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12 Things Passengers Do That Flight Attendants Hate

Don't be *that* traveler.

Flying can be stressful when you’re a passenger. It’s also stressful for fight attendants who see the same annoying behaviors from passengers day after day. (I should know, I used to be one.) Some passengers do selfish things, others do quite strange things, while others do some down-right rude things. Let’s check out the things that most annoy flight Attendants and why, so you can make sure your flight attendant won’t hate you on your next flight.

Note that interestingly, many of the things passengers do that flight attendants hate are actually because it compromises passenger safety or leads to delays–it’s not because they’re all a cranky lot. The reasons flight attendants get annoyed might not always be obvious. Do you do these things?

You Press the Call Bell for Everything

Ah, the call bell—it used to alert the crew of a passenger emergency such as a seizure or stroke. It’s now also used when passengers want someone to bring them a drink. Or a blanket. Or replacement headphones. Or their screen has broken. Or they want something from their bag in the overhead stowage compartment above them. Yes, that happens.

Of course, the call bell is for your convenience, and flight attendants want you to have an enjoyable flight. But pressing the call bell every 20 minutes because you want another drink isn’t cool. Try to limit your call bell use. Not because flight attendants are lazy to serve you, but because overuse of the call bell can actually delay the crew’s response in dealing with a passenger who is using the call bell for a genuine medical emergency that needs urgent assistance.

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You Don’t Know How to Open the Lavatory Door

Opening the lavatory door remains more challenging to some passengers than a Rubix cube. It will forever keep flight attendants entertained watching people struggle to open the door. I promise you if you read the instructions on the door, you’ll work out how to open it. It’s not as hard as you think!

You Leave the Lavatory a Mess

Flight attendants often have to take on the role of nurses, waitresses, firefighters, and many other jobs onboard–including toilet cleaners. And the state some lavatories are left in is hideous. Flight attendants can’t constantly clean the toilets after every passenger. Leave the lavatory clean, or just let one of the flight attendants know and they will sort it.

You Don’t Wear Socks or Shoes Onboard

Going barefoot on a plane is a no-no. Especially if you go to the bathroom barefoot–yikes. Just put something on your feet for your own protection. Plus, flight attendants never want to see your toenails. Trust me on this one.

You Ask the Flight Attendant to Put Your Bags Away

You’ve been carrying your bags for a long time, and you’re tired. Flight attendants understand. But you shouldn’t expect them to lift your bag into the overhead stowage for you. Many flight attendants have sustained serious back injuries from lifting passenger bags into the overhead cabinets, and many airlines don’t pay sick leave if flight attendants injure themselves lifting a passenger’s bag. Flight attendants, therefore, need to protect themselves to prevent work-related injuries. If you can’t manage to lift your bag into the overhead stowage by yourself, ask another passenger to help you or be prepared for it to go in the cargo.

You Bring Too Many Bags Onboard

If you’re bringing too many bags onboard, it’s a surefire way to make your flight attendant hate you. So many aircraft depart late because passengers bring too many bags and there isn’t enough space for them in the overhead bins. The bags then have to get placed in the cargo, which delays everyone, and the passengers then get annoyed they are delayed, oblivious to the fact they caused the delay by bringing their whole house onboard.

You Ask the Flight Attendant if You Can Change Seats

Flight attendants understand you’re annoyed that you and your partner weren’t allocated seats together. Or that you desperately want an aisle seat so you can go to the toilet frequently. But these queries should be addressed and solved with the check-in staff before you board. The check-in staff can see the airplane seat plan so they know which seats are vacant. Flight attendants don’t always know this information, so it is much easier to ask the check-in staff to rearrange your seats than for flight attendants to do it onboard.

You Pretend Your Seatbelt Is Fastened When It’s Not

You all know the drill for take-off and landing. Seats forward, seatbelts on, bags stowed away, tray tables up, window blinds open. Flight attendants don’t patrol the cabin looking for people to tell off, they just need to make sure the cabin is secure for take-off and landing for everyone’s safety.

Plus, airplanes take off at a speed of around 155 miles per hour and land at a speed of around 95 miles per hour, so all passengers, equipment, and belongings need to be secure. You certainly wouldn’t be in a car going at that speed without a seatbelt on, so an airplane should be no different.

You Stand up Before the Seatbelt Sign Has Been Switched Off

We get it. You’re in a rush to get off the airplane. You want to get your bags, beat the queues at Immigration, and use the airport wifi. But the cabin door isn’t going to open until a few minutes after the engines have been switched off as the stairs/airbridge needs to be connected, so there’s no need to open the overhead stowage while the plane is still moving.

Only when the captain has switched off the seatbelt sign is it safe for you to unfasten your seatbelt. Think of it this way: you don’t undo your car seat belt until the car has parked, so why is it any different with an airplane?

You Get Upset When a Meal Choice Has Run Out

We understand you were really looking forward to the chicken casserole, but it was probably made days ago anyway. Airplane food is hardly known for its tastiness and nutrition, so don’t get upset about it. Even if you did get your first choice, it probably wasn’t life-changing anyway. If you are particularly fussy about food or have allergies, it’s probably best to bring your own food onboard.

You Take Ages to Get off the Aircraft

You’ve been stuck onboard for hours, dying to get off, but when it’s finally time to leave, you’re spending ages putting your shoes on, checking you haven’t left anything in your seat pocket, and going for one last pee.

Passenger delays at disembarkation cause subsequent delays for other passengers. The cleaners can’t get on board to clean the aircraft, the flight attendants can’t disembark, and the other passengers are sometimes stuck waiting for you on the bus to take you all to the terminal.

You Steal Things Onboard

It’s shocking the number of people that claim they never had any headphones all flight, yet you’ll see the headphone wire poking out of their bag. Or the passengers that walk off with the airline blanket sticking out of their bag. Don’t do it–don’t steal from the plane.

And if follow these (let’s be honest–extremely easy) tips, you and your flight attendant are bound to get on just fine. I hope you don’t think they are a grumpy and impatient bunch because, really, they just don’t want you to be an inconsiderate jerk.

7catsmom2737 February 10, 2023

Most flight attendants are not paid during boarding, Delta being the exception. Why should they put your bags up. If you can't  lift your carry on into the overhead bin you should be checking it. Most of the rest of these are either common sense, plain good manners or utter nonsense.

fouDor January 18, 2023

Keep in mind, the flight attendants should also be fit enough as to be able to lift the allowable weight item to the bins above. However, nothing will change until the airlines themselves become reasonable and respectful regarding their own guidelines.

fouDor January 18, 2023

I was a travel agent for 20 years... (now retired for another 20), so I have seen it all and heard it all... but this complaint is a bit over the top. The flight attendant’s job is not what it used to be, just as flying isn’t either. Despite their own rules, the airlines seem to be quite lax about the amount of luggage allowable as carry on… and every airline decides on a different dimensions, which is really causing additional distress to the flying public and eventually to flight attendants… High time to standardize the size and weight of carry ons across all airlines and then to stick to the rules...

TakeTheHighroad January 7, 2023're talking about stealing headphones...not the little earbuds...surely, they're not used again, ARE THEY?  I keep them & use the same ones on my connecting & return flights.  You know: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!

stevemoran4148 January 6, 2023

Oh come on... this comes across as a clickbait article that offers nothing useful...and "call buttons are only only for emergencies," since when is that true?

And it's not okay for an older short person to ask for help getting their bag in the overhead bin?  Sure they have been hauling their bags every where but not lifting them over their heads.  

Those are just the two most stupid.