Mr Bell’s View From The Crew

Whatever you call them, flight attendants, cabin crew, stewards and stewardesses they all do the same job and are there primarily for one reason, your safety. The other more mundane part of their job is to make your flight a comfortable and enjoyable experience, and the majority of crew do that with great professionalism.


It can be a great job being cabin crew but sometimes, just sometimes little things test their patience. Read on and enjoy a tongue and cheek look at some of those irritations remembering them next time you travel, it might just make your journey that little bit more pleasant!

1. Carry on baggage. Cabin crew have a saying, “You pack it, you stack it”. You’ve carried this heavy bag all the way from home, through the airport, security and all, got down to the gate with it and suddenly when you’re on the aircraft it becomes to heavy for you. Well guess what we’re not trained weightlifters so the crew can’t lift the bag either, if it’s too heavy for you it’s too heavy for me.

passenger boarding

2. Overhead storage bins. Just to clarify the bin above your seat is not just for you! Anybody can use that space and laying your coat neatly out taking up the whole bin, you seriously think it’s going to stay like that? Er no it’s not. If the bins already full don’t put your bag in there, leave it sticking out then take your seat at the window and wait for someone to come along and sort out the problem. Ask the crew, they’ll help you find space elsewhere.

3. The never ending question. You ask me for coffee, I say “milk and sugar?”, you say “what?”, I say “milk and sugar?”, you say “what?”. Seriously what do you think I was going to ask you after serving coffee, the names of your kids! Oh and here’s a little tip that really pleases the crew. If you’re wearing headphones just pull them back when the crew speak to you, (we know it’s a pain when you’re trying to watch a movie but so is repeating the same question three times) it’s just good manners.


4. The bells, the bells! If you’re travelling with small children and you keep hearing bells, bells and more bells then please check to see if it’s your child. Kids love those call bells!

5. Toilet questions answered. Yes you can use the toilet on the ground your waste doesn’t just drop on to the tarmac, we actually have tanks. The toilet door seems to cause a lot of confusion and yet it’s really simple to operate. Where it says push, just push and magically it’ll open! It’s not rocket science. One last thing about toilets they are not day spas and with that in mind please limit your time in there, there are other people who may need to use them.

plane toilet

6. Dietary requirements. If you have special dietary requirements please don’t rely on the airline to cater to your needs. Yes you can book special meals but sometimes they don’t turn up, it’s always best to bring something with you just in case. As I once heard a crew member say to a passenger “Madam this is a 747 not a 711”. Despite what you may have heard airlines generally don’t carry spare vegetarian, children’s or other types of meals.


7. You’re not the only one on board. Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the plane besides you, so please no cutting your toenails, loud snoring or doing any type of personal business under your blanket.

8. Always carry a pen. It’s unbelievable how many people travel without one and if you’re travelling on an international flight you will need one to fill out the immigration forms. Now as crew we do carry some but we can’t carry 300.

9. The mile high club. Please, please, please resist the temptation to join the mile high club and keep your clothes on. Those toilets are cramped and dirty and they’re not the most comfortable places to enjoy an intimate moment with your loved one.

mile high club

10. Behave like an adult. If we ask you to remove your bag from the floor it’s for a reason, if we haven’t got your choice of meal it’s not because we’re being spiteful, we’ve just run out, if your video doesn’t work we’ve not broken it on purpose, it’s just one of those things. None of these are life threatening issues although sometimes the way people behave you’d think it was. We’ll do all we can to resolve an issue but remember you’re on a plane at 35,000 feet in the air and our resources are a little limited.

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I live in London and work for a large international airline but apart from being my job travel is my passion. I've been very lucky and have travelled all over the world. In this my 20th year working for the airline I decided to start photographing and writing about the places I visit including my home town London. I hope you enjoy my adventures around the world.

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