One of the reasons why I love this job is that every day is different.
I not only visit different places all the time but work with different crew members for each trip, meet all sorts of passengers from nice to downright crazy, and experience a variety of situations that cannot be made up.
That being said, there are some very interesting stories all flight attendants have experienced and love to tell…
1) The Romeo
We love romance in the air!
We love seeing couples holding hands across the aisle for departure, hearing about honeymoon and anniversary trips, and sharing in their excitement to go to their loved ones.
However, the prize for the most romantic would have to go to this young man I had the not so great of a pleasure flying with.
I was greeting passengers at the boarding door when I started hearing screaming and crying bloody murder!
When I looked, I saw a teenage boy of about 14-15 years old crying with tears and pushing on the entrance, refusing to board the flight with all his might.
We were all wondering what was going on when he started screaming that he belonged here and did not want to go.
He was kicking and throwing a tantrum like a 5 year old with saliva everywhere, accusing his escort (who was a law enforcement officer) that he was kidnapping him.
We wanted to calm him down so we asked what was going on to the boy and the story was unreal.
He said through snot and tears that his girlfriend is here and because their parents didn’t approve of one another, they had run away.
His girlfriend is alone and scared right now and he needs to go to her; a modern day Romeo and Juliet.
The escort was able to muscle this crying Romeo to his seat and after takeoff, when he passed out sleeping, the escort told us what really happened.
This young man met a girl online around the same age and not long after, confessing teenage passion and love, stole his parent’s credit card and bussed to the neighboring state, deciding to run away together.
They were caught at the airport on their way to another location when they were sent to their respective homes.
Ah… young love…
2) No, You Can’t Be Sitting There
I will leave the verdict on what was really going on to the readers of this story.
We were on a long-haul international flight on a wide body aircraft. I was walking around the airplane to see if anyone needed anything when something caught my attention.
There was a man in first class with a blanket over his lap. It seemed to be covering not only his legs but something bulky. Then the bulk started to move… and a woman’s head popped out from his lap!
Um, excuse me, but what are you doing, sitting on the floor down there with your head on the gentleman’s “lap”?
And of course, she pops right back in like she belongs there.
This happened within the first few months after I started working as a flight attendant so I didn’t know what to do and told the other more senior flight attendants what I saw.
Some people really do want to test their limits on what they can do inside the airplane and join the Mile High Club, but seriously? No.
The other flight attendant goes and talks to the passenger why she is sitting on the floor. He said that she wasn’t feeling well and was resting…
So she left her own first class seat to cramp herself on the floor?
He seemed innocent enough, but that’s not how we usually deal with passengers who are not feeling well so we asked her to please go back to her own seat; no, you cannot be sitting there.
3) The Most Embarrassing
We are all proud to represent our airlines and wear our uniforms, but this was one of the most embarrassing moments I had to endure interacting with a passenger.
It was a transcontinental flight from the east coast to the west coast in the US.
We were ready to leave but during our safety checks we realized that one of the first class passengers was too big for his seatbelt…
This usually isn’t a problem, we always have extensions onboard, but we were on a wide body aircraft and this aircraft demanded a specific type of seatbelt extension.
In the beginning, we didn’t think it was a big deal, but we ended up delaying for over 45 minutes!
It’s a federal regulation that passengers fasten their seatbelt so we couldn’t leave without it, but maintenance kept bringing us the wrong ones…
I felt so embarrassed for the passenger because everyone knew it has him that was causing this delay, and a lady passenger on the other side of the aisle started crying because she was going to miss her connecting flight to Hawaii to attend a funeral.
In the end, I practically begged the big passenger if he could just for taxi, takeoff, and landing switch seats with a main cabin passenger where we had seatbelt extensions available…
He was understandably fuming (he took proactive measures to accommodate his size and paid for a great experience) but was a total gentleman to us and did as asked so that we could all leave.
It was an embarrassing moment for everyone around.
4) The Nicest Celebrity
I’ve had my share of celebrities boarding my plane, but usually they like to be left alone and I respect their wishes.
However, one of the best celebrity encounter I had was with Jane Lynch (she is most famous for her role in the American TV show Glee).
She is not the most famous I have encountered by far, but she was such a sweet lady to everyone around her.
The story begins when the flight crew reported to the airport for our departure.
But before we go any deeper, I would like to point out that I found one of my fellow flight attendants to be a bit “eccentric” (a bit weird but harmless and lovable).
While we were heading for our gate, he suddenly and noticeably gasps, then runs off in the opposite direction saying that he just saw the man he was in love going the other way…
The other flight attendants and I were all confused and baffled but we assumed he knew what he was doing and things were fine until twenty minutes later when he still hasn’t shown up at our gate.
We were getting worried at this point because we had to board the passengers soon and he could get into trouble for not being there on time.
We asked the agent to make a passenger announcement (Can Mr. John Smith please come to Gate X for departure) to remind him that we needed to go.
This is where Jane Lynch shows up.
We were all surprised and star shocked a bit when she tells us that we announced the wrong gate: this is Gate Y, not Gate X that we need to do another PA or he will be lost.
We didn’t even realize the mistake but assured her that Mr. John Smith will be able to find his gate and he will be alright (we didn’t tell her but he IS a flight attendant).
Also, in flight, a passenger sitting next to her in first class was literally freaking out because she had left her work laptop at security.
She consoled her saying that they will find it, asked the pilots if they could send a tower message to keep the laptop, and kept company with this stranger.
She was a pleasure to have in flight.
5) The #1 Mama
I applaud any parents traveling with children.
It is not easy to manage children and keep them in check while trying not to be an inconvenience to your fellow travelers on top of all the overall stress that comes along with traveling.
However, the #1 mom in this story wasn’t traveling with a small child…
We were doing short flights that day. We landed in Airport A, passengers deplaned, aircraft was cleaned, and passengers were boarding to go to Airport B.
I was working in the galley in the back when the first passengers who boarded came to use the lavatory. I saw that mom used the lavatory on the left and her teenage son used the lavatory on the right.
Now, the aircraft has just been cleaned and we were parked at the gate, no movement whatsoever.
When my fellow flight attendant comes to the back to use the lavatory and opens the door to the right… she sees that there is “liquid” on the floor and the toilet (we know what this means right?).
This was not caused by a toddler boy missing his aim, but a boy the size of a man, a full head taller than me, making this mess.
Maybe it is the case for some airlines, but the procedure for us is to 1. Hold boarding 2. Call for the cleaning staff 3. Let them clean the mess 4. Continue boarding and be in our way.
The process wasn’t the most efficient because the cleaners could take a while to show up and we didn’t want a delay especially because we were on our last leg.
So my coworker wondered what we should do so I half jokingly/half seriously said that’s the mom over there so you should go talk to her.
So she did. She told the mom what her son has done to the lavatory.
Shout out to the best mom ever for standing right up, getting into the face of her son who was twice her size, and shouting, “Mister! You go in there and clean that right up!”
Only if more moms were like this.
6) Yeah, Maybe You Should Stay
When passengers board a plane, they are greeted by a flight attendant to make them feel welcomed and to be directed to their seats.
It’s an important duty of a flight attendant.
But another reason why this is an important duty for a flight attendant is because we get to see what the crowd would be like, setting the atmosphere of the flight, and use discretion to make sure if they are fit to fly.
For example, when you board a flight that is 6 hours delayed, you are bound to have unhappy passengers who will be angry at you no matter what you do and potentially cause problems.
Another example would be using your discretion on passengers who seem too intoxicated to fly.
You don’t want any kinds of trouble 30,000 ft above the air so the sooner you identify the problem, the higher chance you have of resolving it on the ground…
We were boarding a flight when we noticed a girl who was mildly sweating and didn’t look very well.
She was pale, watery eyed, and just looked miserable.
We asked if she was feeling okay, and she said she was feeling quite sick.
Alarm bells were starting to ring in our heads when her mom, who was traveling with her, jumped in and said that she would be fine once she got to her seat and rested.
Nonetheless, we pulled her aside to the galley to give her some water and to ask her if she was sure she wanted to fly.
We told her she had a better chance of getting help if things got worse, and she doesn’t know how the cabin pressure and the stress of sitting still for an extended period of time might affect her condition.
The daughter was visibly reluctant to fly and said she didn’t want to go but the mom became defensive and said that they needed to go.
Basically she was telling her daughter to toughen up, hold it together for a few minutes… but then her daughter started throwing up.
Thank goodness she had a bag in her hand, but everyone around was absolutely grossed out.
The mom tried to brush it off as nothing and tried to keep going until the daughter said in a quiet voice, “I’ve literally just shit in my pants.”
Thank you for making the right decision to not fly with us that day. We really appreciate it!
Every flight attendant has their share of stories to tell… Some are nice, some are gross, but there will never be a dull moment in the office!!