19 September 2009

7 Ways to Annoy a Flight Attendant

An anonymous flight attendant has worked for a well-known commercial airline for 12 years. She dishes on what irritates her most in passenger behavior. I also added my input which are in Italics.

Read, learn and enjoy!!!

1. Bring your pet on the plane and then act like an animal.

Over the years, I've seen a pet on a passenger's lap, a pet tucked into a seat back pocket, (yes there are rules regarding putting anything in the seat back pocket in front of you) and a pet loose in the aisle (I nearly hit one with my beverage cart). All of this is against federal regulations. People tell me how well-behaved their pet is, but they can't follow the rules themselves! Your pet must stay in its carrier while you're on the plane. Yes, even if you've paid a "pet-in-cabin" fee.

Although many people love animals they are not children...whether you have kids or not and they don't get the same privileges as people traveling with children. Your dog is just that, “a dog” and in an airplane cabin your pet although may be cute it should stay in it's kennel and feeding it food from the in-flight meal is not cute or tolerated. Please have some kind of home training and remember not everyone in an aircraft’s cabin is like minded when it comes to our furry friends!

Remember too that if you feel the need to act stupid on an airplane or give a crew member a hard time, that's the fastest wat to get complimentry accomodations at the nearst city government hotel! (Jail) Interfering with a flight attendants duties or hindering them from keeping other passengers safe and free from injury is an easy way to get fined and or put in jail and the airline will not care if you don't fly them ever again because they don't want you on their airplane anyway! Be cool, control your alcohol intake and know when to say when and enjoy yourself not annoy others with loud comments of happiness or displeasure because it just creates more tension in a really confined area!

2. Shove your bag into the first bin you see and then walk to your seat in the back of the plane.

You think you're clever, I know. You expect to grab your bag on your way out of the plane, but you're selfishly inconveniencing others. I can't lie and say we flight attendants don't take some small satisfaction when we tell you, "We couldn't identify the bag's owner, so we sent it to cargo." It's a security issue, for real. Carry-ons need to stay near their owners! So don't look so shocked when we say, "The signs will direct you to baggage claim. You can pick up your bag there."

Don't get shocked if when you exit the airplane after landing that your bag is not there. If we cannot identify a bag before departure then it will get put off and at the very least put in the baggage compartment. It may not seem like much to you but security is very serious and crew members don't care how you feel when it comes to safety and security in today's flying world! We don't do it to piss you off and we don't get up in the morning trying to figure out who we are going to inconvenience that day. The airplane is not your private jet so remember you will have to share the space and your bags belong in overhead bins closer to you for safety and extreme circumstances! 

3. Think that because you're on an airplane you're off-duty as a parent.

Stop expecting us to have spare diapers, formula, medicine, toys, playing cards, or batteries for DVD players or Game Boys. It's an airplane, not a 7-11. Take your kid to the restroom before you board. Leave the dry cereal and Lego's at home and bring snacks and toys for your kids that won't make a horrible mess.

Ok, you knew you had a kid traveling with you when you began your trip and if your so trusting that you will turn your child over to someone you don't know then you shouldn't be a parent. Not to say all crew members don't like children but in America people like to sue for the darnedest things and the airline corporately doesn't take to kindly to a soft hearted crew member who was willing to hold a child for a moment and then drops the child or something bad happens. The crew member won't be protected by the airlines corporate legal team and that crew member can't afford to play in the legal system because of a kind heart. Also if your child is sick whether you know it or not that crew member cannot afford to be sick after holding your child. We are already susceptible much more so than you the traveler to getting sick so don't put us in a compromising situation. 

4. Drag on an oversize bag that's too heavy for you to lift by yourself.

I won't be compensated for any injuries I might sustain if I heft your bag into the overhead compartment for you. (And other passengers shouldn't have to step up and take the risk either.) The guideline is simple: You pack it, you stack it. Try this at home as a test (and this is to you ladies, especially): After you've packed your bag, put on the shoes you plan to wear on the plane and see if you can lift your bag and place it on top of your refrigerator. You can't? Pay the fee and check the bag.

If you can't lift it what makes you think the flight attendant is going to do it? Especially if they have to do it for many passengers over the course of several flights throughout the day? Our backs won't be feeling all the great that's for sure. Learn to pack and if you can't lift it easily then suck it up and check it or pack lighter. You can always send it via FedEx and UPS if your not traveling on business and you going to be there for a bit. It may seem a little more expensive upfront but it will be cheaper in the long run if the airline happens to misplace or lose your bag! Lol So think a head on what your taking and how to pack. There are many tricks to packing for multiple days efficiently and you have the perfect teachers on the aircraft....your flight attendants and pilots are very good at this and you might just learn a few tricks!!! talk to them and see! 

5. Gripe that you haven't been seated in a roomy exit-row seat.

The exit rows weren't created as a reward for people who are tall, overweight, or just plain nice. They were designed to help passengers get out of the plane in an emergency. The people seated in an exit row must be able to see and speak clearly, open the emergency door, and help others. I prefer to see uniformed military, firefighters, law-enforcement officers, or off-duty pilots and flight attendants sitting in those seats. While the gate agent may assign exit-row seats first, the flight attendant makes the final determination about who gets to sit in them. And the quality of our choices is one of the frequent concerns of Federal Aviation Administration officials when they audit airlines for safety practices. So please don't complain. I'm just doing my job.

Exit row seating may be roomy but it comes with responsibility and you better be ready to step up if the need arises in an emergency situation! “If you want to play, you've gots to pay!” So if you want to sit in the roomy seats it's best that your not traveling with a family member or someone you care about because sitting in the that seat your considered an “ABA” or Able Bodied Assistant” and it's usually reserved for service people like firefighters, police officers, military personnel and crew members in or out of uniform. The gate agents are suppose to ask you if your willing to except the responsibilities if the need arises before assigning you the seats.

6. Act like you don't know the meaning of the words "under the seat in front of you."

Someday I will be muttering "under the seat in front of you" in the old-age home for flight attendants. What is it that you don't understand? To be clear, items should not be stowed behind your calves, under your feet like a footstool, in the open seat next to you, or in your lap. It's under the seat in front of you. And it applies to everything you carry on board. Items stored carelessly can trip others, or dislodge during takeoff and get lost, or inconvenience others. And while I'm on the topic: Please don't wrap your purse (or umbrella strap) around your ankle to keep from forgetting it. What will happen in an emergency, when every second counts and there's no time to disentangle yourself from your precious bag? Will you drag it ball-and-chain-style down the aisle of a burning plane?

It's simple, your feet and a small bag that will not let you sit as comfortably as you would like is the definition and the size of a bag “in front of you!” Laptops, purses or baby bags is about all you the room your going to have without hearing too much from the flight crew about bag space. Remember because you put that bag in front of you and you in a middle seat or on the aisle you are potentially impeding someone who sits by the window from exiting the aisle quickly in an emergency situation. Again it's not all about you so remember that when you travel...less is more and safer in the long run.

7. Whine about the high price of flying.

When I hear people complain about coach airfares, I know they're not keeping up with the news. Fares have rarely been cheaper. In recent years, it's not uncommon for you to be able to cross the continent for under $130 each way, with a maximum of one layover. It's a bargain! At that price, you're barely paying for the fuel to get your body there—never mind the cost of shipping your 50 pounds of gear. You're already on the gravy plane. People point to first class ticket holders and want to know why they don't get the same treatment. Wake up folks: You're getting a great deal. If you want even more, pay more!

This is my favorite line to hear from passengers because no matter how bad you hate the service or how displeased you are with a flight, airline or employee of a particular airline you more than likely will end up on that carrier in the future. Some cities have airlines that dominate their cities and you practically have no choice of carriers to choose from. So your forced to ride them to get out of your city or drive to next nearest city with airline service to get you where your going. You pay a premium because you went to a different city bigger or smaller. So the best way to make sure you have an enjoyable flying experience is to be proactive and plan for the worst things to happen ie. Delays, cancellations, diversions and weather issues! If you need ideas and suggestions look on the net or hit me up and I will be more than happy to give you some insight on how to make the best of any unplanned situation when flying.

The smartest and best fliers are the ones who know how to schedule their flights around weather for the type of year, city of departure and arrival, packing skills, plans for arriving in an unplanned city with limited or no access to food and lodging and of course aircraft type which always can make a difference in how comfortable your travel experience will be.

Good luck and remember to “Be Proactive and Not Reactive” and you will be able to enjoy whatever your flying adventure may be!!!