Don’t ever dare refer to a flight attendant as merely a waiter/waitress of the sky, because not only will you be glared at with piercing, vulgar intent, but you’ll have angered important people who boast plenty of underrated, powerful authority. They are the first line of safety in an emergency, and the link between the pilot and the hundreds of passengers, so as much as they’re present to keep you comfortable and happy, you should be doing the same for them.
Unfortunately, we’re not perfect, and there are plenty of things that drive cabin crew up the wall. Let’s take a look at 10 of the nuances that really grind their gears.
10 LEAVING HEADPHONES IN
If you’ve dozed off listening to some old-school Britney, then flight attendants might forgive you. However, most of the time, people watching movies will hold out until AFTER the flight attendant has asked them what they want to eat or drink for the passenger to then remove their earbuds and utter something along the lines of, “huh, what, whatcha got?”
It’s not the act of watching movies that grinds cabin crew’s gears, it’s that passengers see them coming and yet still choose to wait until the last second to prepare. Make their lives a little easier and take out your headphones (or at least one ear!) a couple of rows before they get to you.
9 HANGING AROUND UNNECESSARILY
It’s hard to imagine why passengers would feel the desire to stay aboard any cramped, stuffy aircraft longer than absolutely necessary, however, some take their sweet time deplaning. This drives flight attendants absolutely bonkers. Why? Because cabin crew is only actually paid for the time the moment the plane’s doors are locked, until the moment they are unlocked, meaning that their paid diddly squat for boarding and deplaning.
Since it’s essentially mandatory volunteer work, it’s easy to understand why flight attendants want passengers to have their shoes on and their bags ready, so that process can be over and done with as quickly as possible.
8 HOGGING THE OVERHEAD BINS
Don’t be a hoggin’ Harry. A version of the same script is read aloud on every aircraft – “please place suitcases in the overhead and place smaller bags and items underneath the seat in front of you”. Yet, out of ignorance or lack of care, passengers still find a way to mess things up. Your floppy hat doesn’t need its overhead bin, and neither does your suit jacket.
The plane can’t leave until the doors are locked, and the doors can’t be locked until all the overheads are closed. Since cabin crew isn’t being paid for boarding, this means that the more you rearrange your bags, the more annoyed flight attendants become.
7 ASKING, ‘WHAT DO YOU HAVE?’ / ‘CAN YOU REPEAT THAT?’
If it’s literally your first-ever time on an airplane, that’s the only reason you can be forgiven for this one. The majority of plane journeys offer a basic beverages service – long-haul flights might include alcohol, while short flights stick to soft drinks, tea, and coffee. However, no matter which airline or which route you’re flying, it’s always the same deal: Coke, Ginger Ale, orange juice, water, tea, coffee, white wine, red wine, etc.
With countless combinations of drinks (when factoring in booze), by the time it would take flight attendants to name them all, the plane would have well and truly landed already.
6 GOING TO THE TOILET DURING LANDING OR BEFORE TAKEOFF
Receiving an email notification that your flight is delayed can be a kick in the guts and throw a spanner in the works for any potential vacation plans, so make sure to consider that next time before deciding to head to the loo while the plane is taxiing. The pilots aren’t allowed to take off until every passenger is in their seats – it’s a safety thing – and, unfortunately, the toilet seat doesn’t count.
This annoys flight attendants for two reasons: firstly, because you’re consciously overruling the seatbelt sign, and secondly, because it leads to flight delays, which is a downward spiral for passengers, crew, and airlines.
5 TOUCHING FLIGHT ATTENDANTS TO GET THEIR ATTENTION
If you were seated on a date at a fancy restaurant, would you poke your waiter or tug at their shirt to get their attention? No, of course you wouldn’t! For some reason, however, people assume that cabin crew is an exception to the no-touching rule. Not only is it extremely rude, but it’s also invasive and inappropriate, particularly if you nudge them on the backside to get them to retreat an aisle or two.
It should go without saying, but please folks, keep your hands to yourself while in the air and everyone will be much happier for it.
4 GOING BAREFOOT / PUTTING FEET ON WALLS OR OTHER PASSENGERS’ SEATS
By all means, throw your feet up on the couch at home when binging a Harry Potter marathon, but please, keep them firmly on the floor when 35,000 feet in the air. Taking shoes off and strutting around in funky socks is one thing, and for the most part, it’s not too upsetting. Going completely barefoot, however, is pretty darn gross. Please, folks, keep your smelly feet locked away at all teams.
What’s worse is that not only is it a bad idea for the people around you, but it’s also a terrible health hazard. Going barefoot to the lavatory? You’re probably stepping in pee. And when do you think the last time the plane’s floor was vacuumed?
3 GALLEY YOGA
Flight attendants know better than anyone the importance of constant blood flow and regular exercise, especially in the cramped, compressed-air space of an airborne yet. They have no issue with passengers stretching their legs a little and doing a couple of calf raises, but there’s a clear line that defines what’s acceptable.
Attempting the splits in the rear galley is a no-no, just like tandem acrobatics is equally as ridiculous as it is unsafe. Plus, the cabin is a shared space, so if you’re attempting to improve your Downward Dog or Child’s Pose in the aisles, other passengers will quickly get annoyed.
2 BRINGING YOUR OWN BOOZE
Not only is drinking your own alcohol on the plane infuriating for cabin crew, but it’s also very much illegal. Since alcohol has a much larger effect on the brain when flying way up in the sky, it’s important that flight attendants remain aware of how much each passenger has consumed, so that they can make sure that nobody is being overserved. So leave those mini bottles of spirits in your checked luggage and don’t take the risk of getting in trouble.
Oh, and the pilots actually have the authority to arrest you (there are almost always a pair of handcuffs onboard…)
1 INVADING EVERYONE ELSE’S SPACE
It’s no secret that planes are relatively confined spaces – unless you’ve got cash to splash on a first-class ticket, then, by all means, do whatever you like. For us regular hoards, however, we cherish every extra inch of legroom we can scour. Just because your legs are slightly longer or your elbows are slightly wider, it doesn’t give you the right to claim neutral (or someone else’s) space as your own.
Similarly, the galleys are shared areas, but are mostly for cabin crew to prepare meals, chill out and do whatever official plane things they need to do. So, if you’re feeling like you might practice a few handstands, in the same vein as the yoga point, wait till you’ve arrived and let everyone else have their space in the meantime.
BY EVAN ALEXANDER