Coffee, Tea, or Drop Dead?

A new flyer poll reveals airlines with the rudest flight attendants

11ef - Spirit Airlines DC-9-41; N131NK@FLL;30.01.1998
Aero Icarus/Flickr
Flying is a generally unpleasant experience. You're herded through security, sit in an often dirty terminal, and then enter the cattle car of the plane itself. Seats keep getting smaller; space, tighter. You'll be lucky if there are peanuts or cookies to go with a drink. Bad food costs. You might be tempted to pony up for something with alcohol and curl up, withdrawing from the scene as much as possible. Until the child four rows back starts screaming.

But it could be worse. You could have a rude and useless flight attendant who could push you over the edge of discomfort into the land of misery. Stand up for yourself and there's always the lurking fear that you'll get turned over to TSA agents when you land. The site AirfareWatchdog.com recently polled its members for their opinions on the US airlines with the rudest flight attendants, as the site's founder, George Hobica, blogged in Huffington Post Travel. This year the ... uh, winner was Spirit, which received 26 percent of the almost 3,400 votes cast. Next was Air Canada, at 14 percent. (Whatever happened to Canadian manners?) Frontier was third with 11 percent, fourth was Virgin America at nine percent, and, at eight percent, number five was Allegiant. However, United and US Airways, which wanted to merge at one point, weren't that far behind at seven percent each. American garnered five percent. Who was best loved? Southwest, as it received only one percent of the vote.

This wasn't a scientific poll and not necessarily representative of the experience of travelers as a whole. Last year the UK travel website Skyscanner held a similar poll and American came out on top--or would that be bottom?--according to the site FareCompare.com, with United and Delta rating second and third (although Spirit was in the top five). And in a previous AirfareWatchdog poll, Delta was voted as having the rudest attendants, followed by United.

Ah, so many flights, so many chances to be rude. The real point is that attendants often feel negativity from passengers, according to an anonymous FareCompare interview with an anonymous flight attendant. People abuse carry-on restrictions and can be demanding and impatient.

What can you do? Work to make the attendant like you, writes Hobica. As he notes, "if you're good to them, they'll be extra nice to you." Here are a few ways he offered of doing that.
  1. Say hello and don't treat the attendants as inanimate objects.
  2. Remove headphones when they're trying to talk to you, like when they ask what you want to drink.
  3. Say please and thank you. Manners go a long way with everyone.
  4. Put your bag in the overhead bin the way they ask you to.
  5. Bring sealed treats for the crew. Who can get cranky when they get a cookie?
And if you get a particularly nice attendant, tell the airline. Nothing like a little official job recognition to make someone want to do better.

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mytruth

Spirits sucks big way! I hope they go out of business soon!

May 07 2014 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

Oh, how sad, I have flown Spirit many times in the last 2-3 years and I can not remember a single time any of the attendants were anything less than great! They were funny, polite, quick to help, they treated us like we really mattered. I love Spirit Airlines. I have been on other airlines where the attendants were awful and snobbish. I have a hard time believing this article.

April 25 2014 at 1:32 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
BRYANT

Anyone who drinks airline water (not bottled) is taking theil life in their hands. They keep it in the tanks for eons.

April 24 2014 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
connimit

I'm sorry, but when you make the choice to become a flight attendant, you also make the choice to cater to people!! Please make note that I did not say that you have to take abuse. What I have found is that for many, it is just a job that gets them a paycheck. For others, they really care about the passengers. They do their best to make the flight as pleasant as possible. When I fly,all I want is a smile, something to drink and to get to my destination safely.

April 24 2014 at 11:43 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
terry

i once made the mistake of flying on united airlines!

April 24 2014 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
reljal

Most of the time the attendants are courteous, but on one flight I was asleep and an attendant actually kicked me - while I was asleep.

April 24 2014 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bluetimestwo

So some flight attendants are rude. Big deal! Most of them are HOT!

April 24 2014 at 9:18 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bluetimestwo's comment
Hi Gorgeous

you probably only fly domestic where the newhires fly. Get on a long-haul-flight. with auntie mame and a her bithchie atitude and THEN you will see the difference

April 24 2014 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dazey1st

I don't have problems with flight attendants but I'm a small person and I do have problems being sat on by overweight passengers and these days even a middle age spread sitting next to me is enough. I scan the lounge area before take off to tally my odds. If the airlines make those seats any smaller I'll be DOA or origami .It's one thing to be pinned to your seat for a couple of hours and another pinned for 11. I'm part of that endangered specie "The Satapons" and our numbers are rapidly diminishing. If I don't happen to have an aisle seat I politely ask that (no hurry) but when you can could you let me out I need to use the bathroom because I know that they are going to have to push up and back out up the aisle and it's all going to be "butt" in the face. We all get "butt" in the face. I've become pretty coldblooded about things lately and now, and I'm still polite, I bring to the attention of my fellow passenger that I need to move my arms, or shoulder or leg. By saying this we can both share the discomfit I'm in for the duration of the trip because now they're aware of it. I don't know how the airlines want to work it out but maybe there should be more flight classes ie. economy, premium economy, business, first class, and for anyone over 175lbs a class "those with special needs" and want additional comfort 'cos premium isn't going to cut it. Or bottom line buy two seats. Flying these days should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment it's a flying warehouse. However, having said all that I try never to be unkind to the attendants. There's no reason for us to believe that their morale on the job should or is always top notch and we all experience it at one time or another. And by the way if you don't like the food or don't want to find yourself having to buy it then pack yourself a nice cheese sarnie, a banana, and a kit kat bar and maybe bring one to give the person next to you.

April 24 2014 at 8:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dazey1st's comment
anyteampa

Although I enjoyed your post, wouldn't that extra kit kat just add to the girth of your fellow traveler, meaning that you'd be wedged in even tighter?

April 25 2014 at 3:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gsuperville407

All I need is to get from point A to point B as quickly and cheaply as possible.
If I want water, I bring it with me. Food, I eat before I leave for the airport. Soda and peanuts?? Bad combo when traveling (gas, anyone?) Cramped spaces; pay an extra $10 and get the wider seats option.
Don't want to do any of these things? Then, DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is why airlines keep raising prices and flight attendants are rude: They have to deal with prissies, ninnies, divas, and overall scary people who don't like flying and need to make everyone else pay for it.

April 24 2014 at 8:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Michele

happy2bgridfree


I read your stupid comment. Did I mention I wanted a full meal? I am a SEASONED FLYER that can fly Stand By... can YOU do that? Did I say had a carry on ? Do you know how to read? I check my bags in. What I do expect is at least a glass of WATER without having to fork over the $$$. Water is a simplistic request, I am NOT asking for booze or food. As I seasoned traveler and growing up in the AIRLINE INDUSTRY, I do think I know what I am talking about. Spirit and Delta are the WORST of the WORST airlines.

April 24 2014 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michele's comment
happy2bgridfree

Uh ... you may be a "seasoned flyer " ( yippee for you ), but apprently you don't know how to simply hit the "reply" button.

Oh, and BTW: You'll get a "glass" of water for "free." I know because when traveling with my mother, she asked for a glass of water to take a pill. You'll pay for a bottle of water.

And yeah, I know how to read. You original post was one long kvetch.

April 24 2014 at 8:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to happy2bgridfree's comment
Michele

Nope you don't have a clue...no wonder you responded back.

April 26 2014 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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