No matter the journey, in-flight service can vary wildly. In my experience alone, I've encountered flight attendants who are delighted to bend over backwards for their passengers and others who are more stern and tight-lipped. But apparently there is an insanely easy tip for getting on any cabin crew's good side to receive first-class service at your economy seat — and you don't even have to do any superficial schmoozing.
According to one flight attendant and FlyerTalk columnist Amanda Pleva, all you have to do is say hello when you're boarding. It's honestly that simple. In a recent post for the industry site, Pleva revealed that the worst part of her job isn't cleaning up vomit or dealing with fuming passengers yelling in her face: "It is when I stand at the aircraft door greeting people and get ignored," she writes.
"To have someone clearly see me and ignore my 'hello' and walk on by is the most dehumanizing experience," she explains. "I can't get past the icky feeling of having someone not even think I am worth a simple 'hi' or even just a quickly flashed smile."
It might be hard to believe that a simple smile can score you first-class service, but Pleva stresses just how far politeness and friendliness can take you, including extra-attentive service from all crew members on board. "Even if you don't think we notice, we do. And it gets returned whenever possible," she writes. "Maybe it's a free drink or extra snacks, maybe we tap you on the shoulder and shoo you into an empty row."
Those are perks we can get behind — especially when sitting in economy class can often feel much more anonymous and impersonal than business class or first class. So the next time you fly, remember just how important that first "hello" really is. We know early morning and late-night flights are particularly hard to turn on your best smile-and-wave, but if it means your six-hour flight across the country will be ultra comfy, it's definitely worth the extra effort.