Confessions of an (anonymous) air hostess

October 9, 2013 by Flight Centre UK

Frequent flier and travel addict, Laura Zito, has been chatting to an anonymous air hostess and asking for her tips on how to make friends with the flight attendants. Laura believes that having the cabin crew on your side is the best way to make those long-haul flights as bearable as possible.

I’ll share a little secret for all you long-haul travellers out there, one that’s made my 15 hour flights to Asia wonderful experiences: a happy cabin crew is the key to a really good journey.

Most of us only interact with the cabin crew when there’s a vomiting problem or to order one-too-many rum and cokes. That’s all they’re there for, right? Wrong. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been upgraded to premium economy or given a row of seats all to myself. All because of a little effort on my part.

So how can you get the same treatment? I spoke to a member of cabin crew who works on a Middle Eastern airline for her suggestions on a smooth ride for all.

Confessions of an (anonymous) air hostess

One of the biggest challenges of being part of the cabin crew isn’t emergency landings or onboard fires, it’s working with the general public. My favourite types of passengers were those who knew that behind the glamorous uniform there was a person who had a serious job to do. At 40,000ft the crew who serve your gin and tonic is also your fire-fighter, policeman and doctor.

In my experience, the nicer the passenger, the more the crew will go out of their way to make their journey as memorable as possible, whether that’s giving them a sneaky meal from first class, or a glass of champagne before landing. I’ve even been known to upgrade passengers to business class on quiet flights. One good turn deserves another, after all.

So here are a few things I’ve experienced that really made my day a bit better:

Say hello. Don’t let our polished appearance fool you. Whatever time you woke up to catch your flight I guarantee we were awake earlier. Showing empathy by simply sharing a smile will definitely start the flight in a much more positive way.

We love local. A regular customer on our business class service knew how much I liked a certain foreign brand of chocolate and would always bring me a different flavour to try out – that is a real treat. A little goodie bag of sweets shows that we’re appreciated, and the sugar helps keep us awake when you’re all dozing!

Be organised. The faster the crew complete the service, the quicker the lights go off and the cabin can sleep. Be aware of the trolley approaching and know what you want to order in advance to speed the process along.

Have patience. Remember that over the horizon of the seat in front of you there is a sea of up to 300 other guests waiting to be served. Most of the time flights operate on minimum crew compliment, so sit back, relax and trust that your attendants are working as fast as possible.

Make conversation. Talking to each other is all part of the experience, both for crew and holiday-makers. I met people from interesting countries and amazing walks of life and always appreciated a chat at 2am to keep me awake!

Ask about us. I enjoy finding out about our passengers and it’s a nice surprise when someone asks about where I’m from. I’m always happy to offer tips on the best places to eat dinner in my hometown.

Do you have any other tips to get the cabin crew on your side?

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Laura’s a creative copywriter and journalist living just outside London, although she’s very often found daydreaming about her travels in South East Asia. She’s also the editor of six out of ten, an online women’s lifestyle magazine, and can be found tweeting at @sixoutoftenmag.