Flight attendants are there to make air travel easier for you. There are a few simple ways you can return the favor.
HuffPost reached out to flight attendants to learn about their pet peeves with passengers and how travelers can pitch in, so the flight crew can keep everyone safe and happy in the air.
Some of their suggestions are mere preferences that affect efficiency, while others involve the safety of the flight and its passengers. (Of course, there are emergency situations in which these recommendations don’t apply.)
Check out their tips below.
Flight attendant pet peeves
Flight attendant pet peeves
Clarify that coffee order.
When it comes to ordering drinks on a flight, it’s helpful to know what you want by the time the flight attendant gets to your seat and to be very clear about the specifics of your order. Bryanna, a flight attendant for a major airline carrier who shares only her first name on her blog and Instagram profile Life On A Jumpseat, told HuffPost that for morning flights, having to ask every single passenger who orders coffee how they like their coffee can drag out the beverage process.
“If you wanted to be my favorite passenger ever you could even say how many creams and/or sugars you’d like,” she said via email.
Clear the aisle as quickly as you can.
Anyone who has flown knows boarding and deplaning can be anything but smooth. Being on your phone during either of these processes is a sign you’re not prioritizing anyone’s time but your own.
“Not only do the flight attendants perceive you as rude when you ignore them as you get on/leave the plane but the passengers behind you aren’t thrilled when you take extra time trying to get your things situated while simultaneously holding the phone to your ear,” Bryanna said.
It’s also frustrating when people stop at the front of the plane to ask questions that are not urgent and thereby hold up everyone boarding behind them, said Jasmine King, a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier who shares her experience on Instagram under the handle @37000nbeyond. And if it’s not an emergency, please don’t use the bathroom as soon as you board because you returning to your seat can be another obstacle for your fellow passengers.
“Boarding is the most hectic part of the flying process so we’d all appreciate if you’d stow your luggage as quickly as possible and step out of the aisle to let others pass,” King said via email.
Emily Keathley, a flight attendant for a major carrier who documents her travel experiences under the Instagram handle @weariwandered, said one of the “worst offenders” onboard is the person who ignores the seatbelt sign, especially just before takeoff and landing.
“I have had several people get up to use the restroom right before we were supposed to take off and since it is a safety violation to have anyone up when the airplane is taxiing we then can be delayed with leaving,” she said via email. “Remember, the seatbelt sign is on for a reason not just as an annoyance to you.”
Keep it clean.
Flight attendants typically walk through the cabin with a garbage bag to collect any trash from passengers, but King said she still deals with people “hoarding” their trash in the seatback pocket and leaving it for flight attendants to clean up later.
She also noted that if you make a mess for some reason (flights can get bumpy), telling someone right away is the key to avoiding a bigger problem later.
Listen and learn.
Ally Lovett, a flight attendant for a major carrier who is based out of New York City and blogs at Depart Fashion, said one of her biggest pet peeves is people who don’t comply with the announcement to put electronics away as the plane makes its final approach.
“I wonder did they hear us, or are they just waiting until the last minute to be told three times to put their laptop away,” she said via email. “It just amazes me.”
Be polite, say hi or at least give a nod.
A long day of travel is enough to make anyone grumpy. But being polite to the flight crew takes minimal effort and can improve the situation for everyone.
Bryanna offered “a few simple tips to make sure your flight crew don’t feel degraded”: “take your headphones off/out of your ears when we get to your row, say please/thank you when you’re ordering a drink, hand over your trash, or say hello/goodbye when you get on and off the airplane.”
King, who has shared more dos and don’ts for passengers on her blog, noted that patience and kindness are “always appreciated and will go a long way.” She added that if your flight attendant isn’t helping you right away, it’s not because they’re ignoring you. It’s likely something more pressing has their attention.
“I promise we didn’t forget,” she said. “Sometimes we just have a lot going on.”
Why it's awesome: Hong Kong Airlines has been on an impressive growth streak over the past couple of years. Not only has it rapidly expanded its global network, the carrier has also worked to improve service and product. Hong Kong Airlines is a subsidiary of China's HNA Group.
Why it's awesome: Royal Dutch KLM is considered the oldest continuously operating airline in the world. Based out of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, KLM is famous for its bright blue livery and Dutch house liquor bottle figurines. The airline is one half of the Franco-Dutch conglomerate Air France-KLM.
KLM also took home the prize for Best Business Class Seat in Europe.
Why it's awesome: Turkish Airlines is the flag carrier of Turkey and has its main hub at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. The airline, with its ability to fly to over 100 countries and over 200 cities worldwide, hopes to turn its home base into a global transit hub.
Even though political unrest and security concerns have made life more complicated for Turkish Airlines, the carrier's high-quality service, and product offerings remain unchanged.
Turkish is a member of Star Alliance and had won the Skytrax award for Best Airline in Europe six years in a row before losing the title to Lufthansa last year.
(Photo by Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
17. Air New Zealand
Previous rank: 19
Why it's awesome: In 2018, Air New Zealand reclaimed the titles of World's Best Premium Economy Class and World's Best Premium Economy Seat from Aussie rival Qantas, the Kiwi carrier remains one of the industry's finest long-haul carriers.
In economy class, families can opt for the airlines innovative Skycouch that transforms a bank of three economy seats into a flat activity area.
Why it's awesome: Austrian Airlines has overcome a series of labor disputes in recent years, with its high level of service intact. In 2018, the Lufthansa-owned carrier, once again, took home the prize for Best Airline Staff Service in Europe. The Austrian flag carrier boasts a fleet of newly renovated long-haul Boeing 767-300ER and 777-200 jets flying out of its base in Vienna.
Economy fliers gave the Star Alliance member high marks for its efficient and effective service, as well as for the wealth of onboard dining and entertainment options.
Why it's awesome: Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, with its Airbus and Boeing fleet traveling to about 100 destinations. The airline has become famous for its trademark Residence flying apartments as well as its plush first-class and business-class suites.
Why it's awesome: Japan's flag carrier is one of the most respected airlines in the world. Reviewers on Skytrax praised Japan's second-largest airline for its attentive service, well-coordinated ground staff, and comfortable cabin.
For 2018, Japan Airlines once again won the award for Best Economy Class Airline Seat.
(Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
12. Swiss International Air Lines
Previous rank: 14
Why it's awesome: Swiss International Air Lines emerged in 2002 from the remnants of the now defunct Swissair and is now a member of the Lufthansa corporate family. In 2016, the Basel-based carrier became the first in the world to operate the next generation Bombardier C-Series airliner.
Though some fliers found economy seat comfort to be lacking, most praised the cabin crew for its friendly service and the airline for its wide assortment of complimentary adult beverages.
Plus, the complimentary Swiss chocolate is always a fan favorite.
Why it's awesome: Even with strong competition from Virgin Australia, Qantas has been resurgent over the past couple of years. The airline received praise for its strong customer service and in-flight entertainment. And then there's Qantas' calling card — it has a fatality-free safety record in the jet era.
Why it's awesome: Thai Airways has long been an industry leader for quality service, so it's no surprise to find the Thai national carrier high up on the list. Though its most heralded products are its business and first-class services, fliers found its economy seats to be of high quality as well.
Economy fliers on Skytrax also noted the crew's friendly demeanor and delectable dining options.
In 2018, Thai Airways once again took home the award for the World's Best Economy Class, the World's Best Economy Class Onboard Catering, and the World's Best Airline Spa Facilities.
(Photo by C. V. Grinsven/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
9. Garuda Indonesia
Previous rank: 10
Why it's awesome: Garuda Indonesia has experienced a dramatic turnaround in recent years. The Indonesia flag carrier has undertaken extensive fleet renewal and service improvement measures to regain the trust of both fliers and safety regulators.
Economy fliers have raved about the airline's comfortable seats and selection of Southeast Asian cuisine.
In 2018, Garuda's flight attendants took home the award for the World's Best Cabin Crew for the third year in a row.
Why it's awesome: Founded in 1993, Hainan is the only Chinese airline to hold the coveted Skytrax five-star rating. In four short years, the airline surged from 22nd place all the way into the top 10. With a brand-new fleet of more than 160 Boeing and Airbus jets, Hainan is expanding rapidly throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia.
Reviewers on Skytrax praised the airline for its attentive service and quality business class accommodations.
Hainan also won the awards for Best Airline in China and Best Airline Cabin Crew in China.
Why it's awesome: Although Cathay Pacific, based in Hong Kong, fell back one spot from last year, the airline still retains its place as one of the most respected carriers from the Pacific rim. With a fleet of long-range Boeing 777-300ER jets and a business strategy centered on offering a high frequency of flights, Cathay is one of the finest flying experiences in Asia.
Skytrax reviewers gave the airline high marks for seat comfort, service quality, and in-flight entertainment.
Why it's awesome: Taiwan's EVA Air (pronounced ee-vee-ay) was founded in 1989 and is an offshoot of global container-shipping giant Evergreen Group. The Taipei-based carrier has grown immensely in the past two decades and now operates a large fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body jets. The airline is credited with pioneering the "premium economy" cabin.
(Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Previous rank: 4
Why it's awesome: Over the past 30 years, Dubai's Emirates has developed into one of the world's premier long-haul carriers. Operating almost exclusively through its palatial hub at Dubai International Airport, the carrier boasts the world's largest fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos and Boeing 777 wide-body jets.
Emirates' state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system includes a wide selection of video and music options on demand, and even allows for live television and sporting events on its "ice" entertainment system-equipped aircraft. In fact, Emirates has taken home Skytrax's award for Best In-Flight Entertainment 14 years running.
Why it's awesome: All Nippon Airways continues its march towards the top of the rankings. ANA is the largest international carrier in Japan and home to one of the world's largest fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. ANA drew high praise from Skytrax reviewers across the board for cleanliness, service, and safety. Many of its planes feature slide-forward-style reclining seats that increase overall privacy, as well as power and USB outlets even in economy.
ANA also won Best Airline Staff in Asia and Best Cabin Crew in Japan.
(Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
2. Qatar Airways
Previous rank: 1
Why it's awesome: Qatar Airways falls back one spot to second.
The Doha-based airline received praise from reviewers for its seat comfort and in-flight entertainment. In fact, the airline boasts the second best in-flight entertainment system and economy class offering in the world The airline links over 150 destinations across the globe and is expanding its fleet to include the latest generation of long-haul airliners including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350.
Qatar also took home the award for Best Airline in the Middle East, World's Best Business Class, and Best First Class Airline Lounge.
Why it's awesome: Singapore's standout service makes for a famously pleasant journey during which flight attendants are trained to treat customers with extreme care and respect. Personal TVs with plenty of entertainment options and hot towels served before take-off are just some of the economy perks.