For most of us, flying is a routine part of life. Yet no matter how well-traveled we are these days, there’s still plenty of confusion about the airline industry. As a flight attendant, I am continuously surprised and amused by the things passengers ask. So here are some of the best, or should I say, the most stupid questions I’ve been asked while working as a flight attendant at 37,000 feet.
This story reflects on flight Attendant life before the coronavirus pandemic hit the airline industry.
On every flight, we encounter passengers with misconceptions about aircraft catering capacities. For example, after being offered three meal options, passengers sometimes reply
“Is there anything else?”
Sorry to disappoint those expecting a full a-la-carte-menu, but considering we provide 300 meals using just six tiny ovens, three choices are generous as is.
Then there are the first-class passengers who, when ordering beef for dinner, ask
“Can I have it medium-rare?”
Unfortunately, not, because we don’t actually have a chef in the 2 meter-squared galley frying steak over an open flame.
Naturally, some people prefer to bring their own food on-board, but I was once asked
“Could I use your kitchen to cook my chicken?”
Firstly, it’s not a kitchen, just a very compact galley and crew, adhering to food-handling guidelines, cannot even re-heat a cheese toasty, never mind roast an entire raw chicken. Secondly, just no.
Aircraft layout mystery
There’s also confusion over aircraft layout. When a passenger declined her meal because her dog, traveling in the hold, was probably not eating either, I tried reassuring her the pooch would be fine. Un-consoled nevertheless, she asked
“Can I pop down to see my dog?”
Erm no, fortunately, there’s no cabin access to the hold, nor is there any secret doors leading to the area for live animals.
Flying to LA for a first date and wanting to spruce up before landing, a traveler said
“Can I use your crew shower?”
Except for some supreme luxury cabins on select airlines, commercial flights don’t have showers, even for the crew, and flying coach London to LAX is definitely without this perk.
Frequent travelers are undoubtedly familiar with safety instructions, but I am often surprised by hazardous requests. A favorite is
“Can I plug in my hair-straighteners?”
So, while mid-way across the Atlantic, passengers want to style their hair with a device capable of burning through carpets, tables, sofas…No, sadly you will have to arrive with crumpled hair.
Perhaps the ultimate risk-taker though was a gentleman who, whilst the aircraft was being refueled on a remote stand, asked
“Can I stand outside for a cigarette?“
For some contextualization, smoking at gas stations when refueling a 45-liter car engine is forbidden, so when pumping 120,000 liters of fuel into airplane engines, the answer was a resounding, categorical NO.
Of all the comical questions though, there’s a definite favorite amongst the crew. After a 12-hour flight, where we’ve delivered countless services, poured thousands of coffees and collected tonnes of rubbish, disembarking passengers often ask
“Do you go right back?“
No, we absolutely do not go right back, nor is there any airline making crew work thirty-hour non-stop shifts. Instead, we get off, head to our hotels wherever we’ve arrived into and enjoy a large glass of wine.
So, do you think you have ever asked your flight attendant any stupid questions?
Cheers travelers, see you inflight!
Featured Image: CalMemories.