Quoting dfwjim1 (thread starter), "have you ever walked the cabin greeting your passengers?"
jim, yes, I try to do this as often as possible, but in the past few years, I have stopped doing it as frequently as I used to and this is why. . .
However, let me give you some background first. Unless there is a delay, there is normally a narrow window of time when it is convenient to walk through the cabin. In most instances, once all the passengers are aboard, the gate agent comes down fairly soon thereafter with our final paperwork, closes the aircraft door, the flight attendant close the flight deck door, and the aircraft is ready for pushback.
However, occasionally, once all the passengers are aboard, there will be some time--perhaps five or ten minutes--before the agent comes down to the aircraft. In these situations, I normally take a look through the cabin first to make sure just about everyone is seated and most of the overhead bins are closed. I don't want to be in anybody's way--passengers or flight attendants--when walking through the cabin.
Quoting johns624 (Reply #2), "Most of the time, they are too busy getting ready for departure." and spacecadet (Reply #5), "Typically prior to departure the flight crew is busy the entire time. I mean, there's a flight to prepare for. They're at work, not at a social gathering."
johns624 and spacecadet, that's not exactly correct. While there is much to do to get the flightdeck prepared for the flight, very often there IS sufficient time for one of the pilots to walk through the cabin. Yes, it takes some time to program the FMS, go through our pre-departure briefings, and run the pre-flight checklist, but to say that we're too busy or that the flight crew is busy the entire time is not entirely correct. Sometimes it is--perhaps if we've had an aircraft change and are running behind schedule or if the aircraft comes in late and we're trying to get it out on time--lot of variables--but in general, we can accomplish everything we need to do to prepare for the flight and still have time left over before the agent closes the door and push back. And spacecadet, reference your comment about a "social gathering." We understand it is not a social gathering, but this is a business and the passengers are our customers, so greeting our passengers or asking how they are doing is not looked upon as a "social gathering" type of thing. Time permitting, greeting our customers IS part of our work. At the company where I am employed, the pilots are encouraged to interact with the passengers whenever possible--not mandatory, but encouraged.
so jim, here's why I don't do it much anymore. Very briefly, almost nobody cares.
Many times, I have walked the entire length of the cabin--from Row 1 to the very back--with a full load of passengers (175+) and absolutely not one passenger has made eye contact with me or even looked up from their entertainment/business device (in-seat video monitors, their phones, laptop computers, whatever they have with them). Occasionally, if someone does make eye contact, or seems to be a little nervous, of course I'll stop and say "Welcome aboard," or "How are you today," but invariably, as they are removing their earbuds from their ears, they give me an irritated look as if to say, "Who are you and why are you interrupting me? Now, go away and leave me alone." jim, I know for aviation enthusiasts this is a nice gesture, but for 99.9 percent of the traveling public (at least in the United States), all they want to do is get from Point A to Point B on time and they really couldn't care less if the captain or first officer stops by to say "hello." By the time the average passenger sits down, fastens their seat belt and settles in, they immediately immerse themselves in whatever device they have--sending a text message, e-Mail, last minute phone call, selecting a movie from the in-seat monitor, or listening to their i-Tunes, and most are completely oblivious to anything else, or anyone else, around them.
Yes, I still make the effort to do this because I think it's a nice gesture--time permitting--but I have to be honest--many times I ask myself why I would bother doing so when not a single person aboard the airplane will care if I do.