When you fly, flight attendants are your best friends. They have access to snacks, after all, as well as the drinks and sometimes even pillows and they usually serve them with a smile—even if you’re ignoring them. You wouldn’t want to tick off your flight attendant, but sometimes it seems people forget that. While these hardworking men and women may help you travel across the state or around the world, that doesn’t mean they are your personal assistants or flying butlers. If you want to keep your flight attendant happy (which, of course you do) Cheat Sheet has put together a comprehensive list of 23 questions that you should never, ever ask a flight attendant.
Cheat Sheet suggests not asking flight attendants questions that you can answer yourself, like “Where is my seat?” and “Did I order the vegetarian meal?” Your seat is printed right on your ticket and you usually have to order special meals at least 24 hours in advance of your flight, long before you met your flight attendant.
If you find yourself struggling to put your bag in the overhead bin, don’t ask a flight attendant for help. According to Yahoo Travel, regulations prohibit flight attendants from lifting heavy bags into overhead compartments, because it can cause injury, especially if repeated on dozens of flights a month. If you do strain your back putting your bag away, don’t ask the flight attendant for an aspirin. Yahoo Travel reports that regulations prohibit flight attendants from doling them out on the off chance that someone has a bad reaction to one.
When it comes to seats, remember that flight attendants can’t require someone to switch seats with you—even if you’re sitting three whole rows away from your tween. That person was assigned the seat and simply don’t have to move if they don’t want to. Your best bet is to apply a little Southern charm while asking someone to switch seats. Similarly, based on Cheat Sheet’s research, it seems that many people have no qualms about asking flight attendants to bend the rules just for them. For instance, don’t ask if you can have that empty seat in first class or economy comfort. Those seats must be earned by miles or money, and flight attendants can’t give them away, even if they’re frustratingly sitting there empty while you’re crammed in a middle seat in coach.
While you’re in the air, keep in mind that flight attendants have no control over turbulence and they can’t control when the captain will turn off the fasten seat belt sign, so don’t ask them, “When will the fasten seat belt sign turn off?”
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Similarly, they don’t have an inside line to air traffic control and simply don’t know when they will let the plane take-off or land, so there’s no point in peppering them with questions about delays or missed connections. The truth is that if you’re delayed, the flight attendant’s job just got much harder as they now have to deal with hundreds of cranky customers. Questions like “Can you hold my connecting flight?” or “Am I going to make my connection?” simply can’t be answered by a flight attendant, no matter how nicely you ask.
Finally, whatever you do, don’t flirt with the flight attendant by asking questions like, “Can I get your number?” or “Have a drink with me?” While you may think it’s flattering, it’s probably just annoying and ineffective. No one wants to be badgered with unwanted attention while they are trying to work.