I find in restaurants that waiters often struggle to get things right when handling five tables or more. It’s chaos. Now let’s imagine handling more like twenty five tables, or even fifty. On an airplane, passengers want water, food, service, blankets, alcohol, just about all the same things that customers in a restaurant may ask of a server. Flight crews are not restaurant servers, they are primarily responsible for the safety of an airplane and passengers, hurling six miles above the ground at speeds that would terrify the greatest Formula One drivers. Here are some very simple tips to guarantee better service and happier flights…

rows of seats in an airplane

Understand The Numbers, Be Reasonable

In economy it’s acceptable for airlines to have a ratio of 50 passengers for every one crew member. Think about that for a second. It’s insanity! One person responsible for the lives and happiness of 50 people! It’s hard enough keeping our brothers, sisters, wives and husbands happy! In business class you’ll find ratios more like one for every ten or better and in First class, often better than that on international flights. Remember, these people are serving meals, making drinks, bringing pillows and stopping fights, you may just have to wait a few moments.

a man giving a woman a book to a woman

Bring Gifts, Seriously

As you may have figured out, though traveling the world is a wonderful way to make a living, the actual travel part is fairly grueling. I make a point of trying to bring chocolates, snacks, wine (for later), anything that you think might brighten someones day. I find that every time I remember to do so, I receive personal greetings and messages of thanks once I’ve made my way to my seat. Of course once I get there, I don’t act like they owe me anything, they don’t. Just be happy that you’re making the world a better place, and that your glass might just get topped off before the grouchy bastard behind you.

a woman lying in a bed with a laptop and a drink

Take Your ^^^^ Headphones Off

The “brick wall” is an attractive option compared to the “shouting passenger”, who has no sense of volume for their voice, while Nicholas Cage action movies roar through their ears. It’s such a small effort to take your headphones off to say “thank you”, “no thanks”, “yes, please”. It’s common courtesy to look someone in the eye and take off your headphones while speaking to someone on the ground, don’t try to create an exception in the air.

luggage on a shelf in an airplane

Accommodate Requests When Possible

People often use the term “cattle class” to describe economy boarding. Though it does feel like a slightly degrading term, it’s the manor of the boarding that makes it true. We are pushed and pushed, often, literally prodded down the aisles, all to fit into a tiny stall. Yes, I know, you have a shiny Bronze, Aluminum or Space metal card that says you’re important, but if someone really needs you to switch seats, gate check a bag, hang your coat elsewhere, or move your stuff to a different overhead bin, just let them. The crew are professionals and they wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t going to make a difference in the efficiency and quality of the boarding, meal service, whatever.

a group of people in uniform

Praise The Good Ones

So simple, so true. I’ve had terrible service on airplanes and you better believe I let the airline know. The problem is that when something goes wrong, people are very quick to complain. When something goes very right, they often overlook it. Don’t. If you have an incredible crew, praise them. Tweet, email, speak to a gate agent, do whatever you can to let the airline know that the people who worked your flight are their best assets. That’s how you’ll find more and more great crews on your flight.

For Martin + Oscar + Lucien + Julie. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

So many people have seen the above 360* VR image of my cockpit visit and said “how did you do that”. It was truly as simple as being nice, bringing gifts to say thanks, being patient and asking. Good things happen to nice passengers. Be one of them.

As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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