It’s that time of year. Airports are busy, airplanes are full and people are flying all over the place to get to God-knows-where. We understand. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had Christmas off. To make both our lives a little easier, I’ve composed this list of pointers to help make your travel plans and finding your way through the airport a bit easier:

  1. )  Go to the restroom before you board the plane.

It’s intensely difficult to get back to your seat when 166 passengers with luggage and purchased items as well as the other 100 pounds of crap they carried on board with them are attempting to get to their seats. And they are walking down a narrow aisle in the opposite direction as you. Your only option at that point is to stand in the galley where I am banging on bags of ice with an ice mallet because the temperature turned the bag of ice into one big block. I’m also moving carts around, pulling 20 pound inserts of soda and throwing those around. I’m assembling cart top inserts, ripping dry ice off the beer before it freezes and loading ovens with very long racks full of your meals. There truly is no room for you back here. And by the way, the first class lav looks just like the rest of them.

2.)  When you put your stuff in the overhead bin, make sure you test to see if the lid will close.

If it cannot close, I’m going to have to wrestle with it. If it still doesn’t fit, that sucker is going in the belly. Please don’t argue about it because if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Please recognize the fact that I am indeed trying to help you. Quite simply,  if I have no place to put it elsewhere, it’s going in the belly. And if you are uncomfortable with that, then we have other flights we can rebook you on.

3.)  I cannot give you what I don’t have.

And we normally don’t keep condiments in the galley such as ketchup, mustard, fresh ground pepper, hot sauce or mayonnaise. If it’s not on your tray, I probably don’t have it.

4.)  If I get to the back of the plane and I don’t offer you a choice of meals, this means I don’t have the other item or items available.

It means that I have none left. Again, I cannot give you what I don’t have. Please refrain from getting huffy over the fact that I’m out of the chicken. Trust me, it wasn’t that good in the first place.

5.)  Do not ask me “What do you have?” as a response to my question, “What would you like to drink?”

There is a list of available items in the seat back pocket.  I usually respond with “What would you like?”  Or just take a shot. Because this takes less time than:

“Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sprite, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Zero, ginger ale, Dr. Pepper, diet Dr. Pepper, Tonic water, Soda water, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, bloody mary mix, cranberry-apple juice, coffee, tea, milk, water, regular beer, lite beer, red wine, white wine, and assorted cocktails.”

  1. )  If you ask for coffee, please tell me how you want it. Black? Cream? Cream and sugar? Just sugar? Do not assume I have a crystal ball between my knees and can just tell by looking at you how you want it. “In a cup.” is not an appropriate answer either. And neither is “Black coffee with cream.”  It confuses me.

7.) Do not assume that a Flight Attendant in an airport can give you driving directions. Chances are she doesn’t live in that city and may never have been out of the airport at that particular destination. I have been to Port Au Prince probably a thousand times. I left the airport only once about 20 years ago for lunch during a delay. I ended up with amebic dysentery and lost thirty pounds as a result of eating a bowl of chicken soup for my trouble.

8.)  We are here to help you. We are here to serve you a drink and maybe some food. We are also here to save your life if need be.

But we are primarily here because the FAA says we have to be here. Please remember, when I ask you to do something, I’m really not asking you. I’m telling you. In other words, you kind of have to do it. We don’t make the rules. We simply have to ensure that you follow them. It’s their law. It’s our job. Now do me a favor and turn the flippin’ cell phone off the first time I ask you to do it. I personally don’t give a damn. But the FAA does and if there’s an inspector on board and if he sees you with that thing on after we told you to turn it off, get out the checkbook, and gird your loins for a large fine.


9.)  If there’s enough turbulence where the plane is rocking and rolling so bad you can’t walk, what makes you assume I can? In turbulence, we are ordered to our jump seats by the Captain and we have to stay strapped in. Quit banging on that call light because we simply cannot get up even if we wanted to.  And by the way, we’re not made of titanium so if you wouldn’t get up, don’t expect us to.

10.) Here’s why you shouldn’t board a plane when you’re in labor:

All in all, it’s a handy little list of pointers that might make your life and mine a bit more agreeable.