Yahoo Canada asked three flight attendants, Chris Foss, Dunia Harati and Patricia Leung, to divulge secrets from the plane cabin and share their tips for the best air travel experience.
Where is the dirtiest part of the plane?
Dunia Harati: I would say don't touch the entire plane. The entire plane is full of bacteria. I suggest bringing hand sanitizer and wipes. I would say don't touch the lavatory door, we would like people to wash their hands, but not everybody do, and the first thing they do is touch the door. So I would use my elbow just to push the door.
The faucet, I try not to touch it, again, use the paper towel. The tray, again, it's nice to have a sanitizer wipe and then you could just wipe it down. They're clean, but they're not bacteria free, so you kind of have to keep that in mind.
Patricia Leung: The tray table, that's where all the germs are because people sleep on it, people eat on it, people touch on it. For airplanes, we don't really clean it until after the flight or maybe even after a couple of flights. Like after the day, we don't really clean those. So I would suggest that and also the seat rest, like the seat back. It's because your hair and everything and everyone just gets a little bit messy.
Dunia Harati: The plane gets cleaned every time we deplane. So, groomers come and they clean the seats, the floor. Disinfecting the entire aircraft, I would say about once a month. They come and they disinfect everything on the plane.
Patricia Leung: For me, we usually clean just the garbage, like the area of the floors, after every flight. But if you're talking about like bacterial cleaning and everything, it's only done first thing in the morning and at night.
Do you talk in code about passengers?
Dunia Harati: Yes, sometimes we talk about passengers and we know how to be discreet about it.
Chris Foss: If I need to communicate to a flight deck or about a passenger, I use the interphone, and so they kind of can't see me speaking.
Dunia Harati: We usually give the seat number. Obviously, we don't know everyone's name, so it's like 32D is bringing a parrot on the an aircraft, or a bird or something.
Patricia Leung: We try to be more discreet. Normally, for us, we usually use their seat numbers. We'll be like, oh echo, blonde, and then we just start from there. But we usually do that in our galleys. We can't really show our face when we're serving them, but we'll usually talk after.
What row is the best to sit in?
Dunia Harati: I would say the first row is the best one just because when you deplane, you'll be one of the first people to deplane. But the last row isn't that bad either, you kind of have your own little space, you get to see everyone ahead of you, you're close to the lavatory, you're close to the flight attendants. So, it's either or - it's good.
Chris Foss: I guess the worst seat would be if you're in front of the lavatory because it's a lot of traffic going in and out of there.
Patricia Leung: Well, because I'm tall and I have long legs, I usually like the emergency row exit because I can stretch, I can put my seat back. I don't like to crunch. Window seats are my favorite, so a window emergency exit, I can lay my head there, that's my old go-to. If not business.
Do you have any boarding tricks?
Chris Foss: If you're one of those people that actually, you have your carry on and you feel you do need it on the plane, then try to board first and then that way you can at least accommodate your bag into the overhead bin.
Dunia Harati: It depends. So, if you have a suitcase, a carry on, and you want space, being the first is probably the best because you know there's a spot and you can put your suitcase in. For me, I don't like to carry a lot of things with me. So if I have a suitcase, I usually just check it so I don't worry about it and it won't matter if I board first or last, I know that I'll have my seat and that I don't need a space for my suitcase.
Patricia Leung: I always like to get on the plane first...because I know sometimes when you're the last one to board, if we have no bin space, they'll be like, oh you need to check in your bag or you have to sit here, and I don't like that rush feeling. So I like to board first and I usually make my friends, too.
What are flight attendants trained on?
Dunia Harati: Most of our job, when we are on the plane, we do service. So we offer tea, coffee, beverages and most passengers, they think that's all we can do. But our training is actually mostly focused on emergencies. So, during fire, during a crash, during a hijacking, what do we do. We are the police officer, the paramedics, and the firefighter. So I would say most of our training is based on emergencies and what we do in those situations.
Patricia Leung: So flight attendant training was actually one of the hardest things in my life. Everyone probably thinks is just like, you learn how to serve, you look pretty, and then that's it. But they don't actually know the full on training, it's actually like sweat and tears that I had to go through.
Usually every airline is different, but for me, I did a six-week training and not only do you learn the health and safety CPR, you have to learn the aircraft, the numbers on how to move the aircraft, how to deal with different situations, the weather, everything. Basically, I felt like I was a pilot too.
And depending on each airline, they're pretty strict. If you can't make the exams, make the cut, then you're automatically gone. So it's really important. Also, they put a lot of emphasis on emergency. So we're trained on emergency procedures, what we'll do if we land in water, what will we do if we land in land, and all of that we're trained on.
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