But, my dear reader, there are actually some flight attendants out there who are just as guilty of annoying, inconsiderate behaviour. And boy, do they Drive Me Crazy!
It starts when I get to the airport. We sign on in the crew base, and do the required things like check our mailboxes, rosters and make sure we're up to date with the latest operational memos.
Ms Inconsiderate blows in right before check-in time, parks her bag in front of the mailboxes and proceeds to lean on the counter before the sign on computers, chatting to her friend and not actually using, thus preventing me from printing my roster & making me late for briefing. I also can't get to my mailbox because her ten ton bag is in the way.
CREW: Be quick when printing and watch where you put your bags. Just because you have time to chat, doesn't mean everyone else does.
Briefing time. The working positions get allocated. Now strictly speaking, there's not any seniority, but the generally recognised procedure is you let the crew who have been there longer than you have first pick of position, if that's what they want. Sometimes it's just easier to let the 10 year seniors work where they want, to avoid crankiness during the flight.
The in-flight manager asks me where I want to work. Ms Newbie shows up, looks around smugly (knowing full well I'm a cabin person not galley) and says she would really rather not work galley and wants cabin. The manager, being not the sharpest tool in the shed, ignores the fact that Newbie interrupted me and gives her cabin position, which means I'm stuck with galley. I'll work with it, of course, but it's the principle. I'd just spent the last 5 days doing galley position, and working about 4 legs each day. I was tired and wanted a break from counting drinks and stupid coffee brewers that decided not to work.
CREW: Even if your airline has no seniority, be aware of not putting yourself first all the time and occasionally consider that one of the other crew might always get stuck working a position that they hate. Suck it up for once and just do it.
One of my biggest crew pet peeves is flying with people who have no idea how to stow luggage. For example, as we board, Newbie is working at the front of the plane but comes and throws her bags right above the overwing exit rows. Thanks love, you just took up space my pax need because they have no option of floor stowage. I tell her to move her stuff and she cracks it. I tell her there is a perfectly good bag stowage at the front of the plane and she should use it. It's not exactly rocket science, but if I'm travelling with 2 or 3 bags, I try to spread them out around the cabin so they don't take up an entire locker, and thus deprive a whole row of stowage space.
Some aircraft are better than others in that they have dedicated spaces for crew to stow luggage. Others don't, and that's where we get to play Baggage Tetris during boarding.
CREW: Think about where your station is, and don't take up space that another crewmember needs for their bags or for passenger bags. Sure, our baggage takes priority but there's no need to be smug about it. Make it easy for the passengers, and it makes it easier for you.
Another frustrating crew behaviour is that of the food-hogger. Not only are they selfish, they are usually lazy too. Picture a flight with every seat filled, a dozen call bells going off at once, screaming babies, broken tv screens and all that fun stuff.
While the lazy crew members do their thing in the galley, suddenly having gone deaf and unable to hear and/or see the call bells, I'm left to run around the cabin like a headless chicken; mopping up vomit, distributing drinks and re-stocking the toilet rolls.
Meanwhile, the Food Hoggers are descending on the galley carts like a voracious locust horde, devouring everything remotely edible and leaving only the saddest, most pitiful and tasteless meal items in their wake. After slogging my way through three dozen drink requests, I return to the galley, starving, only to find not a scrap of edible/desirable food left (including my own that I put in the ice bin) for lunch. Needless to say, I see red.
CREW: How about waiting until the service is done before you chow down on that crew meal, and hey, while we're at it, how about taking a vote to see what everyone else wants before you take the choicest meals?
Once upon a time at a certain airline I returned to the galley after dealing with a vomit volcano of massive proportions, not really wanting to eat (but needing to due to the 12 hour duty we were doing). I got there only to find that there were no meals left. (There should have been). On questioning the girl who was shovelling chicken stir fry into her mouth as to why she was eating the last meal, she responded with "You were gone so long I thought you weren't eating." Oh, REALLY? How about getting of your ass and helping me clean the sick that had been working its way toward the back of economy???? Too hard for the Food Hogger, apparently.
Which brings me to...
These are the crew who, despite knowing that you're still busy with the service, hang around the galley like starving seagulls hoping to score a hot chip. Even worse are the ones who get in there when your back is turned, opening carts and foraging for the best items. I once had a whole set of business class chocolates go missing before we'd even served the coffee. One must be very vigilant when there are galley vultures around, and shoo them back to Economy at the first opportunity!!! I should add that hungry, pilfering pilots also fall into this category, and the only worse pilot is the one who calls constantly for coffee during a busy service.
(I solve this problem by teaching them to make their OWN coffee, thus removing the need for my intervention at all... very handy!!!!)
CREW: For goodness' sake, if I'm still doing the service and you're not going to help before raiding my galley, GO AWAY!!!!
For those of you reading this who have ever worked a tray service, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. There are some crew members around who just have NO clue when it comes to how to use a meal cart properly. Firstly, some don't use the brakes. EVER. I'll be turning around to pass someone a drink only to get hit from behind by a cart rolling down the aisle because my colleague doesn't have enough sense to put the brake on. I don't know about you, but I was always trained that the person at the head of the cart puts the brake on. Since then, I like to work under the motto that whoever moves it puts the brakes on. Of course, I always check to be sure, but when I'm a few rows away and my co-worker is stupid, sometimes it can't be avoided that the brake gets left off.
Also, it is quite difficult to be the person going backwards on a cart. Not only is walking backwards in a straight line quite difficult (humans are not really built for this), you have to factor in the motion of the plane and also that it's nearly impossible to look over your shoulder to see what is going on. You have to rely on your cart partner to tell you if you're going to trip over/hit a passenger.
Some crew are bad at this. They're in their own little world, ignoring elbows, knees and sometimes heads on their way up the aisle. Adding to the trouble is the fact that most ignorant cart operators also tend to push too fast. Walking backwards is difficult enough, let's not add speed into the equation! As the person facing the passengers, it's up to me to look ashamed about the fact we just slammed little Kevin in the head (even though we asked Kevin's parents five hundred times not to let him hang into the aisle.)
The other thing these crew tend to do is move the cart when you're not ready. Quite often, they're oblivious to the fact that the other person is bending down to put something in the cart. Two scenarios abound: moving the cart away so the tray gets dropped all over the floor because Crew #2 wasn't expecting the cart to move, or hitting Crew #2 in the head while they're trying to put a tray away. EXTREMELY frustrating! I find having one hand on the cart handle while I bend down is a good way to prevent the head smash and resultant unflattering bruise that comes with it!
CREW Think about what you're doing, where you're going and whether the other crew member is going to get hit if you move the cart. Good cart teams rarely have to talk to each other about what they're going to do; they just know.
So there you have it, just some of the bad crew behaviours that annoy me. It's not just the passengers!!! ;)
Now my fellow crew- tell me YOUR pet crew peeves. You can leave a comment or hop on over to my Twitter page.
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