How NOT to be the worst passenger ever.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome onboard...ahem...welcome to my blog.
Today's post is an opportunity for me, a real life flight attendant, to give you the lowdown on how NOT to be the worst passenger ever.
But, safety first, before we begin I would like to remind you that this is a personal blog and all content is created for entertainment purposes. It in no way reflects the attitudes or opinions of my employer.
Now back to the good stuff. On average more than 8 million people travel by air per day. With all these travellers, you would assume that the average human would understand some basic airplane etiquette, right?
While I could go on endlessly about the do's and don'ts of air travel I will focus on a few key points.
1. What is a call light and how do I use it?
If you have ever set foot on an airplane you are probably familiar with a call light.
This is a call light. A call light is usually located directly above your seat or on your armrest. It is indicated by the presence of an illustrated man. Its purpose is to indicate to the flight attendants that you need immediate assistance. While there is no user manual that guides how and when to use this button, there is a general etiquette as to how you should use it.
If this is an emergency situation such as a medical emergency, a dangerous or aggressive passenger or smoke or fire in the cabin, ring that bell again and again until a flustered flight attendant magically appears.
This button is not a toy for your children.
When a flight attendant arrives to find little Bobby or Suzy furiously ‘dinging' the call light, you can bet that said flight attendant will plaster the fakest smile on his or her face and politely inform you that "when you press the call light like that, I think something is seriously wrong," or at the least, the arrival of your diet coke will take an inordinately long time.
Further, if it is mid-flight and you want another gin and tonic consider standing up and walking to the back galley before you reach for that button.
Remember, we are outnumbered, when we are inundated with requests you are less likely to get what you want if you make it harder for the person granting the request.
2. We can't all be Kimye.
As I mentioned earlier over 8 million people travel by air per day, and not every one of them can be Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. As arguably the world's most self-centred couple, I highly suggest you don't take a page out of their book.
For example, on my Boeing 767 aircraft, there are four flight attendants that are responsible for 258 economy cabin passengers. When we begin service we each pull out one cart. This magical cart has approximately 12 cans of coke, sprite or ginger ale. If you are the very first row I am serving and all three of you request a full can of coke, I only have nine cans remaining. If the trend continues, which it often does, because when one person sees a can the next one wants one too, I will have to delay service to send my colleague who is handing out food to retrieve more. Also, with the limited space we have, there is a good chance that by the time I get to passenger 200 we may not have any coke. So if you are being served first and you request the full can, it tells me that you think you are more important than the other 257 passengers onboard the aircraft.
This concept also applies if you ask me for seconds before I have finished my service. It is inconsiderate to come up behind me while I am still working my way through the cabin and demand a refill of your diet coke. This rudeness is compounded if you interrupt me while I am speaking to another passenger. In my eyes, no passenger is more important than another, and it is essential for you to treat each other with respect.
3. Who's the boss.
Speaking of respect...
The moment you step onboard my aircraft, you are playing by my rules.
The only person who I take orders from is the Captain. The cabin is my domain and I am responsible for ensuring it runs safely and smoothly. For this reason, it is important that you respect your flight attendants.
Respect our space. The galley is our office, I don't come into your office with no shoes on and start doing downward dog. I don't shove garbage in your face while you are eating. I don't go through your desk drawers because I "needed something." True Story.
For some reason, some people think it is open season in the galley. It is not. Mostly because this is our work space, but also because you can get hurt. A full beverage cart can weigh over 200 pounds, so no you can't just squeeze through while they are out. Not only do I not want you to get hurt, I don't feel like medical emergency at 38,000 feet.
Listen to our safety instructions.
NEWSFLASH: We do not enjoy being constant washroom monitors, it's our job. If you have ever hit an air pocket you would understand why I'm still telling you "the safest place is in your seat" no matter how many ways you ask the question.
Do not poke or grab us, we are humans and our body is ours alone. If I had a dollar for every time a stranger thought poking me in the love handles or butt was a good way to get my attention I could retire with quite the nest egg.
People often forget that the primary job of a flight attendant is airplane safety and security. We may serve food and drinks, but we are far from "sky waitresses." Flight attendants are highly skilled individuals who are trained to react at a moments notice to endless situations. We know how to fight many different fires, we are trained in first aid and CPR and recertify yearly. We have yearly tests on complex security procedures. In the wake of 9/11 air travel has become much safer, but this requires your flight attendants to be well trained and prepared.
It is important to remember that flying is a stressful time for a lot of people but by being a good passenger, you can make it easier for everyone. It's not uncommon for people to check their brain with their baggage, and even the most level-headed people can be frazzled on an airplane. Allow your flight attendants to focus on their job and don't impede them from completing their duties.
flight attendants are medical help, law enforcement, food and beverage service, and primarily, safety officers at 38,000 feet, and they do it all with a smile.
All heroes don't wear capes, but they just might wear a scarf.