With air travel becoming more popular by the day, thanks to cheap fares and the urge to make our Instagram accounts that little bit more interesting, what’s it like for those who serve us in the sky?
A lot of the time, for the non-obnoxious passengers among us, our flight attendants are the unsung heroes of our travel experience.
Whether it’s long-haul, or a cheeky little trip to the Costa del Sol, they manage to keep our drinks flowing and our bags packed with the best duty-free bargains our skies have ever seen.
Yet what exactly goes on behind that curtain once passengers are asleep, engrossed in a film or too drunk to notice?
We’re all familiar with the term ‘Mile-High Club’, but does it really exist, what happens if you witness it, or worse, get caught in the act?
If the attendants encounter a rude passenger, do they really spit in their food and ignore any future bell calls?
Well fear not, VICE spoke to an attendant, ‘Becky’, who works for a major American airline and answered the questions most of us have always wondered about.
‘Becky’ had asked to stay anonymous – presumably because she didn’t want to get fired – and explained how life for a modern-day flight attendant isn’t all glitz and glamour like the olden days.
Yet she did reveal it still encounters a fair bit of sex, drugs and alcohol – even sharing some details about how to get the all important upgrade!
So, in regards to the Mile-High Club, Becky revealed all, especially how to get away with it:
Wait for service, when the attendants are all in the aisle. Everyone’s busy and has a job at that point and I don’t care what’s going on behind me then. There could be ten people in the bathroom and I wouldn’t be aware of it.
On the bigger double-decker planes they have flight attendants whose entire job is to sit at the bottom bathroom and make sure no couples are going into it.
But on smaller planes, for shorter flights, the attendants aren’t watching you like you think we are. We’re on our phones in the back with the others or doing our jobs. We don’t want to be near that bathroom at any point in time and we’ll avoid it at all costs.
God speed if you’re gonna try and have sex in one. They’re disgusting and small, but it is possible.
Have you ever been rude to an attendant on a flight? Ever been the ‘annoying drunk’ on board? Well Becky stated how she deals with those types of passengers:
Usually, I spend the majority of my time just ignoring them. You don’t really have much to work with so it becomes a power play.
I try to assert myself as much as possible and let them know I’m the boss by not giving them their orange juice with ice or giving it to them with ice if they asked for no ice.
Weak pours for drinks, stuff like that. Anything I can do to stick in their craw without it being obvious because, unfortunately, I have to smile and do my best to not look upset, no matter what the case is.
Fair play to ‘Becky’ – I don’t think I’d do so well if spoken to in some of the ways I’ve witnessed on a flight!
When it comes to planes, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the bathrooms are probably one of the most disgusting places on the planet.
There’s always wee over the seats and there’s no way it’s always down to turbulance!
Yet besides the bathrooms, what’s the grossest thing on planes that we don’t hear about – surprisingly, ‘Becky’ says it’s the coffee:
Don’t drink the coffee on airplanes. It’s the same potable water that goes through the bathroom system.
We recently had a test for E. coli in our water and it didn’t pass and then maintenance came on and hit a couple buttons and it passed. So, avoid any hot water or tea. Bottled and ice is fine, of course.
Finally though, and this is a big one – especially if you’re a frequent flyer – what’s the best way to get a free seat upgrade or any other freebies and perks that might be going?
Wait until you’re on the plane because gate agents don’t care. But once you’re on and that door is closed, make sure you have something to give your flight attendants.
We’re bargainers. Give me candy and I’ll give you whatever you want. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
We don’t keep count of those mini bottles of alcohol. If there’re seats open in business class and it’s not going to affect me negatively, or there are first class seats open and I can still eat my first class meal if I put you up there, I’ll put you up there.
As long as you’re nice to me, no problem.
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— Crewiser (@Crewiser) December 14, 2017
Well, that’s us told – I hope it’s opened your eyes to air travel now – well a little bit at least!
It’s not all bad though – flight attendants, in some cases, genuinely care about their customers – some even try their best to entertain you:
Happy flying! Remember though – if you opt for a coffee – you drink it at your own risk!