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Your flight attendant is a very popular person! With fewer flights comes fuller planes and a smaller flight attendant to passenger ratio. In fact, simple formal dresses he FAA regulates that ratio and says one flight attendant is needed for every 50 seats on a plane. With most aircraft carrying around 150 people, that’s only three flight attendants to tend to everyone’s drink, food and special requests on your flight. So, I talked with a few flight attendants and came up with the top five right and wrong ways to get your flight attendant’s attention!

WRONG (and probably the WORST): Keep your hands to yourself

You shouldn’t poke, slap or tap them to get their attention. Can you imagine walking through a cabin and having someone at every row poke you on either side, on your back, tap your shoulder or even, slap your behind? You can’t? Well I can! On a recent flight that’s exactly what happened while I was walking through the cabin picking up trash. Trust me, short formal dresses we’re not going anywhere! We’re stuck in the same metal tube going 500mph together. I will get around to getting your trash and I know you’re there! I became increasingly frustrated as I was being treated like the Pillsbury Dough Boy but only resorted to verbally acknowledging everyone saying “I know, I know, I’m coming! I’ll get there. I see you!” but on a recent Air China flight to Shanghai a passenger was arrested for slapping the behind of a flight attendant with a newspaper. He later told police that he wanted her to move so that he could get to his seat.

Keeping your hands to yourself doesn’t mean it’s okay to snap your fingers to get their attention, either.

WRONG: Misusing the Call Button

Sam says: The use of the call button is like nails on chalk board to FAs because it’s abused. Use it when it’s something urgent.

Ringing the call button to have the flight attendants collect your trash will probably have you being told “I’ll be right back,” which in flight attendant speak means: “I’ll be back in about a half hour with a trash bag.” The flight attendants I spoke with concurred that it should be used for urgent situations (unless of course your flight attendants aren’t doing their job and walking through the cabin checking up on everyone).

This might surprise you, but most passengers don’t say please or thank you. Being polite and courteous to a flight attendant will net you everything you want, as quickly as possible. Cabin Crewmember Autumn Jensen stated “I would like to assume that people would like to be treated with respect, so I would like to be treated with the same respect. Please, thank you, may I, and other such phrases will never go out of style. As with anything in life, it’s all about how you ask. Politeness will get you everywhere. Ian Funderburg agreed I always acknowledge when people politely make themselves known and let them know I will be there to help as soon as I am able to.

Your seat is cramped, the aisle is narrow and the galley seems to be the only place where you can stand  that’s okay, but don’t overextend your welcome (and please don’t perform galley yoga: the art of bending and stretching right in the flight attendant’s faces as they’re eating or sitting). The galley is the flight attendant’s work space, kitchen, sitting area and cafeteria. If it’s a busy flight the flight attendants may be prepping drink orders, snacks and food for other passengers and your being there might be in the way and slow down the process. Going to the galley to request a beverage or a snack is okay, but be respectful of the work they’re already doing, in other words, be patient, the requests they’re fulfilling at the moment come before you.

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  • writerPosted On: May 24, 2013
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