Lessons I’ve Learned From Flight Attendants

May 3, 2015
Lessons I’ve Learned From Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants have always been around in my life – whether that be flying across Canada growing up or having one as a close family friend. I guess that might be why I’ve always looked up to them in a way.

They spend 45 minutes to 18 hours ensuring that customers are safe and (hopefully) satisfied, all the while somehow managing to keep a smile on their faces. I have a pretty deep respect for flight attendants, they see many of us at our worst, but they still soldier on, serving coffee, tea and so on regardless of being yelled at or having to reprimand a customer for the 7th time.

This being said, there are a lot of important lessons I’ve learned from this great group of people.

When met with adversity, greet it with a smile

Just like any other customer service job, there are good days and there are bad days, along with good and bad customers. I’ve seen flight attendants deal with stressed parents, or rude well-to-do clients, but they still aid these customers to the best of their abilities, and more often than not – with a smile.

The most effective and efficient way of solving something is to approach it level-headed and with a smile.

I remember specifically watching a flight attendant spend a large majority of a flight chatting with two parents with a very young, upset child. To top it off, the parents seemed to be nervous flyers! The flight attendant took it in stride, always checking on them, providing advice on how to keep the child calm (sucking on ice was a brilliant piece of advice), and helping them feel calm throughout the flight.

It showed me that ignoring or running from your problem isn’t the solution, nor is completely tackling it head on. The most effective and efficient way of solving something is to approach it level-headed and with a smile.

There is something to be said for packing properly

We’ve all done it at some point or another – just shoved our luggage in the overhead bin. Regardless, it’s always incredible watching flight attendants who negotiate the smallest amounts of space to make sure someone’s absolutely crucial suitcase fits in the compartment above.

As a carry-on gal myself, I know the importance of making everything fit just right, but watching flight attendants manage those overhead compartments reminds me that not every single article of clothing you feel you might need is necessary. It’s incredibly useful to have travel clothes you feel are mutable.

Also, it pays to pack properly. Yes, throwing everything in your bag is attractive, especially at the end of a trip, but it’s much smarter and time effective to fold your clothes properly, because as we see on a plane, if you throw something haphazardly in your space, maximizing that space later is much more difficult and time consuming.

Lessons I've Learned From Flight Attendants

There is little a free drink can’t fix

I think it’s safe to say we all like free stuff. So, when you’ve had a rough day travelling, or a rough day in general, a free drink can turn things around. Last year, after spending some time in Spain, I hadn’t had a proper cup of tea in a while, so when I got on my flight back to Toronto, and the flight attendant seemed to sense my stress and gave me a delicious cup of tea, my day instantly got better.

Yes, I know tea, coffee and juices are generally free, but they do count! That tea made my entire flight a breeze, including the fidgety kid behind me.

Lessons I’ve Learned From Flight Attendants.

Or, another example would be on my flight to Helsinki, boarding had been delayed and it was a bit of a bumpy ride getting in the air, so when dinner time came around, our lovely flight attendants were very liberal with the wine, refilling more than once. The tension in the plane dissipated quickly after the free wine, and everyone was a lot calmer.

The wisdom isn’t in the free drink itself, but the recognition of someone having a bad time and trying to help them out and make them feel better. I think it’s little things like that that make me respect flight attendants.


Photos by Unsplash. 

About Alana Simpson

Alana Simpson hails from Toronto, Canada and loves to see and do as much as she can. In her spare time she can be found adventuring, trying new foods and laughing at a good joke. She is currently studying travel journalism at Matador U and blogs about her adventures on her website, Adventure Spices

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