Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*Last weekend I was working a flight from Denver to Dallas when a passenger sitting in first class got agitated because I refused her request for a sixth adult beverage during a 90 minute flight. I rarely refuse to serve liquor to anyone, especially in first class where everything is complementary. The passenger made note of that fact saying “This is first class. I should be able to drink as many drinks as I want!”

Some people can hold their liquor and some can’t. At 30,000 feet on a plane the air is thinner. So people are affected differently by alcohol. She slurred her words when she asked for the fifth screwdriver – the one she got before I cut her off . Since the flight was about to land and I didn’t know if she planned to drive home, I told the passenger the bar was closed. She got belligerent and threatened to get me fired for refusing to give her a sixth screwdriver.

Welcome to the summer travel season where more than 85 percent of people who never fly – except once for summer vacation and maybe a second time during the Christmas holidays – show up to the airport with items that are not allowed through security packed in over-sized luggage too large to fit in the overhead bins seated next to people they don’t know spending money they don’t have to visit people they don’t like.

So they’re lining up at airport security across the country without a clue of what to do and what not to do. No wonder security lines are a maze. Most people don’t have a clue about what to pack for their children, their pets or themselves. All they know is ‘I got a good price on a ticket.’

While I agree that extra staffing for summer travelers in the TSA ranks might decrease delays, the real problem is not TSA. They have a job to do and I, for one, want them to take all the time to they need to screen every passenger and every carry-on item. Any money Congress plans to put in TSA coffers shouldn’t go towards hiring more staff with hurried training and throwing them on the front lines. The money should go towards passenger education.
If just fifteen percent of all commercial airline passengers are frequent flyers, and the rules of engagement frequently change, that means thousands of passengers show up to the airport with little to no flying experience. That explains why airport security lines are so long.

With ten years in the airline industry, including three as a flight attendant, I’ve had a lot of passenger interaction on thousands of domestic and international flights. One thing’s for sure, passengers have a lot more control of the process than they think. Nevertheless, from airport security until the flight arrives at the destination, it’s a process to which all must adhere.

That’s why I wrote The Do’s and Don’ts of Flying: A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Airline Travel Secrets. My book is not meant to participate in passenger shaming. My intention is to share information – a Flying 101 Class of sorts- that will make airline travel less stressful for passengers and the flight crew.

The hard copy is due in book stores by the end of June. E-copies will be sold via Amazon.com and other online book sellers. For a limited time an abbreviated PDF copy of the book is available at (link here). The PDF download includes webinar access to aviation experts who will shed light on the latest information about airport security and flight safety. The next webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31st . Go to AirlineTravelSecrets.com for more information on the webinar and the book.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. For questions, comments and speaking inquiries email her at [email protected]