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Are You One of Flight Attendants’ Top-10 Peeves?

Are You One of Flight Attendants’ Top-10 Peeves?

Happy holidays?

Not so much if you’re one of the 42 million travelers who will squeeze their way through the country’s overtaxed commercial transportation system over the holidays.

Flights are full, lines long, and tempers short.

Like road rage, air rage turns normally mild-mannered Clark Kents into unhinged Superjerks.

While any mention of air rage typically conjures images of wild-eyed airline passengers whose inner crackpots are finally unleashed by the stress and indignities that today fairly define air travel, the syndrome is not confined to travel consumers.

Air rage is a two-way street. And on the other side of that street are the airline employees and other workers who make it possible for the teeming hordes to fly home for Christmas and get back in time to resume work post-New Year’s.

They’re stressed out, too. And their customers’ rage can only exacerbate their own, creating a vicious cycle of ever-escalating tempers.

What’s buggin’ them? A recent survey of more than 700 flight attendants from 85 countries by Skyscanner.com, a U.K.-based travel site, lists their top-10 peeves as follows:

  • Clicking fingers to get attention (26%)
  • Leaving seat before the light goes off (13%)
  • Stuffing too many bags into overhead locker (11%)
  • Complaining there’s no space for bags in the locker (10%)
  • Talking through the safety demo (9%)
  • Asking for more blankets/pillows (8%)
  • Stuffing rubbish in the seat pocket (7%)
  • Asking for a different meal (6%)
  • Ringing the attendant bell to complain about temperature (6%)
  • Asking for a specific brand of drink (4%)

As a former airline employee and longtime business traveler, my natural sympathies are divided. But it’s hard not to find resonance in the comments that follow the survey report, which are overwhelmingly from travelers who find the flight attendants’ gripes petty and unprofessional.

As John of York opined, “It’s a shame that these so-called ‘service providers’ find the actual needs of passengers so annoying. They should realize that what might seem a normal procedure to them might be annoying or stressful to an infrequent flyer. We pay their salaries and are not sheep to be herded.”

The picture that emerges is of two irreconcilable groups locked in a grim struggle to advance their incompatible interests while maintaining a modicum of composure. With such a combustible mix, there are bound to be flare-ups.

During the holiday crush, flyers on both sides of the serving cart will be chanting the same mantra, less “We wish you a merry Christmas,” more “Can’t we all just get along?”

Reader Reality Check

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  • donna538

    Now why is it not alright to:Asking for a different meal (6%)
    Ringing the attendant bell to complain about temperature (6%)
    Asking for a specific brand of drink (4%)

    As much as people pay to fly these 3 items, shouldn’t bother the flight attendants.
     
    Why don’t they have a separate area for the demo material and the flight attendants carryons? If you are seated near the front of the plane, the flight attendants have all their stuff in the over head bins of the first few rows.

    And what is wrong with asking for a specific brand of drink, especially since we have to pay for it.

    And as far as talking through the safety video, I have seen more flight attendants and pilots (assume they are non-reving in uniform) doing this more than reg paying passengers. But they are correct. If you can’t whisper to your seat mate, keep your trap shut, other people are listening.

    And for the life of me, why are they still showing you how to put on a seat belt? If you don’t know how to do that by now, you shouldn’t be allowed on a plane!

    Now most flight attendants are great, there are only a few that can make a flight unpleasant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edgar.numrich Edgar Numrich

    Had this report been written by someone other than Tim, I’d have said it’s an early April Fools’ joke.  Taken as true, a lot of flight attendants are in the wrong business if this list is as bad off as they have it.

    Taking just the top item, in 60 years of commercial flying, not once has anyone snapping fingers to get attention been observed. 

    But then, I’ve little occasion to fly in or out of Washington DC.

  • donna538

    Now why is it not alright to:Asking for a different meal (6%)
    Ringing the attendant bell to complain about temperature (6%)
    Asking for a specific brand of drink (4%)

    As much as people pay to fly these 3 items, shouldn’t bother the flight attendants.
     
    Why don’t they have a separate area for the demo material and the flight attendants carryons? If you are seated near the front of the plane, the flight attendants have all their stuff in the over head bins of the first few rows.

    And what is wrong with asking for a specific brand of drink, especially since we have to pay for it.

    And as far as talking through the safety video, I have seen more flight attendants and pilots (assume they are non-reving in uniform) doing this more than reg paying passengers. But they are correct. If you can’t whisper to your seat mate, keep your trap shut, other people are listening.

    And for the life of me, why are they still showing you how to put on a seat belt? If you don’t know how to do that by now, you shouldn’t be allowed on a plane!

    Now most flight attendants are great, there are only a few that can make a flight unpleasant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edgar.numrich Edgar Numrich

    Had this report been written by someone other than Tim, I’d have said it’s an early April Fools’ joke.  Taken as true, a lot of flight attendants are in the wrong business if this list is as bad off as they have it.

    Taking just the top item, in 60 years of commercial flying, not once has anyone snapping fingers to get attention been observed. 

    But then, I’ve little occasion to fly in or out of Washington DC.

  • http://twitter.com/nowhere85grad Greg Badovinac

    What about flight attendants who press customers to move the boarding process faster to get off on-time when the plane arrived late? That is not our fault but you are “bitchin’ and moanin’” to us as if our fault.

  • http://twitter.com/nowhere85grad Greg Badovinac

    What about flight attendants who press customers to move the boarding process faster to get off on-time when the plane arrived late? That is not our fault but you are “bitchin’ and moanin’” to us as if our fault.

  • Linda Muncaster

    It is often far too cold on many airlines especially Transatlantic. One should not have to keep one’s coat on for over 11 hours. I’ve been told repeatedly the temperature is controlled from the cockpit but let’s face it there’s many of them in a very tiny space. When numerous passengers are complaining about being too cold, then something needs to be done about it.

  • Linda Muncaster

    It is often far too cold on many airlines especially Transatlantic. One should not have to keep one’s coat on for over 11 hours. I’ve been told repeatedly the temperature is controlled from the cockpit but let’s face it there’s many of them in a very tiny space. When numerous passengers are complaining about being too cold, then something needs to be done about it.

  • Ralphie5

    Who’s the customer?

  • Ralphie5

    Who’s the customer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    A very nice experience with United:  We arrived at MCO on Christmas Day for our flight home to California.  UA informed us that there were weather problems with the inbound plane and we would not make our connection at IAH.  They had already rebooked us on Delta and we had plenty of time to trudge over there and check our luggage.  An hour after all this, I realized that my OnePass account (I forget what UA calls it) would be short for elite qualification without this last leg of the trip.  I flagged down a UA guy and he told me just to call and the service center would take care of it, I should use his name if problems.  I thought ahhhhhhhhh, OK, that will be an hour on the phone and a big fight.  Today I called Houston and as soon as she understood that we had been involuntarily re-routed, she arranged for the miles to be credited to my account … in 7 to 10 days.  We were very impressed by all the UA people we dealt with.   If there’s a problem, it will be too late to make a mileage run, so I have to believe it will work.  I think that UA will honor their commitment to me … I would raise an unbearable fuss if I weren’t elite next year, I might even switch loyalty plans and I’ve been flying Continental since I was old enough to have a credit card.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    A very nice experience with United:  We arrived at MCO on Christmas Day for our flight home to California.  UA informed us that there were weather problems with the inbound plane and we would not make our connection at IAH.  They had already rebooked us on Delta and we had plenty of time to trudge over there and check our luggage.  An hour after all this, I realized that my OnePass account (I forget what UA calls it) would be short for elite qualification without this last leg of the trip.  I flagged down a UA guy and he told me just to call and the service center would take care of it, I should use his name if problems.  I thought ahhhhhhhhh, OK, that will be an hour on the phone and a big fight.  Today I called Houston and as soon as she understood that we had been involuntarily re-routed, she arranged for the miles to be credited to my account … in 7 to 10 days.  We were very impressed by all the UA people we dealt with.   If there’s a problem, it will be too late to make a mileage run, so I have to believe it will work.  I think that UA will honor their commitment to me … I would raise an unbearable fuss if I weren’t elite next year, I might even switch loyalty plans and I’ve been flying Continental since I was old enough to have a credit card.

  • TheAncientAviator

    It all changed when the announcements started saying the FAs were there for safety. The reality is, based on history, less than 0.03% of a FA’s career is occupied with a safety issue and 99.97% should be occupied with pleasing (or at least not being spiteful) to the passengers that result in continued employment.

  • TheAncientAviator

    It all changed when the announcements started saying the FAs were there for safety. The reality is, based on history, less than 0.03% of a FA’s career is occupied with a safety issue and 99.97% should be occupied with pleasing (or at least not being spiteful) to the passengers that result in continued employment.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZFLP6ZI2ZXDSZAK7LRNX7HBGBM LordKenT

    “Stuffing Rubbish in The Seat Pocket”  So what is the option

    1] The Floor
    2] Calling FA to Remove it
    3] Eating it

    I Travel without Hand Baggage and my jacket is stored so I have no option if no disposal facilties are provided.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZFLP6ZI2ZXDSZAK7LRNX7HBGBM LordKenT

    “Stuffing Rubbish in The Seat Pocket”  So what is the option

    1] The Floor
    2] Calling FA to Remove it
    3] Eating it

    I Travel without Hand Baggage and my jacket is stored so I have no option if no disposal facilties are provided.

  • gary clark

    If they get rid of carry-ons all together that would eliminate 21% of the complaints listed, and make boarding so much faster.
    At least enforce the sizing, I would think tehy have a vested interest in this where they charge for the checked baggage.
    Air france knows how to keep me from complaining, keep the cheap red wine coming.

  • gary clark

    If they get rid of carry-ons all together that would eliminate 21% of the complaints listed, and make boarding so much faster.
    At least enforce the sizing, I would think tehy have a vested interest in this where they charge for the checked baggage.
    Air france knows how to keep me from complaining, keep the cheap red wine coming.

  • donna538

    On every flight the flight attendants come around with a bag to collect trash. Is it that difficult to put your trash in the bag?

  • donna538

    On every flight the flight attendants come around with a bag to collect trash. Is it that difficult to put your trash in the bag?

  • James C. Maxwell

    You’re a tard. What is so difficult for waiting a few minutes for an attendant to come by with a trash bag, which happens several times during even a short flight? (You may wish to attempt to learn how to capitalize, as well.)