Flight attendants and language

I’ve always been impressed with how many languages flight attendants speak on international flights, and in the past, easyJet has been no exception. On my flight over to England from Geneva last week, the two flight attendants greeting passengers were both unable to speak any French. I don’t think the attendant at the back could either because they asked me to translate for a French lady who had a problem. Her daughter had left her doudou (normally a soft toy, but hers was a scarf) in her pusher and she only realised once she had boarded the plane. With less than half the passengers loaded, I explained to the flight attendants that the French lady’s daughter would cry for the entire flight if she didn’t have the scarf. Apparently, they’re not allowed off the plane so cue ten minutes of difficulties in finding someone who could walk back along the short platform to where the pushers has been left for loading. Finally, a member of ground staff boarded the plane to ask what he was looking for, then explained the pushers were already loaded. Don’t they have contact with the people at the gate? The French mum gave up and returned to her unhappy daughter but the flight attendants were so grateful for my translation that they offered me a free hot drink. Yes, I scored a tea bag, cup, some hot water and two long-life pots of milk from the easyJet flight attendants! Fine, that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this is easyJet, who charge extra for basics such as checking in a bag, using certain bank cards for booking the flight, food and drink on the plane, and now the horrible ‘speedy boarding’ (which allows people to pay to board the plane before the rest of us plebs race on to get a good seat). I’m not criticising them for their approach: they provide a fantastically cheap service for quick trips away (even if their staff aren’t as multilingual as I previously thought). But I’m pretty sure anyone who has flown easyJet will understand my satisfaction at being offered a freebie out of gratitude. Hooray!


I’m a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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3 comments on “Flight attendants and language
  1. Dana says:

    Hi April, Sounds a lot like the states. What…no body scanners?

  2. Kudos to you for enjoying the small blessings! In Dutch there is a saying that goes:

    Wie het kleine niet eert is het grote niet weerd.

    Translation: He who does not honor/value the small, is not worthy of the big.

    I’ve found in my traveling life it makes for more happiness if you look for the good rather than the bad.

  3. Louise McGrath says:

    The free teabag was worth practically nothing to easyJet, but those flight attendants just completely “sold you” on easyJet. We all know that great customer service (by any business) can’t be beaten.

    And I bet it was nice to be recognised…you saved the flight attendants some serious headache!

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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