Passenger to flight attendant: “Can I sit in the premium row if no one sits there?”

Flight Attendant: “No.”

Passenger: “Why?”

Flight Attendant: “Because it costs extra money and others have paid for it.”

Passenger: “I’ll give you $10.”

Flight Attendant: “You’d have to give me a lot more than that!”

Passenger: “How much?”

Flight Attendant: “My yearly salary, because I can be fired.”

That is a real conversation a fellow flight attendant had with a passenger on my last trip and then I read this article? Which goes on to say:

“No one — aside from airline shareholders — is a big fan of the numerous ancillary fees airlines continue to nickel-and-dime travelers with, not even the flight attendants. And at least on one recent flight, some attendants decided they were going to quietly flip the middle finger to their overlords by giving out a bunch of free stuff.

Luckily, CNBC’s John Carney was on this flight (he leaves the airline’s identity a secret) to witness what he called a “quiet mutiny.”

He writes that he first noticed what was going on when, after ordering a $10 chicken sandwich, the flight attendant “apologized” for the exorbitant price by giving him a free beer, followed by another gratis brew later.

And then when a woman in his aisle ordered a bottle of wine, the attendant wouldn’t take her money, saying instead, “Happy birthday,” and explaining that they were allowed to give out a freebie to birthday boys and girls (of legal drinking age, of course).”

What do you think? Do you expect freebies from the flight attendants when you fly? I know not everyone is happy with the fees, but personally I wouldn’t risk my job to protest. Flight Attendants, how do you feel?



  1. Thing is, I don’t think people ARE getting nickel and dimed… they’re paying far less to fly than they were even 10 or 20 years ago.

    People brought this add-on fees on themselves by demanding low-cost fares. For the airlines to stay profitable, they had to come up with new ways to get the same ticket charge they always had. People wouldn’t fly with them if they charged too much more than a competitor, so the “pay as you use” system was born.

    Collectively, the travelling public are a bit stupid if they can’t figure out why this has happened. Pay more for all-inclusive service, keep the airlines running and refuse to buy-in to “dirt cheap fares”- which aren’t dirt cheap on the majority of seats…

  2. I only give freebies to military if they don’t ask for something free and they give me their Military ID. Even then, I only give one freebie. I will also see what I can do if I know a passenger has had a pretty difficult traveling experience so far on my airline- anything to entice them to come back.

    I tend to think we need to get used to the “a la cart” idea in air travel. It seems to work for European carriers so why isn’t it catching on here too?

  3. I had a passenger on once that was simply going to see have lunch with his aunt and then returning. He got the roundtrip for $69 and was only doing it because he needed the miles to keep his status.


    At least we don’t charge to use the toilet. And, we give out FREE soda and snacks. What more could you want?

  4. No, I don’t expect anything free from a FA. Maybe if I was having some wacky issue, but even then I don’t think I would expect something for free. But either way I don’t take it out on the FA if I feel like I’m being nickeled and dimed, it’s not the FA’s fault.

  5. It would not be worth losing your job over. I hate the fees. Only for items beyond the normal should have fees. The second bag, liquor, First class, and similar things. The airlines know what the averages are and for me the TSA has given me reason to check a bag. I still believe making air travel fun helps sell tickets.
    I posted about trading my Airfone card for desserts back in more relaxed times. I checked and you had commented on it. But I’ll drop the link here if you don’t mind since it’s related. thanks

  6. I don’t expect any freebies from FAs. And I don’t hold the fees against them. I get on the plane, treat the FAs the way I’d like to be treated and just enjoy the ride (which I actually do).

  7. There’s still full service airlines out there with reasonable fees, and in places you’d least expect them.

    Flew Aeroflot and Uzbekistan Airways last month, had excellent service, friendly staff, decent food (good quality, but the Aeroflot fare was a bit lacking in taste), and free drinks on both.

    That’s a lot better than I’ve come to expect from major brands like KLM, BA, AF, and LH, where usually the staff is grumpy, the food bad, the service lackluster, and all that for a higher price.

    Do I expect freebies? Only if I paid for them already. When an airline “lowers prices” by removing free food service rather than raising prices, I feel cheated by them (and of course at the same time as “lowering prices” by not increasing them they will invent another “fuel surcharge”, “security tax”, “luggage handing fee”, “checkin fee”, or whatever to fleece me even more).

    But I won’t blame that on the cabin crew.
    Nor do I blame low cost airlines from introducing such services to keep cost down, passengers who book those tickets get what they pay for.
    But I do expect a reasonable level of service when I book a flight with a mainline carrier, and that’s getting to be excessively rare even as their prices are such that that service can be expected from them (and they do pride themselves in the service they no longer provide in commercial expressions).