1. Return Their Greeting
When a crew member smiles and says hello as you’re boarding the plane, return the sentiment. With so many people filing past without acknowledgment, your bright smile and sincere hello will make you stand out—in a good way. No one is suggesting you ask about their entire life's story or try to forge a deep and lifelong friendship—just a simple, "Hi," will make you look like a decent human being.
2. Time Your Potty Breaks
While it’s best to take care of restroom needs before boarding and after landing, a trip to the plane’s lavatory is sometimes unavoidable. If nature calls at 30,000 feet, try to answer before or after snack or meal service. Maneuvering bulky carts through tiny aisles is challenging enough without the wandering passenger element.
3. Pass It On
Did you grab the latest issue of People, Vogue, or GQ Magazine from the airport before take-off? If you finished it on the flight, consider passing it on to your flight attendant. They’ll appreciate the gesture and enjoy having some fresh downtime reading.
4. Pay Attention
If you’re an old pro at flying, you’ve heard the safety spiel a zillion times. Why listen to yet another rendition? The flight attendant’s number one job is to keep you safe, so start off on a good foot by paying attention to the five-minute (or less) pre-flight presentation. It’s the least you can do.
5. Listen Up
Headphones are great for travel, but know when to take them off. When a flight attendant speaks to you, you’ll hear better if you remove the barrier—allowing you to reply and/or comply more quickly. The flight will be more efficient and enjoyable for everyone.
6. Bear Gifts
You’ll be a flight-crew favorite if you bring presents. Give them a packaged, store-bought snack they can share, and you’ll be treated extra special the entire flight.
7. Bring Ink Pens
For a non-edible present idea, consider ink pens. Flight attendants are constantly losing pens to some passenger’s Sudoku puzzle, so gifting them a few writing utensils tied up with a simple ribbon will make you MVP (most valuable passenger) for sure.
8. Don't Make that Call
If you don’t see them for a bit, keep in mind that the flight attendants are busy taking care of everyone on the plane. If you’re wondering when lunch will be served or if you can get a blanket, just be patient. You’ll see your flight attendant again soon. Unless it’s an emergency, the call button is best left un-pressed.
9. Keep Your Feet on the Floor
If you happen to find yourself in a bulkhead seat, don’t put your feet on the wall in front of you. It’s impolite and can be dangerous in turbulence or during a rough take-off or landing.
10. Brag to the Boss
When flight attendants are exceptionally good at their job, don’t hesitate to ask how you can let their supervisor know. Before deplaning, thank them for taking care of you and write down their employee number, as well as the name and email of their higher-up. When airline officials receive kudos for their employees, they generally find ways to reward them.
11. Hang Up and Fly
The airplane door closing is your cue to turn off your cell phone. Your flight attendant will remind you, but violating this safety regulation comes with hefty fines for flight attendants. So, it’s best to comply swiftly. If they have to tell you twice, you won’t make the nice list.
12. Be Prepared
Before you leave your house, think about what you’ll need. If you’re traveling with a baby, make sure you bring plenty of supplies. If you have a medical condition, pack your medicine. Being proactive will ensure comfort for your family and make everyone around you more comfortable, too.
13. Know Your Drink
Have your beverage order ready, including how you’d like it (cream and sugar, no ice, etc.). Waiting to think about it when the question is asked slows progress. Make a decision, stick to it, and your flight attendant will love you for it.
14. Use the Seat in Front of You
The space under the seat in front of you is built-in storage for backpacks, bags, and purses. Use it. Placing smaller bags in the overhead compartment takes up valuable space for larger luggage and can be particularly problematic on a full flight.
15. Don't Poke or Tap
There is never a reason to poke a flight attendant. Remember the Golden Rule; If the thought of being poked by a random stranger makes you cringe, don’t do it! Trust that your “Excuse me?” is heard. Wait patiently for their response and you'll help lower their stress level.