Flight attendants, cabin crew, stewards/stewardesses and air hostesses are some of the different terms use to describe the same basic role of the airline personnel that ensures the safety and comfort of airline passengers from boarding to disembark. While a career of a flight attendant might be seen as a glamorous life in the skies, it requires strong people skills and patience to deal with all kinds of passengers on a daily basis. Underneath those friendly smiles and elegant-looking uniforms are ordinary average Joe’s & Jane’s like you and me.
Here are some of my usual ways (not in any particular order) of showing appreciation to flight attendants on many of the flights that I took and hopefully made their task a bit easier:
1) “Hi…” and “Thank You”
In my opinion the very least that a passenger should do is to say “thank you” or “have a good day” while exiting the plane. A nice “Hello…good morning” or “Assalamualaikum” during boarding would be nice as well. I have personally seen people just ignoring those “welcome onboard” greetings given by the crew during boarding as if the crew were not even standing right in front of them.
2) Listen and observe the flight safety demo
I am quite a frequent traveller with local airlines and most of them still have the crew doing the flight safety demo manually. Show some respect and appreciation by listening and observing the crew. There is no harm in spending one minute refreshing about how to operate the safety life vest and the location of the nearest emergency exit etc. After all there is no better ‘excuse’ to just continuously look at the crew for a good one minute 🙂
3) My carry-on bag, my responsibility
Through my observation I realised that it can be quite frustrating for cabin crew when passengers try and cram as much hand luggage in the overhead compartment as possible. I would usually take the effort to travel as light as possible with my small carry-on bag and would always put it on the overhead compartment myself. Follow the advice of the crew and whenever possible put those bags up there yourself. I think it is fair for the cabin crew to help passengers that have difficulties reaching the compartment but I have seen a bit too many times rude passengers just leave their luggage at the aisle and just signal the crew to “put it up there”. By the way let’s put those smaller plastic bags underneath the seat in front of us, ok?
4) Clear your own rubbish.
For some airlines it is the responsibility of the cabin crew to clean up the cabin in between flight sectors. Let us all be helpful and clear our own trash rather than stuffing it up in the seat pocket. Little things that make a lot of difference.
5) Switch off that phone.
“Sir, swith off your phone please…”; “Sir, once again, please swith off your phone”, “Sir, for the last time, please switch off your phone and do not jeopardise the safety of other passengers” . I have heard this a few times. While this may not be a way to say “thank you” to the crew but not turning your phone off is an easy way to piss the cabin crew (and maybe your surrounding passengers). Help the crew by switching your phone off/flight mode the moment the aircraft is being pushed-back.
6) Go easy with the “crew call button”.
There is nothing wrong with asking for additional drinks, peanuts or blankets but do it at the right time. During long haul flights especially when I am stuck in a middle seat, the crew call button has proven to be very important as I can have my drinks late at night without waking other passengers. What I don’t understand is seeing passengers (3 so far!) hitting the “crew call button” more than 3 times in a short domestic flight repetitively asking for the same things (peanuts, drinks). While you have every right to be served as a passenger, please be reminded that there are hundred other passengers that probably pay the same fare as you, so let us give the crew some time to serve everyone first before attending to you once again, ok?
7) Ask before you swap seats.
Everyone wants to have empty seats next to them so they can take a two or three seat nap across the row especially during long hauls. It is normal to change seats but please wait until everyone has board the plane and the door have been closed before you make any move to secure those empty rows. It can get a bit messy when passengers start to swap seats while boarding is still commencing. I would usually ask the crew about the load factor during boarding and would only move towards the empty seats after checking with the crew if it’s ok to do so as some of the seats are reserved for crew rest.
8) In-flight meals tray – ready to be cleared.
After enjoying the delicious (or not!) in-flight meals, the least I can do is to make it easy for the crew to clear my tray. I guess this is similar to the concept of clearing your own tray after eating at fast food outlets.
9) Write a “Thank You” note.
I do this every time I observe something beyond expectation kind of service by the cabin crew. I have written feedback forms both in-flight and on-line and I would encourage more people to do it as well. A compliment letter/feedback form/email goes a long way in recognizing a good effort.
Cabin crews are there to serve us as paid passengers of the airlines. They are well trained to handle hundreds of passengers per day. Let us try to make the sky a bit friendlier by treating each other well. Have a safe and comfortable travel. Blue skies ahead.