Your bags are packed and you’re hella excited for your new adventure. Or maybe you’re a busy business bee who jet sets around the country (or world, if you’re that lucky) each week and flying is just like catching a bus for you.
Either way, first you have to survive a ridiculously long flight. And if you’ve EVER been a passenger on a plane, your flight attendant has probably hated you. Sorry. Truth hurts. But there are a few things you can avoid to make your trip more pleasant.
1. Holding up the queue when boarding
Please keep your tickets handy. Even if you know where your seat is, your flight attendant still needs to see your ticket as you step onto the plane. They are checking more than just your seat number so be patient.
2. Demanding to change your seat once you’re on the plane
Once you get onboard, your seat is your seat, especially when the flight is full. If you haven’t been seated with the rest of your travel companions, see the airline staff at the gate for assistance before boarding. Your cabin crew is busy and they don’t have time to check if you’re with your bestie or if you have the aisle seat you asked for.
3. Declaring dietary requirements during meal service
If your airline offers a full meal service, chances are you’ve had the option to select a special meal while booking. Once you’re onboard, it’s a little too late to let us know you are vegetarian or on a gluten-free diet. If this does happen, of course we’ll accommodate your meal requirements to the best of our ability but we only have a certain amount and variety of meals to work with.
4. Leaving the toilet door unlocked
I’ve lost track of the amount of men’s backsides I’ve been exposed to on a plane. Please lock the toilet door if you’re in there. With a limited number of facilities and (usually) more than 200 passengers, chances are someone else is going to need to use the bathroom at the same time as you.
5. Creating a tower on your tray
We know – we KNOW – you’re trying to be helpful but if you hand us back a meal tray stacked high with rubbish (no matter how neat it is), it just creates more work for us. You know how your meal comes out all flat and neatly packed from the trolley? It goes right back in that narrow slot when you’re finished. If you want to see your crew really smile, hand them back a tray that’s neat and as flat as possible.
6. Walking around without shoes
Do you honestly think the plane’s carpets are cleaned and all areas are vacuumed and mopped each time it lands? Do yourself a favour and at least wear socks.
7. Ringing the call bell for your tray to be removed when others haven’t even been served their dinner yet, because you eat at the speed of light
Look at how many passengers are seated around you. Now back to me and the rest of the crew. Now back to the number of passengers seated around you, now back to me. Sadly, that ratio is way off. It takes a while to distribute everything, and while sitting at the front of the plane means you may get to eat faster, you will have to wait to have your tray cleared until everyone else has at least received their food.
8. Asking if you can get fries with that
This is a metal tube travelling at hundreds of kilometres an hour to take you from A to B. It’s pretty awesome. One thing it is NOT is a restaurant. Read your menu or listen to the meal choice announcement carefully for what we have available onboard. And if you’ve been rolling your eyes at this, yes, passengers really do ask for fries.
9. Going 12 hours without brushing your teeth
Or going 12 hours without applying deodorant? No. Just no. Body odour is not a wine that gets better with age. The person seated next to you doesn’t want to start smelling you as the hours pass by, and neither does your flight attendant.
10. Letting your children treat the plane like a playground
You’ll find most crew enjoy taking your little ones off your hands for a few minutes, and will happily entertain them while you stretch your legs or go to the bathroom. But please keep your kids under control when everyone is trying to sleep and don’t say “What can you do?” when your kid starts kicking someone’s seat. You can stop them. Not even you like to be stuck seated next to a noisy kid.
11. Forgetting your manners
Please, thank you, hello, goodbye – that’s really all it takes for your crew to smile at you. You’d be surprised at how few passengers say thank you for cleaning up their meal or goodbye at the end of a 16-hour flight.