|We’re sorry we have no pillows.
We’re sorry we’re out of blankets.
We’re sorry the airplane is too cold.
We’re sorry the airplane is too hot.
We’re sorry the overhead bins are full.
We’re sorry we have no closet space for your oversized bag.
We’re sorry that’s not the seat you wanted.
We’re sorry there’s a restless toddler/overweight/offensive smelling passenger
seated next to you.
We’re sorry the plane is full and there are no other seats available.
We’re sorry you didn’t get your upgrade.
We’re sorry that guy makes you uncomfortable because he looks like a terrorist.
We’re sorry there’s a thunderstorm and we can’t take off.
We’re sorry we don’t know when it will stop.
We’re sorry you’re crammed into a space so small that if you were an animal
PETA would protest.
We’re sorry our plane has no music or video entertainment for your 3-hour flight.
We’re sorry we ran out of your favorite soda.
We’re sorry there are no more sandwiches.
We’re sorry that Budweiser costs $6.
We’re sorry we don’t have diapers for your baby.
We’re sorry we don’t have milk for the same baby.
We’re sorry you can’t hang out by the cockpit door waiting to use the bathroom.
We’re sorry you can’t hang out at the back of the airplane.
We’re sorry you have to sit down and fasten your seatbelt.
We’re sorry you have to put your seat up for landing.
We’re sorry we don’t know when we’re going to land.
We’re sorry we don’t know whether your plane to (substitute any city in the
world) will be waiting for you when we land.
We’re sorry we’ve been diverted because we ran out of gas waiting to land.
We’re sorry for these and so many other things that we have absolutely no
control over but which we are held accountable for EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Please understand. Flight attendants are not the enemy. We share your space.
More than anyone – we want to have a nice, pleasant travel experience.
There is a reason behind everything we ask you to do. It may be a FAA directive.
It may be security related. It may be a company procedure.
We don’t just make stuff up. We don’t spend 8 weeks at the flight academy
learning how to pour a Coke. There are many things that flight attendants are
watching for constantly on every flight FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s not because we’re
bored or so controlling that we just enjoy telling people what to do. I, for one,
would like to have one flight where I didn’t have to repeatedly tell people to put
their seats up for landing. Seriously. Can’t you just do what we ask sometimes?
Without the glares, eye rolling and disdain? For the record – putting your seat up
for landing may not seem that important to your personal safety. However, it is
very important for the person sitting BEHIND YOU. If you have ever tried to get
out of a row where someone has their seat back you know it can be a challenge.
Try grabbing your ankles (emergency brace position) or getting out of that row
quickly with smoke in the cabin.
Understand a little better now?
Many of the things we ask passengers to comply with are FAA directives. Like
carry-on bag stowage and exit row requirements. When we can serve drinks (in
the air) and when we can’t (after the aircraft door is closed or on an active taxi-
way). We are only allowed to move about the cabin during taxi out for safety
related duties. We can’t get you blankets, or hang coats, or get you drinks. It’s
not because we don’t want to. It’s because we are held personally responsible if
we fail to comply with FAA directives. Meaning that the FAA can fine us
personally up to $10,000 if we fail to comply or enforce an FAA Directive.
Like no bags at the bulkhead. No children in the exit row. No one moving around
the cabin during taxi. Perhaps now you know why flight attendants get a little
testy when people move about the cabin when they’re not supposed to. It’s not
the company that gets in trouble for that. It’s us.
Personally, I wish airlines would show worst-case scenario safety videos. Like
what happens if you walk through the cabin during turbulence. There could be a
guy who has just fallen and smacked his face on the metal armrest and now has
a bloody, gushing broken nose. Or an elderly lady who now has a broken arm
because someone walking to the bathroom fell on her.
Maybe a passenger with a broken neck because somebody opened an overhead
bin during turbulence and a suitcase fell out and onto the person sitting beneath
it. These things can easily happen in a fast moving, unstable air environment.
Please just trust that we are looking out for your best interest and stop fighting
with us about everything we ask you to do. It is exhausting.
Finally, please, please direct your hostility and frustrations in the direction where
they will be most effective: The customer service department. They are the ones
equipped to handle your complaint and implement procedures for CHANGE.
Think about it. Complaining to the flight crew about all your negative travel
experiences is about the same as complaining to the office janitor because your
computer isn’t working. It may make you feel better to vent about it – but it
really won’t fix anything. More than anybody we are already aware of the lack of
amenities, food, service and comfort on the aircraft. Please share your concerns
with the people in the cubicles at corporate who need that information to make
better decisions for the flying public.
It’s frustrating that so many people are in denial about what the travel industry is
about now. The glory days of pillows, blankets, magazines and a hot meal for
everyone are long gone. Our job is to get you from point A to point B safely and
at the cheapest possible cost to you and the company. So be prepared. If you
are hungry – get a sandwich before you get on the plane.
If it’s a 3 hour flight, anticipate that you may get hungry and bring some snacks.
If you are prone to being cold – bring a wrap. Think for yourself and think ahead.
Otherwise, don’t complain when you have to pay $3 for a cookie and are left with
a crusty blanket to keep you warm.
We hear often that the service just isn’t what is used to be. Well, the SERVICE we
provide now isn’t what it used to be. When I was hired, my job was to serve
drinks, meals, ensure that safety requirements were met and tend to in-flight
Since 9/11 my primary job is to ensure that my airplane will not be
compromised by a terrorist. 9/11 may be a distant memory now to many, but
be assured that EVERY DAY a flight attendant reports to work he or she is
constantly thinking about 9/11. We feel a personal responsibility to ensure that
something like that never happens again. We can never relax. We can never not
be suspicious about someone’s intentions.
It is difficult to be vigilant and gregarious at the same time. Especially when
most of us are working 12 hour days after layovers that only allow 5-6 hours of
sleep. Not because we were out partying and having a grand time on the layover
– but because the delays that you experience as a passenger also affect us as a
crew, so that what was a 10 hour layover is now 8 hours which doesn’t leave a lot
of time to recover from what has become an increasingly stressful occupation.
Despite everything, I still enjoy being a flight attendant.
I am writing this letter because I do still care about my profession and about the
public perception of flight attendants. In the increasingly challenging travel world
it is becoming more imperative than ever for people to just be decent to each
other. I can go through an entire day without one person saying anything
remotely civil. I will stand at the aircraft door and say hello to everyone who
enters and maybe 50% will even look at me and even fewer will say hello back.
I will try to serve someone a meal who can’t be bothered to take their headsets
off long enough for me to ask them what they want. Most of the time the only
conversation a passenger has with me is when they are complaining.
Is it any wonder why flight attendants have shut down a bit? After suffering the
disdain of hundreds of passengers a day it’s difficult sometimes to even smile,
much less interact. We are human. We appreciate the same respect and courtesy
that passengers do.
The next time you fly, try treating the flight attendants the way you would like to
be treated. You may be surprised how friendly your flight crew is when they are
treated like people.
|This is a letter that is meant to put a smile on the
|To the Flying Public: We’re sorry