I remember flying in DC3s in the Far East, and DC6s in the Middle East, and Viscounts… er, somewhere. It may be rose-tinted specs, but I do think the standard of in-flight human service was better than, although the general flying experience may not have been. It’s terribly easy to forget the really very high standard of in-flight entertainment etc provided even in economy, these days.
As for the original topic, cabin staff are only human and humes respond to courtesy, flattery and general nice behaviour, no matter what they do. Cabin crew is not a job I would choose, but it’s a two-way street. Treat them nicely and they’ll reciprocate.
That reminds me. New Year’s Eve sees me airborne. Box of Bendicks for the cabin staff, methinks, and they might overlook me opening the bottle of duty-free champagne…..