How to avoid losing your flight attendant

by Rod Smith

(Every point written from personal experience)

It's transportation! Nothing else....

JetBlue’s “Steven Slater incident” prompted my thinking about good manners and flying. “Aircraft manners” are apparently not handled in public schools. I know of one private school at least where they are deliberately taught:

Before you board

When flights are delayed, cancelled, or have mechanical problems, don’t yell at everyone from the airline. It is not the fault of the man or woman at the ticket counter, the departure gate, or the person on the toll-free number. Don’t talk to her as if it is. Threatening and screaming will not move the process along any quicker. The airline is not trying to “stick it” to you what ever that means. You will only exhaust yourself and underscore that you are an inexperienced traveler.

Aisles

If you have to walk though the first or business class cabin on the way to your seat don’t gawk at the passengers, take the magazines, or make cute comments about how lucky they are. No, it is unlikely you just saw Elton John and John Lennon sitting together in first class.

Once you find your row, get seated as quickly as possible in your assigned seat and get yourself out of the way. Then, stay out of the way. No. The man or woman who is yet to board does not have to sit in your seat just because you say so or because you didn’t get the aisle seat you wanted.

Sighing

Avoid sighing about how much flying you do, how you just hate it when planes are crowded, or why you detest having to go to Cancun again! Avoid revealing how self-indulged you really are. It is not very endearing, even if we are only going to be together for a very short while.

Carry-on bags

If you can’t lift your own carry-on bag over your own head I’d suggest you rethink your packing. Get your novel or laptop out before you sit down. This will get you out of the aisle and keep you out of it for as long as possible. No. I can’t help you get rid of your computer virus. No. That I am a therapist (you read it on my name tag) does not mean I want to listen to what happened in your sister’s fourth marriage.

When seated

Get settled without touching the seat in front of you. Don’t pull on it if you have to get up or just because you can. Your allocated seat is the only seat you touch during your trip – unless the seats beside you are vacant. If you cover yourself with a blanket, be careful to have your seatbelt visible above the blanket or you risk being awoken for safety checks. If you choose not to have your seat belt showing above the blanket don’t scream at the flight attendant who is compelled to wake you in order to check.

Use the armrest on only one side of the seat and not on both sides of the seat. Share! Remember. And try and sit still, at least for a few continuous minutes.

Keep your seat in the upright position at all times except when you are sleeping. This demonstrates some care for the passenger behind you. Remember, you are sharing space.

Fold down trays

The fold down tray is not designed to hold your weight – it is not a footrest, a wrestling mat, or a drum. Use the fold down tray only for its intended purposes.

Flight attendants

Flight attendants are busy men and women with the primary task of securing your safety. Avoid “messing” with them. Service (of drinks and food) is not the primary reason flight attendants are on the plane. No, it is none of your business whether she has Facebook. If you did see him on E-Harmony you might want to keep that to yourself. And, by the way, I don’t want to be your Facebook friend and nor do I want you to send me post cards from Toledo.

Chatter

If you must talk use your library voice. Do not conduct conversations with persons in rows ahead or behind you. Most fellow passengers have no interest in your vacation, your love woes, or in seeing your family pictures. Oh, and yes, it might be true that therapists are crazy themselves but you might not want to say that to every mental health professional you meet. It gets old.

Cellular phone calls

If you must make a call before takeoff or on landing, keep your voice down. Yelling at someone on a cell phone while you are stuffing the overhead bin or trying to be the first off the plane does not make you look or sound important – it reveals your inner-jerk. If you were really important you’d be in your own plane.

Food

If you bring food on board the aircraft unwrap (unseal, unfurl) the food without crinkling the paper and without littering the aisles. Chew, nibble, swallow, and sip quietly. Talking loudly with a mouth full of food is unattractive. Suck breath fresheners if you must suck.

Dress

Dress comfortably and modestly. Never sag, anywhere, ever. What worked on the beach in Jamaica somehow will not only look a little out of place in the Chicago terminal, it is most uncomfortable for me to see this much of you (and there is much) every time you lean over me to get more candy out of your oversized bag in the overhead compartment.

Restrooms

Follow the instructions when using the aircraft restrooms. If you remove your shoes be sure to place them back on your feet when entering the restroom. Aircraft restrooms often have wet floors and wet socks readily become uncomfortable. If you stepped in urine in the restroom I really have no interest in hearing about it.

Shades

Do not repeatedly open and close the shades. Remember, flying is about sharing space. When my shades are down and my eyes are closed and I look asleep I probably am. And, no, I am sorry, I don’t want to play dominoes with you – not even when I am wide awake.

One Comment to “How to avoid losing your flight attendant”

  1. Now I’ve really gone and done it. I somehow decided that it would best service me to allow your penetrating thoughts inside my e-mail box. Sigh. Katharine

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