flight-painThis past week, I’ve been reading about the Jet Blue flight attendant who shouted profanities over an intercom and made his grand exit from an emergency chute after he got into an altercation with a fellow passenger. As someone who has traveled a lot these past few years, I have something I want to get off my chest. Flight attendants on certain airlines can be very very rude.  
As passengers, we have gone from being able to check our bags on a plane in a civilized fashion to having to pay $25 for those same bags to be stowed underneath and then carted off to baggage claim – which incidentally is a hassle and a half. And for those of us who decide to bring a carry on bag and a purse or perhaps a mini suitcase, lap top bag and a purse, we are accosted by what seems like the Gestapo because we didn’t shove our 12 inch handbag into our computer case.

Recently, I had the misfortune of being stopped at the gate by a flight attendant who demanded I check my bag under the plane because the plane was over booked. And so, I obliged even though I noticed a woman in the seat in front of me shoving her oversized carry on bag into the overhead compartment while she proceeded to move all the bags around just so that hers would fit. The flight attendants didn’t say a word to her and when it was time to leave the plane, she was the first person to pop up and yank her bag out of the bin.

On another occasion, we were on a Virgin America flight when a couple brought their skittish puppy on board and the pup proceeded to poop mid-flight. The flight attendants refused to scoop the poop (I completely sided with them on that one) and aisle 22 stunk to high heaven.

Meanwhile, I was sitting next to one of the dog’s owners and I instantly flipped into mom mode and demanded my seatmate hit the bathroom for paper towels, water and soap. 

The main observation I’ve made in my flights aboard Jet Blue, Air Trans, Delta, US Airways, Virgin, Continental and Southwest is that newer planes oftentimes have flight attendants who are just plain rude. In fact, while American Airlines probably has the oldest planes in the fleet, their flight attendants are among the nicest. Perhaps that’s because they are seasoned veterans who have made it their life’s work to fly across the country every day and treat passengers with respect.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the service was beyond awful and the waiter was completely rude? Now what about that restaurant that you go back to time and time again because you adore the waitress who is friendly and loves her job? 

Steven Slater obviously hated his job and through his grand exit from Jet Blue, he made his mark and will most likely land a reality show gig. However, make no mistake – Steven Slater is no folk hero. Chesley Sullenberger, the American Airlines pilot who landed his plane safely in the Hudson River, is a true hero. As are every flight attendant who I’ve met who were friendly, helpful and cheery even when we were experiencing awful wind gusts and putrid puppy poop.

So next time you’re contemplating a flight, bear in mind that the staff on American Airlines are top notch and while Jet Blue and Virgin America may have tons of bells and whistles, the service sometimes falls a bit short.

Being aboard a plane brings out the best and worst in people. We get frustrated by rude passengers, screaming babies and those annoying people who recline their chair into your knees while the person behind you keeps opening and closing their tray table. But there’s also the friendly souls who help you put your bag overhead when you can’t reach it, or engage in conversation that helps take your mind off the turbulence.

There are two sides to every flight experience and as someone who has witnessed rude behavior from passengers and flight attendants, all I can say is if you hate your job – then don’t fly. And if you can’t be nice to the people serving you on a plane then you need a lesson in manners. And if you still can’t find a happy medium, I’ve got the next best solution…take the train. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a conductor I didn’t like.