SQ Airlines Flying Etiquette
If I received a dollar for every time I had to educate my passengers on basic flying etiquette, I would be a millionaire by now.
*This is part 5 of a 5-part series of my journey as an SQ girl.
- SQ Airlines Flying Etiquette
- 1. Your belongings, your responsibility
- 2. Customer is not always king
- 3. No restaurant service onboard
- 4. Mind your child
- 5. Don’t sweet-talk us for a seat upgrade
- 6. Don’t get touchy-feely
- 7. Intimidation is a low blow
- 8. It is not always happy hour
- 9. We are not octopuses, we only have two hands
- 10. Your safety is our priority
- These Unspoken SQ Airlines Rules Show That Kindness Goes A Long Way
1. Your belongings, your responsibility
The usage of the overhead compartments is on a first-come, first-served basis.
When there is no space left in the overhead compartment above your seat, you will have to stow your cabin bag in another compartment.
If this bothers you because you’re worried about your valuables going missing, travel light or board the aircraft earlier to ensure you can stow your cabin bag within your field of vision.
Likewise, we are not your hired porters; there’s a difference between assisting you and doing it for you.
Back injuries are common among cabin crew, and we risk sustaining an injury when we hoist heavy cabin bags.
Also, it’s funny how many passengers will automatically stow their bags without any assistance if we mention their bag is heavier than the 7kg weight allowance and needs to be offloaded.
2. Customer is not always king
If you want the flight to depart on time, do your part and facilitate the flow of boarding.
Many passengers I’ve encountered behave like the world revolves around them.
During boarding, they’d hold up the queue and block the aisle as they took their own sweet time to retrieve their earphones, snacks and the like from cabin bags.
During a meal service, they’d scowl when told to put their seats upright. They wouldn’t consider the needs of the passengers seated behind them.
On a few occasions, I had to mediate and resolve petty disputes between passengers. More often than not, their unhappiness stemmed from their sense of entitlement.
Therefore, spare a thought for others before you ‘steal’ your neighbour’s legroom or remove your smelly socks in the cabin.
3. No restaurant service onboard
Do not expect to have your meal served on demand.
We will not entertain your request to have your meal earlier or later on a flight, unless you are feeling unwell or you have to mind your child.
If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, book your special meal before the flight. We cannot guarantee that the standard meals on the menu will be gluten-free or nut-free.
If you want a second serving of a meal, you will have to wait for every passenger to be served before we can check if there’s an extra meal to spare. Even then, waiting does not guarantee you an extra casserole, because we have to set aside meals for our own consumption.
If you have a voracious appetite and little patience to wait, it’s a good idea to travel with snacks.
4. Mind your child
Every parent who travels with young children should be reminded that the aircraft is not a playground.
I have witnessed many parents neglecting their children and letting them run freely along the aisle without supervision. This common oversight puts their children in danger, as they might get hit by falling baggage during boarding, or be run over by a cart during the meal service.
Also, allowing your child to incessantly kick the seat in front of him, or ignoring his noisy tantrums while you watch your movie, is just displaying bad parenting skills.
It is not our place to discipline your child, so kindly do so before we have to tell you.
5. Don’t sweet-talk us for a seat upgrade
No matter how much you sweet-talk us, you will not get a free seat upgrade to a premium class.
In Singapore Airlines, any crew who grants this request to a passenger will be putting their job on the line. It’s considered an abuse of authority, and ranking crew who were previously found guilty of this were demoted.
If you want to try your luck, do so at the check-in counter. The ground staff have the authority to upgrade your seat, though it rarely occurs.
Otherwise, your next best bet is to check in your luggage at the eleventh hour. If your seat in the economy class has been double-booked on a full flight, it is likely you will be upgraded to an available seat in a premium class.
6. Don’t get touchy-feely
We are not circus performers and our work is not an art form which begs to be captured on camera, please show us some basic respect.
If you want to take a picture with us, seek our permission first. It is rude and intrusive to sneak photos or videos of us while we are working.
If you want to get our attention, do so with a friendly wave or a polite greeting. We do not appreciate passengers who inappropriately touch us. So think twice before you tug at the sleeves of our kebaya or stroke our arms to make us stop in our tracks.
Most importantly, do not get touchy-feely or violent with us. We will not hesitate to report you to our superior. They will alert the airport security officers to handle the case upon arrival.
7. Intimidation is a low blow
It is common for passengers to raise their voices or gesture rudely at us to show their displeasure. However, we do not tolerate acts of violence or abuse.
Did you know that you can be offloaded from a flight if the aircraft is still on the ground? Or restrained in your seat with a cable whilst airborne?
You may request to speak to our superiors to lodge a complaint, but more often than not, they’ll take our side if our safety is compromised.
Also, there are passengers who like to ‘threaten’ us by asking for feedback forms when we do not accede to their requests.
It’s an old trick that no longer works. There are two sides to every story, and we will pen down your unreasonable behaviour for the company to take note of too.
8. It is not always happy hour
In training school, we were taught the three “D”s on how to handle a drunk passenger: Dilute, Delay, and Decline.
We will dilute your drink, and delay serving it if we feel you’ve had one too many. If you exhibit signs of intoxication, know it’s for your own good and the well-being of other passengers to stop consuming alcohol.
Furthermore, it’ll be tricky to clear customs if you speak with a slur, or are unable to walk unassisted after a flight.
9. We are not octopuses, we only have two hands
Granted, we might be adept at multitasking, but we only have one pair of hands.
If you see us walking down the aisle, already carrying a few meal trays, why would you think it’s a good idea to stack your tray on top of the pile?
Similarly, do not give us your child’s used diapers. Not only is it unhygienic, we are also not your child’s nanny.
The diapers belong in the bin in a lavatory, and you shouldn’t expect us to dispose of it in the galley where food and beverages are handled.
10. Your safety is our priority
Although most of our passengers comply with our safety instructions, there are some who’ll resist and challenge us when we try to get the cabin ready for the most critical phases of the flight.
Before takeoff and landing, the footrest must be stowed as it might impede evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Your window shades must be drawn up. We need you to be our extra pair of eyes and alert us if you spot anything out of the ordinary, like smoke emitting from the aircraft engine.
Your bag must be kept under the seat in front of you, and not behind your legs as it will block your access to the lifevest.
Your waist pouch must be positioned away from your seat belt buckle, lest it gets entangled during an evacuation.
When experiencing flight turbulence, remain seated with your seatbelt fastened. If you have a child, remove them from the bassinet when the seatbelt sign is illuminated. We know the real dangers of a turbulence, and we don’t want you to get hurt.
So please, follow our instructions.
These Unspoken SQ Airlines Rules Show That Kindness Goes A Long Way
At 30,000 feet in the air, we’re all cramped and are in close proximity to each other. It doesn’t cost a thing to be kind, for all of us to have a pleasant flight experience.
Remember: You always have a choice between being a civilised passenger, or a cabin crew’s nightmare come true. So choose to be kind, and we’ll surely return the favour.
This article was first published on 6 December 2017 and last updated by Nicole Yong on 21 September 2023.