Travel doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in everyone. To an extent, it’s understandable; trying to catch a flight on time, dealing with delays, going through security — none of it is exactly fun. Still, there are those who handle it better than others, and if anyone knows best who these people are, it’s flight attendants. They see the highs and lows of travelers on a daily basis, so it’s no surprise they have some pretty strong opinions about air travel.
One anonymous flight attendant wrote an open letter to travelers about the nightmare that is Summer travel, and if you’ve ever hopped on a plane during the prime months, you’ll completely understand the woes that come along with it. The flight attendant first attempts to liken Summer travel to holiday travel around Christmas, but even the month of December doesn’t compare, according to the expert.
“I love my job, I love my colleagues (for the most part), and I even love my passengers. Having said that, there are a few very special breeds of traveler who seem to lose all sense of decency when the temperature rises and the smell of jet fuel permeates the senses. Add to that jam-packed planes on an already stretched air travel infrastructure, and you’re ripe for a meltdown at any moment. I see it all, and often wish I never saw it at all,” he said.
“There are a few very special breeds of traveler who seem to lose all sense of decency when the temperature rises and the smell of jet fuel permeates the senses.”
The flight attendant breaks down the “breeds” of Summer travelers. Enter the father and husband in business class who sends his wife and kids to sit together in economy (what?!) then proceeds to “get tanked on Tanqueray.” The attendant even added that in one case as they were preparing to land, the husband came up to use the toilet “and ask if us flight crew would be laying over in Fort Myers. Thankfully, I wasn’t — but undeterred, Dad proceeded to hand me his number, suggesting I text if I got bored in my hotel room. While I do not normally mind the attention of a daddy, I promptly tossed the number into the bin for catering to take out.” OK.
Then there are “the hordes of high school and university-aged students traveling for service work, church group, holiday or any other reason under the sun,” the groups of guys whose sole goal is to get tanked on their flight, and then, of course, the middle schoolers — who sound more cringe-worthy to watch than anyone else.
“Watching them — wherever they’re off to — the crew suffers from mortifying secondhand embarrassment as we watch the popular kids to try avoid sitting with the less popular, and remember our own school days. This is a Boeing 737, not the Mean Girls cafeteria, ladies and gentleman.”
Luckily, the flight attendant has a soft spot for unaccompanied minors, whom he can relate to, having flown often alone as a child, adding that he “rolls out the red carpet” for these travelers. “I always make a point to let them know I once too had to go back and forth between parents, and to sit back, relax and let us take care of them before they have to pretend to like the next step-parent.”
Bottom line based on this (most likely very justified) rant? Be considerate of everyone around you on your Summer travels this year.
“Just remember the next time you step on a plane to jet off on your summer hols that your flight attendants are people too — and we’re looking forward to September even more than you,” he said. Fair enough. You can read the full letter on The Independent‘s website.