As flight attendants, we sometimes joke that some of our passengers must pack their brains inside their hold luggage. We aren’t too sure what happens between the airport check-in and the aircraft door, but suddenly travelers can change and say the funniest and strangest things.
We all know that smoking has been long banned aircraft. Yet, passengers still ask if they can smoke. Sometimes, we joke that they can go smoke on the wing, if they can get there. Some passengers even ask if they can open the window for air or to smoke!
If anything, we could be forgiven for forgetting our destination as we are flying all over the place a lot of the time. But would you believe that passengers sometimes seem to have no idea where they are going or where they just left? Halfway through a Paris to London flight, some passengers asked me where the Eiffel Tower was and if I could point it out to them. Often, we see passengers dressing for the weather they just left (shorts and t-shirts in hot climates) and then complaining about the cold in the UK when they get back. Did they think the weather would miraculously be the same as where they departed from?
Tea and coffee
Sometimes, when we do a hot drinks service, we might not use the cart but take a tray and a pot of tea or coffee. If I have a pot of coffee, I will ask, ‘Would you like coffee, sir?’ A passenger says, ‘No, tea please,’ and hands me their cup. Unfortunately, we can’t magically change the beverage in the pot – although that would be cool.
You may have seen the small milk jiggers (pots) for your hot drink. Sometimes they have UHT written on them, which is long-life milk. One passenger once asked me, ‘What’s a UHT.’ I told him it meant the milk lasts longer. He replied, ‘Yes, but what kind of animal is a UHT?’
Breakfast is an easy meal to serve onboard, or it should be! Once, I had almost completed the economy cabin service, and I asked a passenger, ‘Would you like breakfast?’. I have the meal tray ready to place on her table. The passenger responses, ‘No, just get me some hot buttered toast.’ Unfortunately, as much as we like to respond to requests, we are not a restaurant.
Photo: American Airlines
It’s surprising how many passengers, after a long-haul flight, ask if we are flying straight back. Much as we love flying, a 10-hour flight followed by another 10-hour flight is just a bit much. Although we work hard, we still need to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom, just like our guests.
Some passengers like to play the wise guy. After a manual safety demonstration (not through the inflight entertainment system), a passenger once made a comment, ‘Why on earth are you showing us a life jacket, when we are flying in the UK and not over the sea?’ Smart comment, but we are regulated to show passengers how to use the safety equipment available. Added to this, there are still some pretty big lakes in the UK, and part of our flight path may go over the sea, so it’s best not to risk it.
We do sometimes hear complaints about the noise in the cabin. ‘Can you make the whirring noise stop?’ No, that’s the aircraft engines, and we really hope they do not stop – that would be an issue.