Yesterday I was preparing my cabin for departure. We were closing the overhead bins and had made the announcement for passengers to sit down and secure their baggage. Just as I was finishing my section a passenger gets up and opens a bin. He pulled his bag down and starts removing articles.
At this time in the flight we’re trying to close the aircraft doors so we can push back. If a passenger is up or their baggage is not away then we can’t do so. I said to the passenger “Sir, I need you to put your bags away so we can depart.” His reply was, “Well you can just wait for me to finish!”. All I said to him following that was, “Alright sir. But I just want you to be aware that then entire cabin is waiting for you to put your bags away and sit down so we can take off.” I made sure to say that loud and clearly enough so that the passengers around him would hear. He said “that’s fine.” Albeit more sheepishly than the his first response.
I don’t like to pressure passengers, and I understand he probably needed to grab some items to make his flight more comfortable. But the simple fact is we need to take off or our plane could get delayed. He had time to grab what he needed before it was time to push back, and he’ll have more time once we’re in the air.
I think sometimes passengers see the flight attendants as a force to battle with, rather than someone who is there to help you. I certainly had that impression from this gentleman. I suspect he didn’t like being told what to do, and he may have thought I was only telling him to sit down because I can. (Which certainly isn’t the case!) By making him aware that he was holding up the other passengers, I think I made him realize that he wasn’t inconveniencing the crew, he was inconveniencing everyone aboard. Not people being paid to be there, but those who paid to be onboard.