Reports of the recent Korean airlines ‘nut rage’ incident had us all shaking our heads. I mean, really, could the simple act of serving macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate cause a senior executive to unravel that badly? Apparently it can.
I spoke to a few of my current and former flight attendant friends and they confirmed that these meltdowns happen more frequently than we think. The cabin crew deals with some pretty nutty stuff. .
So I asked them how we can make the crews’ lives a little easier; especially during the busiest travel week of the year. After all, don’t they need to feel some warm and fuzzy Christmas cheer too?
This is their candid advice on how not to drive them nuts this Christmas.
1. Check your bags, not your brains, at the counter.
Gently translated, that means read the signs and listen to instructions. It’s not rocket science. They are giving life-saving advice that might just come in handy. So they’re asking us to stop zoning out during their announcements; as in, texting or talking or going to sleep before take-off. Also, if a sign says, “no bags” here, heed it. It is there for good reason. Like leaving the area in front of the emergency exit clear, perhaps?
And try not to squabble over the overhead bins. The seat number is put on the bin to make it easy for us to read and identify our seats quickly. It doesn’t give our bags an iron-clad reservation for that space. Promptly put your bag in any available bin and keep things moving.
2. If the airline says one carry-on only, it means ONE carry-on. (Especially during peak travel season)
Crew members want us to remember that other passengers have luggage too, and all travelers want their bags to get to their destination. We need to quit acting like our packages, and our carry-on items are the only ones that matter. Airplanes have a weight limit that makes it impractical for everyone to take everything he/she wants onboard. Send the oversize gifts via sled with Santa, or ship direct.
3. There’s a call button, and a light button. Figure out the difference…quickly.
It’s not like flight attendants don’t have enough to do on a flight. They do. That is why they have asked me to remind you that they don’t need to waste valuable time coming to your assistance if you don’t need it. Another passenger may have a legitimate request. Therefore please don’t push the emergency call button when you want the reading light. Thank you.
4. Your ticket doesn’t come with daycare services included.
I am sure you will agree that nothing is worse than sitting near to bored or uncomfortable children whose parents appear oblivious to their fidgeting, or screaming, or seat-kicking antics. Kids can’t help their short attention spans so parents, please take toys, gadgets, snacks, magazines or books to keep your bundles of joy engaged during flights. When you ignore them acting out, other travelers look to the flight crew for solutions. But here’s the key thing we’re all missing: babysitting duties are not in their contracts. No, not even in the fine-print.
5. If you have a weak bladder they sympathize, but ask that you plan your bathroom breaks properly.
How many times have you seen a passenger get up to go to the bathroom and end up in a mini standoff with an attendant pushing a trolley? If that person has been you, they recommend that you schedule a bathroom break before you board, another one before or after the in-fight service, and a final one 20 minutes before landing.
The latter goes for those of you with kids as well. Take them even if they say they don’t need to go just to be sure. When the pilot turns on the Fasten Your Seatbelt sign he is not just doing that for his health. No movement on an active taxi way means just that – no movement. It is a safety hazard. Failure to comply with the rules endangers you and others.
6. Get to the airport early and be prepared for delays. Like duh… it’s the holidays!
As frustrating as long lines and delays can be, that gives us no excuse to be rude to the crew. Poor weather conditions and/or mechanical faults are outside of their control. Being obnoxious about your discomfort or the inconvenience reflects poorly on you, not them.
Remember, we live in an era where there is zero tolerance for non-compliance with the cabin crew. Disruptive behavior on a flight can land you in jail. For our Monopoly playing friends, that means straight to jail. You don’t get to ‘Pass Go and Collect $200’.
7. Give them a few minutes to themselves after they’ve completed the service.
Final words of wisdom. Going into the cramped galley area right after service is completed and the curtains are drawn, is a big no-no. That is the time when the flight attendants get to rest for a bit and consume their meagre crew meal. Don’t forget that their shifts are long and they have to eat too.
Besides, barging in at that time will interrupt a revered cabin crew tradition. In those precious moments of downtime they get to gripe about which passengers are being naughty or nice, and trade stories on flat out hilarious incidents. Like one Scrooge- filled flight where, amidst all the drama, a 63 year old woman had to be stripped down because she could not breathe properly. The reason? Her spanx was too tight. (Insert mirth here)
Rant officially over. They’re now advising us to exit through the front or back exit doors and go have a happy holiday.