When I tell people that I’m a Flight Attendant, many responses include some version of, “Oh, how fun, I always wanted to do that!” And while we do get some nice perks, this life is no fairy tale. Sorry to burst your bubble – there is very little glamour involved. In fact, many of my days consist of breathing in and out very slowly in an effort to smile through the slew of responses trying to fight their way out of my body.
I want to preface all of this by saying I really am a nice person – I try to give everybody a little extra grace and the benefit of the doubt, but if you’ve ever traveled by plane, you know that people are…honestly, how can I put this? They’re out of their element. Because unless they’re frequent flyers, they (understandably) have no idea what is going on. The behavior that results makes for a long list of pet peeves held by the people serving you your Diet Coke. So why not fill you all in on a few of them? These aren’t big or complex things, but if you do them…just know we’ll be talking about you in the back galley later.
First things first. Please leave your shoes on. I know people want to be comfortable on planes, but this is a public space, y’all. It is one thing to slip your non-stinky, sock covered feet out while you’re in your seat for a little while. I get it. But you would be amazed at the amount of bare feet I see walk into the bathroom, and I just want everyone to know that the liquid on the floor in there is not water. I’ll leave it at that.
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Next up is headphones. They make any form of human interaction so much harder – and that’s the premise of our entire job. A couple examples: when you get on, we’ll probably say hi, so look up, and say hi back! We are actual humans just trying to be nice and welcome you on. Secondly, we don’t make PA’s because they’re fun. We make them because whatever it is, you need to hear it so just try to leave your music at a level that you might still catch it. Lastly, folks, this one are big. If you see us pushing the cart to the front of the plane, you know what’s happening. Keep an eye out for when we’re getting close to your row. You can even use this time to look over the menu that should be in your seatback pocket and decide what drink you’d like, because when we get to you, that’s what we’ll be asking. Taking your headphones out when we make eye contact will prevent this interaction:
“Would you like something to drink?”
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“Huh? Sorry-” * clambers to take headphones out*
“…What would you like to drink?” *painful smile*
This may not sound like a big deal, but I’d say this happens with half of the passengers on a flight. And if I do three flights on a 737, I go through this about 100 times in one day. Pause your movie and let’s have a chat about how you take your coffee!
Last but certainly not least, please don’t tap, touch, or poke your Flight Attendant. We’re all in close quarters, but unless you’re unable to speak, speaking should be the main method of getting our attention. “Excuse me,” “Miss?” or even “Ma’am?” is all acceptable. But poking my butt cheek or tapping my arm (especially with your garbage you want me to throw away) is not cool.
Plus, we can hear you since we don’t have headphones in.
I’m Taylor – a 23 year old Flight Attendant living in Chicago (when I can). I’m an Enneagram 7, so my hobbies range from cross stitching & cutting hair. Mainly though, I’m serving drinks to your loved ones in the sky. On a day off you can find me in a coffee shop, thrifting, or unsuccessfully online dating. Or you can just follow me around on instagram @taylorrhughess.