User Post – Three Reasons to be Nice to Your Flight Attendant!

Submitted by: Elise May

Twenty years ago, I was a brand new flight attendant. I was so excited to see the world and use all the knowledge I had gained from my six weeks of training. One thing that was continuously stressed during training was customer service. No matter what, we were to smile and make sure the passengers had a great flight. You can’t imagine my surprise when I hit the skies and learned how things worked in the “real world.”

“I’ll be happy to check that for you.” Those were the words I heard come from my co-worker’s mouth as a first-class passenger yelled at her. The passenger could not find space for his carry-on bag over his seat, and he refused to go back even one row to stow it. He made a huge fuss in the aisle and ended up throwing his bag at us and requesting we do something with it. As I stood there shocked, my fellow crew member smiled sweetly and picked up the bag. I was very impressed with her calm demeanor as she politely told the gentleman that she would check his bag, and it would be waiting for him upon arrival. Later, I told her how impressed I was that she didn’t lose her temper. She then told me that she had checked the bag to Boston. We were headed to Los Angeles!

Back in the days of onboard meals, we never failed to run out of one of the choices. Of course, it usually happened when I got to the nicest passenger, and I felt terrible that he or she didn’t get a choice of fabulous airline cuisine. After flying for a while, I learned that meals can be a way to deal with a less than pleasant passenger. I often saw flight attendants offer everyone a choice and then tell a high-maintenance customer that we were out of choices (even when we weren’t). Somehow, this person’s meal usually turned out well-done, so not only did they lose their meal option, it didn’t taste very good either.

Yelling at a flight attendant while trying to make yourself seem important is never a good idea. One passenger stood in the aisle complaining about his seat assignment. He had been given a middle seat, and he wanted an aisle seat. Unfortunately, the plane was full, so there wasn’t another seat available. The flight attendant tried to calm the man and asked him to take his seat several times. The final straw was when the man asked, “Don’t you know who I am?”

The flight attendant turned, walked to the front of the plane, and picked up the phone. Over the PA, she inquired, “Does anyone know the man standing in the aisle? Apparently, he has forgotten his name because he asked me if I knew who he was.” The plane erupted in laughter, and the passenger finally took his seat.

Flight attendants are typically “people pleasers,” but we do have our limits. For some reason, passengers often feel they can be rude, inappropriate, and downright mean to crew members. While there are not a lot of resources available at 30,000 feet, flight attendants are a smart group and have found small ways to deal with unruly folks. Bottom line: Always be nice to your flight attendant, and he or she will treat you like gold!

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