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5 Airline Scenarios: How Would You Handle These Cases? (Examples)

scenario questions

One of the main parts of any flight attendant interview are the scenario questions. These questions are designed to give recruiters an understanding of how you would choose to handle tricky situations at 30,000 feet.

To help you prepare for these kinds of questions we have prepared some examples of the most common scenario questions, and given you examples of appropriate answers. 

See also: 70 Real-Life Flight Attendant Interview Questions

Scenario 1: The Diaper Dilemma

Here’s the scenario: You are in the middle of a meal service when a passenger tries to hand you a soiled baby diaper. She asks if you can dispose it for her. What would you do?

Why this scenario: This particular scenario is testing your ability to balance customer service with the sanitation standards you have to hold yourself to.

Context: It is a rule that you cannot handle bodily fluids of any kind (diaper, sick bags, etc.) while serving food, but at the same time you want to assist the passenger.

Answer: The best way to handle this situation is to inform the passenger that you can dispose of the soiled diaper for her, but only after you have completed the meal service, otherwise she is more than welcome to dispose of it herself in any of the on-board lavatories.

Bonus: You should also instruct the passenger to place the soiled diaper into a sick bag before disposal.

Scenario 2: A Few Too Many (Drinks)

Here’s the scenario: You are working a long-haul flight and have been serving alcohol to passengers. One has clearly had too many and is now becoming disruptive towards other passengers. He flags you down and asks for another drink. What would you do?

Why this scenario: This scenario is unfortunately very common, so you must know how to handle it.

Context: It is actually a flight regulation that you cannot let passengers get drunk. This is because they often become belligerent, which can jeopardize the safety and security of the rest of the flight. Additionally, intoxicated passengers could become a hazard in the event of an evacuation since alcohol impairs their ability to react quickly and appropriately in an emergency.

Answer: In this case, you must cut the passenger off. However, you also have to be able to do this with the right tact, because you could anger the passenger, (especially if they have history of addiction).

The best way is to simply explain the regulation, “I apologize, but I am only permitted to serve you X number of drinks per fight, but I am happy to offer you another beverage, perhaps a soda or a juice?”

Whatever you do keep the way you put it impersonal. Make it about the regulations, rather than the passenger’s drunkenness.

Scenario 3: The Kneeling Nelly

Here’s the scenario: Your flight has just finished boarding and you are preparing to close the door and push back when a passenger gets out of their seat and kneels in the aisle. You ask them to return to their seat and fasten his seatbelt, but they insist that they must continue to pray. What would you do?

Why this scenario: This question is testing your ability to balance cultural sensitivity with a firm adherence to your airline’s regulations.

Context: Before you are able to close the boarding door and taxi, all passengers must be seated.

Answer: You can start by reiterating to the passenger that they have to return to their seat for the safety of the others on board the flight. Kindly let them know they can resume their prayers as soon as the aircraft has reached a safe cruising altitude.

If this is not enough to persuade the passenger let them know that, due to airline policy, they will have to deplane if they wish to continue, because they would otherwise be delaying everyone else on board by preventing the airplane from departing. Appeal to their sense of courtesy towards others and make it clear you want to accommodate them but given the phase of flight, your options to do so are limited.

Scenario 4: The Petty Passenger and the Silly Snorer

Here’s the scenario: You are working a night flight when a passenger in 38B complains that the passenger in 39 B is snoring too loudly. They want you to make them stop. What would you do?

Why this scenario: This scenario tests your ability to balance the comfort of multiple passengers whose needs are in conflict with one another.

Context: Passengers often make these kinds of requests, and it is your job to manage passenger expectations and act as a mediator when one passenger’s needs directly impact another’s. You have to somehow make sure everyone ends up happy(ish).

Answer: The first thing to do is empathize with the passenger who finds the other one’s snoring annoying. Let them know you understand why they’re frustrated and validate their feelings. Then offer them a solution that does not involve waking the other passenger. You can offer them a pair of earplugs, or headphones. If that isn’t acceptable, you can try to see if there is an open seat further away from the snoring passenger.

If it were me, I’d say something along the lines of, “Oh, you know, I also find it hard to sleep when someone is snoring. Although I won’t be waking anyone up, let’s see if we can find a solution that will make everyone comfortable…”

Scenario 5: The Grinder

Here’s the scenario: You are doing your pre-takeoff cabin safety check and you notice a passenger busily typing away on their laptop. You ask them to turn it off and stow it for take-off, but they rudely snap back that their work is important, and inform you that, “the flight attendant on my last flight let me do it”. What would you do?

Why this scenario: This scenario is designed to test how you would respond to direct confrontation by a passenger.

Context: Passengers these days, (especially in the US), are increasingly unwilling to comply with instructions from flight crew. The FAA has reported a record number of passenger non-compliance reports, and the issue is plaguing the whole industry. Unfortunately, you will run into these people almost daily.

Answer: In this situation, you have to be firm and set a boundary with the passenger. Especially if they claim they weren’t held to a particular standard on their “last” flight. In this situation you need to politely and calmly inform them that refusal to comply is a violation of FAA regulations and can result in a fine.

If they continue to argue the next step is to involve another flight attendant, or the captain to de-escalate the situation.

Bonus: Sometimes if a passenger refuses to comply with basic safety instructions I explain the natural consequences of their actions, but I don’t recommend telling a recruiter you would do this.


As flight attendants we are faced with quite a few sticky situations in-air, being able to think on your feet is a necessary skill, so it’s no wonder that airline recruiters like to ask scenario-based questions to see how you approach problem-solving.

We hope these examples of scenario questions and answers will help you stick the landing at your upcoming flight attendant interview!

Do you have any other questions or scenarios that you would like us to address? Feel free to leave a comment or question below!

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4 thoughts on “5 Airline Scenarios: How Would You Handle These Cases? (Examples)”

    1. First you would listen to the angry passenger, and then ask to check the boarding ticket to be sure. If the accusing passenger was wrong, point them into the correct seat and offer them accommodations to make them feel more comfortable. Then apologize to the passenger sitting being yelled at for any inconvenience and also ask if there’s anything you can do to make them more comfortable. Be sure to thank them both for their cooperation.

      However, if the man was right and the passenger is in the wrong seat after checking the angry passenger’s ticket, ask to see the ticket of the one sitting down and help them find their seat. After this is all situated, apologize for any inconvenience to the both of them and ask if there’s anything we can do to make them more comfortable. Then thank them for their cooperation.

  1. How about the passenger complaining that he can’t connect to the wi-fi and it seems to have a problem with the connectivity of it? How should the flight attendant respond to it?

    1. The flight attendant should say sorry and help out with the problem. They can tell the passenger to reset their device or try connecting with another one. If that doesn’t work, the flight attendant can try restarting the Wi-Fi or move the passenger to a different seat with better connection. It’s all about being kind and understanding, even if the flight attendant can’t fix everything.

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