Delivering Innovation

It’s been a while, but I’ve been busy doing what we all love and had to take some time off to write (ok you got me, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block too). However, I found that the best cure for writer’s block on an airline related site is to get back on the line. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE when you work. When I spent my first day on a plane, it hit me like a brick. I dealt with a multitude of passengers (some happy and some angry). So I decided to dedicate this one to those unhappy people by giving them some prompting from a flight attendant’s point of view.

Our craziest flying spots are boarding and preparing the cockpit for landing. When you board, we have about a million things we need to do to close that door and make it possible for the plane to take off. Unless you’re sitting in First or Business Class, where most airlines have a dedicated FA to serve you, we don’t have time for specific requests. Your requests for a glass of water, soda, etc. They only serve to distract us and reduce our chances of getting it airborne and getting it to its destination on time. We are only asking you for a modicum of patience in this case. Once we are in the air, we will be at your complete disposal. I don’t think a few minutes of patience is too much to ask for. During the landing process, we only have a small window so that the cockpit is ready to land. If all the pieces don’t fit into place, the plane is prohibited from landing per FAA standards. So don’t order drinks during that time and forget about using the sink. We cannot land the plane until all passengers are safely in their seats. I was on planes going to O’Hare, where a passenger decided to get up to use the bathroom during “sterilization” and we had to abort the landing. We lost our place in line and spent another 45 minutes in the air before we got approval to land. Many passengers lost their connections because of that passenger.

You are not the only passenger on that plane. You may feel that the temperature is too warm or too cold, but we will not contact the flight deck if requested by a single passenger. Typically, complaints from multiple passengers in your section are taken before we take any action.

· During the flight, STAY AWAY FROM THE CABIN DOOR !!!!!!! After 9/11, our first objection is to protect the flight deck at all costs. If you try to get close to him during the flight, it makes us nervous and causes the red flags to go off.

During takeoff and landing, TURN OFF ALL YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES. The FAA requires that ALL electronic devices be turned off. It won’t kill you to do without them for 20 minutes (10 during takeoff and 10 during landing). The FAA states that everyone must be shut down, so we must enforce that rule.

· Flight attendants have more power than you think. If you choose to start fights with us, you WILL NOT WIN. There are a number of laws that favor flight crews. We don’t want to use them, but we will if the circumstances require. The result will be that you are expelled from the plane while on the ground before takeoff or that the police escort you out of the plane after landing.

If you are starting your journey at an external station (it is an airport that flies to a HUB), please arrive early. You may think the plane will wait for you, but it won’t. You must arrive at that airport 2 hours before boarding and at the boarding gate 30 minutes before boarding. If you are late to a HUB, we understand why things can happen that are beyond everyone’s control. If you are late to a secondary station, it is clearly your fault and 50-120 people should not be penalized for poor planning.

During delays, the flight crew does not have the power to call and demand that your connecting plane be forced to wait for you to arrive. No airline will delay a 250-person flight to wait for 1 person. Don’t waste your breath asking.

Many airlines allow us to close the doors 10 minutes earlier, so if everyone arrives a little earlier, we can leave 10 minutes earlier.

When boarding, put one bag under your seat, another on the roof, and then sit down so others can do the same. It’s that easy.

Due to the 9-11 rules, pilots can NEVER leave the flight deck during the flight to answer your specific questions about a delay or connection, so don’t bother making that ridiculous demand.

On board, we will do our best to accommodate a friendly passenger. On the contrary, we will also do our best to avoid and ignore a rude and insulting passenger.

The airline ranks all passengers based on how often they fly that airline. Frequent travelers (even if they are not seated in Business or First) will always get more amenities than those who are not. We get a list when boarding and we know who’s who on the jet.

Those of you with young children. The FAA prohibits passengers from entering the flight deck during flights. However, if your child is well behaved and you ask, pilots will often allow your child to visit the flight deck after we land and the cockpit door is opened. Between you and me, you are still in charge of introducing kids to the world of aviation.

Those of you who are tempted to put laptops in seat pockets, DON’T DO IT. It is not an FAA approved storage area for your computer, and the pockets are not designed to support the weight of your computer. I have seen many computers destroyed when they hit the ground.

· Did you know that many parents ignore the changing tables in the bathroom and change their babies’ diapers in the same trays that you use on your flight? To answer your next question, tables are not always cleaned and sanitized between flights.

Blankets are usually replaced between flights, but pillows are not. To avoid getting sick, it is advisable to avoid sleeping on the pillows and use them only as lumbar support during the flight. I recommend bringing your own blankets and pillows for your trip.

Most airlines no longer offer snacks on the bus. It is advisable to be something to nibble on during the flight.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there. I will save more suggestions for a future article. I hope all passengers reading this will follow my advice. It will be of great help to make your flight (and especially the bear) much more enjoyable.

Until next time, fly safe for everyone,


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