Today’s blog post was inspired by a recent flight Christa and I took to our blog conference in Salt Lake City. Both of us are VERY nervous flyers and we try to keep our mind off the fact that we are flying in a metal tube thousands of feet off the ground. On this particular flight we were seated in the back row of the airplane and when the turbulence hit (one of the worst I have experienced) Christa grabbed the arm of the passenger next to her!!
The flight attendants on this flight were some of the nicest people I have flown with. I told them Christa and I were bloggers and that I would love to write a blog about the pros and cons of being a flight attendant. They were super nice and answered lots of questions (when you blog, everything becomes a possible blog topic).
Here is a summary of the interesting information I gathered from their stories and my questions. I will say 99% of what they said was very positive.
What do you love about your job?
They said most of the public is so nice! They love the flexibility they have (flying 3 days, off 4 days), you can take extra shifts, you can give away shifts. One flight attendant started her career after she moved far from her family. This profession provides a way for her to see her family more often than if she was not a flight attendant. They can buy buddy passes from airlines that fly to Europe for as low as $150.00!
Do you feel like you have job security?
They felt their particular airline was very loyal to their employees and because they have been flying for 15 plus years, they felt they had more job security. One flight attendant said that overall he feels pretty good about job security. The only thing he thinks could change this would be another terrible terrorist attack. They all admitted that for about 9 months after 9/11 the climate in plane was different. People were more stoic and were very kind, especially to the flight attendants.
In general, who are the friendliest flyers and who are…um…not so much?
People from the Midwest and the South (Texas) tend to be friendly. The worst passengers are the ones flying into Los Angelas.
What are your pet peeves, even if they seem petty?
People who are not polite. It takes two seconds to say please and thank you. People that board and are talking on their phones. People who won’t put their phones away when they are not supposed to be out. People who treat us like their slaves. Many flight attendants have college degrees and don’t appreciate being talked down to like they are second class citizens. One of their biggest pet peeves is that many people think it is the job of the flight attendant to put their bags in the overhead compartment. In fact, they try and do this as little as possible because of injuries. It is the customers responsibility to place their bags in the overhead compartment. Also, it seems silly, but people who insist on the can when they order a coke. They are trying to serve as many drinks at once and the can takes up extra space. They joked that it seems petty, but it just makes their job harder. They also said it was SUCH a PAIN when people request hot chocolate!
One of the flight attendants told of a woman who freaked out because their wasn’t room for her oversized carry on. They were going to check it and she freaked out. She started screaming at this particular flight attendant and made threats to him. He had her removed from the plane. It was the last flight out and she was basically going to be screwed royally because of her bad behavior. The flight attendant was so nice and conferred with the pilots. He got off the plane and told her she could get back on the plane if she apologized for her behavior to all of the passengers. The pilots said they would not have let her back on, but this flight attendant had so much compassion, even to a jerk.
Since I am writing this post and am semi-obsessed with all things related to travel and flying, I want to include some of my pet peeves. Many of these behaviors I have seen on the Facebook page called Passenger Shaming. This is where people upload pictures of rude behaviors displayed by the flying public. I will say that when I was talking to the flight attendants, I felt like teachers and flight attendants face many of the same problems (cell phones, rude people, people who won’t follow rules).
1. Do not use the flight to do your grooming- cutting finger nails, flossing…this is gross.
2. Please do not take your socks and shoes off and put them on the seat rests.
3. Do not make out and do “other stuff” with your significant other on an airplane. When I am in the same row, I feel like a peeping Tom in a show I don’t want to see.
4. If you are on a Southwest flight, get in line at the correct spot. Do not try to “pretend” that you don’t know you are a C and get in the A line.
5. Do not “ding” the call button a million times. Use it sparingly.
6. Please have patience for parents traveling with small children. We are MORTIFIED when our little one is crying/acting up. Please don’t make it worse for us. We are not purposely trying to ruin your flight.
7. Please be respectful to the flight attendants. They are human and are trying to make your flight as pleasant as possible. A smile, please and thank you can go a long way.
Finally, I want to conclude the post on a positive note. On the way back to Houston we were on a flight with the funniest, nicest flight attendant ever. He was HILARIOUS and made the flight so much fun. There was a lady celebrating her 90th birthday and she was flying with her daughter. He decided to have fun and take a collection so the birthday girl could have a very nice dinner when she arrived at her destination. Everyone got into the spirit of the event and the passengers (pilots included) donated over $300!!! It was so much fun!!!
Our question for you, what are both they good and bad that you have experienced flying? Also, seriously…where is that missing plane!!!!