Love is in the air: How to woo the crew this Valentine’s Day

14th February 2019

Everyone seems to go a bit loopy around February 14. As our most pointless commercial holiday looms upon us, it might be time to reassess the meaning of romance.

The world would be a much nicer place if we started focusing on how we can show the people around us some love; the courtesy and respect they need to make their day a bit easier. And nobody deserves kindness more than cabin crew, who work hard to make sure you’re taken care of and comfortable.

They’re the ones who serve you, clean up your rubbish, soothe anxious nerves and help calm down screaming kids. They’re the unsung heroes of the sky – and here’s how you can show your hardworking cabin crew you’re grateful for everything they do this Valentine’s Day.

Let your baggage go

If airline staff ask if anyone wants to volunteer to put their luggage in the hold to free up overhead lockers, step up. If enough of you volunteer to be separated from your bags, your cabin crew then won’t have the unpleasant task of telling individuals they can’t take their luggage into the cabin. You’ve just saved them a lot of bother.

Have your passport and boarding pass ready

The average budget airline takes almost 200 passengers, and every single one of them must be greeted and seated by cabin crew. To make their life easier, don’t push and shove your way onto the plane. Smile. Show them your boarding pass and passport. Listen to what they tell you and say thank you – a smile goes a long way.

Listen to them when they’re talking

You might have flown hundreds of times and already have an escape plan, but the cabin crew don’t know that. They’re also legally obliged to show you the safety demonstration. So even if you’re trying to snooze or want to finish your book, pay attention. Nothing says ‘I am rude’ quite like someone refusing to pipe down and ignoring you during the pre-flight presentation.

Carefully choose your moment to chat

Your cabin crew are at their busiest just before take off, when they’re serving food and drinks, and just before you land. If you need something, wait until the last third of the flight – this is when passengers are relaxed before landing, food and drink has been served, and you should find the cabin crew at the back of the plane if you’d like a natter.

Sit down when you’re told to

When the seatbelt sign comes on, sit down and buckle up. It doesn’t matter if the air feels smooth, you need the toilet, or you’re keen to have a stroll – park your posterior. Pilots often turn on the seatbelt sign for a number of different reasons, not just turbulence, and by sitting down quietly you’ll be helping the cabin crew do their jobs.

Remember your manners

Funnily enough, the cabin crew don’t care if you buy a scratchcard. They’re obliged to try and sell you one as part of their job, so if you’re not interested, smile politely and say ‘No thank you.’ Always remember your Ps and Qs, and if you’re eating on your flight, try to avoid getting crumbs and sticky fingerprints everywhere – it’s extra work for everyone to tidy up the plane when you land.

There’s a very short turnaround after your flight ends and before new passengers get on, so leave your seat and the surrounding area as tidy as you can. You’ve no excuse not to – most airlines ask cabin crew to go up and down the aisles with a rubbish bag, asking people to dispose of their rubbish before they land.

Avoid the in-flight cliches

On the subject of manners, avoid trying to join the Mile High Club. Airline staff – and everyone else you pass – will see you both sneaking into the toilet and cabin crew can unlock the door from the outside. If you’re going to lie down, don’t stick your feet in the air or against a window. Don’t strip down to your underwear in the name of comfort. Websites like Passenger Shaming are getting more visitors every day – you definitely don’t want to end up on there.

Minimise the number of trips they’ll have to make

If you know you’ll need an extra blanket, a second bottle of water and headphones during the flight, ask your cabin crew for everything you need in one go – it’s far easier for them than making three separate trips.

Don’t bolt for the door when you land

No matter how desperate you are to jump in a taxi and hit the beach, take it easy. Avoid grabbing your luggage and running for the door, leaving irate holidaymakers in your wake. Take your time, allow others off first, and help other people with their bags if they’re struggling with the lockers. When you get to the door, make eye contact with the cabin crew and say thank you. You won’t have time for more than this, but it’s appreciated nonetheless.

Make the effort to say thank you

Most airlines won’t allow cabin crew to receive financial tips, so the best way to thank a certain member of staff is to write a letter to their airline mentioning them by name and explaining why they made a difference to your journey. The staff member and their bosses will get the message, and you’ll be doing them a huge favour by boosting their career prospects.

Alternatively, you can pack some small thank-you gifts such as chocolate, sweets or £5 coffee gift cards in your hand luggage and hand them out to the staff as you leave.

by William Finden

William Finden is the Founder and MD of Oaklands Global. He is a seasoned executive search and recruitment specialist with over 16 years of experience, dedicated to the international aviation & aerospace markets. William leads Oaklands Global’s C-Suite practice and has had a successful career delivering at the executive level for a diverse portfolio of clientele including Business Jet Operators, OEM’s, MRO’s, FBO’s Airlines and Rotary businesses. To learn more about how William can assist with your next career move or to discuss your next director level hire please contact him by email:

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