Flight attendants have seen it all, and the horror stories are not showing any signs of letting up. From passengers peeing inside the seat pocket to first-class attendants having to break up fist fights, the jaw-dropping job duties that come with flying the friendly skies can be demanding and exhausting.
Although there are significant perks to the job — free airfare and endless travel opportunity — it’s not always as luxurious as Mad Men makes it out to be. Follow along to find as flight attendants reveal the things that really drive them crazy.
1. The generally rude passengers
Recently, airplane-related tensions seem to be on the rise. More and more, it seems like on-edge passengers are on the hunt for a reason to become up-in-arms. And for some reason, these rude passengers always have a way of oozing their negativity in the direction of the flight attendants.
One attendant explains that “The main problem is general rudeness. Insisting a little too loudly on special service — but of course, there are a lot of others on the plane, all just as important as you. And don’t remind us that you’re a frequent flyer. That doesn’t make you the birthday boy, plenty of passengers are frequent flyers.”
Next: The “I deserve it all” passengers.
2. The entitled passengers
Entitlement comes in many different forms, and according to some Hong Kong-based flight attendants, “Hongkongers” may be some of the most entitled passengers of all. One attendant named Drew explained that in the summer travel season, passengers will walk onto the plane with massive boxes of honeydew melons, hogging tons of room in the overhead compartment bins.
Not only do these Hongkongers expect the flight attendants to pick up and place the boxes in the bin, but Drew said that “This can be a problem because they feel a sense of entitlement to the overhead compartments above their seats and think no one else should be able to use ‘their’ space.” Many of these travelers do not realize that the overhead compartment space is not designated for their specific seat.
Next: No one wants to sit next to one of these passengers.
3. The complainers
Every passenger cannot be pleased, it’s simply the nature of the beast when it comes to mass transportation. But neither attendants nor fellow travelers care to hear incessant complaining. After all, everyone else is on the same flight.
According to one attendant, the interaction with a complaining passenger goes a little something like “The seats are too small. Well, I can’t argue with that, but I can’t do anything about it, either. The flight is too hot, too cold, too noisy, too bumpy … No problem, I’ll call the pilot and have him fly more smoothly.”
Next: Save your personal hygiene for your house.
4. The nail clippers
What is with people trimming their nails on airplanes? This is surprisingly far more common than ever should be, yet some passengers aren’t as keen to social cues and awareness as others. The Instagram account @passengershaming highlights these shameless travelers, including one who opted to not only clip their fingernails mid-flight but prepared to do so by bringing an “around the neck magnifying glass.” Cover your drinks, people, because fingernails will be a-flying.
Next: Parents, don’t do this.
5. The diaper changers
As parents, normal social awareness can sometimes go right out the window, and for good reason — you are raising a small human being. But let us get one thing out in the open, changing your infant or toddler’s diaper at your seat is simply inappropriate. During the design process, planes were outfitted with lavatories for numerous reasons. Adults and children can use them for their personal needs, and parents can take their children into them to change a dirty diaper.
Next: The over-indulgers
6. The drunk people
Let the good times roll, vacation has arrived. Many passengers turn to booze to either soothe their flight anxiety or celebrate their travels, but one thing is certain. Drinking too much alcohol on a flight is not becoming. And there may nothing more annoying for a flight attendant than trying to deal with overly-boozed-up passengers. The New York Post highlighted that one flight attendant “claims multiple men have propositioned her for sex after a few too many drinks and one went as far as to flash his erection at her as she walked through the cabin.”
Next: The chatty Kathy
7. The loud talkers
Not everyone on the plane is looking to gab with a complete stranger nor listen to loud surrounding conversations. And when the cabin lights are dimmed, that is the cue for conversations to whisper in order for all of the other passengers to sleep and relax. Asking passengers to quiet down is the last thing flight attendants want to add to their laundry list of duties.
Next: Just follow the rules
8. The rule breakers
Between the individual airline and the Federal Aviation Administration, certain rules and regulations have been put in place for both the passenger and flight crew’s safety. Turning cell phones into airplane mode, placing the tray table into the upright position during take-off and landing, as well as keeping the seats in the upright position are all common instructions that are provided during every flight — no matter the airline. Flight attendants do not want to constantly remind passengers of this protocol.