Galley Gossip: Frequent flier pet peeve – rude flight attendants

So heather. Tell me your opinion on this. Today I flew home from visiting my bubby in Boca and I was reminded of one of my biggest flight attendant pet peeves. The flight attendant working in first class, while addressing passengers to take drink orders and when checking in during the flight, asked..”what do you need” ? A call light would ring, she’d saunter out of the galley and bark, “what do you need”? I dunno why, but this bothers me. I think it’s borderline rude. It makes me feel like she feels bothered by the passengers.?. What do you think?


P.S. These flights to MIA were not nearly as eventful as the last, but there was a man who boarded on his phone and freaked out because the boarding music was too loud. He lunged into the galley and requested it to be turned off. When it was, he sat in his seat and spoke louder than the music. Ahhhh!!! some people!

Dear R.F

There’s a reason I avoid the New York – Miami route! There’s always something out of the ordinary happening on that flight. Which is why I’m not at all surprised by the passenger’s request to turn down the boarding music so he could talk on his phone. Recently I was flagged down during the safety video because someone thought it was too loud and wondered if I could shut it off – shut it off! The video! The one that goes over what to do in case of an emergency! Because he’d seen it already.

That’s not all. Years ago on another flight I had a celebrity on board who happened to be traveling in first class with her infant son. She rang the flight attendant call light and said, “Do you think you can ask the Captain not to make anymore announcements. My son is sleeping.”

It was true, her son was sleeping, so I smiled, nodded, and walked straight to the cockpit. Oh how I couldn’t wait to relay that message and see the look on the Captain’s face.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a flight attendant it’s that we live in a me-me-me world. People are too quick to judge and lack empathy. I’m not just talking about passengers, I’m talking about flight attendants, too. Rarely do people take a step back in order to see the big picture. We’re all just so busy going, going, going that we’re unable to grasp anything other than what affects us personally.

Now I wasn’t on your flight, R. F., so I have no idea whether your flight attendant was rude or just not as articulate as you would have liked There’s a difference, ya know. But I understand what you’re getting at because there have been times I’ve found the request, “Give me Coke!” jarring. I’ve felt the same way about passengers who try to get my attention by tugging on my elbow or saying, “Pssst! Pssst! Pssst!” Then I remind myself that some people really don’t know any better. Doesn’t make them rude, mean, or stupid, it just means I have a lot to be thankful for. It sounds like you do, too.

While I agree with you that the phrase, “What do you need?” does come off rough and abrupt, keep in mind that a call light rang and she answered it – perhaps to the best of her ability. A request was made and she delivered it, whether or not she could have delivered it with a little more finesse is something we’ll never know. But she did do her job, regardless of the particular words used.


Photo courtesy of Rkob (legs), lamazone (flight attendants)