Cabin crew, close doors and cross-check! Flying is an exciting time for most, and for others, it is a daunting experience. Nevertheless, there is no need to worry, the flight attendants are there to help you with anything you need. Once the doors are closed, we are locked in a metal tube with 100+ strangers and there is no turning back, but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Some things seem unimportant to passengers’ eyes that to a flight attendant's may mean the difference between a good flight and a bad one. Check out these 10 secrets about air travel secrets only flight attendants know and next time you fly, keep a close eye out for them and see how many you spot!
10 Waiter, waiter!
Flight attendants absolutely despise the moment they are treated like a waiter. Yeah, they might be so-called ‘glorified waitresses’, but there is so much more to a flight attendant than meets the eye. Their training regime is quite intense and rigorous, with one attendant claiming that if you score 90% or less on the written exam, you will be packing your bags.
During the 5-week, 10 hours per day training, not only are student attendants learning how to serve and greet passengers, they are also taught about the mechanics of an aircraft. So, next time you’re in a café, ask the waiter or waitress if they know aeromechanics!
9 Pay up!
Contrary to most beliefs, flight attendants are not on the highest salary in the world, by any means. At one stage, one attendant reported that she was paid $38,000 USD, which is barely enough to live for one person, let alone if there is a family to provide for.
This figure, according to her, was one of the highest paid by airlines in the US. It is only natural that flight attendants serving international routes are paid higher, but it is not as much as we think. They do, however, receive some quite handy travel perks. Did anyone say first class for 10% of the ticket price!? Yes please.
8 Not judging…
As passengers, we may not notice this, but as we are lining up to board the plane and indeed once we enter the aircraft, flight attendants have already begun to suss everyone out based on their choice of clothing.
Sure, sweatpants and a hoodie is more comfortable, but if you are looking to receive good service, or even a possible upgrade, it wouldn’t hurt your chances to spice it up a little. Throw on some chinos and a decent shirt, be presentable and have good manners, acknowledge the crew at any possible moment from boarding the aircraft to disembarking, and you’ll be more than okay!
7 Not so healthy meals
As you get comfortable in seat 28A and prepare yourself for meal time, just think to yourself…is what you're about to eat good for your body? The answer will most likely be no. Even if you are served a healthy-looking salad or sandwich, it will, at the core, have no nutritional value due to the amount of salt, fat, and sugar found inside.
It is a little-known secret that in training, flight attendants are made aware that airline food has no nutritional benefits. Once every few months won’t be a problem, it is more the frequent flyers who might need to rethink their food situation whilst in transit.
6 Can I help you?
Of course, flight attendants are there to assist you with anything you need to make your flight more enjoyable, we have all heard them say it over the loud-speaker. But it is the passengers who constantly press the help button that tickle the nerves of the attendants.
Some even expect assistance immediately after take-off or landing and treat the button like it’s a private jet, according to one attendant. They forget that there are many other people on the plane for them to attend.
5 Coffee? No, thanks
When the person serving says they wouldn’t drink it, you probably shouldn’t either. While you may think a dose of coffee is what you need to make it through the last hour of the flight, think again. There are so many chemicals in the water they use in the coffee that it is doing more harm than good.
It is not just the preservatives and other chemicals found, but the fact that the water tanks of the plane aren’t cleaned as often as they should be. So, the bottom line is if you stick to anything that comes from a can or bottle, go ahead.
4 Politeness doesn’t get an upgrade
…but it certainly helps! Flight attendants welcome and appreciate passenger generosity and kindness, but warn that it will simply not get you that desired upgrade.
Of course, it varies from attendant to attendant, but the general consensus is if there is someone who is a loyalty member with a significant amount of points, or a frequent traveler, then they will be up to the front before you. Not saying being a nice person WON’T get an upgrade, but it is highly unlikely.
3 Keep your socks on
As much as we don’t want to think about it, we are humans. As humans, we must rid of all toxins in our bodies. I’ll stop there, you get the jist. Flight attendants across the world are telling passengers to keep their shoes and socks on as the planes, which look clean on first glance, are not as clean as we think.
It is not just the discarded toxins, nose bleeds, air-sickness…a whole bunch of things which, quite frankly, need not be spoken of. The planes are cleaned on the ground, but in the air, attendants do not have access to the cleaning equipment they do on the ground.
2 4 AM wake-up
From the outside, the life of a flight attendant seems glamorous; getting paid to travel and spending the night in a new city. For some international attendants, this may be the case, however it is the domestic and short-haul attendants who bare the brunt of early morning wake-ups, time away from home – from family and long stop-overs.
In fact, one attendant said that there was a period of time where her work life consisted of flying from Los Angeles to Hawaii at midnight, 3 hours rest and back to Los Angeles….fun.
1 Playing doctor
While flight attendants are fully qualified and trained in their own right, they aren’t doctors. In saying this, they do their absolute best to maintain the general health and wellbeing of all passengers on board. They do this by, as per one attendant, assessing the age and signs and symptoms of any possible spreadable disease, and you would be surprised by the amount of people they identify.
What happens if they do ‘catch’ someone? Well, there is one of two options. The first, if the condition is highly spreadable flight attendants have the right to reject the passenger from the flight, but no one wants to do this. The second option is to isolate the passenger, which is only a viable decision if there is space on the plane. Do not worry, though, they are doing all they can do prevent an outbreak on board!