Flight attendants are the members of the flight crew who really make air travel tolerable. They bring you drinks. They help you troubleshoot the entertainment system. And they politely intervene when somebody’s in your seat.
Nonetheless, passengers don’t always treat flight attendants well in return. Sometimes, they ask inappropriate questions. They might smoke in the bathroom. Or they pick fights with other passengers, and call on the flight attendant to intervene.
So we talked to some real-life flight attendants — and other air travel experts — to find out which behaviors they really hate to see on a flight. Believe us, you don’t want to be one of these passengers!
Below, check out some of the things that flight attendants will absolutely judge you for doing. (Even if they’re usually polite enough to keep their judgment to themselves.)
1. Drinking too much
Sherry Saehlenou was a flight attendant for Pan Am and United Airlines for 29 years. She also trained flight attendants on cabin safety for Boeing and now has her own aviation training company. From her experience, Saehlenou tells The Cheat Sheet, “Airline travel has changed so much since I started flying in 1978, and bad behavior has morphed a bit. I think one of the biggest problems on flights in the early days was consuming too much alcohol.”
Drinking too much alcohol can definitely impair your judgment. Saehlenou reports that on a trans-Atlantic flight, “one passenger in business class mistook the coat closet on a 747 for a toilet and proceeded to open the door and relieve himself — on my garment bag hanging there.”
Our advice: You can enjoy a drink or two. But limit your liquid consumption mostly to water. (It will do a better job of keeping you hydrated, anyway.)