PEOPLE assume flight attendants have more power, and apparently hidden talents, than we actually do – it’s frankly hilarious.
The amount of ridiculous requests we get from passengers on a regular basis that are just so far from possible is baffling and if it weren’t as funny as it is, we’d be begging you to stop.
Every flight attendant will finish each trip with at least one daft request to report and in this, my latest weekly blog post for Sun Online Travel, I’ll reveal some of the more laughable things I’ve been asked.
Firstly, you shouldn’t expect an upgrade just because you’re tall. That’s not how the world works and it’s certainly not how things work on our planes either.
If we can make you more comfortable, then we’ll try, but we’re not going to put you in first class just because you’re the height of a basketball player. If you want a first class seat, you have to pay for it.
You know how long your legs are and how much space you’ll have in economy, so either pay extra to pick a seat with leg room, or prepare to have your knees squashed – those are your choices.
Don’t just assume that because you look uncomfortable, we will treat you favourably.
You’re not the only tall person on the plane and you’re not the only one who’s not enjoying the flight. We understand that the seats aren’t the best and yes, it’s a pain when the person in front reclines.
But that doesn’t mean you should be given a free upgrade ahead of anyone else.
We also won’t move other people so you can have a row of seats to yourself, something I’ve been asked before, sadly on more than one occasion.
These passengers spotted a couple of spare seats in other rows on the plane and asked if I could move the people they were sat next to into the empty chairs, so they could have three seats for themselves.
I’ve no idea who these people are to expect such regal treatment, but you’d have to search far and wide to find a flight attendant willing to give it to you. It’s not happening.
Being expected to provide such favourable treatment is one thing, but some passengers will ask us to do dangerous or impossible things, like lighting birthday candles on a cake.
Sometimes people don’t even bring the cake with them and will expect us to have one on board, just in case, as if we’re a party shop and not a metal tube thousands of feet in the air.
Then they will ask us to light some small fires in the cabin, so they can sing happy birthday to their loved ones.
We’re not above joining you for a song, and we have been known to make a big fuss over passengers spending their birthday in our company, but think about what it is you’re asking us.
You’re not in a TGI Fridays, you’re on a plane and a fire is a big safety risk on board. We’re there to keep you safe, not put you in danger.
While I’m on the subject, birthday cakes aren’t the only food we definitely don’t have on board.
In fact, we don’t have a lot on board and if you’re a fussy eater, it’s up to you to order your meal in advance, or bring something else with you.
We aren’t trained chefs and even if we were, we couldn’t make you a new meal, contrary to several frequent requests from passengers who clearly just haven’t thought about what it is they’re asking.
In fact, I’d say “can you make me something else” is one of the questions I face most regularly and it’s becoming more and more difficult to hide my disdain for those who ask.
There’s no kitchen on board, nor are there ingredients. Just a finite number of pre-selected meals.
Therefore, the answer is no. Always no. If you’re lucky, we’ll have an extra packet of crisps for you, but even then, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Those rules are the same whether you’re a regular member of the public, or an A-list celebrity, who we do sometimes get on our planes.
We will treat them as we would any other passenger, which means we will not be asking them for an autograph or a selfie on your behalf, as I was asked to do a couple of months ago.
This is far from an isolated incident either – I know loads of flight attendants who have been asked to do this, which would be so unprofessional on our part.
You’re very welcome to try and ask them yourself, but we cannot be your showbiz go-betweens I’m afraid.
And if they don’t want to talk to you, please respect their privacy and leave them alone.
While we’re at it, could you respect our privacy as well?
We’ll be nice and civil with you while you’re on board our flights, but we won’t be giving you our phone numbers or hotel room numbers, so stop asking us because it’s very creepy.
At least once every flight, one of us is asked this and I’m yet to see it work.
It’s really unlikely that the type of person who pesters other people for their number while they’re at work is the person of our dreams, so it’s best not to take that chance.
I hope you were all taking notes because I’m not sure I can keep a straight face again when I’m asked if I can knock up a new meal for another unprepared passenger, who forgot to get their order in.
Be prepared and think about what you’re asking us. It really helps us all have a much better flight.
Meanwhile, these are the actual perks you could be entitled to on planes.
And these are the secret code words we use to talk about passengers.
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