Perhaps like you, I’m curious what flight attendants think about travel in the current and post-COVID-19 world.
Two amazing flight attendants were kind of enough to answer a few questions and share their thoughts with us.
One flight attendant works for a United States legacy carrier and asked to remain anonymous.
The other is YouTube’s Trolley Dolly — a flight attendant named Lindsey who works for a different US airline. (And a belated happy International Flight Attendant Day to them and all flight attendants!)
Will Cabin Service Ever Return to “Normal”?
For those of us wanting things to return to “normal,” there is some good news. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s all about personal protective equipment (PPE) and money.
“As of right now, there are no kitchen services, and based on the economics, it’s financially beneficial for airlines to not introduce a service until the Center for Disease Control tells everyone it’s safe not to use PPE,” the legacy carrier’s flight attendant told me. “Things will for sure come back to normal in first class and ‘upgraded’ coach cabins (i.e. American Main Cabin Extra, Delta Comfort+, United Premium Plus, etc.). There will be some limited offerings for economy; and maybe only two snacks until airlines start turning profits.”
As for the current offerings, Lindsey tells us, “The idea Delta has with the snack bag is great because you can just hand it off to the passenger and have less contact,” she said. “Yes, this is less personal. But I think in the long run, passengers understand that safety does come first — especially during times like these.”
A Little Help in the Middle Seat?
Passengers in middle seats sometimes help pass items between window seat passengers and flight attendants. I asked our flight attendants if they think passengers will be more cautious about being good neighbors.
“My personal opinion on service with full flights is pretty much, if you think it’s safe to be on a plane, people won’t have an issue with being in the middle seat,” the legacy flight attendant said.
“It really is hard to say what passengers will and will not do when it comes to passing drinks or snacks to other passengers,” said Lindsey.
What do you think?
Lindsey added, “Flight attendants need to be more careful about hand placement on cups while serving. Always deliver the cup by holding the bottom — never deliver holding it from the top. If you deliver the cup from the top, your hands are touching [the brim] — where the passenger will soon drink.”
Gloves, Masks, and Recirculated Air
You might’ve heard about American Airlines telling its flight attendants to not wear face shields. It seems airlines and PPE have an interesting relationship.
“Before the pandemic, it was frowned upon to use gloves during service,” Lindsey said.
That’s certainly changed, hasn’t it?
“Before my airline went to no-contact service and water upon request only, we were allowed to do service with gloves,” she said. “I use gloves constantly when I am on the airplane. Honestly, contact items could be an issue if flight attendants aren’t using gloves for service or trash pick up. Yes, there are flight attendants that do not use gloves when they pick up trash. I, however, am not one of them.
“I don’t really have any concerns about serving passengers going forward,” she said. “I will be wearing my mask that is now required by my airline for all crew members to wear during flight, I’ll be wearing gloves, sanitizing the galley along with the jump seat. And washing my hands even more.”
“Before all of this happened, I saw maybe four people wipe down their tray tables and seats,” she noted.
“Now everyone wipes everything down and is very cautious.”
What about the “recirculated air” so many people worry about?
“Airplanes are not the cleanest of places to begin with,” Lindsey said. “However, they are safe when it comes to air recirculation because the air completely turns over every two minutes.”
What Other Concerns Do Flight Attendants Have?
Our legacy carrier flight attendant said, “The 9/11 safety effect post-9/11 lasted for very little, to be honest. People forgot safety real quick and we became ‘America First’ too soon — as in selfishness and pettiness, ‘it’s all about me.”
The flight attendant added, “Our challenge is those crew members who don’t want to be at work — but for personal reasons refuse to take a retirement package or a leave to be ‘safe at home.’ And things are changing daily when it comes to schedule changes and service standards.”
Help Your Flight Attendants Help You
Both flight attendants have requests they hope passengers please keep in mind.
“The only thing I ask passengers not to do is touch or poke your flight attendants,” Lindsey said. “On an average day, I would say I am poked 20 times — or more. Hopefully, with everything happening, passengers will be more situationally aware of this.”
Our legacy flight attendant said, “PLEASE wear appropriate clothing and bring covers if you get cold easily because there are no blankets or pillows.”
Thanks to our flight attendants for the time and candor!
Featured image: ©iStock.com/YakobchukOlena
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