09 September 2008

From Flight Attendants to the Flying Public: We're Sorry

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checkin' In!!!
I received this in an email from a flight attendant I know. I found it on airliners.net and also on DISboards.com, both of which attributed it to "author unknown." I also found it at http://cabincrewblog.com/ too and I added some of my comments in red below. (When you have some time on your hands, you might want to follow those links and read the comments left by members of those boards.) I have a feeling that this message will 'go viral' and will start showing up on cabin crew message boards any minute! Meanwhile, I'm awarding the unknown author a Gold Star for really complete coverage of the issues -- but if you have any items to add, you are welcome to post them in the comments section below this article. Maybe flight attendants should print this and hand it out to passengers, or maybe paste it on the underside of tray tables -- you know, so it will be visible when the tray table is in its full upright and locked position!

Most of the things on this list you can beat so you do not have to run into these items as a problem. Be proactive...(read my blog for additional tips) and enjoy your trip with few surprises!!!

We're sorry we have no pillows.
By an inflatable one that you clean because the pillows on a plane are not as clean as you think!
We're sorry we're out of blankets.
Put a single sheet in your luggage if you need some type of cover while flying, again you cleaned it and you know where it's been!
We're sorry the airplane is too cold.
Learn where to sit on the planes you fly on...it's not always about getting the aisle. Emergency exits on narrow body aircraft are by a door at the wing and it's going to get a little drafty in this area. Dress for travel or bring a light weight jacket or sweater that you can pack easily. The front of most planes is a little warmer because that's the shortest distance the ducting has to travel and the outside air temp is -20f at cruise altitudes! Plus you less likely to get airsick if the plane is cold!
We're sorry the airplane is too hot.
Planes run hot because there is alot of body hit inside this metal tube, flying in the hot sun and high humidity. Dress for travel, get comfortable (within reason) drink fluids (you can bring on kid juices like Capri Sun "frozen" and as it warms up you have a drink that is OK for the short term for you and or your kids.
We're sorry the overhead bins are full.
If your fellow travelers would slim down their bags to one of a smaller carry-on this would be a little easier. Board on time and don't be late especially first flight of the morning. Your bags should be within 2-3 rows of where your sitting. Use a half size roll aboard instead of a full size. Remember it's coming to the point that they (airlines) will start charging for your carry-on bags and then this society will go back to a form of 1970's style of airline travel. Coats and hats and baby care bags is your going to see before too long.
We're sorry we have no closet space for your oversized bag.
Most carriers removed the bigger closets from their aircraft to open up some of the leg room or add seats to the capacity.
We're sorry that’s not the seat you wanted.
You didn't save your seat when you initially purchased your ticket. Late getting to the gate due to your fault or the fault of connecting flights. Always choose a back up favorite seat because if you thought of it someone else did to!!!
We're sorry there’s a restless toddler/overweight/offensive smelling passenger seated next to you.
Kids/toddlers....what can you do? Parents bring your kids things to keep them busy like small toys, DVDs, coloring books, electronic toys IE. game boys. The parents that don't know they have kids and are traveling with them are the worst. They didn't know the kids were going on vacation with them when they left the house. (Right *wink*)
Overweight is a touchy area and don't think the crew has any power to change this situation...remember Americans are fatter than most adults around the world. I just say be courteous and let that on roll off your back. You can also talk to the agents to see if it is possible to change your seat or flight (extreme case) but be nice about it and respectful to the other persons feeling and you may get what you want.
Offensive smelling passengers is tough too by culture, region and even the temperature outside and inside the plane. We are all different and sweat differently. Try using or carrying a small bottle of essential oil that is mint flavored and put a small dab under your nose it's pleasing to the nose and it last for a long time making it easier for you to not smell bad odors.
We're sorry the plane is full and there are no other seats available.
Planes are going to be full but what did you do to not get caught up? Check the flight seats availability when you made your reservation, saved your seat, checked-in on-time! Inquire how full the plane is before getting to the gate, giving up your seat for compensation and choice of flights and seats. Traveling with some flexibility in your travel plans...I know this is not always possible. Barter, wheel and deal with the agents and pay attention to conversations in the boarding area and sit near the agents boarding podium, you will be surprised what you hear which could be valuable later.
We're sorry you didn't get your upgrade.
People are getting more savvy as frequent fliers so get your butt in gear and work your frequent flier benefits.
We're sorry that guy makes you uncomfortable because he “looks like a terrorist”.
Be conscious of your surroundings and the people around you! Don't be a stupid American remember America is a country of many different cultures and just because of the current world problems everyone that you cannot understand their language, religion, dress or attire does not make them terrorist!!! Remember Oklahoma City was terrorized by an American so don't assume anything and don't turn a blind eye either. Just keep your eyes open and if your uncomfortable let a crew member know what's up and let them handle it from there.
We're sorry there’s a thunderstorm and we can't take off.
Most people barely watch the weather on their evening news so don't think you all of a sudden are a weather person and can remedy the delays of airlines because the weather looks good where you are at that point and time. Weather for the airlines is based on departure city, en route and destination city actual weather and forecast. If your traveling across country pilots have to figure out what the weather will be doing 4-5 hours later, right around your scheduled arrival time. Storms along your route of flight can slow things down too. Turbulence reports and in flight weather diversions all come into play here...if you want a good breakdown let me know I show you!!! Don't assume the airline is holding you hostage or something because the weather is sunny where you are there are many different factors to take into consideration.
We're sorry we don't know when it will stop.
Airline agents are not weather people, they more than likely see the same weather you do on The Weather Channel or CNN. They don't read minds or have inside info on when things are going to change. Just have something to do and wait it out. Winter time travelers should expect long delays every time they fly it's going to happen going in and out of bad weather cities. Summertime is the same when it comes to extremely hot temperatures, thunderstorms and turbulence. Look at the weather where you are leaving from and going to at the least so you can expect delays. Remember the airlines only obligation is to carry you from point A to point B and it doesn't say how! It's on your tickets or boarding envelope read it and know your rights!
We're sorry you're crammed into a space so small that if you were an animal PETA would protest.
You chose to fly and the airplanes have not changed in years! If this is uncomfortable to you fly on a private jet or charter a flight. You cannot complain about something your barely paying for! Remember this is not a hotel or fine dining restaurant....what do you expect for moving through the air at 550 MPH. The airlines give you some comfort and something to pass the time away don't go in expecting 5 star dining and accommodations you will get your feelings severely hurt!!!
We're sorry our plane has no music or video entertainment for your 3 hour flight.
Almost everyone own a CD/DVD player, MP3, Ipod or laptop that can play music these days even the PDA type cell phones play music. Bring your music or movies you like for you and your kids. Think ahead and you won't even notice the airline didn't have them and It's FREE!
We're sorry we ran out of your favorite soda.
Do I really need to explain this one???
We're sorry there are no more sandwiches.
BYO!!! BYO!!! BYO!!! Bring Your Own!!! Why would you leave it up to the airlines to feed you? If you wait for the airline to feed you and you get left out you get what you deserve! Bring what you want that could be more healthy, what you want, freshness and little room for error!
We're sorry that Budweiser costs $6.
Why are you drinking Budweiser on a plane anyway? If your going to drink on a flight drink something that will be worth 6$, Bud is not a 6$ beer and there isn't that much partying to do while flying!!!
We're sorry we don't have diapers for your baby.
The flight crew and or the airline did not have a baby you did!!! Your the parent and you knew the baby was traveling when you woke up that morning so act like it! Airline crew members don't want to hold your child nor are they allowed. Don't ask them to change your child and be respectful on the flight when you do a diaper change. Diaper changes happen in the bathroom not on the seat in the middle of the plane! Having a child is not a pass card to acting stupid!!!
We're sorry we don't have milk for same baby.
See my previous statement regarding baby care!!! (Your the parent and you knew the baby was traveling when you woke up that morning so act like it!)
We're sorry you can't hang out by the cockpit door waiting to use the bathroom.
Turbulence can happen anytime and nothing near the bathroom is soft so please follow the rules!
We're sorry you can't hang out at the back of the airplane.
Same as above!
We're sorry you have to sit down and fasten your seatbelt.
A decompression can suck a 200lb man right out of his seat through the passenger window in 2 seconds... Despite what you saw on Myth Busters it can happen!!!
We're sorry you have to put your seat up for landing.
If an evacuation becomes necessary the people behind you cannot get out quickly....Common sense!!!
We're sorry we don't know when we're going to land.
Well just think most airliners can't fly for ever so don't board a flight if delays are going to be a problem for you.
We're sorry we don't know whether your plane to (substitute any city in the world) will be waiting for you when we land.
Plan on it not being there for you and alot of the decision of letting it go is usually based on the fact that the down line delays are going to be amplified! The crew doesn't have a computer on board that has connecting flight info but they do receive some info from the ground.
We're sorry we've been diverted because we ran out of gas waiting to land.
Most flight have such big reserve fuel requirements that when they are en route and incur delays and have to divert the flight is approaching the reserve limits. Pilots don't like to divert because of all the things they have to do because of the unplanned stop. If you as the passenger are thinking ahead and assuming you won't get there (your destination) on time or same day you won't be surprised when changes happen!!!

We're sorry for these and so many other things that we have absolutely no control over but which we are held accountable for EVERY SINGLE DAY. Please understand. Flight attendants are not the enemy. We share your space. More than anyone - we want to have a nice, pleasant travel experience.There is a reason behind everything we ask you to do. It may be a FAA directive. It may be security related. It may be a company procedure.We don't just make stuff up. We don't spend 8 weeks at the flight academy learning how to pour a Coke. There are many things that flight attendants are watching for constantly on every flight FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s not because we're bored or so controlling that we just enjoy telling people what to do. I, for one, would like to have one flight where I didn't have to repeatedly tell people to put their seats up for landing. Seriously. Can't you just do what we ask sometimes? Without the glares, eye rolling and disdain? For the record - putting your seat up for landing may not seem that important to your personal safety. However, it is very important for the person sitting BEHIND YOU. If you have ever tried to get out of a row where someone has their seat back you know it can be a challenge. Try grabbing your ankles (emergency brace position) or getting out of that row quickly with smoke in the cabin. Understand a little better now? Many of the things we ask passengers to comply with are FAA directives. Like carry-on bag stowage and exit row requirements. And like when we can serve drinks (in the air) and when we can't (after the aircraft door is closed or on an active taxiway). We are only allowed to move about the cabin during taxi out for safety related duties. We can't get you blankets, or hang coats, or get you drinks. It’s not because we don't want to. It’s because we are held personally responsible if we fail to comply with FAA directives. Meaning that the FAA can fine us personally up to $10,000 if we fail to comply with or enforce an FAA Directive. Like no bags at the bulkhead. No children in the exit row. No one moving around the cabin during taxi. Perhaps now you know why flight attendants get a little testy when people move about the cabin when they're not supposed to. It’s not the company that gets in trouble for that. It’s us. Personally, I wish the airlines would show worst case scenario safety videos. Like what happens if you walk through the cabin during turbulence. There could be a guy who has just fallen and smacked his face on the metal armrest and now has a bloody, gushing broken nose. Or an elderly lady who now has a broken arm because someone walking to the bathroom fell on her.Maybe a passenger with a broken neck because somebody opened an overhead bin during turbulence and a suitcase fell out and onto the person sitting beneath it. These things can easily happen in a fast moving, unstable air environment. Please just trust that we are looking out for your best interest and stop fighting with us about everything we ask you to do. It is exhausting.Finally, please, please direct your hostility and frustrations in the direction where they will be most effective: The customer service department. They are the ones equipped to handle your complaint and implement procedures for CHANGE. Think about it. Complaining to the flight crew about all your negative travel experiences is about the same as complaining to the office janitor because your computer isn't working. It may make you feel better to vent about it - but it really won't fix anything. More than anybody we are already aware of the lack of amenities, food, service and comfort on the aircraft. Please share your concerns with the people in the cubicles at corporate who need that information to make better decisions for the flying public.It’s frustrating that so many people are in denial about what the travel industry is about now. The glory days of pillows, blankets, magazines and a hot meal for everyone are long gone. Our job is to get you from point A to point B safely and at the cheapest possible cost to you and the company. So be prepared. If you are hungry - get a sandwich before you get on the plane.If it’s a 3 hour flight, anticipate that you may get hungry and bring some snacks. If you are cold natured - bring a wrap. Think for yourself and think ahead. Otherwise, don't complain when you have to pay $3 for a cookie and are left with a crusty blanket to keep you warm. We hear often that the service just isn't what it used to be. Well, the SERVICE we get to provide now isn't what it used to be. When I was hired, my job was to serve drinks, meals, ensure that safety requirements were met and tend to in-flight medical issues. Since 9/11 my primary job is to ensure that my airplane will not be compromised by a terrorist. 9/11 may be a distant memory now to many, but be assured that EVERY DAY a flight attendant reports to work he or she is constantly thinking about 9/11. We feel a personal responsibility to ensure that something like that never happens again. We can never relax. We can never not be suspicious about someone’s intentions.It is difficult to be vigilant and gregarious at the same time. Especially when most of us are working 12 hour days after layovers that only allow 5-6 hours of sleep. Not because we were out partying and having a grand time on the layover - but because the delays that you experience as a passenger also affect us as a crew, so that what was a 10 hour layover is now 8 hours which doesn't leave a lot of time to recover from what has become an increasingly stressful occupation. Despite everything, I still enjoy being a flight attendant. I am writing this letter because I do still care about my profession and about the public perception of flight attendants. In the increasingly challenging travel world it is becoming more imperative than ever for people to just be decent to each other. I can go through an entire day without one person saying anything remotely civil. I will stand at the aircraft door and say hello to everyone who enters and maybe 50% will even look at me and even less will say hello back. I will try to serve someone a meal who can't be bothered to take their headsets off long enough for me to ask them what they want. Most of the time the only conversation a passenger has with me is when they are complaining. Is it any wonder why flight attendants have shut down a bit? After suffering the disdain of hundreds of passengers a day it’s difficult sometimes to even smile, much less interact. We are human. We appreciate the same respect and courtesy that passengers do. The next time you fly, try treating the flight attendants the way you would like to be treated. You may be surprised how friendly your flight crew is when they are treated like people.

No comments: