The one thing you should never say to a flight attendant

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On my first flight, I remember thinking how cool it would be to be a flight attendant, but the more I flew, the more I realised that this dream job would probably be more nightmarish.

Many people treat flighties as if they are servants, but they still do it every flight with a smile and all they ask for in return is the odd ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

To be fair, I’ve had a few grumpy and a couple of rude flight attendants, but overall, they do their job with grace, poise and professionalism.

But there’s always a passenger who underestimates the service provided by cabin crew, such as one passenger who, when refused entry to the cockpit by a flight attendant, had the gall to call her ‘just a flight attendant’.

As reported on Forbes, the flight attendant didn’t take too kindly to his assessment of her role and posted this on Facebook in reply.

“Dear Passenger in 5A,” the post read.

“Yesterday, when I wouldn’t let you come to the front of the aeroplane because the pilots were going in and out of the cockpit, you informed me I was ‘just a flight attendant’. I’ve had some time to reflect on that and decided to educate you on a few facts regarding this flight attendant.

“First, let’s review my training and requirements for this job. I know how to fight fires while 35,000 feet in the air; I can perform CPR, do first aid-basic, all the way up to inserting an IV; I know how to identify guns and weapons; I know how to identify bombs and then move them to a location on the aircraft that will hopefully cause the least damage should they go off.

“I know basic survival skills for land and water; I know how to disarm people brandishing a gun; how to actually kill someone if need be; how to prepare an aeroplane for an emergency landing so every person aboard has the best chance of survival, and how to then evacuate the aircraft in under 60 seconds.

“While smiling, I have been taught how to deal with people from many different cultures, people who are disgruntled, and people who are downright rude. I received excellent training for all these things and every year have to go through refresher training and learn new skills.

“Second, I’d like to share with you some of the personal experiences I’ve had in the last 20 years as a flight attendant. I’ve held the hand of a grieving mother who was flying across the country to claim her 21-year-old son’s dead body. I have given my personal clothes to a passenger who threw up, although I had nothing else to put on. I have been poked in my arm and sides many times by people who can’t wait for me to finish with one person before they get their drink.

“I have held babies while their parent went to the bathroom. I have been yelled at for not having the exact food a person wanted. I have prepared an aircraft for an emergency landing, and, while you were arguing with me about not wanting to turn off your computer, I was hoping I would be able to see my children one more time.

“I stood with tears in my eyes in the door of an aircraft while the remains of a US soldier were lowered in a flag-draped coffin. I have had the honour of flying US troops into foreign deployment areas. I missed Christmas Day with my family so you could get to your family. My work schedule is constantly changing, and there are times I go five to six days without a real night’s sleep.

“I watched the events of 9/11 in horror, heartbroken from what my colleagues went through that day. I was scared to go back to work, but I reassured my child that I would come home – all the while knowing it could happen again. I watched a man die in front of me, because the CPR we performed didn’t revive him. Then I tried to reverently place his body on the aeroplane floor for the remainder of the flight, and, when we landed, I sat with his body for over an hour until the coroner could pick it up.

“Please know that I do love my job, and I choose to do it. I have a college degree, am a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a human being. So the next time you look at me and think, ‘Just a flight attendant’, I hope you quickly remember who is trained and willing to get you out of a crashed aeroplane, save you from hijackers, perform CPR on you if need be and – the easiest part of my job – give you food and drinks.”

Do you think her response is fair? Were you aware of the amount of training and qualifications required to be a flight attendant? Will you look at your next cabin crew in a different light from now on?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 10
  1. 0

    Alway treat others the way I like to be treated. Flight attendants are super human. Never seem to n
    Have plastic smiles and always seem to give me special attention. I’m sure they do that for all receptive loving travellers.

  2. 0

    Not a real heap of sympathy.
    They are paid well for their job, there are plenty of jobs worse – ambo, nurse, most people in the hospital, aged care, or mental facilities, prisons, or rehab centres, and so it goes on. Waitpeople in cafes get the same crap. As for shiftwork, try being a copper. As for crap, try working for Centalink.

    I was none of these, but I still copped a level of crap from rude and ignorant people. However I was in a position to make their lives VERY difficult, which I have to admit gave me some satisfaction. All delivered fairly, without bias, of course….

  3. 0

    People did not know a Flight attendants had the power like a Police in a flying airoplane. But this monkey did not know that and thing he/she had a sit to fly on a plane can treat other like slave.

  4. 0

    Excellent article and the FA do a fabulous job and some who fly should not be allowed on a dinky..

  5. 0

    It’s not just a flight attendant who should be respected, it’s any person doing a job that means they have to deal with the public. Jobs such as emergency services, nurses, doctors, shop assistants, bank tellers, transport staff and the list is endless. These are all people who are trained to do their job to make our life a little bit easier. We make a point of thanking those who assist us including the bus driver who got us to our destination safely. It’s not hard folks, it’s called manners. Sadly, as we age we see more and more the selfishness of people and how that selfishness rubs off onto their children. All any of us can do is to ensure that our children are aware of manners and hope that too rubs off.

  6. 0

    Back when I was in my early 20’s, I paid for & completed a ” Flight Attendants course ” in prep for hopefully gaining a career in that field.

    The course was so professionally run, with no b s, that despite eventually not choosing to go further, I gained a strong understanding & fine appreciation for what Flight Attendants endure thru vetting, initial & ongoing further training/upskilling to provide such wonderful service to passengers. It has ever since influenced how much I ” appreciate ” what they do mid-flight.

    Flight Attendants must never be taken for granted by passengers . . . period! F A’s have saved hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of lives over the decades of flight travel. often not receiving a single word of thanks in return. And quite frankly, regardless of makeup, lippy, fashionably couture apparel as is required by their profession; they truly are beautiful people in their own right & most deserving of ” Respect “.

    Also, that passenger who so rudely ” disrespected ” the flight attendant in the article, should have been immediately frog-marched off the aircraft & told to literally, ” hike it “!

  7. 0

    Flight attendants do a wonderful job, and I did not know they went through such comprehensive training, but it does make sense, they have to do so many jobs to keep their[passengers safe and cared for. The only Airline we have flown with who did not give good service was Aeroflot but every other one has been excellent. We ALWAYS show appreciation when we have been well looked after – on one flight we stopped at the door before lighting from the flight (it was a long haul flight) and thanked the attendant for looking after us so well and with such charm and grace – he was tears as he said not may people do thank them.
    I was taught good manners and to give credit when it was due,.

  8. 0

    they are the angels of the sky, yes and do treat them, how you would like to be treated 😉

  9. 0

    Wonderful, wonderful flight attendants. Over many years flying I have never seen a bad one yet. They do their job quietly, efficiently and with a great smile, and on a long flight nothing seems to be too much trouble (thanks particularly for the Jack Daniels at 5.00am on flight home from Bankok a couple of years ago when I had trouble sleeping). I don’t know how they put up with the crap some rude passengers dish out.

  10. 0

    treat others the way you would like to be treated



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