What Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You
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Up, Up And Away1 of 11
By Woman's Day
With holiday travel season upon us, we talked to flight attendants around the world to learn what goes on behind the scenes, what pushes their buttons and what passengers can do to make their jobs easier.
We Give Orders For A Reason2 of 11
Ellen*, a former flight attendant for United Airlines, wishes "that passengers would understand that we're required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to ensure safety at all times. We've seen what can happen when a flight hits unexpected turbulence, so we need you to sit down so that you don't hurt yourself." [*Names have been changed.]
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We Hate Delays Too3 of 11
Sitting on the tarmac is stressful for passengers and flight attendants alike. "We're usually on the plane an hour before the passengers to prepare for the flight, plus we've been at the airport for a few hours before that," says Fanny Delaunay, a former flight attendant for Air France.
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You Should Lend A Hand4 of 11
According to Teresa,* a former flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, the hardest part of a flight is boarding, because properly stowing baggage can be tricky. "If passengers worked together and stopped only thinking about themselves it would make our job a lot easier, as well as help the flight get out on time."
This Isn't A Flying Diner5 of 11
As Gary, a flight attendant with United Airlines, puts it, "You're on board a 747, not a 7-Eleven. We will do everything we can to make your flight enjoyable, but sometimes we just don't have everything that you want."
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Be Nice6 of 11
And have good manners. "It meant the most to me when people would say 'good morning' in return as I greeted them when they got on the plane," says flight attendant Lisa Lent.
Watch Your Drinking7 of 11
If you're noticeably drunk or getting unruly, it's the flight attendant's responsibility to control the situation. "Sometimes if we think you've had too much to drink, we'll serve you, but not serve the whole mini-bottle of booze," confesses Ellen. "We may just dip the rim of the glass in enough vodka or gin and fill the rest with mixer."
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We're Here To Ensure Your Safety8 of 11
... not cater to your every need. And we go through rigorous training, including medical emergency training, CPR and training to evacuate an aircraft. "Because — fortunately — most flights do not encounter safety problems, some people believe that we're just luggage handlers and beverage servers," says Agnes Huff, Ph.D., a former flight attendant.
Time Your Bathroom Trips Better9 of 11
Disregarding the “fasten seatbelt” sign and jumping up to visit the lavatory whenever you need to can add to delays. Plus, says Ellen: "Moving the 300-pound drink cart back to the galley against gravity after you've pulled it all the way to the front because one passenger needs to use the restroom is the most annoying thing ever."
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We're A Tight Bunch10 of 11
Despite sometimes having met only minutes earlier, "once the crew is on board for a flight, something miraculous happens," says Gary. "We suddenly become one another's best friends, as if we've known one another for years. I guess the trust comes from knowing that we really do have one another's back in an emergency."
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We Love Meeting You11 of 11
"One of my favorite parts of the job was having meaningful conversations with interesting people," says Fanny. "Maybe it's an underlying fear of flying, or just the magic of being in the air, but people tend to open up and talk about themselves a lot. You can learn so much."