A wee while ago we asked our Facebook fans what kind of posts you’d like me to write about. One of the most repeated questions was, funnily enough, what kind of questions do I hear all the time? I’m pretty sure every job comes with FAQs and I expect you all respond professionally and courteously (as I do of course), but in your head you may well be thinking something else! Well, if your question to a crew member has ever been met with a cheeky little smile then the chances are you’ve asked one of those questions…
1. “Are you going straight back now?”
This question regularly pops up, usually when we’re disembarking back at base. People automatically think crew have only worked on their particular sector and forget or don’t realise that we’ve worked on the flight outbound which brings them inbound back home. On an average Spanish/Canary Islands round trip, crew hours can be anything from 10-13 hours upwards. Did you know a Sharm El Sheik (Egypt) return day flight for crew is an exhausting 16 hour day, and by the end of that day I’m not sure who’s looking forward to getting off the most me or the passengers!
2. “Do you really need to see it?”
Boarding cards – well there’s always someone who asks! If you’re the person who puts your boarding card away before the crew have checked it then please be prepared to be asked to ‘dig it’ back out for inspection. This is because it’s really important as the crew NEED to see the date and flight number on the little card (to be honest we’re not looking for the seat number!) and hopefully you will take comfort from the fact that the crew are being meticulous and responsible when it comes to the security of your flight, which is exactly what we are employed to do.
3. “Have you really run out of paninis?”
The limited space on an aircraft means we can only carry a certain amount of stock onboard, so at 35,000ft when an item is sold out unfortunately it really has all gone….where’s Paul Daniels and Debbie Magee when you need them! The service trolleys must start and finish somewhere within the cabin and sometimes where you’re sat kind of depends on whether you receive your first choice of snack. To avoid this unfortunate scenario, you can also pre-book your meal in advance.
4. “Can you just pop it in the microwave?”
Unfortunately, planes don’t have kitchen appliances as such, but we do have basic galleys which have electric fan ovens, hot water boilers and lots of empty stowage for bar/catering trolleys and metal canisters, along with the odd little cupboard or 2. It’s amazing what we can squeeze in there, but unfortunately a microwave isn’t one of those things!
5. “Chicken or Beef?”
This can be a headache for crew. On some long haul flights the passenger catering split is 60% chicken/40% beef which unfortunately means on a full flight some passengers are disappointed. If it happens to you, spare a thought for the crew, who do usually find a solution after a bit of juggling. It has been known, on a couple of occasions, for a generous crew member to offer up their own crew meal to help save the day.
6. “Excuse me, where are we?”
This question always makes me smile, as I’ve normally not come up for air if it’s a busy flight and haven’t normally got a clue! (unless I ask the captain which I always do). So far every time I’ve avoided the temptation of cheekily replying row 12…
7. “Have one yourself”
Although it’s a thoughtful gesture there’s sometimes nothing more frustrating than being invited by a kind hearted passenger to ‘have one yourself love’. At times, believe me, there’s nothing more I’d love than to sit down and partake in my favourite tipple with you, but alas that’s never to be. Also, crew members cannot accept tips, but if someone really insists on making a contribution we’d love you to make a donation to our onboard charity collection for Macmillan.
8. “Is it OK to join the mile high club on this flight? Is it illegal?”
Actually, to be honest, in all my years of flying I have never been asked this question and never witnessed anything that may arouse (excuse the pun) my suspicions! Whilst we’re on the subject of toilets though, I’m always perplexed as to why people happily trot to the loo on an aeroplane in their bare feet? Although it’s nice to think some passengers feel at home on board, let’s not forget that it’s not your home loo, but a public convenience being used by hundreds of people in a short space of time, so please for me, put your shoes on when spending a penny onboard!
9.”I’m freezing – what can you do about the cabin temperature?”
Top tip, no matter what the weather is on the ground and especially if it’s a night flight, always take a cardigan or jacket etc to wear on board as once at flying altitude it can become fairly chilly. A snuggly, light fleece blanket works well too. Generally if we need to adjust the heating we have to liaise with the flight deck where the controls are located. On some of our newer aircraft we have touch screen cabin heating controls on the forward attendant panel which is controlled by the crew and this will allow minor heating adjustments to be made to the cabin temperature anything more again we would need to ask the flight deck crew.
10. One exception – something that’s always welcome – hello and goodbye!
Depending on the size of the plane i.e. single aisle or wide bodied, on a round trip I can probably clock up to 800 plus ‘hello and goodbyes’ per day! I’m always pleased to see a smile on your face as you depart the aircraft… I know then our team has done a good job today.
Thanks for reading! Lisa.
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