Bite your tongue


Many poorly-chosen words are uttered by air travelers to flight attendants. And while we’ve become accustomed to hearing them, it’s never easy to be on the receiving end.

Like what?

How about when passengers come up to you and whisper, “I have a bad feeling about this flight,” as we’re boarding.

They haven’t seen anything or heard specific threats, but they have a “bad feeling.”

If you have a bad feeling about a flight, don’t spread your doubts to me. I can’t go to the captain with, “I think we better cancel because the lady in 21A has a bad feeling about the flight.” If I am superstitious, then I will be on edge the entire trip.

“You look tired,” is another one.

I never understood why anyone would say this. It is a no-win statement. If the flight attendant wasn’t tired, you have just made her feel it, and if she is truly tired you have now made her feel doubly so. Now, with the new contract rules, it is not uncommon for a typical work day to consist of 16 hours or 5 legs a day.

A passenger in economy was flirting with an elderly flight attendant, who was somewhat interested until the fatal line of “You must have been a knock-out.” Her smile promptly turned into a scowl and the possibility of a future date was gone.

The words “must have been” should stay well away from any pick-up line. Believe it or not, I have heard it said several times, and not once did it go over well. Incidentally, this also qualifies as the worst in-flight pick-up line next to remarks about the “mile-high club applications.”

Here’s another one. During boarding a frustrated passenger announces to the flight attendant, “I am never flying this airline again.” Now my question is, why would anybody say that, especially at the beginning of a flight? At that moment we are probably thinking, “Good riddance.” Plus, if you aren’t going to fly on our airline again, we don’t really care if you have a good flight or not, and will therefore probably not treat you so royally.

How about this one: Our airline threatens to go into bankruptcy protection and instead of common courtesy or concern for our careers, the passengers ask about the status of their frequent flier points should the airline go under. While I realize that it is a very good question, a little consideration for the future of airline employees would be appreciated. What’s even worse is that my friends and family usually ask this as well.

“Smile!” Sounds like a fairly harmless saying, but it is another of those no-win statements.

If the flight attendant is truly in a bad mood then she will be even more so upon hearing this. If she isn’t in a bad mood, you have just placed her in one.

I fly with an elderly lady who always looks like she is frowning, even when she is actually smiling. She got so fed up with people telling her to smile that she now tells them that her husband died yesterday. It makes the person who said it feel incredibly guilty and simultaneously teaches them a lesson.

And how about his one: “When is the baby due?” Three, two, one, kaboom! “I’m not pregnant!” Oops. Now, with the absence of the weight policy, this happens more than you think.

“I wouldn’t want your job for anything!” At that point, probably neither do we.

And finally, there are the remarks about the food. “These in-flight meals are horrible!”

Whether it is the quality or quantity, I have no say in the matter. The only aspect of the meal I am responsible for is the temperature of the entree. If it’s too cold or burnt, then it’s my fault. Funny thing is now that many of the flights are non-catered, the same people who complained before, are now complaining of hunger.

Be careful of what you wish for, it might just come true. What’s worse than being forced to eat airplane food? Having to pay extra for it.