Often times when flying out of San Diego I am upgraded to first class, however there are times when I am not and I’m in the back of the plane with the typical flyers. It doesn’t matter if I’m in coach or first, the flight attendants take care of me better when I know them, and they will do the same for you! If it’s a domestic flight or an international flight the story remains the same, not matter the class of service, having rapport with the flight attendants changes the flying experience. I’ve learned, if I’m nice to the FA, make conversation, and they like me, and more importantly remember me, then they are and will continue to be good to me!
I am not going to go into details on what airlines I’m talking about, or what routes I fly often (I don’t want to get anyone in trouble). But I will tell you that I have met many flight attendants from a lot of places andknowing your flight attendants is handy! Sometimes it means a free drink, a better meal or first choice of a meal, or just the FA ensuring your special meal request is on the plane before leaving the gate. Other times it’s “here’s your Glenlivets on the rocks and your club soda Rocky” or “Hey man, good seeing ya, can I get you the usual? Off to work again today?” Instead of the typical, “what can I get for you Mr. Horan” (as they give you the look of OMG did I just pronounce your name correctly)? Knowing the Flight Attendant makes flying feel as if you’re walking into your favorite bar or coffee shop, but instead you’re boarding a plane!
The point is, if you fly often, make it a point to treat the FAs better. Although I believe the FA always need to be treated with respect, if you treat them good, they will treat you better. This means, the FA call light is reserved for emergencies and if you need something you get out of your seat and walk to the galley! Don’t be rude, be nice—the FA is doing everything they can. More importantly, remember as flying economy has gone downhill for us, it also has digressed for them as well and they’ve lost all their benefits and then some! It works both ways!
So again, I just remind you be nice to your flight attendants and be memorable (in a good way)! This will benefit you in the end. Maybe a free drink, a free meal, better wine, more drinks, or something else. No matter what it is, get to know them and be friendly! It helps to have a friend at 30,000 feet!
Some Personal examples for you.
1) I was flying with some friends for spring break down to California to catch a cruise. We boarded the plane and sat down in economy. The FA was passing through the aisle and looked over and noticed my friend. It turned out to be her neighbor! Suddenly we were receiving free hot breakfast (which was normally for sale) and bloody mary’s and mimosa for the entire length of our flight!
2) I was flying back to Beijing after a short visit home to Seattle to visit my family for my brother’s graduation. I boarded the plane and sat in my typical exit row seat where everyone boards through on the side of the aircraft opposite of the boarding door. The FA recognized me from flying the route a number of times. She brought me a glass of welcome champagne as we caught up on the latest gossip and what was new in each other’s life. As we took off and headed towards Asia I found myself receiving snacks from first class throughout the entire flight (cheese plates, desserts, shrimp cocktails, etc) and first class wine J
3) I was flying from Kansas City in first class and it was 6am. The entire first class cabin was ½ asleep and grumpy. The FA was bubbly and having a great time, it might have been 6am but she was not letting this stop her from being awake and happy. She served everyone and we started chatting. She was really curious where I was off to. I had toward her LA, but I was taking the long route, basically going east to head west. I also told her I had changed my flight last minute so I could get more miles. She thought that was a great idea! Then she asked if I was going to be in first the rest of the way. When I told her no, my upgrade for my longer segment didn’t clear she asked me what my favorite airplane drink was. I told her, and minutes later I had a “feel better vomit bag” full of at least 8 airplane bottles! Needless to say I had enough for my connecting flight and the hotel!
4) Flying out of my hometown of San Diego I’ve got to know a lot of the FA that fly from San Diego. Now when I get on the plane, it’s always Hi good to see you, hug, fist pump or wave. It’s not a hellow welcome aboard standard greeting. When I’m in first class the FA checks to make sure my vegetarian meal was loaded. If it was forgotten they always set aside a meatless dish for me! When I’m in economy I’m not forgotten about. Sometimes I’m provided with a free drink or two and other times the FA share their lunches with me. Last week my new best friend who lives here in SD who was flying (I was so glad to see her when I got on the plane) had made homemade soup. We heated it up in the convection oven in the back of the plane and had delicious soup at 30k feet instead of airplane food! It made flying economy WAY better!
5) I’ve had a number of SUPER close connections. Once where myself and 3 other passengers had less then 10 minutes to get from out gate, switch terminals, and get to our connecting gate. The FA called ahead, had a golf cart waiting for us, they shuttled us to our flight and made sure we were on board. Sure our outbound flight was now delayed, but the airline didn’t have to put us up in a hotel for the night (it was the last connection to our destination for the day) and the FA didn’t have to call to get us transport, but she did!
Point is I have hundreds of stories to share. I’ve met a lot of awesome flight attendants from all around the world. Have you met any? What has your experience been?