A Flight Attendant’s 12 Etiquette Rules for Summer Travel

If you need something — a coffee refill, assistance with a medical issue or help with a disruptive passenger — please use it. It is preferable to poking or tapping the flight attendant, which is not OK. Before you press it, though, make sure we aren’t already in the aisle with a beverage cart or a trash bag — that means we’re already coming! If you are having a true emergency, please hit it several times so we know it’s important.

Nothing makes a flight more miserable than the back of your seat becoming a punching bag. However, if a child behind you is being disruptive, address the parents. You don’t have the right to yell at someone else’s child. A nice way to approach this is to ask the parents calmly, and with a smile, if they realize their child is kicking your seat. Then say it’s bothersome; is there any way you can you make the child stop? This way you are not accusing in your tone, and are asking instead of being bossy.

If your family is split up on the flight, the chaotic rush of boarding is not when flight attendants can solve it for you. The gate agents have access to the seating chart and family reservations, so please ask them first if it is possible to change your seats. Some airlines even have a policy that families with children under 13 must sit together, so the gate agent is the best place. Or even better: Call the airline before coming to the airport.

I’m going to be unpopular here. No, you do not have to switch with someone who asks you. If you have paid extra for your seat, or even if it is just an inconvenience, you can kindly say no. If it is advantageous, like trading a middle seat for a window seat, or you are happy to help, please go ahead and swap.

This should be common sense, but somehow it isn’t. I deal with this all day, every day. I do not want to flush your deposit, and neither does the passenger after you. If you can’t find the button, please look for it: I guarantee it’s there. On every airplane.

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