At the end of many years observation as Cabin Crew, in my ofﬁce at 30,000 feet up, some things could still surprise. Forget Hollywood stars and business travelers, the following groups are the ones I found most fascinating. If you ﬁnd yourself on a long ﬂight look around and you will be guaranteed to see at least some of these traveling types. You may even be one.
These are my top 10 surprising long haul Frequent Flyers.
1. People who ask where the toilets are at the end of a 12 hour sector.
Is this really the ﬁrst time you have been? Everyone knows on a ﬂight you can never have too much water. Give yourself a decent chance of not feeling like a dried apricot when you land. Recycled aircraft air is bone dry, around 11 % humidity, so moisture is literally sucked out of you. This is not urgent on a SYD-MEL sector, but you are guaranteed a non- alcoholic hangover if you donʼt drink several litres of water between Australia and Europe. Apart from lipstick and a medicinal coffee or two, it is the secret of all hosties* being able to still speak by the end of the ﬂight. And the secret to not wearing a path to the lavs and wearing out your neighbours patience? Add juice or hydration sachets. It doesnʼt go through your system as quickly as plain water.
2. People who go to the loo barefoot.
Are you insane? While I can vouch that the loos are regularly wiped down from the mirror to the ﬂoors (the glamour!), it only takes one passenger to miss a spit into the sink to make it seem like someone has gone through a metabolic change there. Just think of it like this: would you go into the MCG loo barefoot at halftime? Well the trafﬁc is about the same only the bathrooms in sporting ﬁxtures donʼt rock and jump from side to side and up and down while you aim. I have seen footprints on the toilet seat, vomit and other human waste up the walls. The mile high clubbers seem benign in comparison. Enough said about bathrooms.
3. People who donʼt believe the crew.
If the hostie says there is no Cranberry juice, you donʼt need to ask 10 other hosties as well. They WILL talk about you. If they ask you to turn off your phone before take off, turn it off. It is not because they donʼt want you to play Words with Friends, it is because they are obliged BY LAWS AND REGULATIONS – if you donʼt turn off, standard operating procedures dictate that the aircraft canʼt take off. If the Captain says to put on your seatbelt there could be turbulence, then put on your seatbelt. I have seen heads go through lockers, and people lose teeth. You and your children are not exempt from the laws of physics. Hell, do you unbuckle your kids on the F3?
4. People who think cola is a good drink choice for their children on a ﬂight.
Iʼm not kidding, people regularly asked me for caffeinated soft drinks for their tiny travel companions. I have been asked several times for Cola in a baby bottle. I was asked once for Cola in a baby bottle with a few spoons of sugar added. If you do ply your little ones with soft drinks after take off, do not be surprised when they drift off to blissful slumber…… 14 hours later on landing into LAX. Sleeping children and baggage carousels do not mix well.
5. People who lose their mind at 30000ft.
Ask yourself: would I say this/do this/behave like this in my local coffee shop? If the answer is no, cease and desist whatever it is you are contemplating. Would you cry or yell, or tell the waiter you hated them because the last lamb roast was ordered? Would you punch an old man in front of you if he moved his chair closer to you? Would you roll your eyes at anyone with small children? Would you change your clothes in the middle of the room? Kiss a complete stranger in a room full of other strangers? No? Well donʼt do it on a plane. If only because you have nowhere to hide your embarrassment for the next 10 hours. It happens.