They might be at their politest best in spite of your arrogance and that’s only because it is their job. While we don’t give it much thought, they are the lifeline of the aviation industry. Yes, we are talking about air hostesses on board.
Can you imagine a self-served flight without stewards to help with food, safety or to cater to your whims and fancies? You can’t. They do everything to make your journey pleasant and in return, all they expect is good civil behaviour.
As part of our second part in the series, we spoke to air hostesses about things that they hate about passengers. Read on:
1. ‘We aren’t objects of desire’
They might be hired for their looks and smart attitude, but they aren’t symbols of desire. “Male passengers quite often try to get our attention by ringing the bell constantly, calling us by snapping their finger and making verbal pass (sometimes physical) at us. Like any profession, air stewards deserve respect,” a senior air hostess says.
2. ‘We are not stupid’
Often referred derogatorily as the ‘Waiter on the plane’, the stewards complain about passengers feeling lowly about them. “We aren’t beneath anybody, nor are we dumb. It isn’t easy to get a job in the top airlines and we compete with thousands to secure our position. Plus, our profession is highly paying. Are we stupid to being an air hostess?,” questions a floor supervisor, flying for eight years now.
3. ‘No, we can’t heat your home-packed food’
“After the rounds of meals were completed, an Indian lady passenger asked me if I can heat home-made dhoklas for her!,” reveals another air hostess. While bringing your food is allowed in an airplane, asking it to be heated on-air is not. Also, asking for more than one serve of food is not permissible as there aren’t many extra boxes on a long flight. “I have given my food box to a lady while staying hungry on the long flight to Australia,” an air steward remarks.
4. It’s not a hotel but an airplane
Serving food is the most tiring work on the flight and they are often met with unexpected questions. “When the menu reads chicken with rice or beef with rice, the passenger will still go ahead and ask for fish and rice, which isn’t on the menu,” shares another crew member exasperatedly.
Also, “What’s on the menu” is the question most stewards hate. The menu is handed out to each passenger in the seat pocket in front of them. Yet, many will ask them to repeat the menu before placing it.
5. Overhead bins are for suitcases
We are sure you have met passengers who run to queue up as soon as the gate is opened. Apart from skipping the chaos, they wish to secure place in the overhead bin for their large suitcases. More often than not, the passengers b oarding later don’t have place to store their bags. “Only suitcases need to go in the overhead bin. Smaller luggage and handbags are best kept under the seat. It is about being considerate to your fellow passengers,” points out an air hostess.
6. Follow the rules
This came as a common complaint from most cabin crew. “Passengers don’t follow basic rules like keeping the toilets clean, keeping the seats upright during landing and take-off, opening the window shades, handing over the headphones and so on. How difficult is it to follow basic instructions?,” a male steward asked.
Actually, it takes a small effort from you, but means a big relief for the crew.
7. Courtesy helps
While it might seem like a glam job, staying on your feet for long flights and working thousands of feet in the air isn’t an easy task. Sharing small pleasantries like ‘Hello’, ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’ go a long way in making the flight easy for them. “Many don’t realize that we are the ones who try to make the travel as safe and comfortable as we can for the passengers,” says a flight attendant.
Please don’t be rude, if you can’t be courteous is the bottom line.
8. Taking pictures/videos
As if making verbal passes on them wasn’t enough, a common complaint many have is passengers trying to click their pictures or making their videos. “We encounter this obscene behavior at least once every few days and can’t always flag it. It is a matter of common decency in a public place,” another air cabin crew member says.
9. Taking safety precautions lightly
“You might be a frequent flier but do you know what to do when a plane lands on water?” asks a flight attendant. Although the stewards showcase safety steps before every flight, it is a common practice to ignore it. How many times have you checked the brochure? Can you confidently save yourself in unforeseen circumstances? If not, watch and learn!
10. ‘Not everything is in our control’
‘The food preference you marked is over’, ‘The coffee you prefer is not on board’, ‘We cannot serve you unlimited beverages’, ‘We cannot change your seats according to your convenience’. and the list goes on as this 21-year-old air hostess shares with a tinge of frustration. “The passengers need to understand that we don’t have everything in our control. They need to be accommodating as we are doing everything to make their travel hassle-free,” she points out.