Flight attendants have a tough job even in non-pandemic times. Their schedule is intense. They’re more likely to suffer from sleep disorders and depression. And they don’t even get paid during boarding and deplaning.

On top of all that, every time they roll out the drink cart, passenger after passenger orders Diet Coke.

As veteran flight attendant Heather Poole wrote in Mental Floss, “Of all the drinks we serve, Diet Coke takes the most time to pour — the fizz takes forever to settle at 35,000 feet. In the time it takes me to pour a single cup of Diet Coke, I can serve three passengers a different beverage.”

In her book Cruising Altitude, Poole added that Diet Coke has haunted her dreams. “I’ve actually had nightmares about frantically trying to finish a never ending Diet Coke beverage service before landing.”

A better way

An anonymous flight attendant who shares his experiences on Three Gold Wings has also written about the Diet Coke conundrum:

“We offer a full inflight service including hot towels, meals, bar, tea/coffee and more on flights over three hours. Pouring Diet Coke is one of the biggest slowdowns in the bar service and on the shorter flights those precious seconds count!”

(For the record, his official stance on the matter is “I don’t care what you want to drink. I’ll pour it, and I won’t have a second thought about it.”)

In this video, he demonstrates his workaround for speedier service:

So if you’re extra thirsty during beverage service, perhaps you should choose another drink. And be respectful of your flight attendants and fellow passengers alike. You don’t want to end up on the Passenger Shaming Instagram account.

Bonus: The secret bedrooms where flight attendants sleep

Most Boeing 777 and 787 airliners have a secret stairway that leads to a small set of windowless cabin-like bedrooms for the crew. Usually hidden behind an average-looking door, the secret staircase is located near the cockpit and requires a code to gain entry.

Getty Images

Not all aircraft use the secret staircase, though. Some cabin crews enter the rest area through a hidden hatch that looks like an overhead bin.

The cabins themselves are cramped and feature “beds” that lie side by side, separated only by curtains. Depending on the size of the aircraft, a crew area can hold as many as 10 beds. Bunks generally have reading lights, hooks for bags, mirrors, as well as some personal storage space for hand luggage. Usually they come with blankets and pillows and, occasionally, pajamas.

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