Flying can be a stressful experience for both passengers and flight attendants. While passengers often complain about various annoyances during air travel, it's important to recognize that flight attendants also have their fair share of pet peeves. As someone who has been a professional flight attendant for nearly 15 years, and understands our unique perspective, I've compiled a comprehensive list of the most infuriating behaviors exhibited by the savages we call “passengers”. These behaviors range from entitled attitudes to thoughtless actions that can make a flight attendant's job even more challenging. So, if you want to avoid being the source of frustration for cabin crew members, keep reading to discover the things that annoy flight attendants the most.
1. Families Not Booking Seats Together
One of the most common annoyances for flight attendants is when passengers flying with kids refuse to book seats together because of a small additional cost. As a result, they are often separated and spread out through the economy cabin. While most people are understanding and willing to help, it can be frustrating when families expect high-value business flyers—people who often pay full fare for their ticket—to switch seats to accommodate a thoughtless, entitled, cheap-ass parent that was unwilling to pay the small fee to keep their homely family together. In such situations, I always ask the gate agents to work with the families, as that’s their job, not ours. They can often find a solution by asking other passengers to switch seats, or at least explain to the dumb fuck parents why they are separated, and perhaps ensure that families can sit together in the future without disrupting the boarding process or pissing off the flight attendants.
2. Bags in The Bins and A Lack of Spatial Awareness or Common Sense
Another source of irritation for flight attendants is when passengers haphazardly store their bags in overhead bins. This not only creates disorganization but also results in delays as the crew has to rearrange bags to ensure a smooth departure. It's essential for passengers to understand that overhead bins are shared spaces and should be primarily used for larger bags, and these large items often fit within the bins in a specific way. Backpacks and smaller items are better suited for storage under the seat in front of you. By being considerate and following these guidelines, you can help maintain a more efficient boarding process. But, and this is key, storing your items requires listening, following directions, and spatial awareness. Which we all know that most passengers are incapable of selfless behavior, listening to instructions, and clearly most have failed the old “square peg, round hole” test.
Preparing for Takeoff
3. Ignoring Safety Regulations
Flight attendants are responsible for ensuring the safety of all passengers on board. Therefore, it's incredibly frustrating when passengers try to bend or ignore safety regulations. This includes passengers attempting to conceal the fact that they haven't fastened their seatbelts by using blankets or other means. News flash: We have these things called eyes, and we can totally see that you’re just sitting on your seatbelt. Just a heads up for those of you with a rebel streak: non-compliance isn’t much tolerated, and you may find yourself in a shit-heap of trouble and on a one-way ticket to Destination Fucked if you push your non-compliance too far. We can ignore only so much before your bad behavior has to be dealt with.
4. Delaying Departure for Personal Convenience
Passengers who refuse to conclude their phone call before takeoff can cause significant delays. Flight attendants have witnessed instances where individuals prioritize their personal tasks over the timely departure of the flight. It's important to understand that your personal devices are required to be in Airplane Mode during critical phases of the flight for the safety of everyone on board. Granted, we don’t give a shit about that, and we don’t care if you just sit there and continue texting, but when you refuse to end your obnoxious phone call… Well, that’s when it’s too obvious for us to simply ignore. Respecting these rules and cooperating with the flight crew's instructions is essential for a smooth and efficient departure.
5. Treating Flight Attendants as Servants
One of the most frustrating experiences for flight attendants is when passengers treat them as personal servants rather than professionals ensuring the safety and comfort of all travelers. It's essential to remember that flight attendants have a demanding job that goes beyond serving food and drinks. They are trained to handle emergency situations, provide medical assistance, and maintain order in the cabin. Respecting their expertise and treating them with courtesy and respect goes a long way in fostering a positive atmosphere during the flight.
6. Snapping Fingers for Attention
Flight attendants are constantly busy attending to multiple tasks and passenger needs. Annoying behaviors like snapping fingers to get their attention only exacerbate their stress levels. Instead of resorting to such rude gestures, it's best to make eye contact or politely raise your hand to indicate that you require assistance. By being patient and understanding, you can foster a more pleasant interaction with the flight attendants. And I’ll just say this: snap your fingers at me, or refer to me as “the help,” and I’ll cut you off from all service. You’ll get absolutely nothing.
7. Lingering in the Galley
The galley area of an aircraft is not a social space for passengers to hang out. It's important to remember that flight attendants need to work efficiently in this area, preparing meals, restocking supplies, and attending to other essential tasks. Lingering in the galley can disrupt their workflow and hinder their ability to provide prompt service to other passengers. It's best to respect their workspace and find alternative areas, such as the designated passenger seating area, to stretch your legs or socialize. In other words, galley yoga class has been canceled. Permanently.
8. Keeping Headphones In During Conversations
Flight attendants often need to communicate important information to passengers, such as safety announcements or updates regarding the flight. One common annoyance they encounter is passengers who keep their headphones in during these interactions, resulting in the flight attendants having to raise their voices or repeat themselves. To ensure effective communication and a smooth flow of information, it's important to remove your headphones and actively engage with the flight attendants when they are addressing the cabin.
9. Using Seats, Windows, or Armrests as Footrests
Comfort is important during a flight, but it's equally important to respect the space and boundaries of fellow passengers. Flight attendants often witness passengers propping their feet on seats, windows, or armrests, causing discomfort and frustration for other travelers. It's essential to keep your feet within your designated seating area and avoid infringing on the personal space of others. By being considerate and mindful of your surroundings, you can contribute to a more pleasant travel experience for everyone on board.
10. Going Barefoot
While it's understandable that air travel can be uncomfortable, going barefoot on a plane is considered disrespectful and unhygienic. The confined space and shared air circulation within the cabin create an environment where germs can easily spread. We don’t want to smell or see your talons. Also, that’s not water on the floor. Wearing shoes not only protects your webbed feet but also helps maintain cleanliness and hygiene for yourself and fellow passengers. It's important to prioritize personal hygiene and wear appropriate footwear when walking through the cabin or using the lavatory.
Flight attendants play a vital role in ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers during air travel. However, they often encounter frustrating behaviors from entitled or inconsiderate passengers. By being aware of these annoyances and making a conscious effort to avoid them, you can contribute to a more harmonious and pleasant flight experience for both yourself and the cabin crew. Remember to treat flight attendants with respect, follow safety regulations, and be considerate of the needs and comfort of your fellow travelers. Together, we can make air travel a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.