Flying in the US has been getting less comfortable for years.  Passengers focus their irritation on the flight attendants.  The job of a flight attendant today is not the one it once was.  There is no glamor any more.  Flight attendants face the customer for extended periods (longer than any other airline employee).

Decisions taken in an office far from the airline seat impact the interaction between crowded airplanes and a small number of amazingly patient, uniformed people.  These uniformed people are expected to smile, sometimes through gritted teeth, at situations few office workers would or could handle.

Take a look at what an flight attendant does in cold numbers. The US DOT data shows us that the typical flight attendant has to handle the needs of 11 people per flight hour.  To put this in context, in 2012 this meant handling 6,800 people over 636 flight hours.  By and large this is done with dignity and a politeness that is surely tested every one of those hours.  So show some patience and tolerance this holiday period as you are stuffed into a small seat.  A typical US traveler flies 2.4 times per year.   Your flight attendant is doing this much more frequently and deserves more than just common courtesy.

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