Frequently Asked Questions - Linda Luftikuss

Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

Linda Luftikuss
5 minutes

When I tell new friends that I work as a flight attendant, I often get the following reaction: “Oh, fantastic! That’s always been my dream job!” It always amazes me that a single sentence can get everyone’s attention and that I then spend the next 45 minutes providing the evening’s entertainment. I get a great many questions about my job, so I thought I’d answer the most frequent ones in two blog entries. They’re a mixture of personal and work-related queries, and I hope you’ll find the answers entertaining.

1. What are you really thinking about when you’re smiling and greeting us during the boarding process?

Depending on the time of day, my mood and my tiredness level, it might just simply be “Hello”. Or it could also be, “Move along, there”, “Nice top!”, “Why are you staring at me like that?”, “Oooh, I’d like to get to know him better,” “Terrible hairstyle,” “Aww, what adorable children!”, “Why is this taking so long?”, or “Why have you got so much luggage? Didn’t the ground crew take anyone’s hand luggage? Thanks a lot, guys!”

2. Don’t you feel uncomfortable doing the safety demonstrations?

I used to think that that part of the job was a real pain in the backside, too. Who wants to pull a life jacket over your head in front of a bunch of people – and mess up your hair into the bargain? So embarrassing! Now I don’t mind “dancing the demo” as we call it. Quite the opposite, in fact. I think it’s good to use this personal contact with the passengers to point out important safety features, like the emergency exits and the oxygen masks. It gives you a feel for the mood in the cabin, even if a lot of people don’t even bother to watch the demo anymore or pay attention to us. Some of the senior crew also make some very funny comments, which helps to get passengers’ attention and generate some laughs. That’s a good feeling – it’s like an icebreaker between us and our passengers. The most annoying thing is when people blatantly – and perhaps even loudly – keep on talking. I consider that rude and disrespectful.

3. Did you ram the trolley into my knee on purpose?

No, of course not. But when you’re teetering through the cabin with a fully laden trolley –which can easily weigh 80 kilos – and en route from the front to the back of the aircraft you have to navigate your way around a couple of children playing, an unfolded broadsheet newspaper, four passengers sleeping with their heads hanging out into the aisle, and then three outstretched legs, we occasionally may not see (or notice too late) the 27th knee impinging upon our workspace and run into it. Yes, I’m sure it does hurt. And I always apologise, completely sincerely. But before you get excited about having an aisle seat where you can stretch out your legs, remember this: the aisle is our work area, it’s extremely narrow, and we’re hauling around 80 kilos in stilettos.

4. Why is tomato juice so popular?

There are two answers to this. When we’re at cruising altitude, the air pressure changes. This makes our taste buds and nostrils less sensitive. Salt tastes up to 30 percent less salty, but fructose and cane sugar taste only 15 to 20 percent less sweet. Most people find that tomato juice tastes better at an altitude of approximately 10,000 metres than it does at ground level. I also think, though, that it’s a case of supply determining demand here. If we were to offer a different kind of vegetable juice, that would be popular instead. I think that drinking tomato juice on board a flight is like eating popcorn at the cinema for a lot of people. It’s just part of the experience.

5. Do the cabin crew use code words amongst themselves to prevent passengers understanding everything they’re saying?

That’s actually a really good question. You know when you’re getting a dental check-up and the dentist peers into your mouth and makes cryptic remarks? Well, we don’t have that kind of system. If we want to pass on information about a particular passenger to our colleagues (“Makes unrealistic demands”, “Good tipper”, etc), we do that in the galley, preferably in a whisper. Of course we discuss our passengers!

6. Are you ever afraid of flying?

No, I’m not. Not even during turbulence. Of course, we all jump occasionally – when we hit an unexpected air pocket, for instance. Turbulence can also interfere with our work. Sometimes we have to pause the trolley service because it’s too dangerous to continue. Nobody wants to be lifted off the floor by the trolley or crash to the ground with it. But the jolting doesn’t affect the technology or the plane itself. Now that I’ve been in the job for a while and am more familiar with the technical and operational processes and all the standards involved, I tend to be extremely relaxed. A lot of people feel uncomfortable during flying; they hold their partner’s hands or ask if it’s going to get bumpy. I don’t find that embarrassing at all. Talk to us, we like it! Since I’ve been working as a flight attendant, my trust in technology has strongly increased. I even go on rollercoasters again, which is something I hadn’t done in a long time. It’s silly, really, but it’s true.

I hope I’ve been able to answer a few of your questions and give you some insights into my job. The second part of this FAQ is still to come; I’ve got a lot more to tell you!

In the next instalment, though, we’ll talk about the ways in which we communicate and interact with our colleagues.

Always happy landings, 
Yours, Linda Luftikuss

by Linda Luftikuss

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