In case anyone needs a reminder, flight attendants aren’t just there to take your drink order. These people are trained to save your life in the event of a disaster. So instead of making crazy demands of them, how about treating them with the respect they so deserve?
If you absolutely must flag down a flight attendant on your next trip, make sure it's not for any of the following reasons.
"Can You Help With My Bag?"
Here’s a little factoid to keep in mind when you board your next flight. See all those flight attendants smiling and directing you toward your seat? They aren’t getting paid. In fact, they aren’t even on the clock until the door shuts and the plane leaves the gate. That’s just one of several reasons why you shouldn’t expect them to lift your insanely heavy carry on bag. With few exceptions, If your bag is too heavy for even you to lift, maybe you should re-think your packing job.
Flight attendants aren’t hired for their superhuman strength but they often get roped into helping others hoist their heavy bags into the overhead, all so someone could dodge the check-bagged fee. All that lifting day in and day out can take a toll on flight attendants who can wind up injured and forced to miss work.
Related: 7 Secret Flight Attendant Tricks
"I'm Gonna Blow Up This Plane if...."
A sarcastic crack about blowing up the plane might have gone over just fine pre-9-11, but now? You should probably resist the urge to joke about terrorism or violence in any shape or form. Otherwise, you put the flight crew in the awkward position of having to report you, because how are they to know if you’re joking? Again, flight attendants are here for the safety of passengers and must take every threat as real. Your little joke could get you booted from the flight, or worse, even thrown in jail.
"Can You Watch My Kids?"
Your ticket may include all sorts of frills, from slippers to unlimited movies, but you can be sure it does not include babysitting services. It really doesn’t matter if you’re seated in economy or living the high-life up in first. Don’t ever expect the flight crew to look after your kids while you zone out with a glass of wine and a long nap.
Go Easy on the Call Button
Think hard before you press that call button. If you need a glass of water, another pair of headphones, or just have a general question, it’s best to walk to the galley and ask there. Flight attendants have plenty to do and if every passenger suddenly decided to “ring for service” the crew would do nothing but answer bells for the duration of the flight.
Unless you’re on a direct flight back to the 1950s, it’s time to retire out-of-date gendered terms like stewardess and steward. Instead, opt for the all-inclusive flight attendant.
"I'll Turn It off in Just a Sec!"
Will keeping your iPad during takeoff cause the plane to a nosedive? Probably not, but who cares? If the flight crew has requested that all electronic devices be turned off for a few minutes, just turn them off. Not only is it the polite thing to do, it’s also against the law to disobey your flight crew. Interfere with their ability to do their job and you could be slapped with a hefty fine.
"What Drinks Do You Have?"
At this stage in your adult life, you probably have a handle on what drinks will and will not be included in the beverage service. If not, the flight crew usually gives a rundown of what’s available before they begin the service. And if you somehow manage to miss that announcement, beverages are also listed in the menu card alongside meals and snacks. That said, there’s no reason to take up time by asking the flight attendant to rattle off a complete drink menu.
If you have a specific something in mind and you truly believe they might have it in stock, check the menu before asking.
Related: Flight Attendant Confessions
"These Drinks Are Expensive. Can You Do Better?"
Not thrilled about paying top dollar for your inflight G&T? That’s a totally valid complaint, but there’s no point in griping to a flight attendant about it. They didn’t have a hand in setting drink prices, and it’s not like they’re getting a cut.
Also, this is an airplane, not a garage sale. Please don’t try to haggle and bargain. The price of the drink is the price of the drink, end of story.
"What Are You Doing Later?"
By all means, be friendly and appreciative to the flight crew, but avoid coming off as a creepy flirt. This isn’t an episode of Mad Men. Keep the innuendos and inappropriate comments to yourself. Again, these men and women are employed to keep you safe, not to be objectified and harassed.
"Can You Throw Away This Biohazard? Thanks."
On airplanes, all sorts of disgusting things happen on the regular. Some passengers may be under the impression that the responsibility lies with the flight attendant to discretely make these little messes go away. It’s not. If you’ve had to use the air-sickness bag, walk it to the bathroom and toss it in the trash yourself. Likewise, parents who have changed their child’s dirty diaper should not press the call button and hand it off to the flight crew to dispose of. Heck, don’t change a diaper in the cabin, even. Walk your child and dirty diaper into the lavatory to be changed there, away from other passengers.
Featured image: RUBEN M RAMOS/Shutterstock