By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
8:30 PM EDT, April 30, 2013
Did you know passengers from Latin America are more likely to hiss to get their flight attendant's attention, while Italians tend to snap their fingers? Those are some of the observations among flight attendants I've questioned.
No harm there, I guess, but in other cases, here's a look at how remembering our manners when we fly can make flight attendants happy to see us.
Attention getters: "Different cultures have different ways of getting our attention. Older Americans tend to grab or poke flight attendants," said a veteran United flight attendant. An attendant on a low-cost U.S. carrier said passengers have grabbed her wrist to see what time it is.
Coffee, tea, ugh: An American Airlines attendant said it's exhausting asking 300 passengers: "How do you take it?" A clue: Just say it upfront.
You asked for it: "My biggest pet peeve is when passengers order coffee when it's beginning to get turbulent. As soon as it's too bumpy to continue serving drinks, when we're in our jump seats buckled up, some passengers will ring their call lights for us to come rescue them from the hot liquid. Too late! We have to play it safe too," said Heather Poole, a flight attendant for 17 years and author of "Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet."
A lot of baggage: With most carriers charging for checked baggage, carry-on luggage can be a headache. One flight attendant said he thinks passengers expect him to lift bags they can lift themselves. But if he gets injured lifting someone's luggage, his worker's comp insurance won't cover the injury, because luggage handling isn't in his job description. A tall female flight attendant said passengers sometimes drop their bags and suggest she make use of her height and stow their luggage.
Here's a thought: For better in-flight karma, perhaps we can pack lighter and tell flight attendants how we like our beverages, including whether we want drinks with or without ice.
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