Last Christmas (2020), I watched a Hallmark movie with my mum; in the beginning of the movie, a girl boarded a plane and gave a little baggie of chocolate to the flight attendant, who was thrilled about this thoughtful gesture. This past year, I feel like more travelers are becoming angrier and angrier. Every week, it seems there’s another story in the news of some incident involving an unruly passenger. So, before my flight this Christmas, I took some of the extra chocolate I received from students to give to the flight attendants on my first flight from Dubai to Toronto…just as an experiment.
Once I boarded the flight, I stopped the first attendant that walked by. I offered her a small box of Rafello chocolates. She was so touched and flabbergasted. During that 14 hour flight, I was checked on, I was given food when I woke up, and I was offered an amenity pack from Business Class. I was touched, but I was more excited that the flight attendants were grateful for such a small act. The moment I landed in Toronto, I bought a bag of chocolate for the next leg–the first one had gone well, so figured I would try to make this part of my usual flying routine. Upon getting on the second plane, I gave the attendants at the door the chocolate. Both were excited and shared it made their day.
When I was preparing to return to Dubai, I decided to create two large ziplocs of goodies with some extra bags of dates and chocolates; this time, I added a note to say thank you. My mum also gave me a box of unopened chocolate so I could offer it to the check-in counter. When I got to the check-in counter, I offered the chocolate to the man after a few minutes. He was so excited and kept saying how thoughtful it was for me to do that. I simply told him after reading a recent news story about a few in-air incidents, I wanted him to know not everyone is an asshole. He laughed.
For the first flight of this trip, I had my bag of goodies in hand and offered it to the two flight attendants in the front. They were super excited. I was happy, found my seat, and settled with my book. After we were in the air, one of the attendants came up to me and asked if I’d like to borrow one of the plane’s iPads to watch a movie; I took advantage of this and proceeded to watch Shang-Chi (great movie by the way). Next, during beverage service, all three attendants asked if I wanted one of the snacks, making sure to double check when I (politely, of course) declined.
I had one more flight to finish my journey, so had my bag of dates and chocolate ready to hand over. Boarding the plane, I handed the goodies over to the first attendant I came across. I admit, the woman looked like she didn’t really know what to do with it, but said thank you. Later on during the flight, the attendant in charge of service stopped by my seat to thank me. During service, she made sure I had everything I needed, offering me wine or alcohol; she checked on me during the flight, asked me what I was doing for New Year’s too. While we were preparing for landing, she brought me a thank you note (I admit, I enjoy the personal touches).
Due to the success of this attempt at kindness, I’ve decided that it will always be part of my flying routine from now on. In fact, I’ve decided to start a social movement called: Return to the Friendly Skies. I invite you to join me in this, by bringing a small treat to offer to the airline workers as a thank you for what they do to make our flights comfortable.