Things your flight attendant won’t tell you


Readers Digest published a story about “50 secrets your pilot won’t tell you.” Now the flight attendants have their turn. Here are some insights from the same magazine letting passengers know what flight attendants have to say about them and some lessons.

Here is the link to the full Readers Digest article.

“Do not poke or grab me. I mean it. No one likes to be poked, but it’s even worse on the plane because you’re sitting down and we’re not, so it’s usually in a very personal area. You would never grab a waitress if you wanted ketchup or a fork, would you?”
“Yes, passengers are incredibly rude, but stealing a beer, cursing out passengers, and jumping out of a plane the way Steven Slater did is not the way to handle it. You disarm an unruly passenger by introducing yourself, asking his name, and saying something like ‘I’ve been incredibly nice to you for three hours. Why are you treating me like this?’

Generally that gets the other passengers on your side—and sometimes they’ll even applaud.”
“We don’t have a boyfriend in every city. And our median age these days is 44.”
“Do you really have to go to the bathroom right now, while we’re wrestling a 250-pound food cart down the aisle? You can’t wait 90 seconds for us to pass?”
“Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the airplane besides you. So don’t clip your toenails, snore with wild abandon, or do any type of personal business under a blanket!”
“I don’t care if you want to be in the mile-high club, keep your clothes on. Who decided the mile-high club was something that everyone wants to do anyway? It’s cramped and dirty in those bathrooms.”

Ten more comments from flight attendants.

  • CT

    While I have the greatest possible sympathy for flight attendants who are treated like the lowliest unskilled service workers by rude, arrogant passengers, some of these “tips” portray FAs as failing to understand the passengers’ point of view. I agree that no one should be clipping their nails or applying nail polish during a flight, but it makes no sense to hold a person responsible for snoring. Passengers will sleep on flights (e.g. red eyes and long hauls) and many snore. This is not conscious behavior and cannot be controlled. (I wish it could, as my DH snores like a chainsaw.) Likewise, it takes much more than 90 seconds for a food, drink, or digEplayer cart to make it all the way througth coach. On a single-aisle aircraft, if you’re sitting near the front of coach, the wait for the head can seem like an eternity, especially if you’re short like me and sitting in a window seat. I can barely see back down the aisle by half-standing and craning my neck, and have to get two row mates to put their tray tables up and get out of the way if I need the bathroom in flight. I seldom do, but again, passengers can’t help it if they have small bladders, enlarged prostates, urinary incontinenance, are pregnant, have UTIs, etc. (Well, maybe they could avoid some of these conditions but I doubt anyone is going to make a life-altering choice like deciding whether to have a child based on whether they may need to fly over the next 9 months.) Clearly, what is needed is the willingness to treat each other like fellow human beings instead of stereotyping based on zero data concerning each individual’s challenges in life. Is that too much to ask?

  • Frank

    Be mindful of others. Dont put your rollaboard in first class or the first row of coach and WALTZ back to the back of the plane to sit. Now, where are those passenger’s supposed to put their bags? I’ll tell you. In the BACK OF THE PLANE where you’re sitting. Now they have to wait for the entire flight to deplane and get their bags.

    Dont ring us when we just served you five minutes ago and we’re a few rows away, wanting a refill. You got your drink. I’m serving people who havent gotten their FIRST DRINK yet.

  • Frank

    While I have the greatest possible sympathy for flight attendants who are treated like the lowliest unskilled service workers by rude, arrogant passengers, some of these “tips” portray FAs as failing to understand the passengers’ point of view.

    I, personally dont want your sympathy. We know what we’re trained to do, inflight. Anyone who has that unskilled service worker attitude only wants to boost they’re own ego because apparently they’re ignorant.
    That said, apparently, some passengers think I’m responsible for weather, they’re lack of legroom, the noisy baby in their row, the lack of meal boarded….the list goes on and on and on, but, wait, it includes, SNORING. Yes. People will complain. I feel sorry for the person, they’re exhausted, who gets enough sleep these days?
    Lavatory?????…..You had the opportunity to use the restrooms in the boarding area, if you showed up on-time and didnt have a tight connection. That said, you had ample opportunity during boarding to use the lavatories prior to departure. That said, flight times can be challenging for cabin crew to perform a beverage service. That’s three flight attendants serving some 125 passengers in 40 minutes. It’s difficult……now add in a few passengers who bong down that process. Hence, the timing is bad on such a short flight.
    I worked several flights this week. I swear, people have lost decorum onboard. This was during the middle of the day. On two flights, someone was farting that it smelled up the entire back of the plane. ROTTEN EGG SMELL. I carry room spray in my bag and had to spray up and down the aisle. Several passengers commented, thank you!!!
    WHAT??????…………You cant use the lavatory for that purpose????

  • CT

    Again, I would ask you to differentiate between conscious self-entitled behavior like putting carryons up front when you’re seated in the back, and natural biological functions. As you surely know, abdominal gasses expand when passengers’ bodies go from sea level to the equivalent of 8,000′. For people with a variety of digestive disorders, flatus results. It is no more rational to blame people for this than for FAs to take the blame for passengers’ snoring or farting.

    Having imperfect human bodies can be a real drag, but this condition is not going to change anytime soon. Sounds like maybe you need a break from a job that involves dealing with other people, Frank.

  • Janet

    Let’s be “Frank” about this. I understand the stress of being a flight attendant and have several friends who have done this for decades. Flying is more stressful for passengers and crew. We both get corralled thru TSA and then put in smaller seats with less comfort and more stress. Yes, people can be rude, but frankly so can some of the flight attendants. It’s just human nature to react to the stress. And stress can affect the digestive tract, too. So if you have digestive distress, you are in a conundrum. If you get up during the service, you are disrupting the crew. If you don’t (or can’t due to a seat belt sign or lav blocked by a cart) you are between a rock and a hard place. I always give the crew the benefit of any doubt and have no problem intimidating passengers into behaving properly. Can’t we all just try and get along. Passengers are NOT the enemy, we are all trying to do our jobs (business travelers) or get where we are going (leisure). All this anger is misdirected and people need to chill out a bit. Don’t go into every day anticipating getting annoyed, try to see the bright side of a situation. And please, don’t take it out on me.