Cabin crew life is all glamorous new destinations and five-star hotels, right?
Well actually there’s a lot more to the job than meets the eye.
Read on to find out some of the best-kept cabin crew secrets. And be ready to take on a new perspective when it comes to flying.
1) Your Bags Aren’t Handled as Delicately as You Think
Because there are so many bags to get on and off the plane, they’re often thrown around. And not even that gently, as we saw at Manchester Airport in September:
This result is bags falling open or items inside getting damaged.
The airline takes no responsibility for this. It’s best to keep your luggage as secure as possible and well-fastened.
2) Don’t Snuggle into That Blanket!
Although this depends on the airline, route and time constraints, cleaning teams do not always have time to replace blankets, headphones and pillows.
Sometimes blankets are simply refolded to appear fresh or pillows only have their cases changed to appear new.
Luckily, there’s a pretty easy way to tell when your blanket’s new. It’ll normally be in a sealed bag.
But with pillows and headphones, it’s best to bring your own just in case.
3) You Only Have 20 Minutes’ Oxygen in Those Masks
Although an emergency is unlikely, the truth is the plane is not as well equipped to handle one as you would hope.
If a plane is flying at full capacity and the oxygen masks come down, there is only about 20 minutes’ worth of oxygen in the oxygen tanks.
And although the safety guide says your seat may be used as a flotation device in case of an emergency water landing, many passengers end up drowning or dying of hypothermia.
It sounds morbid but bear in mind that these cases are extremely rare and thousands of flights safely operate every day without incident.
4) The Cabin Crew is Not There For Your Hospitality
Perhaps the most important of all cabin crew secrets:
They’re not there primarily for your hospitality.
Although serving you is a big part of their job, it is only because your safety normally isn’t at risk. However crew members are given extensive training on safety protocol.
Cabin crew through history have proved time and again that their passengers are their biggest priority and they will go to great lengths to ensure their safety.
It’s something to consider the next time service is a little slower than you’d like.
5) It Pays to Be Nice
This one should come no as no surprise:
Being nice to the cabin crew is not only the polite thing to do — it can also pay off for you!
Cabin crew members spend their time trying to make your flying experience as pleasant as possible. And while it’s not your job to clean the toilet after use or keep your rubbish until they’re ready to collect it, you can make it much easier for them.
Most cabin crew members also notice passengers who make the experience more pleasant for their fellow flyers. Whether it means giving up an aisle seat for someone who needs it more, or sacrificing your first meal choice so that someone else can have theirs, good behaviour rarely goes unnoticed. In fact, it’s often rewarded by the last chocolate pudding, a full can of coke when everyone else gets a cup or an extra bag of peanuts!
6) Don’t Believe the Myths
There are lots of tips online that are meant to get you a better seat or more room. But a lot of the time, these are pure fantasy!
For example, if there are two of you travelling, the legend goes that booking the aisle and window seat will give you a row to yourselves. However, airlines do their best to fill every seat, such as offering single seats at a cheaper rate.
All this strategy means is you have to ask to swap with the piggy in the middle!
7) Discounts and Sales
Cabin crew members get a big discount for items listed in the duty-free magazine.
Most also get a discount in the airport duty-free shop, where items are already sold at low prices.
Paired with their employee discount, they make huge savings on luxury gift items, alcohol, tobacco products and jewellery.
8) They Don’t Get the Same Plane Food
Yes, the cabin crew do get their own special food.
Although this varies from airline to airline, most crew members have different meals from passengers.
This makes sense though, to be fair. A passenger will eat only one such meal over the course of a week or month, depending on how often they travel. But the cabin crew eat on the plane all the time!
To make the experience more pleasant (and nutritious), they get fresh food like fruit, vegetables and actual crusty bread!
Not only that, they even get larger portions!
9) If You’re Rude, They Really Hate You
One of the best-kept cabin crew secrets is their hatred for rude and inconsiderate passengers.
Though you would never know it from their smiling faces, every cabin crew member’s worst nightmare is an aggressive and entitled passenger.
Whether they’re demanding extra room for luggage, a seat upgrade, special meal trays or just service at an inconvenient time, there’s very little the cabin crew can do to satisfy such a passenger.
Not only is it beyond their control in most cases, it would be impossible to satisfy every demand from every passenger — not to mention unfair to those who are cooperative and kind.
10) Travelling to International Destinations Isn’t That Fun
Perhaps the most surprising cabin crew secret of all! Travelling to all those new countries isn’t actually as glamorous as it seems.
First of all, travelling through multiple time zones can really upset the body’s biological clock. Jet lag is hard enough to deal with, but it’s even harder when the body no longer knows what its default time zone is!
Secondly, even if the hotel is luxurious, most crew members only have enough time to bathe, eat and have a few hours of sleep before it’s time to go back to the airport.
Of course, sometimes the plane lands at a convenient time and crew members have a day or two to explore the city but it’s the exception, not the rule!