We’ve all heard about the Air Passenger Bill of Rights. I guess every country has its own. When our flights are cancelled and delayed, or when our complaints fall on deaf ears, we instantly leaf through that government-issued memorandum so we can confidently assert our claims against an airline. And our rights extend beyond the check-in counter. In-flight, we also have basic rights in terms of how we are treated as passengers. Some of us may have had both good and bad experiences with flight attendants. But how do we know if we have also misused our rights as passengers? Where do we draw the line of respect between the passenger and the cabin crew midair?
Here are some important things to understand so we could keep our behavior in check as responsible air passengers:
1. DO AS YOU ARE TOLD
The job of the flight attendants is to ensure the safety of the passengers. That’s the reason why they make sure you are seated during take-off or landing, and when there’s a turbulence. That’s also the reason why they don’t leave until you strap yourself properly into your seat, ask you to be seated in upright position and put away your tray tables. These things will keep you safe during emergency landings.
2. ACT APPROPRIATELY
Flight attendants have the right to have you arrested by the air marshal if you are rude and unruly, as you may not only cause distress to the other passengers but to the flight crew as well. In worst cases, a flight attendant can report your misbehavior to the captain and have you offloaded or arrested upon touchdown.
3. REMEMBER: FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE NO SLAVES
As the job title speaks for itself, a flight attendant may only help but not legally bound to lift the bags of passengers into the overhead bins. They normally give a hand to children, the elderly and disabled though. That is the reason why, when you present your bags at the check-in counter, you will be asked which bag you will hand-carry. If you usually find discomfort in lifting a bag into the overhead bin, then hand-carry a lighter one so you can stow it under the seat in front of you.
4. RESPECT THE CABIN CREW
Whether you own the airline itself or you are a frequent flyer who has racked up a million miles, the cabin crew has authority over you or any other passenger midair. As long as safety is concerned, they were trained to carry out in-flight rules, like it or not.
5. BE KIND
This always works for anyone in the customer service, whether it’s a fast food joint, a ticketing office, or a city registrar…“Ask (nicely) and it shall be given to you.” Know that flight attendants are taught to have the passenger’s best interest in mind. After all, passengers are customers. And the airline would want loyal customers. This, however, doesn’t entitle passengers to be rude or abusive towards the airline personnel.
Just as we want to be treated well and get the best service that we paid for, the cabin crew deserves as much our utmost respect and admiration. After all, they provide aid to us, passengers, in times of emergency. Besides, we all like to have an enjoyable flight, don’t we? So when you’re airborne, just OBEY. RELAX. And SMILE.
Sheila, a.k.a. The Solo Tripper. Former news desk editor, full-time traveler, freelance writer.