Befriend your flight attendant

Courtesy in the air is a two-way street, and it pays to be nice to your flight attendant.

Befriend your flight attendant

From the outside looking in, most people would say that being a flight attendant would be a great job. The glamour of spending your working hours on a plane, jet-setting from country to country, seeing so many different lands and experiencing many cultures – sound like a good life?

Once you get down to it though, a flight attendant’s job is dealing with people courteously and graciously – a skill that seemingly evades quite a few people even at the best of times. So, as much as they are there to make your flight enjoyable, comfortable and stress free, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that a little courtesy is extended back their way. After all, if you annoy your flight attendant, your long flight may just end up seeming a little longer – for both of you.

Here are five things you should never say to your flight attendant.

“Smile love”

Just because your attendant isn’t smiling, doesn’t mean they are having a bad day. They may be concentrating. They may have had a long week. They may have a bunch of requests in their head. You don’t often see a host or hostess with a notepad, do you?

“Boy, you look tired”

A point of pride of most air stewards is their appearance so telling them they look less than tip-top is never going to go down well – even if they do look tired.

“It’s my birthday, how about a free drink?”

It’s certainly no sin to let your attendant know it’s a special time for you, but often it’s not up to them as to whether they can distribute free drinks. And if they can, it’s not your place to ask. You wouldn’t walk into a bar and do it, so why would you do it on a plane?

“I hate to bother you…”

A flight attendant’s job is to look after you and, quite frankly, they don’t need to be reminded of it. Just ask your question and they will make it happen – but that doesn’t necessarily apply to the next point, which is…

“Want to go out for a drink when we land?”

Your air steward may have been ultra-nice to you on your flight. You may have even felt that you ‘connected’. Here’s a newsflash: that means they’ve done their job well. Spending two or 22 hours on a flight together doesn’t mean you are now best friends, or more, so be happy you had a nice flight and leave it at that.

Have you ever had a funny experience with a flight attendant? Why not share it with our members?

This article was inspired by Sydney Pearl’s hilarious book. If you’d like to read more visit her website.


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    fish head
    24th Aug 2015
    Courtesy, from both sides goes a long way; as does "please' and 'thank you".
    24th Aug 2015
    It isn't that hard to be polite to your flight attendant. They have a job to do and it isn't necessary for passengers to make it more difficult for them. You'll find the less demanding you are of flight attendants the kinder they are to you.
    25th Aug 2015
    I dated a British Airways Cabin Service director for 7 years after we met on a flight. Even though it was a long distance relationship, we made it work. He was in Australia quite regularly and I did many trips with him also. I was fortunate to be working for an airline so was able to travel to meet up with him.
    21st Apr 2018
    Genuine politeness goes a long way. Always a please and thank. I have spent a lot of time talking to cabin attendents on flights and on a couple of flights have had my own attendent (when I have been the only person in the section) and have found that being polite, appreciative goes a long way to receiving excellent service.

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