A Flight Attendant Tells Her Darkest Secrets

We asked a veteran waitress in the sky how to score a free tiny bottle of Dewars… and maybe a little something else.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant with a major carrier and author of the New York Times Bestseller, “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet,” dishes on how to get a little extra attention from her colleagues. After 18 years working the extremely friendly skies – and meeting her husband mid-flight – she should know.

One important thing to remember: it’s not illegal to join the mile-high club, but it is illegal not to follow crew commands. Keep that in mind.

Why do you think so many guys are into flight attendants? It’s got to be the uniform right?

Maybe men just secretly like being told what to do? A firm, ‘Keep your seatbelt buckled!’ even when the seatbelt sign is not on might be one man’s idea of a turn-on.

I once read a study about how men find a woman more attractive when they’re in an unnerving or frightening situation. Stuck in the middle seat, being in the last row of coach – those are all pretty subordinate and scary spots to find yourself in. Then again, it could be that guys find strong, independent women attractive. Flight attendants are intelligent, self-sufficient and adventurous. We’re also attractive and out there traveling the world alone. Of course these are also the things that can become an issue in many relationships since these qualities can cause jealousy. It takes a confident man to be in a flight attendant’s life. 

What are the odds of actually getting a flight attendant’s attention? They are working..

About as good as they’d be in any other public environment. Start with a ‘hello’ when your flight attendant greets you at the boarding door. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even acknowledge our existence when we say, ‘Good Morning’ when they walk on board. During the service, try using ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Good manners are rare and really stand out these days. Mix in a little eye contact and we might blush. It’s nice to be noticed. 

Let us do our job, but once the service is over walk to the back and ask for a glass of water or something. While she’s pouring the drink, ask a question about where to go and what to do in the city you’re traveling to. That should get the ball rolling. You’ll know you have a shot if she doesn’t walk away to pick up trash or shoo you off the linoleum.

Any other strategies?

When you see someone who needs help with something, like a bag, by all means help. Nothing says ‘nice guy’ more than that. My heart kind of swoons whenever I see somebody helping their fellow man, it’s such a rare thing these days. And I’m prone to follow it up with more wine or water for them. But who knows, you might get farther with someone else. I almost cried once when a businessman switched seats so my son and I could sit together. I hadn’t even asked him. Kindness is sexy, and anytime is a good time to pull that trick out of your hat.

What’s the best line you ever heard from a passenger?

‘Want half?’ That’s what my husband said to me when I passed by him with the drink cart. This, after I’d told him that his sandwich looked good. He was sitting in business class, so he didn’t have to bring his own food. But, because he did, I knew he was a man with a plan.

What about the worst line?

‘Can I lick your leg?’ The answer is no. Always no. Hell no. ‘What’s your route?’ is kind of cheesy, too.

What else should we avoid?

If you’re using the call button, that just screams needy. And a needy guy is the last thing we want to deal with on a day off. So if you do decide to ring us, it better be important. Otherwise just come to the back and say hello. We like to talk.

Have you ever had passengers bring you gifts to try to get in your good graces? 

Starbucks gift cards open some doors.

Any saucy stories to share?

The first couple I ever caught joining the mile-high club were celebrities. That’s all I’m saying.