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The Friendly Skies?

I read an article recently on about the top 7 things that passengers do to annoy flight attendants. I actually appreciated the article because, as a frequent flier on multiple airlines, I could empathize with (and yes laugh at) many of the things on the list. Since my husband has elite status on 2 major airlines, for about the 7th year in a row, and a friend of mine works for a major airline, I even forwarded them the article knowing they would also get a good chuckle out of it!

However, in fairness to us lowly passengers and in light of the fact that I am currently sitting on an airplane, I decided to write a top 10 list of things that flight attendants do that annoy passengers. I tried to stop at 7 to keep it fair, but I just kept thinking of things.

Disclaimer: not all flight attendants act this way, but the ones who do really make flying miserable…

Let me start by saying that I consider myself a good passenger. I always say please and thank you. I smile, even though I don’t always get a smile back. I step into the row when boarding, just like their little announcement says to do, even though the passengers in front of me don’t. I actually check a bag and don’t try to shove everything I own in the overhead bin. I shut my cell phone off before they even make the announcement. I try to make their lives easier. Today, though, I’m wondering why I even try.

Here goes…
10. Going along with one of the things I mentioned above: When a passenger smiles, try to smile back. If you can’t, then maybe bring it up with the airline that you’d like to start charging for smiles, since you charge for everything else. At least we’d be guaranteed a return smile.

9. When someone says thank you, try saying “you’re welcome”. Even my 3 year old daughter can do that without being reminded.

8. When you’re handing us a drink and we’re in the middle or window seat, try to actually look where you are handing it rather than leaving it to chance that we’re going to have a firm grip and not dump it all over our fellow seat-mate’s laptop. What your fellow flight attendant did last night is not nearly as important as making sure we don’t spill our precious 4 oz. of liquid that we have to ration like a refugee for 2 hours.

7. We realize that you are trying to do your jobs as efficiently as possible, so you can get back to the galley area to read another magazine or gossip (yes, I’ve overheard this many, many times), but advances in technology are helping us endure these long flights while we’re locked in a 16×48 inch space. Therefore, have a little tolerance when you ask what we would like to drink and we have to take a second to either pause our device or take our earphones off.

6. Please make up your mind on the segregation of restrooms on the plane. You make the announcement that passengers in first class should use their restroom and passengers in coach should use theirs, but yet you let passengers from coach use the first class restroom. I could care less either way, but either enforce it or don’t announce it. Also, that whole post-9/11 rule about no line forming in the front galley should also be enforced.

5. Remember that your coach seats are designed for people under 5 feet tall, so on a long flight we actually like to get up and stretch, so our legs actually work when the plane finally lands. You get to walk around the entire flight, we don’t. Show a little sympathy without rolling your eyes and sighing when we have the gall to stand up next to our seat for a moment.

4. As with this flight, don’t get bent out of shape when the captain waits until 2 hours into the flight (no turbulence at all) to turn the fasten seat belt sign off and then get annoyed when half the plane gets up to use the restroom.

3. On that same note, when we do get up to use the restroom, don’t get equally as annoyed when you decide at that very moment to serve another round of 4 oz. beverages and roll your eyes and sigh when we are trying to get back to our sardine can seats.

2. Award tickets = people who fly your airline ALL THE TIME and have enough miles to spend on a ticket (probably multiple tickets). Award ticket ≠ someone who is too cheap to buy a seat and should be treated like a beggar on the street and who should feel privileged to be flying your airline. Award travelers should almost be treated better than someone who bought a ticket because it means they are loyal to YOU! Shouldn’t that count for something?

1. Unless you’re going to start having a dress code for first class, stop treating young, casually dressed passengers different than 40 plus year old men in business suits. I can wear a suit too, but since I travel so much I like to be casual and comfortable. Yes, this could mean jeans, sweats, a hat, etc…, but I do bathe everyday and put pants and shoes on just like the person in the business suit. However, being dressed casually does not mean I am any less of a person than “business suit” guy and I should be treated with the same respect you give him. Use my name just like you do his, look me in the eye, hang my jacket up, serve me a drink, etc… just like you do for him… with the same friendly smile.

If you can manage some of these things, then I will continue to be a good passenger and not do anything on your top 7 most annoying list which, by the way, was really funny and very true! And, again, I realize not all flight attendants are like this. I’ve encountered many who do not treat me any differently whether I’m on an award ticket, in first class in sweats, or have to pause my movie or iPod when they ask me what I would like to drink, and they smile when I smile; and I appreciate it greatly!

Here is the link to the article for those of you who want to make sure you are not one of the offenders!;_ylc=X3oDMTF2YWJnM21wBF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEX3MDMjcxOTQ4MQRzZWMDZnAtdG9kYXltb2QEc2xrA2Fubm95YXR0ZW5kYW50LTYtMi0wOQ

><(("> Julie Silbar

Julie is a ><((“> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a management and marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Julie email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

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