Flight Attendant Confess: 8 Things That Annoy Them The Most

things that annoy flight attendants
Photo credits: Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As air travel becomes a more readily available form of transportation, the general public is also becoming more aware of airplane etiquette.

This is good news for flight attendants so that everyone on board can have mutual understanding and respect for each other which will lead to a pleasant flight all around.

Here are a few more things you can avoid doing on a flight that annoys flight attendants and possibly your fellow passengers.

1) Having Your Earphones on While We Are Talking to You

I’ve had people taking their reading glasses off when I asked what they would like to drink but forget about their earphones and wonder why they can’t hear me speak.

Everyone these days have their earphones on enjoying their movies or shows inflight, and we understand, but it gets frustratingly annoying if we have to ask you the same question five times or dance around in the aisle to get your attention.

Be courteous and stop your entertainment for 2 minutes when you see us coming so that we can serve you.

2) Knowingly Booking a Small Seat then Complaining

This is going to be quite controversial.

We all know that airline seats have become narrower and tighter while human physiology has become bigger and taller over time.

Trying to stay seated in these small spaces is literally torture and everyone is suffering through it together so we are all understanding and compassionate… until you start complaining.

It is not the flight attendant’s fault that the seats are so small and it is most definitely not your seatmate’s fault that you are invading THEIR personal space.

If you want a comfortable flight but know this is going to be an issue, whether you have amazingly long legs or more to love all around, don’t leave it to chance for an empty flight but accommodate yourself beforehand.

3) Bare Feet

Believe it or not, the airplane is not as clean as it seems.

Just because you do not see liquid on the lavatory floor, it doesn’t mean someone did not miss and pee on the floor and it has just been wiped dry.

The carpet on the floor?

They’ve been around for a long time and I can assure you they don’t get shampooed very often.

Even if you like walking around in public places, don’t do it on an airplane.

Another thing about bare feet: even if you think your feet are clean, it is gross to other people if you wedge them on top of the armrest in front of you.

They don’t know you; they certainly don’t love to tolerate your feet on their armrest.

4) Asking “Where are we?”

Yes, we get asked this question more often than you think.

If we are flying from New York to Los Angeles, some passengers automatically assume that we know where we are on the globe at random times or expect us to look out the window 30,000 ft above the air and tell you exactly where we are…

If you don’t have access to a flight tracker on your seat screen, wifi on your personal devices to access the information, or flying over an iconic landmark like the Eiffel Tower, we do not know either.

This is even more problematic if we are crossing an ocean, i.e. from New York to London.  The most we can say is we are somewhere above the ocean between New York and London or an hour out from New York…

If you are extremely nice and give us a good reason to do so, we could disturb the pilots and ask them since they have a radar, but this is if you are above and beyond nice.

5) Fighting About Your Food Restrictions

The airlines do a great job and work hard to accommodate passengers who have restricted diets like kosher, diabetic, vegan, and etcetera.

If you’ve requested a special meal in a timely manner (at least 3 days prior) and your travel plan hasn’t been disturbed yet you don’t receive your meal, then we do apologize.

There’s nothing else we can really do except offer what we do have inside the airplane.

However, if you did not request it, change your travel plans last minute, or are just entitled and demanding, then you have no business enforcing your dietary restriction on us.

You chose your own lifestyle so don’t make it other people’s problem.

Ask kindly and we will do our best to see what is available from our limited resources.

6) Soiled Diapers

It’s quite amazing how parents can pull off changing a baby’s diaper in such a small space in their seats (lay them sideways?).

Nonetheless, firstly, nobody wants to smell your baby’s diapers, especially if it contains poop.

Secondly, whether you wipe down the trays or not, they are meant to be eaten on top of, not used as a changing station.

Lastly, flight attendants don’t appreciate being given dirty diapers; they may be okay for you to touch as a parent, but it’s not okay for others.

Go to the lavatory and do the baby’s business there.

7) Touching Things in the Galley

No, it’s not okay to touch things in the galley.

Unless you have expressive permission from a flight attendant to help yourself to water that’s sitting on the counter, you have no reason to touch anything in the galley.

Even if you work in the industry and know how to work everything, no, it’s not okay to touch anything (flight attendants will never touch a galley flying as a passenger, they know the rules).

Your curiosity on how the galley works and wanting to try all the knobs and buttons is not a reason for you to touch anything.

Not only can it be a safety and security issue (instances of people stealing liquor from the carts), the flight attendant’s personal things can be in there too.

We do not go thru your seat while you occupy that space so we expect the same with our space.

8) Holding Up the Boarding Process

There are many ways a passenger blocks the aisle and accomplishes this task, annoying not only the flight attendant but their fellow passengers.

Here are a few:

  1. Taking out everything from their bag in search of their sweater ‘just in case’ then repacking everything in their seat
  2. Talking to an ‘important’ acquaintance before getting to their seat in the back
  3. Going to the bathroom ‘before there is a line’ and fighting the incoming passengers to get back to their seats.  If you have the urge, then we understand and you need to go right away, but if it isn’t the case, this is not the best time to go
  4. Trying to rearrange seats to sit with a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse for a 30 minute flight.  All this can be arranged while we are in the air.  Let’s get to your seat and sit down so that we can close the door and everyone could be on their way!

For some people, the list can come off as common sense, but all of this comes from firsthand experience.

Always remember, kindness is key so be kind to your fellow passengers and your flight attendants and have a great flight!

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