’s called negative attention (to the safety brief). The flight attendant is number one, mainly, and primarily there for safety reasons. I consider them the captain(s) of the cabin during times when my door is closed (cockpit door). They are only secondarily there for your comfort and that’s a biiiiiiiiiig #2 (haha). And fuckoff about the announcements from us, its not the goddamn 60′s anymore, we don’t make announcements about landmarks anymore, and before you say “you never fly in the back how do you know?” yes i fucking do, a lot more than you ever will, unfortunately. I don’t like sitting back there any more than u do. Per my operation manual (A must follow guide written by the company and approved by the faa) I must make 4 announcements, a welcome aboard, an in-range announcement, anything safety related, and any delays that affect our operation. Sorry if I fuck up ur life with a few 30 second announcements, get the fuck over it, i’m doing my job. I also make announcements whenever I turn the seatbelt sign off to announce the time remaining, but fuck me right? Also, every time the seatbelt sign is turned on or off there must be announcement made by either the flight attendants or the flight crew, its mandatory per the FAA. If all airlines were called Rusty Airlines then we would cater to ur exact needs unfortunately the world doesn’t revolve around you, Mr. Longwood so we need to make rules that encompass every one.

  • Hoolian

    A Very very condescending reply jtl… “just serve our drinks and try to be nice.” nice job. I am a captain and I very heavily rely on the input and discretion my flight attendants have, and I will not make a sound decision (when considering cabin safety incidents) until I hear what they have to say. Other than me, they are the absolute authority in the cabin. they are there only for your safety and very, very secondarily to your comforts. so If a flight attendant tells me they are not comfortable flying with a problem passenger, the passenger will not be on my airplane.

  • Hoolian

    NO! CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NOT A FLIGHT ATTENDANTS PRIMARY GOAL. their goal is always primarily safety and secondarily comfort.

    1.of chief importance; principal.

    1.coming after, less important than, or resulting from someone or something else that is primary.

    Comfort is a priority only when all safety related issues have been sufficiently satisfied.

  • jtl

    Hoolian, I was a pilot until I moved to management and now senior management and really have very little patience for those with an exaggerated self importance.

  • Arcanum

    Having more letters after my name than in it, I am well aware of the definition of “primary”. You and I simply disagree on what a flight attendant’s “principal” role is.

    I feel the pilots and maintenance personnel are the ones primarily responsible for ensuring my safety, while flights attendants play a very minor role in that. The principal role of the flight attendant, in my opinion, is to provide customer service onboard the aircraft. You may disagree, but that’s my opinion.

    In any event, announcing that flight attendants are “primarily here for your safety” serves no purpose other than to reinforce in the minds of the cabin crew the attitude that they are not there to provide customer service. From a marketing perspective, you want your customers to think the crew are there for your comfort even if they’re not. After all, very few people in the first world choose airlines based on safety rather than customer service since they’re all pretty good at the former but quite variable when it comes to the latter.

    As I said before, consumers have a choice in airlines these days. Why would I pick a domestic airline whose flight attendants have a very clear “I’m here for your safety!” attitude, when I could instead fly Cathay/Singapore/ANA/etc. where the FAs act as if their primary role is customer service (even if it’s not)? It’s all about customer perception.

  • sachin

    Hello i m sachin I have go Abu Dhabi to Mumbai can i bring chocolets pakets and some nuts packet with my hand hand bages in the fight

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