SIT UP STRAIGHT, PLEASE!

WEEKEND THOUGHTS: A little departure from the normal comments on Scripture:

Jana and I recently flew on Swiss Air and, while the crew were very friendly, their in-flight magazine was not so warm.  The final article in the magazine was entitled, in all capital letters, bold text and complete with exclamation point, “SIT UP STRAIGHT, PLEASE!”

The title and the emphatic all caps and exclamation point piqued my attention. As I glanced at the first paragraph, I couldn’t believe it.  The article was scolding passengers like little children.  What a difference between Swiss culture and US culture!  Let me share some actual quotes and see if it is just me or if you agree this is a little weird.

“When the crew welcomes you aboard, make a point of greeting them back: they are, after all, your bosses for the next couple of hours.”

“Sit down carefully and switch off your mobile phone.  Only a total slave to their existence needs to chat away with friends till the very last moment.”

“Sit up straight! Aircraft seats are just not built for lounging in.”
NOTE: Yes, the exclamation point is in the original text.

“Listen attentively to the crew’s safety presentation without yawning like some mileage billionaire. Buckle up before being asked to.”

“Stay in the same mode until you’ve reached cruising altitude.  You may now doze if you wish. Or read. Or working a little is OK.  But, remember where you are.”

The last sentence of the article, again complete with exclamation point, “Have a good flight!”

Achtung! Yes, sir! I will have a good flight as ordered.  Are you sure I can get permission to do a little work now sir, if I am careful to remember where I am and if I sit up straight the entire time? I only hope my flying on your airline today did not in some way inconvenience you.  If it did, please beat me with my cell phone.

Wow!  Can you imagine how such an article would be received in the US?  Am I just nuts or is this over the top?

4 thoughts on “SIT UP STRAIGHT, PLEASE!

  1. You’re NOT nuts. Actually, this mentality has reached the U.S. A few months ago Fox highlighted a book written by a flight attendant about how the passengers can better serve their flight attendant and make the flight more enjoyable for the crew. Hmmm…

  2. Actually, with the state of affairs all around, I think their directions are good. Is it just me or do you sense people are dying for a sense of direction.

    With the craziness that has happen on recent flights, I want these folks to take control. A sense of authority is good when you have folks storming the cock pit, or the wash rooms screaming crazy things. These incidents have happened within the last 2 months on recent flights.

    I think they are painting a box and letting folks know not to stray too far from it. Well when you have folks who obey the rules, it may seem overboard. But when you have the 1 YAHOO on your flight that is making everyone a little uneasy wheather they are gonna make it home safely, it’s worth it. Welcome to 2011 and beyond!

  3. So, you don’t think there’s any way the tone used could be an attempt at humor? I could kind of picture one of the caustic comedians going this way in one of their sets.

  4. Hey, Josiah:
    It definitely was not a joke. When I started reading I thought perhaps it was but the text made it clear they were serious. I wanted to find the whole article online and link to it but Swiss Air doesn’t have it on their site.

    Hey Rossana:
    Good points. There may come a day when flight attendants are more for crowd control (especially if airlines keep doing things that provoke passengers who are already often under stress while traveling). Standard issue may become tazers.

    I have to admit, I wondered if some of my reaction to this article was just the old rebellious nature in all of us that doesn’t want to be told what to do.

    But, all in all, I have to agree with Mike that a little bit of a customer service orientation (Think Southwest Airlines) could go a long way toward making the crew/passenger relationship less combative and more enjoyable for all.

    Plus, I think there may be a clash of cultures here also. In the US, all caps is like shouting and exclamations points also indicate an emphatic command. Perhaps they don’t have those same connotation in Switzerland. After all, you would not command someone to “Have a good flight!”

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