Flight attendants have a wealth of knowledge about the ins and outs of air travel, and now they're sharing that knowledge with the world. These tips will not only make your trip smoother, you'll probably make an ally in the sky while you're at it!
"When you arrive at your destination, don't hang around on the plane. Once the door is opened, the crew is no longer getting paid, but they aren't allowed to leave if there are people still on. The flight attendants may have very little time between flights and they often have to clean and cater the aircraft, leaving little time to use the restroom or grab lunch."
"I was cabin crew for five years - long haul only - and whilst we've all passed the exams and tests and have a refresher every year, you never really know how anyone will react in any kind of emergency. Firemen and police are tested on a weekly basis, but in the five years I was crew, there was nothing I personally experienced that put any of the proper training into use, and while I'd like to think I'd not freeze or fall to pieces, you just never know.
So definitely pay a bit of attention for the three minutes of the safety demo and figure out where the nearest exit and its alternative are because you never know, you might end up having to help yourself."
"If you piss off the cabin crew, they will fart on you. The pressure on aircraft makes you naturally gassy and it's easy to puff one off in the face of an annoying git while bending down to speak to someone on the opposite side of the aisle.
Yes, on transoceanic flights there is a cabin for crew to get some sleep. No, you won't be invited in for fun times. On some newer planes, there's also a hold for people who have died on the flight. No, you won't be invited in for fun times either.
If a meal service is on offer, go for the kosher option, so you know it was prepared that day."
"Former flight attendant here.
Keep your shoes on. Keep. Your. Shoes. On.
The floor is so filthy, it's ridiculous. And that isn't water you are feeling.
Also, if you ask to be upgraded to a better seat in economy, we will have you pay.
However, if you just sit down and act inconspicuous, we won't notice or care."
"Here are a few of the random things that come to mind:
-In the highly unlikely event of an emergency that will require the opening of emergency exit doors by someone other than a flight attendant...When you turn that handle in the direction of the arrow, let go of the door and hold onto something inside the plane. The door should open automatically and if you're holding on to the door, you will go out with it.
-We don't have a clue what city we are currently flying over.
-If you get up when the seatbelt sign is on, a flight attendant will ask you to return to your seat not because they are seatbelt nazis, but because we get fined by the FAA if we don't. And you really should pay attention to that sign. It's on because turbulence has been reported in the area. I've seen people fly up and hit the ceiling in bad turbulence. It's not pretty.
-Don't. Poke. Flight attendants. Ever. We don't like it at all. Usually because what happens to be at poking level is a butt. And I've met very few people who like being finger stabbed in the butt by a complete stranger.
-We like food. We are known to play favorites with people who bring us snacks."
"The water used to make coffee or hot tea on board the aircraft is safe to drink and very clean, however...it is not flushed out of the aircraft daily. There are times when you could very well find yourself drinking coffee made with water that has been sitting in a water tank on your aircraft for two or more days. Summer months are really bad since aircraft are used so often and with so little time at the gate to be serviced, crews don't often have time to do it."
"One thing people definitely should know is that a surprising amount of the delays that happen are due to passengers. Yep, passengers. That one guy who throws a fit because he can't take four ounces of liquid through TSA and decided the gate agent was a great target to take out their wrath on caused your delay. So did that family that decided it was a great idea to bring three strollers and two car seats for their single child. That sweet old grandma who insists she doesn't need help getting onto the plane, but can't walk faster than one step every minute? Gotta wait for her. And that last delay you had that the agent told you was due to maintenance? Was thanks to some guy trying to hijack the smoke alarm in the plane.
There are lots of delays for other reasons (weather being a big one. And don't even say that there's no weather where you are. There isn't, but that doesn't mean there's not weather somewhere else!), but you'd be amazed at how many are caused by the people around you while you're trying to board the plane. This is also part of why gate agents are so strict about cutting off loading times.
Airline employees love to help when they can, but there are times when we kind of wish we could turn to the nearest wall and whack our heads against it a few times just to improve the situation."
"I dated a flight attendant for a while. Sometimes delays are caused by flight attendants not showing up and the airline scrambling to get a backup scheduled. Like a flight attendant was partying too hard last night and decided to call off two hours before that $1500 cross ocean flight you just popped on.
She loved to party, as did a lot of her coworkers, and were often hungover or 'out of it' on flights. Even though pay was s---, their union made it very hard to get fired so call-offs were kind of no big deal."
"Any child under 2 is a lap child. Any child over 2 is a child who requires a seat. While it's actually incredibly dangerous to have a baby/toddler in your lap rather than in a car seat, you can do it as long as they meet the age requirements.
So all of those news articles you read about the AWFUL flight attendants kicking mothers off of flights because her sweet little 4 year old wanted to sit in her lap? They are following FAA regulations, and frankly, those mothers are careless.
Speaking of news articles, most of the s--- you read is sensationalized and isn't the whole story. Most people should read articles with a grain of salt rather than bombard that particular airline's Twitter with stupid, angry hashtags.
Also you're super gross if you let your kid walk around barefoot. I see it ALL the time....and into the BATHROOM?! Ugh.
I don't know about your connecting flight because I'm in the air with you. I don't have a specific route that I fly, it changes monthly.
If you ask me where gate B12 is, I'm going to look at a sign and point you in the direction that the sign is telling me. I don't have every airport memorized, sorry.
It's pretty typical to work with different people every trip we have. We can bid to work with friends, but if we don't we will probably work with new people.
We fly for cheap, but we fly standby. So we get the leftover seats that the airline wasn't able to sell, or the seats of people who missed their connections/flight etc.
DON'T say, 'bomb' on an airplane. Don't even joke about it. I feel like I shouldn't need to say this, but I had a lady jokingly say that she had a bomb in her carry on, which is why it wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. DON'T. SAY. BOMB.
Don't cuss at me. Don't fly wasted (or at least don't APPEAR wasted) because I have to kick you off.
I don't actually think that having your phone off of airplane mode will do anything...so I don't really care about that as long as you're discreet. However, you'll lose signal and kill your battery as soon as we level off."
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"To start a large jet engine, you need a lot of compressed air. When you're about to leave the gate and the air conditioning quits, it's because all the air from the APU (small engine used to give power/hydraulics/pneumatics on the ground) is being used to start an engine. Don't reach up to see if the nozzle magically closed all of a sudden."
"We can't strike without congressional approval. That isn't ever going to happen, leading to a stall in our quality of life.
It is perfectly legal to only give flight attendants eight hours between getting off the plane to getting back on it.
We travel for free domestically on all airlines.
A lot of female FA's do end up dating pilots.
Most pilots are so used to being in control that they don't listen to anyone else. That causes safety issues, and is the biggest risk in aviation today in my opinion.
Flight attendants that leave the US to go to Emirates, Qatar, or Etihad have a curfew when they're home.
Planes are disgusting. Don't. Touch. Anything.
They lied to you about the extra precautions during the Ebola outbreak.
Everyone is hiring big time. Delta is seen as most desirable due to work conditions. If you go to United you will have an 'on-call' schedule for the first ten years of your career, minimum.
The city you're based in changes the whole culture at work. You can tell how a coworker is going to behave just on where they are based.
I work at what is considered the worst airline (Spirit) and we have the youngest flight attendants, best health insurance, easiest standby odds, and most fun. Whodathunk. Also, if your plane goes down in the ocean you better hope the impact kills you. Even if you make it on a raft, you'll never be found."
"If you're holding your baby on your lap during an emergency landing or crash, the chances of you keeping your grip is extremely low. You may not hit the seat in front of you, but you're almost assuredly either going to crush your child or not have the strength to keep it from flying into the air."
"Don't ask me if I'm sober, or imply that you think I'm drunk, unless you legitimately think I'm intoxicated. If a passenger accuses a crew member of this and we later have an accident, my sobriety will forever be questioned. To avoid this dilemma, if someone jokingly questions my sobriety, I will willingly remove myself from the flight and proceed immediately to a company administered drug test. You can explain to all your fellow passengers how funny it was when you asked, because your flight is now delayed."
"Former FA here. There's a lot most people don't know. Not sure what to say specifically but I'll give it a go:
We're there for safety and everything else is secondary to that (and by safety, I mean following FAA regulations, a lot of which we know seem absurd but we don't make them, we just enforce them. You are making no one's life better by arguing with us about them).
When I tell you to sit down and buckle up, sit the f--- down and buckle up. Turbulence can strike out of nowhere. If you're being a d---, I don't care if you hurt yourself, but you can go flying and hit someone else and that's why I care about getting your a-- in that seat (had this happen, a guy fell on a girl who was in her seat and broke her arm).
Our job does have some cool perks, but we also work our a--es off so please take pity on us. Everything you hate about traveling is everything we have to deal with on a daily basis.
Personally, I think the best thing you can give us is reading material. Magazines are great because it's rare that we have time to sit down and read a book more than a paragraph at a time, but anything is appreciated.
If we're in the galley with the curtain closed, it's probably because we're sitting in our jumpseat or on one of the canisters scarfing down food or rubbing our sore feet, and you make it really awkward for us if you stick your head back there and see us doing it.
The reality of it is It's a job, we're professionals (most of us at least) and we're doing our best despite circumstances that are literally always beyond our control, so be nice."
"People worry far too much about the prospect of losing an engine in flight. There's very little a 737 or an A320 (for example) can't do on one engine that it can do on two, albeit a bit slower. Aircrafts will happily make approaches, landings and go-arounds with one engine kaputt.
Nice way to think about it - you haven't got two engines, you've got one and a spare."
"Flight attendant for a European airline for the past six years here.
Lots of passengers panic when the flight is delayed for technical reasons or when they see the maintenance guys board the aircraft. There's really no need to be! That just means that we're aware of a problem and won't budge until it has been resolved. Much better to be aware of a problem on ground than at 36,000 feet! The pilots do thorough pre-flight checks to make sure that everything is ok, and the engineers check the aircraft at the end of the day. Flying is safer now than it ever has been, no need to worry!
Yes, smoking really is an issue on board, please please don't do it. We're all trained in firefighting but it's still extremely dangerous to do so on board. Vaping on the other hand is completely harmless but forbidden anyway, purely because it may entice other passengers to light up real cigarettes. The only real problem with e-cigs are the lithium batteries.
Many passengers see us as glorified waitresses and waiters, and to be honest we are for 70% of the trip. But we are also highly trained professionals who are able to deal with any situation on board.
There are a--holes on almost every flight for sure, but they are outnumbered massively by nice people. A simple smile and politeness will get you a long way with most crew!"
"Just because the weather is fine where you are and your uncle Billy in New York says the weather is fine there, that doesn't mean we're lying to you when we say the flight is delayed because of the weather. Airports/air traffic control facilities can only handle so many arrivals per hour. If the weather goes to crap for two hours and nothing can land, it creates a backlog of planes waiting to go to that airport. When things ease up, the FAA might start allowing planes to take off for that airport again, but obviously if they let them all take off at once it's going to cause some problems when they all arrive at the destination airport at the same time...So the weather may have cleared up to a beautiful, sunny day, but your flight can still be late because the airport hasn't 'recovered' enough yet where they can handle all the inbound flights. Sort of like a big traffic light, if you will.
But I know, our fancy airline meteorology departments are no match for your iPhone, buddy!"