So I tried this in-flight hack that my partner had told me about.
This often got him extra drinks from flight attendants and sometimes got him a lot more than his fellow passengers in the same class.
It’s not his charm, just a little something he read up, tried out and it worked for him.
I want to share…many people already know about it anyway.
So last year, I was on this trip, an eight-hour plus flight from Lagos to Doha via Qatar Airlines. I looked forward to a smooth and relaxing flight.
When it was my turn to board…usually after first-class passengers, after the elderly and or infirmed, after passengers with children…the rest of us were called to board the plane. At the entrance, I saw the name tag of one of the flight attendants, a pretty young thing…they are always pretty. Anyway, I read her name, called her, and complimented her perfect makeup. You should acknowledge the time and effort women put into their makeup, don’t act like you thought they were born with it. They know they weren’t.
She smiled shyly and thanked me.
The aisle was packed with people fuming over their overhead compartments being filled up with other people’s luggage. Some were upset at others who had taken their seats….it was a mini chaos that the rest of the flight attendants were trying to calm.
I was mildly surprised at the number of Nigerians travelling out of the country. There were like a million children boarding the flight; irritated babies who wanted to crawl around, angry teenagers who had been scolded by their parents, exasperated mums tugging at errant kids, and impatient dads whose stern looks were not having the desired effects on their offspring.
Ha, I forgot it was summer.
The air hostesses and hosts were marvellous, trying to soothe everyone, the crying babies especially; they kept going back and forth the rowdy aisle to dig into their chests of toys for gifts for some of the children. They offered water to harassed mothers and were generally trying to settle everyone for the flight.
As I moved along the aisle looking for my seat number, I prayed not to be seated with anyone likely to disturb my flight.
Thankfully, I missed the crowd of families but no thanks to my partner who checked me into the flight and got me the seat. I was sandwiched between a Nigerian man and a bearded adventurous-looking European, both stank so much, and my eyes watered.
The European judging by his flaming red head and beard was some traveller who had no luggage but a backpack he refused to check in …He told me as I was trying to push my hand luggage into the luggage compartment above our seats.
“That’s the only luggage I carry, miss, be careful with that. Didn’t check it in for a reason…”
“Oh sorry,” then he got up to help me push the bag in properly so I wouldn’t damage whatever he carried in his bulging backpack. “Thank you,” I said, he moved aside to let me squeeze into the middle seat.
I swallowed a gallon of body odour and spit filled my mouth immediately.
“This man no baff today, chai, I’m done for.”
The Nigerian man, judging by the huge bible he carried, spoke volumes about him already. I began to curse my partner again. I fished out my phone and sent him a stinker. “I’ll never, Ever let you check me in Ever again. You put me in between two men who will make my flight miserable.”
I didn’t care he couldn’t have known who my travelling neighbours would be. It didn’t matter to me at that time that he wanted to help me check in when I was too overwhelmed with so many details to check in myself. I was just upset that for the next eight hours plus, I would be miserable.
Between the two men, I didn’t even know who stank the most. The Nigerian by the window opened his mouth to make small talk and I wilted. I just didn’t get it. He would be in his 50s maybe, was perhaps fasting…maybe that accounted for the pit latrine breath. But what’s the excuse for his sweat-caked clothes?
We shared a hand rest and I wouldn’t be able to avoid touching him for long.
Had he been in earnest prayer and so the sweat?
What happened to roll on? He couldn’t afford one but could buy this huge bible? I felt personally wronged! Ok, so, maybe he was fasting, what happened to rinsing his mouth, once in a while with water or even a mouthwash? Surely, he must have felt his mouth collapse the way most of us immediately know when our breaths begin to stink?
I was angry with him. We would be cooped up like this for the long flight and he didn’t think of his fellow travellers.
I sent another stinker to my partner, who at that time was also furiously typing a reply, “Go and meet a stewardess and tell her you can’t sit there, tell her you’re pregnant and nauseous and can’t sit between these two men.”
Aha. The hack!
What is it? Be nice to the flight attendants. Look at their name tags and call them by their names, acknowledge them. Afterwards, they’ll take extra care of you.
Looking at the busy aisle, I bid my time.
The two “stinkertons” were friendly but I was in no mood” to be cheerful or encourage them to talk to me.
Then I caught the eye of the young stewardess I had earlier complimented. She still wore a friendly smile, despite the chaos she had been managing for some time to calm; settling families and passengers in general.
At this time, the aisle was freer as most of the passengers were settled…oh there were still crying babies who didn’t understand why they had to be strapped to their mothers. There were still sniffling kids who got stern looks from their daddies and surly teenagers who would rather have seats away from their parents and weepy siblings but the general overview was a lot better, so I made my move.
“Hello Suzanne, can you please find me another seat? See, I can’t sit between those two nice gentlemen…they don’t smell good. Can I have another seat?”
She gave me a kind smile, like, I know what you mean. She asked me to wait a while and before long assigned me to the seats by the exit! I loved it! I had all three seats!
Plenty of Legroom, great headroom, all the space I could get…yeah, I know there’s a responsibility for passengers who sit by the exit doors in case of emergency. I would have a three-seater section.
I marched gallantly back to my old seat and asked the men to pass me my bag as I was moving seats. They gaped at me.
Let’s just say I had a relaxing flight. Suzannah plied me with drinks, and extra pretzels, and when she went checking on passengers, she always asked me if I was ok and needed anything. No. I was content.
That’s what I learned from travelling by air. Acknowledge the flight attendants, call them by their names, compliment them if you have to and you get treated like royalty even in economy class.
There was one other flight that an attendant bumped me up from economy to premium economy…oh wao, wetin first class do pass am? (don’t tell me, I know).