Saturday, April 9, 2011

What is proper Etiquette while on an airplane and bare feet

One of the things that continually amazes me is how people don't think of their fellow traveler while on an airplane. A joke among many flight attendants is "Passengers often check their brains, not their luggage". One pet peeves is to see a passenger get on an airplane immediately take off their shoes, and put them up onto something that isn't theirs.

It doesn't matter whether the customer is in Coach, Business, or First, it continually amazes me how this seems to be a common practice because people do it all the time. A fellow flight attendant, and avid blogger regarding proper Jetiquette, Sky Steward, has posted several question from his readers and has answered them to the best of his ability.

We all know that boarding can be hectic. I know that many of our passengers probably kick off their shoes when they are at home because they want to just air their feet and relax a little bit. I can also  understand that passengers too have had long days, often with boring meetings and would like to sit back and relax, but what would happen if during boarding, while the aircraft is being refueled for the flight something happened and you have to evacuate. That person now has to take critical minutes to put those shoes back on.

Just keep those shoes on because even after the door closes while the plane is taxiing out to the runway, or even during an attempt to take-off, there have been instances where there is an aborted take-off. Thankfully, not many are in need of an evacuation, but they do occur. How are you going to quickly evacuate if you are fumbling for your shoes to put them back on? Lots of valuable time is wasted for your personal well-being putting those shoes back on when you could be in imminent danger of a smoke filling up the cabin, making it difficult to see and you have to evacuate the aircraft.

Ok, so none of the above scenarios happened, so we're inflight and you really do need to just relax. OK, that's fine, but don't put your feet up on the armrest or tray table. We all like to think that the tray tables get cleaned after every single flight, however, they are not. Someone's stinky feet aren't the only things that get on tray tables, parents will often change their babies diapers on them instead of using the baby tables in the lavatories.

Another aspect is how people think because they are in the bulkhead seat, they can climb their feet all over the bulkhead wall. This is the biggest peeve of mine, especially from those passengers who are in First and/or Business Class. People don't go into restaurants or their Doctor's/Lawyer's offices and put their feet up on the tables or furniture, so why do this on an airplane?

If you don't put your feet on the table at a restaurant, then why put feet on the tray-table or bulkhead (wall). I can see how some people who are tall are trying to get comfortable, however not everyone in the cabin would like to see (or smell) your feet. Would you expect your client to walk into your office or conference room and kick off their shoes and put them up on the table? How about clipping their toenails? WHY oh WHY would you want to clip them at your seat? At least go into the lavatory and clip them in the privacy....(hint: there's a trash container for the clippings when your done too!) Every airline has their share of inconsiderate passenger.

Airlines will put their planes through certain over-hauls (C-Checks) (scroll down to aircraft maintenance procedures) after certain amount of hours flown. Some checks only allow steam-cleaning of aisle carpets, replacing burned out reading lights, fixing seats that don't recline properly. There are also bigger checks where the airplane is completely stripped of everything inside the cabin and everything is replaced with newer items. One airline use to use carpet for their bulkheads, and have just recently replaced them with a different wall. Here is a picture of a bulkhead where the carpet was completely ruined by passengers putting their feet up on the wall, costing the airlines thousands of dollars to replace.

Ok, it's inevitable...passengers need to have physiological breaks and need to go to the lavatory during the flight. What doesn't surprise me are these same people who have their feet on a seat, tray table, bulkhead, are the same ones who walk up the extremely dirty aisle and walk to the lavatory in their bare feet. Something to consider if this is you....that's often NOT water on the floor of the lavatory. As good of an aim some male passengers have on the ground, will have a good aim when turbulence hits. Surprising enough, women often have bad aims too, especially when they squat over the seat as oppose to sitting on the seat. (literally had to clean up the bodily fluid after a female passenger urinated all over the floor instead of hitting the spot) Again, just put your shoes  on for the few minutes you need to use the loo because 1) it's more sanitary, and 2) there may actually be broken glass on the floor walking to the lavatory.  (this goes for the little tykes too!)

Are you still with me? Yeah, believe it or not, people do this all the time. I've even encountered a stinky foot on a commuting flight.  Sure, this person was kind enough to keep her shoes on, but they stunk up to high heaven. I had to repeatedly turn around and ask her to move her feet because of the stench. (that's my elbow next to her foot)

I actually put my tote bag under the seat in front of me and leave it there the entire flight. I get out what I need when I get to my seat so I don't have to bother with it later on. I do get cramped sometimes, so what I do is to get up when the seatbelt sign is off and go to the lavatory, even if I don't have to go just to stretch and get the blood flowing.

Here are some more folks with their feet on the bulkhead. Yes, at one time all three of their feet were on the wall. I don't know why this is so except-able because there is often food involved along with beverages being handed out. Many passengers don't even remove their feet when the working flight attendant is trying to work (place beverage, snacks, and/or food)  Passengers throw a fit when they board a plane and it is a pig sty. Well, just look at what the passenger does, you can then start to understand why the place isn't so tidy. It would be nice if we did have the plane steam-cleaned after every single flight, but that would cost money and take up a LOT of your valuable time since most passengers want to board that late arriving airplane and get on their way to their destination quickly

Now the flight is coming to a close, and we're descending into our destination. Believe it or not, many people still don't put their shoes on for landing. Just like the take-off, anything could happen at any moment, and you just don't know when you will have to evacuate the aircraft.
There could be times where the plane lands in terrible weather, crashes, and you have to quickly get out to save yourself, or the plane has no power and abruptly stops at the end of the runway and you hear the evacuation commands to "UNFASTEN SEATBELTS, COME THIS WAY!" 

Best rule of thumb is wait until you're at cruise altitude to take off your shoes (if you really have to). Remember to put your shoes back on when you have to go to the bathroom, take them off again when you're back at your seat, don't put them on the furniture since other people not only have to sit there, but eat there too. When preparing for landing, put your shoes back on because you just never know what may happen.

Following these simple rules not only keeps you prepared for any type of emergency, but gives you a few extra minutes doing other things while those who don't know how to follow proper jetiquette are still gathering their belongings and putting on their shoes when they had the last 25 minutes to do so.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now that Winter is virtually over, it's time to fix the Potholes!

I must first say that I really do love living in Minneapolis. It's a great place to be in, and several magazines have shown how 'cool' the city is.  The April issue of Men's Journal said "Minneapolis is lauded as the "Best Place to Live in a Big City Designed for Getting Outside” and the editors cite Minneapolis’ parks, Chain of Lakes, large biking community (#1 biking city in America, according to Bicycling Magazine), and numerous farmers markets as the reasons"

Minneapolis was even voted as The Gayest City of America by The Advocate magazine, but all of this wains in comparison in how the Twin Cities is going to recover from all the potholes we endured from the 5th Snowiest Winter of all time, according to long time  Meteorologist, Paul Douglas.

Street crews are preparing to repair potholes, but is it already too late? The city of Minneapolis has awarded MNDot an extra $1M for pothole funding. It is hard to drive down any street as you literally have to swerve to miss the holes because how deep they are, and if you do hit one, wondering what kind of damage it has done to your car. One lady interviewed said she has already replaced two tires due to running over potholes.

The repairs that MNDot is doing are great, but how long will they last? I know from years past, the temporary repairs lasted a long time, but surrounding the repair, other holes emerged. I'm not sure if it's funny or sad that linked up with See Click Fix Maps to map and report potholes in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Yes, MNDot is working hard to repair the potholes, but we need a more permanent fix instead of a temporary fix. It's going to be only a matter of time before these repairs give way to the coming rains that we will receive.

I should be happy that Minneapolis didn't make Gadling's Worst Potholes in the World list two years ago. This problem does show that potholes aren't just a Minnesota problem, doing a quick Google Search I see headlines such as: "Vermont's worst pothole season", "Seattle catching up to record number of potholes", even Scotland spent £3million over five years for damage and injuries caused by potholes.

One just hopes that the pothole repairs will be better than this years snow removal. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

What's the difference between an airline Company ID and a nametag?

Following a great discussion on, a question was asked if hiding a badge was against FAA/TSA regulations and/or policies.  Since it is not an FAA/TSA regulation/policy, I responded to the question as it was not.

Later on in the thread, another poster quoted an airline policy regarding wearing of name-tags, which is completely different than that which was asked. Yes, majority of airlines do have a policy where their employee's must wear name-tags on their uniforms, as most company's do.

I then posed a question whether or not the person who felt a flight attendant was specifically hiding their name-tag thought that what was being hidden was actually a Company ID. This is in deed different than a name-tag that most airlines require, as the Company ID to all crewmembers is issued under Department of Homeland Securty, and is checked at each Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, much like regular passengers must show their Driver's License.

Company IDs have more information than just a name-tag. They often include company name, a hire date, company seniority date, photo of the crew member, employee pay-role number, full name of the crew member, along with a TSA mandated expiration date.

Majority of airlines will require the Company ID to be hidden from regular view of the passenger, but will require crew members to wear their name tags at all times. Name tags will often come in variable forms: first name only, last name only, nickname only, or first and last name, along with any other title such as specific language or qualification such as a Lead Flight Attendant.

I can understand that majority of passengers don't understand the difference between company policy and/or FAA/TSA regulations and most wouldn't care. Many flight attendants will put their own name on their name tags, while others will not.

Sure, we can walk into a restaurant, retail store, or even a post office and find someone wearing a name tag. There have been cases involving passengers looking up crew members by their name and stalking them. When a customer writes a letter (whether it be a complimentary letter or a derogatory experience) they often want a name to provide the company.

Just like at a retail store, you don't need a name, let alone a full name of the person you are writing up. You just need to write what store you were at, what time of day, and in what department you were in (if it was a large store). Same thing with the airline, you don't need a name (which could be helpful) you just need to have the date you were flying, flight number, and seat number, the company will do the leg work in finding the appropriate person to commend, or reprimand.

I do wonder though, why is it when one is explaining differences, others believe that they hate what they are doing and should find something else to do. It's funny that not once did I ever say what the flight attendant did to the original poster was right or wrong, yet because I posted to the topic I'm acknowledging the flight attendant (or me) was wrong and should find another job. That always baffles me.