It turns out airline passengers aren’t the only ones seeking to become members of the mile high club. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet and the popular message board Reddit, a bunch of flight attendants recently shared their most shocking and scandalous secrets, along with insider tips for making your flight experience more enjoyable (and less disgusting).
Read on for the most revealing tidbits that your flight attendant would never say to your face.
1. They might cheat you out of money
A study in The Telegraph found that 20% of flight attendants admitted to cheating passengers by giving them back the incorrect change in a different currency and counting on them not to notice. The sad part? It often works.
Next: There are often surprising passengers on the flight.
2. You could be flying with dead people
“A lot of freight gets shipped on commercial flights. One of these items [was] always called HR on the radios. HR was an abbreviation for ‘Human Remains.’ Some people die far away from where they want to get buried. They’re packed in wood-framed boxes, so you would never know what was inside except by the strange shape of them,” says one anonymous flight crew member.
Next: This germ-infested area isn’t always sanitized.
3. Never put food directly on the tray table.
One flight attendant confessed that the tray tables don’t always get sanitized, and the ones that don’t have likely come in contact with some disgusting stuff. Baby diapers, unwashed hands, fecal matter, vomit … if you can dream it, it’s probably been on your tray table.
Carry your own sanitizing wipes, and lay down a barrier between your food and the unknown whenever possible.
Next: This trick is especially wicked.
4. Some passengers are guilty of misusing wheelchairs
Nodeal_reddit’s mom was a Delta flight attendant for over 30 years and often spoke of what she called the “Delta miracles.” Passengers in wheelchairs are able to board the plane before anyone else, but since they would have had to disembark the plane last, those individuals would magically no longer need assistance by the time the plane landed. Not cool, guys.
Next: Flight attendants join the Mile High Club, too.
5. They might be having sex on the flight
One study reported that of the 718 anonymous flight attendants surveyed, 21% admitted that they had, “indulged in sexual relations with a colleague during a flight” and 14% said that they’d had sexual relations with passengers.
Next: Don’t believe everything your flight attendant tells you.
6. They might be lying to you
A study found that one of the most common ways a flight attendant takes advantage of his or her status is by lying about the availability of in-flight amenities, such as duty-free products.
That’s why you should always be kind to your flight attendant — because hopefully, they’ll repay that kindness with the truth.
Next: They’re not the reason for your flight delay.
7. Flight delays are often because of other passengers
According to Reddit user JustZoni, delays aren’t usually the fault of the flight crew.
He explains: “That one guy who throws a fit because he can’t take four ounces of liquid through TSA and decided the gate agent was a great target to take out their wrath on caused your delay. So did that family that decided it was a great idea to bring three strollers and two car seats for their single child. That sweet, old Grandma who insists she doesn’t need help getting onto the plane, but can’t walk faster than one step every minute? Gotta wait for her.”
Next: This bodily substance is all over the place.
8. There’s poop basically everywhere.
User seeyou_never warns that you should never, under any circumstances, walk around barefoot. She said people of all ages urinate and defecate in almost every section of the plane and the cleanup after isn’t always very thorough.
And those tray tables? They’ve seen a few diaper changes. You’ve been warned.
Next: Don’t cause a ruckus, or else.
9. Behave yourself or you could get kicked off
You’d better keep your attitude in check, warns Reddit user ICameHereToDrinkMilk. She says that flight attendants have every right to ask the pilot to remove you if you’re being disruptive or dangerous. And since they can’t very well just throw you out the door, getting kicked off is a big deal.
Next: The restroom doors don’t lock completely.
10. They can always get into the bathroom
In case you were thinking of using the on-flight bathroom for a little romantic time with your partner, be warned: Flight attendants can always open the door from the outside, even if you lock it. This feature is for your own safety in case you have an emergency while you’re in there.
(And yes, they totally know what you’re doing, even if you think you’re being stealthy about it).
Next: Keep the conversation to a minimum.
11. Remember, they’re just trying to do their job
Flight attendants aren’t there to keep you entertained — they’re there to perform a job. As one flight crew member says, “I’m a friendly person, but please don’t think I’m there to make small talk with you. I appreciate your friendliness, but don’t prevent me from doing the things I need to be doing.”
Next: Don’t take your shoes off.
12. Keep your shoes on
That’s not water on the bathroom floor, says Reddit user BowieBlueEyes. Keep your shoes on at ALL times.
Next: The headphones aren’t necessarily new.
13. You should skip the headphones
According to Reddit user ichigo29, you’re better off avoiding the free headphones and bringing your own instead. “I used to work for warehouse that supplied a certain airline with items. The headsets that are given to you are not new, despite being wrapped up. They are taken off the flight, ‘cleaned,’ and then packaged again.”
Next: Flight attendants have a hard job.
14. The job involves way more than just being a cocktail waitress.
Sure, your flight attendant may be adept at serving drinks and snacks. But their main concern is keeping you safe, especially if there’s some kind of emergency. Flight attendants know CPR, take self-defense courses, and are highly trained for what to do if the plane needs to make an emergency landing. Just remember that the next time you think about treating the flight attendant like your personal butler.
Next: They’re just trying to keep the peace.
15. It’s hard to keep everybody happy
“Honestly, one of the hardest parts of the job is having to move passengers because the passenger next to them is uncomfortable. I’ve had to move people because of their weight, and it’s awkward for everyone,” confesses one flight attendant.
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