Things That Make You The Best Passenger, According To A Former Flight Attendant
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Travelling soon? There are a few things to keep in mind that will make you a standout passenger when it comes to flying.
I worked as a flight attendant for over a year so I’ve got the inside scoop on how you can be the best passenger ever. From simple courtesies like saying “thank you” to keeping your seatbelt fastened, these seven habits will not only make your personal flying experience better but also allow for a smoother, more enjoyable journey for both the crew and your fellow passengers.
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Stow your own luggage
This may come as a surprise, but flight attendants are not obligated to deal with your luggage. I often got asked to stow passengers’ bags and even had luggage shoved into my arms at times.
When you’re packing your carry-on bags, keep in mind that you’re responsible for lifting them into the overhead bins. If your bag is too heavy for you to lift, that’s a sign that you need to repack and lighten the load. Flight attendants aren’t going to risk injury just to store your belongings.
Keep your luggage light and stow it in the overhead compartments upon boarding. Pro tip — set your suitcase on its side to allow for more space in the bins.
Luggage in a bin on a plane.Yuliia Chyzhevska | Dreamstime.com
Keep your seatbelt fastened
You’ll need to have your seatbelt on during takeoff and landing, but it’s a good idea to keep it fastened for the entire duration of the flight.
You never know when turbulence could hit, so it’s better to be buckled in and ready for any bumps that might occur.
Flight attendants often check to make sure people are buckled in when the seatbelt sign comes on. I always felt bad about waking passengers up to tell them to buckle their seatbelts. If you keep yours fastened for the flight, you can avoid being disturbed when resting.
This might sound obvious, but being polite can go a long way. Travel can be stressful exhausting, and tensions can run high for passengers and flight attendants alike. It’s important to be polite and respectful to staff and passengers when on board a plane.
There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable situation when trapped for hours thousands of feet in the air. Leave some room for empathy and patience when flying and remember that simple things like “please” and “thank you” can go a long way!
I had many positive experiences with passengers, but I also had some not-so-nice instances when fliers took their frustrations out on me. I was already exhausted and jet lagged, so the unpleasant attitudes made my work day so much worse.
There can certainly be some irritating situations when flying, including delays and more, but your flight attendant has no control over most of these things. Complaining to the crew won’t do anything but cause a scene.
Keep to your seating area
Airplane cabins are notorious for their limited space, and enduring hours in a confined seat can become quite uncomfortable. However, try to avoid putting your elbows or legs in the aisle, as tempting as it can be.
Not only could other passengers trip over your limbs, but you could get hit with one of the food and drink trolleys. It’s almost impossible for flight attendants to see over the top of the trolley, so if your foot or elbow is in the aisle, there’s a good chance they won’t notice it.
To avoid some pain, try to keep to your designated seating area. If you need to stretch, get up and walk around the cabin. You can also book a seat with extra leg room or check if one is available before the flight, should you need more space.
Interior of plane.Kasto80 | Dreamstime.com
Raise your seat during meals
If your flight includes a meal, be sure to raise your seat to the upright position during the service. It’s a polite courtesy to the passenger behind you so that they have room for their tray table. You can always recline your seat again once the meal is over.
Use the bathroom between services
If nature calls, you’ve got to answer, but if it’s not an emergency, consider holding off until the services are finished before making a restroom visit.
Passengers trying to get up and down the aisle while flight attendants are serving food and drinks is disruptive. The flight attendants will have to move their trolleys in order to let you through, so it’s best to wait to use the bathroom until they are finished and back in the galley.
Remain seated until the plane is parked
There was at least one person on every flight who leaped out of their seat and started opening bins and grabbing their stuff as soon as the wheels touched the ground.
While it’s tempting to get off the plane as soon as possible, this is disruptive and actually dangerous to yourself and other passengers around you.
If the plane makes a sudden stop or turn, you and any baggage in an open compartment could fall onto the passengers below. For this reason, wait until the plane is parked and the seatbelt sign is off to get your things. Trust me, you won’t save much time trying to get out before everyone else.
Be cognizant of smells
If you want to be the best passenger, something as simple as keeping your shoes on can make a significant difference. I have smelled the results of someone kicking off their shoes, and it was so unpleasant that it is still burned into my mind.
No one, passengers or crew, wants to smell your feet, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes that you can leave on for the duration of the flight.
I’ve also witnessed the unfortunate smell of a passenger who was clearly on a long backpacking trek and hadn’t showered in, well, who knows how long. I tried to discreetly move the passengers around him to different seats to save them from a long and smelly flight. So, if you’ve been out on a sweaty adventure, be sure to clean up before you board.
The same can be said for strong perfumes. No one wants to be engulfed by an overwhelming smell, good or bad, for hours, so be conservative when applying perfumed products.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media. Travelling soon? There are a few things to keep in mind that will make you a standout passenger when it comes to flying. I worked as a flight…