Once a Flight Attendant, Always One.
Until January, for the previous three years I was a commuter. I used to fly from Phoenix to San Francisco to work before flying FOR work. And, I never flew to work on my own airline. The airline I work for didn’t fly that route, so I was left flying on airlines gracious enough to enter into an agreement with my carrier allowing us to fly for free in exchange for us allowing their flight attendants to fly for free. These agreements are otherwise known as “cabin seat” agreements or “jumpseat agreements.”
On most of my commutes I was in my uniform since I would be working within hours of arriving in San Francisco, and I found myself sitting next to passengers who were not being compliant with rules and regulations that the working crew are asked to enforce. For example, on one particular flight I was seated next to a passenger who continued to use his cell phone as the crew was preforming their safety demonstration and managed to conceal it from the crew as they did their cabin walk throughs. In this situation, is it appropriate of me to ask him to turn it off? I’m not working the flight, in fact, I’m a “guest” on board, but at the same time, he’s breaking a rule everyone knows about it. Is it out of place for me to ask him to turn it off? Do passengers ever ask other passengers to comply?
Not sure if I ever wrote about a past commute on Southwest, but there was a situation in which a passenger became ill and took up most of the crews time and resources. I, along with a fellow employee from my airline, jumped into action and helped prepare the cabin for landing while the crew assisted the passenger who was in need of assistance. Though I worked for a different airline, the majority of the regulations that we enforce are universally the same. I wasn’t asked to jump up and help.. I got up, asked the lead flight attendant for a pair of gloves and a trash bag and went to work. They were shocked and grateful at the same time.
So this raises a question for debate: As a flight attendant non-revving in uniform, would you ever tell a passenger to comply with a rule, or do you leave it up the working crew only? Further, as a passenger, would you listen to a flight attendant seated next to you in uniform when they asked you to comply?