20 Years at 30,000 Feet: A Flight Attendant Answers Readers' Questions

As a working flight attendant for 20 years, it’s simple to take my journey concepts with no consideration – the little ideas and tips that make journey smoother.

But after seeing so many passengers miss vital occasions this summer time as a result of airline cancellations and delays, I knew I needed to begin sharing this information. Last month I provided 9 ideas for surviving the journey nowand I used to be stunned by the optimistic response – and the hundreds of feedback.

After the story was revealed, I invited readers to ask extra questions, of which I’ve acquired a whole bunch. I do know, for a few of you, that I’ve a curious and mysterious job. It was enjoyable to be taught what you marvel about, from how we glance so contemporary after lengthy flights (dim lighting) as to if or not you must drink the espresso on board (I don’t don’t, however most flight attendants do).

Here are my responses to a number of your questions, a few of which have been barely edited for size and readability. I hope you get pleasure from them.

We need you to speak. You have an important job on this row, and we want to have the ability to belief everybody who sits there. We ask everybody within the row if they’re keen and capable of assist with an evacuation, and never wanting is completely comprehensible. Nothing unhealthy occurs; you may transfer to another open seat, or we’ve somebody swap seats with you. There is at all times somebody who would favor the exit row for the additional legroom.

Acknowledging ourselves as individuals and never treating ourselves as a part of the airplane furnishings goes a good distance. It’s demoralizing to welcome individuals on board flights who stare at us with out answering. Smiling and saying little issues like “please” and “thank you” at all times helps elevate your spirits. That excellent flight attendant smile is difficult to maintain when everybody round us is staring at us.

Don’t contact the flight attendants. That needs to be widespread sense, nevertheless it’s not. We don’t prefer to be pushed, slapped or grabbed.

The lack of earbuds label is driving me loopy. There’s nothing extra annoying than attempting to speak to somebody who appears me straight within the eye and doesn’t care sufficient to pause their film or take their headphones off. The humorous factor is that I often ask them what they wish to eat or drink. I give the courtesy to ask thrice. If I don’t get a solution, I transfer on to the subsequent passenger. Here’s the worst: about three rows later, that very same individual will ring their name button and ask why they didn’t have a drink.

Yes! There’s no secret handshake, we simply say hi there and inform them the place we’re seated. We don’t get any particular remedy, aside from possibly making a brand new buddy or getting a complete can of soda. We inform the crew as a courtesy within the occasion of an emergency on board, in order that they know the place to go for an additional serving to hand to assist them.

First, and most vital: your baby will really feel your nerves. If you’re confused, they’ll be confused. Make the flight as thrilling as attainable for them upfront. Dress them up in a particular new airplane outfit, or purchase a brand new guide or field of pencils. Let them have all of the display screen time they need. Download and watch a brand new film or collection. Practice with headphones earlier than the flight so that they know the way they work. Allow them to hold their very own little “on-the-go” bag, with new airplane actions inside. Let them eat or drink one thing on the aircraft that they don’t seem to be at all times allowed to have, comparable to a cookie, chips or a bit of soda. We don’t at all times have them, however you may at all times ask the crew for these little plastic wings and tell us if it’s their first flight.

Keep your hand baggage as mild as attainable and examine the remainder. Pack a couple of diapers, a change of garments, snacks and medicines. We additionally love if you carry automobile seats. I do know they’re heavy and arduous to handle, however more often than not little children really feel extra snug as a result of it’s acquainted and propels them excessive sufficient to see out the window. We like them as a result of they’re safer. It additionally doesn’t damage to allow them to burn off their vitality at the airport earlier than the flight.

There’s nothing I can say to calm your nerves after dropping buddies that day. We all misplaced one thing, however for you it was private. It’s a lot deeper than an irrational worry of working away. We all have fears about flying, even when we’re not actually afraid. You’re not alone.

Other passengers can add to all that, however, for essentially the most half, when you’re minding your personal enterprise, different individuals shouldn’t trouble you. Legitimate issues with passengers are literally uncommon. I don’t like flying as a passenger anymore both; being round individuals on my day without work causes delicate nervousness. So I really feel you. When I journey as a passenger, I began bringing noise canceling headphones and my pill loaded with motion pictures or reveals. I begin watching one thing as quickly as I sit down and faux to be in my front room. I’m instantly absorbed by my present.

If you might be seated subsequent to somebody who’s inflicting you nervousness, an attendant could possibly transfer you if the flight will not be full. It’s additionally completely affordable to ask a gate agent when you can sit close to a window or aisle earlier than boarding. A glass of wine may also assist you to chill out and benefit from the flight.

No, I’m not used to being scared. Every from time to time, one thing startles me, although. I do know all of the sounds and sensations my aircraft makes, and after I hear one thing fallacious, I get nervous. If I must, I name the pilots and allow them to know what I heard, and so they examine issues out.

I’d at all times relatively fly than drive. Driving to and from work is the scariest a part of my week. I prefer to be within the sky wanting down. The world appears so peaceable from above. My workplace window is a pleasant respite from a loopy world of site visitors and chaos. Try excited about it as an alternative. Part of our flying worry is lack of management: we’ve to belief two individuals we don’t know and might’t see. They undergo a number of coaching to earn this duty. We take it with no consideration, however flying is actually a marvel. Try to disregard the remainder and luxuriate in with the ability to journey someplace in hours, in comparison with the weeks or months it could have taken our ancestors.

That we’re on planes for customer support. We are literally right here for security. Prior to World War II, flight attendants have been registered nurses. The requirement to be a nurse ended through the struggle as a result of nurses stopped flying to affix the struggle effort. Now we undergo intense coaching to discover ways to use all the protection gear on board and the place it’s on every plane. We practice in primary lifesaving expertise, comparable to CPR. We discover ways to evacuate an airplane in 90 seconds or much less within the occasion of an emergency touchdown on land or in water. We additionally discover ways to battle fires and cope with safety threats and unruly passengers.

The second greatest false impression is that our work is glamorous. Our days are very lengthy and our nights quick. Sometimes we’re so drained that as an alternative of having fun with our lengthy layovers for sightseeing, we spend them in our lodge rooms in our pajamas watching motion pictures. Some nights are wonderful, although. The craziest factor is that one evening I will be sitting by the ocean, sipping prosecco with contemporary seafood, and the subsequent day I will be consuming a four-day-old sandwich in my kitchen, subsequent to the bathroom, whereas somebody does yoga in my face. Being a flight attendant is greater than only a job; it modifications your entire way of life. But I wouldn’t need it another manner.

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