Letter of Apology to the flying public, from flight attendants

Photo taken by myselfImage via Wikipedia

This is a touching letter, from a flight attendant’s perspective, which was first published on Airliners.net. We felt compelled to share it.

To the Flying Public: We’re sorry

We’re sorry we have no pillows.
We’re sorry we’re out of blankets.
We’re sorry the airplane is too cold.
We’re sorry the airplane is too hot.
We’re sorry the overhead bins are full.
We’re sorry we have no closet space for your oversized bag.
We’re sorry that’s not the seat you wanted.
We’re sorry there’s a restless toddler/overweight/offensive smelling passenger seated next to you.
We’re sorry the plane is full and there are no other seats available.
We’re sorry you didn’t get your upgrade.
We’re sorry that guy makes you uncomfortable because he looks like a terrorist.
We’re sorry there’s a thunderstorm and we can’t take off.
We’re sorry we don’t know when it will stop.
We’re sorry you’re crammed into a space so small that if you were an animal PETA would protest.
We’re sorry our plane has no music or video entertainment for your 3-hour flight.
We’re sorry we ran out of your favorite soda.
We’re sorry there are no more sandwiches.
We’re sorry that Budweiser costs $6.
We’re sorry we don’t have diapers for your baby.
We’re sorry we don’t have milk for the same baby.
We’re sorry you can’t hang out by the cockpit door waiting to use the bathroom.
We’re sorry you can’t hang out at the back of the airplane.
We’re sorry you have to sit down and fasten your seatbelt.
We’re sorry you have to put your seat up for landing.
We’re sorry we don’t know when we’re going to land.
We’re sorry we don’t know whether your plane to (substitute any city in the world) will be waiting for you when we land.
We’re sorry we’ve been diverted because we ran out of gas waiting to land.
We’re sorry for these and so many other things that we have absolutely no control over but which we are held accountable for EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Please understand. Flight attendants are not the enemy. We share your space. More than anyone – we want to have a nice, pleasant travel experience.

There is a reason behind everything we ask you to do. It may be a FAA directive. It may be security related. It may be a company procedure.

We don’t just make stuff up. We don’t spend 8 weeks at the flight academy learning how to pour a Coke. There are many things that flight attendants are watching for constantly on every flight FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s not because we’re bored or so controlling that we just enjoy telling people what to do. I, for one, would like to have one flight where I didn’t have to repeatedly tell people to put their seats up for landing. Seriously. Can’t you just do what we ask sometimes? Without the glares, eye rolling and disdain? For the record – putting your seat up for landing may not seem that important to your personal safety. However, it is very important for the person sitting BEHIND YOU. If you have ever tried to get out of a row where someone has their seat back you know it can be a challenge. Try grabbing your ankles (emergency brace position) or getting out of that row quickly with smoke in the cabin.

Understand a little better now?

Many of the things we ask passengers to comply with are FAA directives. Like carry-on bag stowage and exit row requirements. When we can serve drinks (in the air) and when we can’t (after the aircraft door is closed or on an active taxi-way). We are only allowed to move about the cabin during taxi out for safety related duties. We can’t get you blankets, or hang coats, or get you drinks. It’s not because we don’t want to. It’s because we are held personally responsible if we fail to comply with FAA directives. Meaning that the FAA can fine us personally up to $10,000 if we fail to comply or enforce an FAA Directive.

Like no bags at the bulkhead. No children in the exit row. No one moving around the cabin during taxi. Perhaps now you know why flight attendants get a little testy when people move about the cabin when they’re not supposed to. It’s not the company that gets in trouble for that. It’s us.

Personally, I wish airlines would show worst-case scenario safety videos. Like what happens if you walk through the cabin during turbulence. There could be a guy who has just fallen and smacked his face on the metal armrest and now has a bloody, gushing broken nose. Or an elderly lady who now has a broken arm because someone walking to the bathroom fell on her.

Maybe a passenger with a broken neck because somebody opened an overhead bin during turbulence and a suitcase fell out and onto the person sitting beneath it. These things can easily happen in a fast moving, unstable air environment.

Please just trust that we are looking out for your best interest and stop fighting with us about everything we ask you to do. It is exhausting.

Finally, please, please direct your hostility and frustrations in the direction where they will be most effective: The customer service department. They are the ones equipped to handle your complaint and implement procedures for CHANGE.

Think about it. Complaining to the flight crew about all your negative travel experiences is about the same as complaining to the office janitor because your computer isn’t working. It may make you feel better to vent about it – but it really won’t fix anything. More than anybody we are already aware of the lack of amenities, food, service and comfort on the aircraft. Please share your concerns with the people in the cubicles at corporate who need that information to make better decisions for the flying public.

It’s frustrating that so many people are in denial about what the travel industry is about now. The glory days of pillows, blankets, magazines and a hot meal for everyone are long gone. Our job is to get you from point A to point B safely and at the cheapest possible cost to you and the company. So be prepared. If you are hungry – get a sandwich before you get on the plane.

If it’s a 3 hour flight, anticipate that you may get hungry and bring some snacks. If you are prone to being cold – bring a wrap. Think for yourself and think ahead. Otherwise, don’t complain when you have to pay $3 for a cookie and are left with a crusty blanket to keep you warm.

We hear often that the service just isn’t what is used to be. Well, the SERVICE we provide now isn’t what it used to be. When I was hired, my job was to serve drinks, meals, ensure that safety requirements were met and tend to in-flight medical issues.

Since 9/11 my primary job is to ensure that my airplane will not be compromised by a terrorist. 9/11 may be a distant memory now to many, but be assured that EVERY DAY a flight attendant reports to work he or she is constantly thinking about 9/11. We feel a personal responsibility to ensure that something like that never happens again. We can never relax. We can never not be suspicious about someone’s intentions.

It is difficult to be vigilant and gregarious at the same time. Especially when most of us are working 12 hour days after layovers that only allow 5-6 hours of sleep. Not because we were out partying and having a grand time on the layover – but because the delays that you experience as a passenger also affect us as a crew, so that what was a 10 hour layover is now 8 hours which doesn’t leave a lot of time to recover from what has become an increasingly stressful occupation.

Despite everything, I still enjoy being a flight attendant.

I am writing this letter because I do still care about my profession and about the public perception of flight attendants. In the increasingly challenging travel world it is becoming more imperative than ever for people to just be decent to each other. I can go through an entire day without one person saying anything remotely civil. I will stand at the aircraft door and say hello to everyone who enters and maybe 50% will even look at me and even fewer will say hello back.

I will try to serve someone a meal who can’t be bothered to take their headsets off long enough for me to ask them what they want. Most of the time the only conversation a passenger has with me is when they are complaining.

Is it any wonder why flight attendants have shut down a bit? After suffering the disdain of hundreds of passengers a day it’s difficult sometimes to even smile, much less interact. We are human. We appreciate the same respect and courtesy that passengers do.

The next time you fly, try treating the flight attendants the way you would like to be treated. You may be surprised how friendly your flight crew is when they are treated like people.

Author – unknown

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 86 comments
  • ampgugu
    Reply

    A big round of applause to the flight attendant who wrote this…. I am a flight attendant too and she/he is so right about everything. I wish that it would have the right impact that we hope for on all flying passengers. Thanks for speaking up for us!!!!!

    • Jeff Binder
      Reply

      This such an incredibly aggressive, in-your-face post…how could you ever think it would have the “right impact?” The system is broken if you can’t even see that it’s not your passengers who are at fault, but the system itself…

      • Dean C
        Reply

        LOL, ok. Here’s an idea try following the last thing said, being nice. Apparently you are exhibit A in the article.

      • Shaye
        Reply

        Dude, I don’t know which flights you’ve been on, but the entitled, bitchy, can’t-do-anything-to-please-’em type seems to be on every one I take.

        And this isn’t aggressive. It’s blunt. There’s a difference.

      • Sandy Moore
        Reply

        If you read the entire article you will see that that is wht the article is conveying.

  • oussama
    Reply

    I agree with this a 100% and the biggest culprit is not the passenger but airline management who act as if they have no idea what the FAs primary duties are (the majority of them actually have no idea).
    I am not saying FAs are all perfect human beings but they try their best and they need our support
    http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/2009/08/angels… .

  • oussama
    Reply

    I agree with this a 100% and the biggest culprit is not the passenger but airline management who act as if they have no idea what the FAs primary duties are (the majority of them actually have no idea).
    I am not saying FAs are all perfect human beings but they try their best and they need our support
    http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/2009/08/angels… .

  • evelyn ferrer carlos
    Reply

    Well said! The exact sentiments of all Flight Attendants worldwide!

  • Carol J2
    Reply

    So, so true!! I too was once a flight attendant and relate to everything written.  I just wish everyone could take the time to read it. 

  • Clintgroves
    Reply

    Amen people! In my 32 years as an airline mechanic and maintenance foreman I have seen my share of passengers who pay no attention to cabin attendant instructions and think they are above the rules. I started flying with my parents in 1947 on an American Airlines DC3 and even through the early 1960s flying was still a luxury, people dressed up, seats were comfortable, food was good, and, God forbid, that FREE pack of four cigarettes on your food tray. I would NOT choose an airline career in this day and age and have a LOT of respect for those who do.

  • BF
    Reply

    Are you sorry that you and all the other flight attendants stood around in the galley gossiping for most of the flight, paying absolutely no attention to your passengers?  Are you sorry you told the first class passengers in the back of this section that you were “out of” the meal they requested and were then seen eating one of those meals yourself in the galley as I passed by to use the restroom?  I know you are not sorry for the rude tone you used in response to being asked to help a man with his arm in a cast to put his small bag overhead.  According to you, flight attendants might get hurt if they help put bags up.  Funny, I am an old woman with a back injury and I had no problem helping this man with his bag.  I know you are not sorry for that because other flight attendants help passengers with handicaps every day.  Most flight attendants are very kind and helpful but if you are having a bad day and can’t pretend you’re not…stay home!!!

    • Joshmack2010
      Reply

      BF – I am sorry you could not even print your name. Seems like you are one of those who never say hello to a FA or cares little about a FA. Seems like you are bitter about your life and job that you just like to complaint about your life to others. With regards to your comments the one requiring a comment is the one about carry-on luggage. If you cannot lift you must check. No FA should lift bags that are too heavy or too big. If someone is on crutches that person should check his/hers bag and have no expectations that anyone would lift his/her bags onboard. If you have a back problem and still lifting your bag and the bag of others, that is your problem. No FA insurance covers injury caused by lifting peoples bags. Therefore, if you are expecting any FA to lift passengers bags, you are dreaming. Since FA insurance does not cover injuries from lifting passengers bags, do not expect FA to lift your or anyone else bags for that matter. If you pack your bag you should be able to lift it, otherwise you should check your bags.

      • Guest
        Reply

        Sadly, the passengers are so afraid of missing their connecting flight that they will fight to the death anyone checking in a bag.

    • Switch_56
      Reply

      Perhaps the meal the FA was eating was a crew meal, and not in fact the business class meal which you think they stole.Perhaps the man with the broken arm was rude and non-compliant at boarding. Perhaps you’ve never been injured helping an old lady with her bag only to realize that she cant lift it because it weighs 150lbs. Then realize that your company will not pay for sick days, rehab/physio, but you still have to work thus making your injury worse. Perhaps you think we are standing in the galley for the entire flight, but you don’t see us helping a mother with her crying baby, helping a sick woman vomiting on the floor. Perhaps you don’t see us sewing a passengers button back on his shirt. You don’t see this because your fixated on your movie or snoring so loud the pax beside you are complaining to us. Perhaps the only reason an FA was/is rude to you is because when you boarded the flight you- rolled your eyes, not wanting to show your boarding pass, unwilling to stow your bags (which likely do not comply with FAA/MOT regulations), when asked which drink/meal you’d like,didn’t haven’t the decency to take out your earphones. 

      I doubt that your as lovely as can be while at work, every single day. Your likely the passenger who asks for coffee and assumes we know how you take it. Perhaps you should mind your own business instead of listening in on gossip, or conversations with other passengers. 

    • 5Star
      Reply

      It’s unfortunate that you’ve experienced some bad experiences inflight, but this letter of apology does state some very general cases that do happen inflight daily.  I was a flight attendant for an amazing airline (world’s top 3) for 5 years and have experienced all of the above with passengers.  There is not a flight where a passenger does not complain, and it is mostly on seat space and not being able to walk around or use the washroom during turbulance.  If they feel the seats are too snug, buy a business class or first class ticket, airlines can not accomodate everyone’s unique size.  Imagine repeating this to one customer after another…wouldn’t it make you feel annoyed some what? having passengers taking it out on you for something that is not in within their control? 

      Also, many passengers love to complain about flight delays…here’s a good tip: please take your assigned seats and stow your bag (please bring only 1 bag and not 2/person) and clear the aisle so other passengers can walk through (The airplane can not take off if everyone is not seated).

      As to helping passengers with their bags, I’m sure everyone will lend a hand to the old and fragile or disabled passengers.  It is unfortunate for you to witness the flight attendant to use a rude tone towards the man in the cast, but did you also witness how the man asked the flight attendant?  Was he rude to them to begin with?  Most people think its the flight attendant’s job to help put the bags up…its not.  

      You might carry a small bag, but 85% of the time, passengers stuff their bags with who knows what and it weighs a ton!  I actually hurt my back helping a passenger put up her bag…It’s been 3 years since the incident and I’m still in pain…Was it worth it for me? 

      And I’m sorry If flight attendants need to eat too.  Flight Attendants are also offered a meal. Most of the time, they even give out their own meals to passengers if they bring their own onboard.  Are you thankful? Do you know that only certain numbers of meals are loaded according to the number of passengers?  yes, the choice of meals they have is the same as yours, but it is THEIR meal.  If they give it away, what are they going to eat?

      Unless you are in the industry…you will not know what goes behind it.

      Have a nice day 🙂

      • Glenn
        Reply

        Flight Attendants share their meals with passengers even if they brought their own? Dubious assertion.

        You responded to a post about a specific incident, with generalities, and as if the flight attendants are being put out by attending to their passengers. I don’t think some vague claim about giving up a meal outweighs the fact that not providing assistance is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

        Some flight attendant allegedly missing a meal is something to take up with the employer for whom you chose to work, not an excuse you can make for something that happened on a different flight, with other different persons involved.

        It doesn’t work that way.

        • Shashank Nigam
          Reply

          approved

        • Shashank Nigam
          Reply

          approved

        • 1deltawoman
          Reply

          We are required to “assist” with bags, not LIFT them so take your Americans with Disabilities Act and think about it…more crew members get injured with back injuries for lifting passenger bags…if you can’t lift it? It’s NOT a carry on…sorry but as you so well said it “It doesn’t work that way”….

        • Banana
          Reply

          I do share my meals with passengers. Many of us do. It saves time (otherwise spent on fighting over a piece of frozen chicken). I like my drama free life a little better.
          (PS. Aircraft food shoud be eaten only in I’m-so-hungry-I’m-gonna-die situations. )

    • Aaron Loy
      Reply

      This article doesn’t say that they’re not perfect.

      Just making sure fault and credit is given where it’s due.But I guess it’s because you’re an old woman. No wait, aren’t you supposed to be understanding and empathetic?

    • 1deltawoman
      Reply

      Maybe you don’t realize it but we are not required to give our CREW meals to FC passengers just because we ran out of your choice…next time bring your own food if a meal choice is THAT important!

    • Flight Line
      Reply

      shut the fuck up

    • Urvashi Solanki
      Reply

      You gotta be kiddin me.. we infact give out our “crew meal” to passenger as well if we are short of that meal choice.. which is again not our fault.. its basically because that choice must have been popular on that flight and everybody wants it or must have been caterers fault.. whatever it is.. if you really feel bad to see that crew eating in the galley and saying its not available to YOU. then next time you can always book your ‘special meal” while booking your ticket! Or ask the crew to keep your meal aside after boarding is done. Secondly… bravo if you can help other passengers to keep the bags in the overhead lockers.. or must have seen other airline crew helping with the same.. but let me tell you one thing.. we have been trained to take care of your safety and security as well as fulfill your needs throughout the flight as much as we can. Yes we do definitely help the needy passengers always but that doesnt mean we should help all the able bodied passengers.. we are not loaders on board ! even we are human being.. n being a lady how can anybody ask another lady to help with such huge stone filled cabin bag !. why not reduce the weight of your bag and carry that much as you can put in the overhead locker by yourself or rather simply check-in in cargo ! choice is yours 🙂 with all due respect understand us and fly happily !

    • John
      Reply

      Lifting ONE bag at ONE occasion may not be tough but try doing it over and over again and then have an opinion.

      • luieua
        Reply

        Passengers just don’t realize that this is not the only flight we’ve worked. Most of us work multiple flights every day and we’re on three to six days on at time, which are all full. We cannot be expected to lift bags on every flight every day. That’s why the airlines have baggage handlers. Speaking for myself if you’re not really old or pregnant lift your own bag and even then you should check it in, it’s free at the gate.

    • MudzaffarShan
      Reply

      Wow.. you helped ONE person with ONE bag and you expect what? A reward? A medal? Some form of recognition? Pffft! If we start carrying ONE bag, all 200 passengers will expect us to carry THEIR bags.. multiply by the amount of flights we have a month multiply with the sectors, when will it stop? Go figure..BF

    • Tracy G
      Reply

      You have no idea what you are talking about. It is very ignorant. Maybe you should seek alternative transportation. Good Luck and God Bless you, I hope God can help you with your bitterness.

    • Kelly Oldham
      Reply

      No doubt you will get a response from an airline employee or their momma declaring the difficulty of their job, implying that you just don’t understand. You stated your case well and I have no doubt those you complain about will find a way of insulting you and will not receive your feed back in a constructive manner. The good ones will always try to do a better job.

    • Glen Lee Adkins
      Reply

      You are an idiot

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well said!!!! Even back in the 70’s and 80’s we had to go through the same thing….It is not easy being a flight attendant!!!! I did it for 30 years and I don’t know how I survived, but I did it!!!!   Thank you for this article…maybe passengers will now get a better idea of what we f/a’s have to go through!

  • masterwordsmith
    Reply

    Thank you for taking the time and effort for such a beautifully and sensitively written piece that opens a window for us to see things from a different perspective. 

    *Clapping

    God bless you and all in the flying industry. 

  • Fiji_kid70
    Reply

    I wish this could be posted in the lavs on board the aircraft……safety is the MAIN reason why were are there. 

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

    • Shashank Nigam
      Reply

      approval

    • Shashank Nigam
      Reply

      approval

    • Zoe Cheng
      Reply

      Go ahead to be bitter. Afterall, you are the only one who was upset. I am sure no one, read carefully, on one mean to dump you in another city over 100 miles away, and surely you were not the only one. You are just unlucky! That is it. Flight attendent also got diverted to middle of no where, no clothes, no meal, no water and still have to take care passenger, to listen to their complaint, to apology altho it is not there fault at all.

      Do you have a job? have you ever complaint your job? If you do, remember: “if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.”

      Well done, hope you get a new job soon

    • Flight Line
      Reply

      DIDN’T YOU READ!!! ADDRESS THIS TO SOMEONE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE- SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY CARES!!

    • Andrei
      Reply

      Comme on… The letter was very clear what you are supposed to do with your complaints. Again you are doing the same thing, complaining about your diverted flight 100 miles+ to a flight attendant. Now, leaving aside all the frustration and thinking clear and mature…how do you think the flight flight attendants are could be responsible for this? Or how can they help you with this? Can u please be more specific?

    • southernbelle
      Reply

      Are you joking? Sir, ill tell you something. YOU, the traveling public, DID put your flight attendant in the position of being responsible for your security and safety the moment you step on the plane. You accepted us in our role as the last line of defense against a terrorist attack, and you’ve allowed us to be solely responsible for your safety until you step off that plane. If you dont like it. DRIVE.

      Flight attendants take 9/11 seriously. Wether you notice it or not, there are so many more elaborate protocols and extra steps we take to ensure nothing like that will ever happen.

      Oh and we are thoroughly trained in security. Much more I believe than a 78 year old Wal-Mart greeter. And if you truly believe that I cant believe that you ever fly. Youre either fearless or incredibly ignorant to the risks of flying.

    • lindy
      Reply

      Glenn: Go f*** yourself and never ever set your foot in an Aircraft! You are so ignorant and Clueless. WE ARE infact responsible for YOUR safety so just deal with it and comply with the regulations. It is not THAT difficult to put your traytable up,fasten your seatbelt and put your handluggage away from the EMC exits or the aisle, even a monkey could do that….

    • Marina Sanders
      Reply

      …You should be using the Grayhound anyway

    • Tinwoods
      Reply

      Glenn, something tells me that you are the kind of arrogant, self-entitled passenger this FA is writing about.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

  • Glenn
    Reply

    Oh come on, you had me until 9/11.

    Having air hostesses/stewardesses/flight attendants be responsible for security is as stupid and greedy as having a 78 year old minimum wage Wal-Mart greeter do secutirity tasks that entail risk that trained security personnel are not only trained to do; capable of doing; but also costs the business more to provide.

    Us, the travelling public did NOT put you in this position, and if you have a problem with the conditions and responsibilities that come with the job, get a different one, or address your concerns with your employer.

    Don’t be surprised when I complain that flight I can barely afford dumps me in another city over 100 miles away, and with no time to catch my connection, costing me more for the airline’s unwillingness to ACTUALLY DELIVER ME TO A SPECIFIC PLACE (fine print, airlines are not responsible for taking you to a specific location) than for the original ticket purchase.

    People get testy while traveling anyway, don’t blame the passengers or the terrorists for your work conditions. Take it up with your employer.

  • Daniel Dickey
    Reply

    Wait, so you’re not giving me my peanuts?

    And yes, well put.

  • Daniel Dickey
    Reply

    Wait, so you’re not giving me my peanuts?

    And yes, well put.

  • Daniel Dickey
    Reply

    Wait, so you’re not giving me my peanuts?

    And yes, well put.

  • erica
    Reply

    Its always easy to comment negatively on something you don’t know about you only see the outside,you don’t know that when the FAs got on the plane, there were no more club sodas and because we don’t get catered everywhere we land there will be none fir the flight, or that the flight is full and now the lav in the back no longer wants to work on this 3 hour flight, or we had to use a crew meal because catering didn’t put enough on. And now the 3 hour flight will be longer because there is weather, now the time you were going to be home to be with you family has changed and you have no idea when you will be

  • h
    Reply

    I was a flight attendant for 2 years for a charter airline. Worst experience of my life. I mean, I realized that instead of complaining about it I had to get an exit strategy; transitioned to non-profit, loved it, and haven’t looked back since. But then again, the company I worked for was crappy. But I could only remain there for as long as I allowed myself to believe that that was what I deserved. One thing I can say is that I never really thought about 9/11 at all, I was never fearful, because I understand that the real terrorists are in this very country. I flew them around the world, they’re called the military (actually they’re just pawns in the game)! Some of them were cool though. But as an evolved being I just couldn’t allow myself to get paid to be degraded by my company and to support a war. I would never go back,and to endure what you do, I’d have to question your mental health. You know what the definition of insanity is right?

  • Cindy Crossman
    Reply

    We fly Southwest monthly. We have never had any problems. Your job is like other service jobs in that people are so CRAZY at times. Unfortunatly you can’t ask them to leave the store/restaurant, etc. The airlines should supply you with business cards that have the customer service contact information on it. Nine times out of ten I bet they don’t contact the department. They just need to BITCH. I believe they were denied basic attention as children and demand it from you. Also I can predict with almost 100% success, which passingers will unbuckle their seat belt before you stop. It’s always a man, 20 – 39 years old who has a computer on his lap and is dressed in a polo shirt. He believes that he is too cool and special to abide by the rules. When I watch him unbuckle it aways brings a smile to my face as I keep that 100% intact.

  • Karen Pawlak
    Reply

    Amen!

  • BCNya
    Reply

    Seven years as a flight attendant taught me many things about the travel industry, the traveling public, and about flight crews. The truth is, flight attendants see hundreds of passengers a day and encounter identical passenger situations too many times to count. Being entirely “peopled-out” at the end of a long day is typical. Still, a dedicated flight crew member reminds himself or herself that to each passenger, this flight is a fresh experience and you are the new crew. Too many flight attendants are exhausted by the end of the day and turn surly. I was embarrassed by that as a crew member and resent it now as a passenger–a customer with many different choices of carriers who sometimes wishes I had chosen differently.

  • DJ
    Reply

    Gee, where to start…. Glenn, if you had to apologize as many times as a flight attendant does for the inadequacies of provisions for what ever reason – regardless of how much you actually LOVE your job. All the writer was saying is, IS, “Please, just don’t BLAME the person who has NO control!!”. Cindy – keep flying Southwest – no complaints from those of us working at other carriers, but, invariably, you WILL have one or more of these experiences. Don’t you watch “Airline”?? 😉 Or, are you saying it is just those passengers filmed who have problems?

    And finally people, would you REALLY attempt to, or, encourage your children to sleep on the floor of your moving vehicle on the highway? Then why in God’s creation would you EVER allow this to happen in a pressurized tube flying roughly 8-10 times FASTER on a “track” that has no warning signs of bumps ahead?? Your seat belt is to be worn at ALL times, even when the sign is OFF. It is only off to allow you to get up and go to the restroom or stretch, get items from the overhead bins – especially if you didn’t have enough foresight to place what you would need after take-off underneath the seat in front of you (IF you weren’t in a bulkhead row to begin with).

  • Paul
    Reply

    Cry me a river. “Safety” is BALONEY. You are there PRIMARILY to PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYER’S INTERESTS.

    ALL jobs that require a person to interact with the public are “tough” jobs. Quit whining or get another job. And do the one you have, better.

    Paul

  • Marcia
    Reply

    If you think your job is tough, try teaching middle school.

  • Tammy
    Reply

    Glen, not necessary to post again and again. We get that you just don’t get it!

  • Beth
    Reply

    As a retired Flight Attendant, I concur with what is said in this article. Except, I don’t think we/you need to apologize for every little thing. It’s almost a knee jerk reaction.

    Once upon a time the flying public was more sophisticated then they are now. They realized that stuff happens that is beyond the Crews or the airline’s control. I say learn to go with the flow, it makes everyone’s day easiler, including your own. Ask yourself will this matter to me in 5 years, 2 years, 5 days??

  • Renee'
    Reply

    I just wish that this could be mass produced so that the letter could be given to each and every passenger. All passengers take it personal when we ASK them to do things that are FAA directives but then they don’t understand why we get mad when they don’t listen after being asked 2 or 3 times. The worse part is, when we have to call a gate agent, then you want to hide and seek with the cell phone, now you want to put up the bag we asked you to put away…… if it is that much of a problem to listen to directions, then drive! You can text and drive (pay your own ticket if you are caught), you can have a drink anytime during the drive, you can stop the drive to go pee anytime you want, you can stop at the gas station for whatever snacks you want, you can control the air to the entire car, and you can take your time making you as late as you want!

  • Will
    Reply

    Lol flight attendants have it easy “50% of people won’t look at me” :'( try working at mcdonalds or someplace else where 100% of people will look at you but then instantly believe you’re a piece of shit

  • Inexs
    Reply

    Its your job to put up with difficult customers. Step up and take responsibility for your clients – flying is a customer service based industry just like hotels, restaurants, retail and the like. We would love to work in a Utopian world where all customers are nice and compliant. Reality is….

    I wish too all my hotel guests are the lovely nice people in the world – reality is they are not. Most are but some are not. But we deal with it and we don’t complain to our customers to be nicer. We work harder instead and delivering the service our guests epxect, particularly to those who are difficult.

    Flight attendants – direct your frustrations about difficult passengers to the your employer and leave the rest of us nice compliant well mannered passengers out of your generalizations. Some of us do understand why you do what you do, so take time to appreciate those of us who do.

    • Dean C
      Reply

      Actually it is not anyone’s job in any profession to put up with rude, bad people. Where do you work? Post that, let’s see how long you’d tolerate a “customer” treating you anyway they seem to think they have a right to speak and treat you. People like you crack me up, You think you treat others anyway you want under the guise of being a “customer” but would pitch a fit if anyone talked to you like that at your own job.

      Here’s an idea: If you can’t be civil in public, stay the hell home!

  • Kayla
    Reply

    I used to work for an airline for over 6 years in an operational environment and have travelled around quite a bit with various airlines. I guess the article is telling us folks to walk in another person’s shoes, be kind, try to understand another person’s perspective etc. I have seen my fair share of nasty and downright annoying passengers. But I’ve also seen some really rude and obnoxious behavior by flight attendants. I know passengers shouldn’t be rude, carry oversize baggage and be more patient. But the fact of the matter is that this is your job. The same thing you get paid to do. Thus you get training at ground school for weeks and weeks prior to being cleared to fly. Yes in an ideal world people would be nice, kind and complient. But this is not a perfect world, so perhaps if this is all too much then go find another job that’s more suitable to your skills.
    In saying this, to all the amazing crew who I know are simply brilliant and have helped me out and made my air travel a delight, keep up the awesome work. Christmas time can be a nightmare sometimes with bad weather, delays and missing important family occasions! X

  • tempotango
    Reply

    Don’t you get paid well enough not to complain. If you have to write this down, please get a new job.

    • Ian Pigales
      Reply

      Get a new job? When was the last time you even had a real job? Or if you happen to have a job, we can assume everything is sunshine, unicorns that fart multi-colored glitter and, oh of course, you never complain when the unicorn accidentally fires a brownie bomb in with that pixie dust. L O S E R!

  • Suraj
    Reply

    So true. Bravo!!!

  • MudzaffarShan
    Reply

    Wow.. you helped ONE person with ONE bag and you expect what? A reward? A medal? Some form of recognition? Pffft! If we start carrying ONE bag, all 200 passengers will expect us to carry THEIR bags.. multiply by the amount of flights we have a month multiply with the sectors, when will it stop? Go figure..

  • Srek Ashraff
    Reply

    Everything said was at the correct fact. But, being a FA is all u hv to face. It is a routine. We do our best on procedure, extra miles would be grater, but dont stress out ourself. Not many paxs would understand the safety related instruction. But there is the FAs to educate, not just instruct. Dont keep ur paxs wonderingWHY.
    Be firm, friendly and keeping ur best smile!

    FAs are the closest figure paxs can rely on. Like a child fear of lightning run for his mother. To share the fear and search for comfort. Be a good listener, if beyond ur control just admiy and suggest another solution. Dont pretend to create hope.
    Educate ur paxs today, so that they can educate other paxs tomorrows coming.

  • dw
    Reply

    Dear Shashank
    and the anonymous author ,

    As a flyer with status, I understand and appreciate your post. I have to admit that I’m impressed with many of the FA as they deal with what I would term “stupid” people.
    With the airlines nickel & diming passengers with the baggage fees, etc., I understand why the passengers bring all their worldly belongings as carry-ons, and I get it when they get frustrated with the fact that there’s no room left to stow them. I’m sorry that the FAs are down because the pax
    take out their frustrations on them, but the truth is that unfortunately, the
    FA is the “face” of the airline and the whole frustrating flying process.

    I’m one of those pax who smiles at you as I get on the plane (sometimes we recognize each other from other routes), and I will always thank you and the flight deck as I exit for a good trip.

    While your post is exemplary of most of the FAs I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, some of the comments in the thread (like “Flight Line”) reflect some of the attitudes of the ones who have pissed me off. I realize that maybe they had a bad day, or maybe they had a crisis in their lives, or maybe the last passenger crushed the joy out of them, but this goes both ways.

    I’m still waiting for the apologies from;

    The Delta FA who was talking with another FA when she slammed the cart into my shoulder and then told me that I should have moved out of the way. (didn’t know she was coming)

    The American FA who spilled water in my lap, said “oops” and didn’t come back.

    The America West FA who literally shouted at me “sir you have to turn off that (pocket) radio – you could crash the plane” (for those who would quote the law here – it is not “against the law” to listen to a radio on a plane, it is a rule by some airlines to prevent liability issues. There is NO possible
    way an AM Transistor radio receiver can in any way ever affect airline
    avionics.)

    Or my all time favorite:
    After spending a full day on planes, I dozed off just after takeoff.
    I woke and realized that the drink cart and FA were just behind my row. I turned from my window seat and said to the
    US Air FA “pardon me, may I have a water?”
    I didn’t say it rudely or in anger, or with any kind of attitude –
    imagine my astonishment when the FA turned to me and said sarcastically “can you say please?” (that FA then took his badge and tucked it inside his shirt for the remainder of the flight in an attempt to hide his identity – he knew I would report his behavior).

    I’m sorry that many of the traveling public are clueless and that some are rude.

    I’m sorry if some people don’t recognize that you do a great job and that you have long days.

    Please just recognize that we are paying your company out of our own pockets for a service and some of us do this a lot. It is in your best interest to realize that almost everything involved with flying from this side is frustrating as hell.
    It is exhausting.

    The next time you fly, try treating the customers the way you would like to be treated when you are their customer. You may be surprised how friendly your customer is when they are treated like people who are paying for your services.

  • Wayne Grazio
    Reply

    I hope people don’t complain to the flight attendants that the people around them were chatting on their cell phones the entire flight while they were trying to take a nap. They didn’t vote nor implement that either.

  • jonzbeach
    Reply

    We’re sorry your airline is not Southwest. Yeah seats are probably the same size and FAA regulations are the same, but you’re not dinged $100s of dollars for policies Southwest seemingly is able to offer complimentary and yet still be one of the most profitable airlines around. So while I agree it is ridiculous to be rude to flight attendants and I do in fact comply with everything and do not question the reason, remember there is a basis for how unbelievably frustrating it is to travel and you unfortunately at the ones we see the most. I also am sorry that a very minute amount of passengers warranted a diatribe.

  • Jeff Binder
    Reply

    So sorry, that as flight attendants, you have not had to travel as actual passengers for awhile, in ever-shrinking space, with ever-increasingly uncaring service, ever-increasingly nasty attendants, horrid in-flight service, and horrid air. Want to blame someone? Blame your overlords. This is like the field boss whipping the slaves.

  • Kelly Oldham
    Reply

    Good people are routinely treated poorly by people having a bad day or by jerks who treat people poorly every day. It makes us feel better to complain because we know the ones we are complaining about couldn’t care less. Unfortunately, the ones who do a good job and are cheerful have to work with the jerks as well. I prefer to compliment them as individuals and apologize for them having to work for and with jerks. I enjoy it even more when in the presence of the jerks.

  • Kelly Oldham
    Reply

    Not surprised at the comments from airline people. Do they not sound like whiney baby’s? If your job is too tough for you. There’s always the DMV.

  • harrybarracuda
    Reply

    Clearly not written by one of the up-their-own arse trolley dolleys who think serving passengers is beneath them and treat most of them like shit.

  • Just do your jobs people
    Reply

    OMG Whaaaaaaa……
    You have a job, you are allowed to travel, you have benefits. Quit your whining!
    I see more posts about how “terrible” it is for flight attendants, if you don’t like dealing with the public, find another job. The passenger is the reason (the ONLY reason) you have a job. Try lifting a bag 200 times… LOL Tell that to the guy who is flying that spends his day on the business end of a shovel, or the cop who has to deal with much worse than your annoying passenger. Oh what, I can’t know what I’m talking about because I am not a stewardess…. (LOL, now we’ll get some people excited) but wait…. I spent a year there, we dealt with the people, had a smile on our face and when the day was over if I wanted to complain I did it with my fellow workers.
    So the next time you speak to one of your “rude” customers, remember that you can only piss off so many of them before they do find alternative transportation and you will be left waiting tables in the airport terminal where the oversold leftover passengers are angrily waiting. Then you’ll have something to bitch about.

  • MidwestMarketer
    Reply

    Let me be clear: I agree that being a flight attendant is most likely a challenging, difficult, tiring, THANKLESS job. I think passengers could stand to be much more polite and patient with much fewer complaints. And I guess I fall into the minority of people who smile, return greetings and even offer words of thanks to flight crew members.

    That being said … There are many jobs like that. And a “letter of apology” riddled with sarcasm and snarkiness is not a great way to get any point across. I hate to break it to this flight attendant and others who feel this way, but if you work directly with customers, then you are IN customer service. I’m a marketing executive in the healthcare industry, but I interact with the public every day and consider myself to be in customer service. I too went to school for my career (for longer than eight weeks — and I paid for it myself), but I don’t mind offering my sometimes-smile-less customers a smile and warm greeting. Sometimes I even make coffee and tea for them. If you are too good for customers, then I recommend a job that doesn’t require working with them. The truth of the matter is that travel is a tiring, time-consuming, frustrating, stressful and sometimes even fearful activity for many. (Much like how most of my customers are sick and cranky when I interact with them.)

    You aren’t the only industry with these types of complaints, treatment and thanklessness. Instead of feeding the complaining-Negative-Nancy mill, why don’t we continue adding joy, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control and see what we get back?

  • Kathryn Cottingham
    Reply

    I have been a stew for 18 years now and have really never thought much about people not making eye contact with me or saying please and thank you. I don’t really care. I don’t take it personally. I will most likely never see that person again. I do not apologize for things that are not in my control, ie. the weather. I will certainly listen to a customer’s complaint and then give them all methods of contact to our customer service department. Most of the time people just need to vent a little. I do help put bags in overhead bins as long as the bag is of a reasonable size/weight. As for meals, I tend to bring my own but we do have crew meals available which I will offer up to make a customer happy. I rarely have bad experiences with customers and I think it is because I try to project a positive attitude even during bad situations.
    Yes, I am trained to handle certain emergency situations if they arise and do follow the FAA and company rules, regulations and policies but I am there to inform, not enforce. If a customer chooses not to follow instructions then I follow protocol. I do not argue about it. I am not passive but tend to pick my battles and little things like a customer rolling their eyes at me for asking them to bring the seat back up means nothing to me as long as they comply.
    I am in customer service, I treat customers the way that I would like to be treated if the roles were reversed. I generally have a great time!

    • Sandy
      Reply

      Well said. I have been a FA for 25 years and feel the same way. I always treat people the way I would want to be treated. That is how I was raised for all situations in life. I chuckled at the “I’m sorry” part of the article, since we joke about having to say it all the time. Then I cringed at some of the rest. I don’t get upset when people ignore me, but people need to realize that we are human beings and no one likes to be ignored. I guess my biggest pet peeve is the headsets, when you ACTUALLY see me, at your row, please remove them. But again, let me say, I will not be rude to you when I have to repeat my self again and again and again. I am only saying that in my head, with a smile on my face. Offering up my crew meal is my choice. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. It depends on how hungry I am or if I am carrying my own food. It is my choice, per company policy. Speaking of company policy… each airline is different. My airline has taken away all my tools and amenities to help make your flight a better one. I hate it as much as you do. Reading through the comments on this article is sad on both sides. I am appalled at the language certain Flight Attendants have used. Keep our profession respectful, that kind of language has no place here and I hope most people realize they are the minority. As for the the customer side of the crude comments? I will be courteous to you, since it is my job, but you will never have my respect.

      I think the only comments out here that bothered me the most were the ones referring to 9/11. I lost friends that day, I can’t even imagine the horror of what they went through. I for one, keep an eye on the cabin at all times. For some to say we don’t have added training for this is ignorant. We are the first line of defense and have to protect the cockpit at all times. Remember the shoe bomber? It was a Flight Attendant that caught him. We have to be aware of everything going on in the cabin. With all the noise reduction headphones now, we are pretty much on our own. Passengers are not aware of what is going on around them anymore.

      Happy travels….

      Sandy

  • Shaye
    Reply

    People, I’m sure there’s an occasional cranky crew member who is rude or not helpful or whatever, but to think that applies to all flight attendants, much less to use that to excuse bad behavior on passengers’ parts is ridiculous.

    They’re freakin’ people. You should give them a basic level of courtesy. How hard is that?

  • braniff78
    Reply

    Lifting bags is not our job. That would be a Baggage Handlers. Baggage Handlers don’t do our job. People just don’t get it.

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