10 Things You Can Do on a Plane That Are Guaranteed to Piss Off Your Flight Attendant

10 Things You Can Do on a Plane That Are Guaranteed to Piss Off Your Flight Attendant

Keep your hands off.

By Karen Gardiner

Being a flight attendant may look like a song and Britney Spears-choreographed dance but, with long working hours, ho-hum pay, and having to maintain a professional demeanor despite grabbing a few hours' sleep in cramped conditions, it's not for the faint of heart. Why not make life easier for them by simply not doing any of the below?

1. Ask them to help you store your bag.

By overcharging customers to check luggage, airlines have brought the problem of overpacked carryon luggage upon themselves. But it is not the flight attendants' fault — so don't ask them to help lift your overstuffed bag into the bin. They are not allowed anyway — and for good reason. In a Quora post, flight crew member Amar Rama wrote, "If you cannot lift your own bag, we are not allowed to do it for you as this could cause an injury to the flight attendant (not covered, so we will be out of work and paying for it ourselves) and if it's government mandated minimum crew, a replacement will need to be found (delay) and if not, ultimately the flight will be canceled."

2. Ask to sit in an empty first-class seat.

The prolific Quora user Rama had more to say about unreasonable air passenger requests. "Most airlines have strict policies against unauthorized upgrades," Rama wrote. "A lot of times, I'll have passengers ask me to let them sit in the empty seat they see in business or first class. While I couldn't care less who sits where, it's still against company policy and I have to abide by it."

3. Ignore them.

In an interview marking the release of her book, Heather Poole, who used to blog about her flight attendant job for Gadling’s Galley Gossip, told Condé Nast Traveler that one of her pet peeves was, "passengers who don’t answer when I ask them what they’d like to drink. Now I just have conversations with myself. 'Are you finished? OK, I’ll take that from you.' Nobody even notices."

4. Ask 'What do you have?'

We've probably all heard it: The flight attendant repeating the words "chicken or pasta" through gritted teeth all the way down the aisle. Turns out it's just as annoying as it seems. Business Insider asked several anonymous flight attendants what they wish passengers would stop doing, and found this goes for drink choices too. As one pointed out: "There is literally an announcement telling you where to find the menu. We have 100 drinks if you count alcohol, and you want me to list it? While 200 other people wait for their drinks?"

5. Sulk over not getting your preferred meal.

Relatedly, one of the Business Insider sources had this to say about airline meal service: "It's a plane ride, not a five-star hotel or restaurant. Stop getting bent out of shape over receiving your second meal choice."

6. Stack up items on your tray.

Some people probably think they are being thoughtful when they do this. Apparently not, according to an unnamed Australian "hostie" speaking to Women's Weekly. "You may think you’re being helpful or even entertaining by stacking the plastic containers on top of one another when you’ve finished your meal — but you’re not," the source said. "The tray will not fit back into the trolley until your hostie has unbuilt your little castle. Just leave it."

7. Hand them used tissues, diapers, or toothpicks.

This one comes from a Facebook user who responded to a crowdsourcing request on Flight Attendant Career Connection. "There is a barf bag into which you can dispose of anything and then place it into the plastic bag as we walk through the cabin.”

8. Ask to borrow a pen.

Yes, filling in forms is annoying, but it's not your flight attendant's job to provide you with a pen to do so. “I don't have an unlimited supply in my pocket," wrote a different user on the Flight Attendant Career Connection page. "And no I won’t give you one, A) because it’s my favorite, and B) because I’m required to have it on me at all times.”

9. Refuse to show your boarding pass.

In a different Quora thread, ex purser and cabin crew safety trainer Paula Mitchell had a few words for those who loudly state their seat number rather than show their boarding pass: "I am checking boarding cards for security purposes to make sure passengers are on the correct plane. And yes, people often board the wrong plane!"

10. Touch them.

This one is a no-brainer and it comes up in almost every flight attendant questionnaire. If you require something, don't grab, poke, or prod your friendly flight attendant, please. As Mitchell writes, "a simple 'excuse me' would suffice."

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