Words by Ben Stower
Barber, dentist and flight attendant: three people whose bad sides you definitely should not fall on. Especially when the third is someone you'll be calling on for assistance during a 10-hour-plus flight.
These days what happens on the plane also doesn't stay on the plane, with many flight attendants writing confessional blogs such as Rants of a Sassy Stew. There are even passenger shaming websites and social media pages.
For the sake of staying off these blogs and lists, and to just be an all-round decent human, here are some ways to better treat your flight attendant.
Flight attendants are ready to help, not serve (Image: Getty)
Keep Your Shoes On
Everyone's feet swell at altitude, yet only some of us feel the need to air out our toes mid flight.
Shawn Kathleen, creator of hit blog Rants of a Sassy Stew, highlights bare feet as her pet peeve. "I don't get how it's possible that someone would take off their shoes and socks – shoes are okay; we want you to be comfy – but I don't understand how a person thinks bare feet are okay."
Most flight attendants would agree. The sight of bare feet – toenails, hairy tops, cracked skin – is not acceptable on other public transport such as buses and trains, so why planes?
If you're uncomfortable, invest in a different pair of shoes for flying. They even sell slippers for air travel now, which you can swap out for a more formal pair once you land.
Remember, You're Not Flying Alone
Anyone who's worked in customer service will recognise that look of delusional entitlement and the obnoxious requests that are certain to accompany it.
These types forget flight attendants usually have 50-plus passengers to assist, not one. This needy and narcissistic mentality, believing you're the main priority, will not result in a pleasant flight for anyone.
Be patient when ordering food and drinks; acknowledge that flight attendants have no control over flight length; and don't expect the personal level of service reserved for Business and First Class passengers when you're flying Economy.
Treat yourself as well. Tips To Make Business Travel More (Personally) Rewarding
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Showing respect begins at check-in (Image: Getty)
Stow The Unwanted Flirting
There's nothing wrong with some mutual flirtatious banter. It's when you start dusting off the one-liners to an attendant who just wants you to take the cup of water so he/she can continue their job that you might need to reassess your cruising altitude.
Unfortunately for the attendant, this isn't a bar with a quick exit; your unwanted flirting will still be there the next time they come around.
For the most part it isn't desired or complimentary as one flight attendant's anonymous confession on Whisper attests: "No I’m not flirting with you and no, I do not want to join the 'mile high club'. I’m just doing my job."
Save them the annoyance and yourself the embarrassment.
At the end of the day, flight attendants are performing a job and should be treated with respect. The sex object created by television media and advertising is a facade that continues to diminish the role and importance of attendants.
That role includes offering support to troubled flyers, keeping order in the cabin and maintaining the safety of all passengers – something most of us would struggle to achieve.
For many flight attendants, the glamour we assume they enjoy every day can be tough to find. "The fact is nothing I do is very sexy. Clearing out other people's trash, cleaning up vomit – what's sexy about that?" said Heather Poole, writer of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.
So next time you're flying, offer a smile instead of expecting one and remember that flight attendants provide much more than just someone to fetch you another drink.
With the right attitude, every flight will be enjoyable for all invovled (Image: Getty)