15 Things Flight Attendants Hate About You

Almost every traveler goes through a phase of wanting to be a flight attendant, and with the travel perks, we can hardly blame them. It's not all international flights and tropic getaways, though, as being a flight attendant comes with quite a lot of caveats.

For one thing, being a flight attendant is very close to being a service industry position. You will absolutely be working with the public, and you'll be serving them in what can be a pretty stressful situation. As much as 40% of the population has a fear of flying, and flight attendants are dutifully there to wait on finicky passengers.

While demonstrating a plane's safety procedures and pushing a cart may seem simple and like all a flight attendant does to unaware passengers, the men and women who are the face of flights deal with some pretty bizarre and exhausting guest behavior. Crew members can take a lot from passengers, but here are some things that are major pet peeves and that flight attendants kind of hate about some passengers.

Channeling your inner Galley Yogi

Downward Dog, Half Moon, and Warrior pose all have their place and can be a healthy way to loosen yourself up, but for the safety and comfort of everyone on the plane, please keep them out of the galley. We get i; planes can be mighty uncomfortable, especially if your appendages are longer than the average human, but don't make your discomfort everyone else's problem, especially the flight attendant who is trying to do their rounds and push their cart. Not only could you hold them up or accidentally touch them, but you could get hurt if they don't see you.

"Please do not invade our space in the galley to do stretches/exercises or what we call 'Galley Yoga' when you need to get up and stretch your legs," Lia Volpe, flight attendant and owner of Flight Attendant Prep Academy, says. Imagine an arm being flung in your face or a foot working its way into a prime position to trip unsuspecting attendants. If it doesn't sound like something you'd want to deal with, it's better to refrain and find an alternative way to relieve your discomfort.

Not keeping those pick-up lines to yourself

Wait staff, concierges, and flight attendants all have one important thing in common: They get paid to be nice to you. It's not a good look to take advantage of the fact that a worker is on the clock and shoot your shot, and this goes double when you're stuck together in an aluminum can hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour.

In almost all cases, please refrain from courting airline employees. If you are convinced that you and one of your flight's attendants truly have a strong connection and can't help but take your chances, be subtle about your advances and at least wait until you land to pass your number along. Also, be forewarned that some people don't want to socialize after a long work day in any form, especially when work consists of possible jet lag and another long flight the next day.

Being rude, which will get you nowhere

Traveling can be stressful, and making it to your plane can certainly be a lengthy and frustrating process full of unforeseen hurdles. None of this, though, is your flight attendant's fault. Honestly, it's best to start off a day of traveling with the mindset that everything will go wrong, so when only one thing goes right, it's still a win. That way, your mood won't put the airline staff on the receiving end of any abuse you may be tempted to hurl their way — because you can bet they will notice, and there could be consequences.

Sometimes being abrasive and demanding could land you in hot water or at least result in some inconveniences. "Coming on board and demanding us to find a place for your bag, shoving it towards us stating 'it's your job' will not sit well with your flight attendant," Volpe says. "Little did you know that we could have gate checked your bag to be picked up plane side, but instead we are going to check it to your final destination and bring you a tag." It doesn't cost you anything to be nice, but disrespecting your flight attendant sure could.

Thinking the rules don't apply to you

Everyone who has ever been on a plane has heard the safety spiel, and frequent flyers likely have it memorized. Part of the protocol is to turn phones off for takeoff, and in a world where almost half of America considers themselves addicted to their phones, you can imagine how often that instruction is neglected.

Not only do people ignore this rule and try to hide it, but some people will actually have full-blown phone calls while the flight attendant is trying to relay their safety instructions. It is never okay to talk on the phone in the middle of a presentation or when someone is requiring your attention, but when it comes to the safety of the people around you, it becomes an even bigger problem. First-time flyers, as well as the people near the emergency exits, need to hear the information, so it's no wonder why flight attendants hate the passenger who interrupts their safety speech with a phone that shouldn't even be on.

Trashing up the plane

If you've had your fair share of plane rides, you have likely sat on a plane that wasn't the pinnacle of cleanliness. And while it's not always due to previous passengers, you can thank the person who came before you for the tissue stuffed into your seatback pocket. There is really no excuse for this kind of behavior, because flight attendants come by frequently and even make a point to ask for any trash before it's time to land.

If, for some reason, you still have trash when the plane lands and people are getting off the plane, be a dear and take it with you to dispose of. There are so many trash cans on your way out of the airport or to your next gate, each one a new opportunity to lighten the burden that's burning a hole in your pocket. Please don't leave trash tucked into your seat, on the floor, or anywhere else you may stash unwanted refuse. Yes, attendants pick up lingering trash if they spot it. No, they shouldn't need to.

Pressing the attendant button for non-urgent concerns

The attendant button totally works, and you don't have to test it out! Again, the flight attendants come by very regularly, so unless you have a time-sensitive issue or a question that is of the utmost importance, you really should just wait until you see a staff member doing their rounds. Please don't make the staff make unnecessary trips. There's an average of around a hundred people on a flight; could you imagine making personalized trips for each of them?

A lot of planes are fitted with trackers that give you an estimate of how close you are to landing or where you currently are, but even if your plane is not, these kinds of questions can totally wait until the flight attendant is approaching your seat without the prompt of a button. Also, an attendant may not even have this information on hand — and, most importantly, you are going to get there when you get there, just like everyone else on the plane.

Not keeping your hands to yourself

Hopefully this doesn't shock you, but it's never okay to touch someone without their permission. Planes can be pretty tight quarters, and if you're annoyed about knocking elbows with your neighbor, imagine how uncomfortable it is for the flight attendant who has had to brush by dozens of elbows and arms as they walk down the aisle. If you purposefully poke, graze, or grab at them when you want something, not only will they get touched out that much faster, but it's just plain rude and invasive.

"We do not appreciate getting poked or touched while we are walking down the aisle when you need our attention," Volpe says. "We have pretty good hearing and if you call us, we will be able to assist you with your request." A simple hand raise or wave will do as well. Honestly, there's so many options you have at your disposal that do not involve touching the attendants — please use them.

Asking one particular question

If we had to lay a wager, we'd guess that this is the one most are guilty of. Apparently, it's a big pet peeve of flight attendants when passengers ask what kind of beverages are available when the time comes to order a drink. While this seems like a natural question to ask when the attendant is waiting expectantly to pour you a drink, it can be quite difficult for airline staff.

You may not be aware, but a full list of drinks is usually listed on an in-flight menu (located in the seatback pocket, or sometimes in the entertainment system). If a flight attendant has to list off various drinks for each of the 100+ passengers, their schedule will be thrown off, and not everyone will get their beverage in a timely manner. Most airlines carry the exact same drink options, of which there is a wide range, so it's very possible to prepare for this daunting question.

Walking around barefoot on the plane

If you've ever been on a flight where you were seated next to someone who took their shoes and socks off to air out their stinky feet, you may know where we are going with this. While it may seem totally outlandish to you that someone would actually get up and walk around the plane without shoes on, apparently it totally happens, and it's frequent enough to be a universal experience for flight attendants.

Flight attendants report that some passengers will walk to the restroom barefoot, which is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First, a plane isn't your home, and it's not acceptable to just walk around with no socks or shoes. Second, the floor is pretty gross, and you are likely tracking all kinds of things, including other people's bodily fluid, throughout the plane and into your socks and shoes when you put them back on — does anyone else feel a bit sick at the thought?

Not practicing basic personal hygiene

Airports and planes are not the most hygienic of places, especially when layovers are common and flights are long. However, passengers need to remember that they and the crew are in a confined space with circulated air for hours. This means that whenever possible, they should come to the airport and board the plane freshly bathed and smelling fairly neutral. As unpleasant as sweat and body odor are, other strong fragrances like perfume could be even worse than sweaty underarms. In fact, some passengers may even have adverse reactions to heavy perfume.

If you are a particularly sweaty person or have a connecting flight, it may be a good idea to pack deodorant and a toothbrush in your carry-on. Actually, bringing along some small personal hygiene tools would probably benefit everyone. Flight attendants are regularly on long flights, and they are able to not smell offensive, so you should return that favor to them and every other passenger on the plane.


You may be relieved to finally be boarding your plane or that you've finally landed and are excited, but there are almost always other passengers who don't feel a sense of relief. Whether they are scared of flying or have connecting flights, getting on and off a plane typically has an underlying sense of panic to it. The subtle franticness with which you put up and take down your luggage is almost universally felt, so when one person is taking their grand time and holding everyone else up, it doesn't go unnoticed.

"If you know that the flight is waiting on you, please show haste as dawdling makes everyone upset and the easiest targets to pass off pent-up frustrations fall on your friendly flight attendants," an Instructor at Flight Attendant Prep Academy Dominic Brisson says. The only thing worse than holding up everyone on the plane is also getting the flight attendants yelled at. Your best bet for a smooth start and finish to your flight is to move quickly and efficiently while in the aisles.

Asking for special treatment

For some passengers, asking for extras seems to be part of the flight experience. Whether it be asking for an upgrade to first class, requesting their luggage be placed in a closet instead of the overhead bin, or trying to get items reserved for those in first class, some passengers will hound the flight attendants for any perks not allocated for them. This is a big pet peeve of some staff, as it just opens them up for a negative experience where they are forced to turn a passenger down.

Unless there are circumstances that would qualify a passenger for these upgrades, a flight attendant is usually not permitted to hand these perks out. It wouldn't be fair to all the other passengers, for one, and there are also policies against such things. If you do feel the uncontrollable need to ask, try to keep it to one request and don't make a big deal about the staff inevitably turning you down; if you want to have first-class perks, you're going to have to pay for first class.

Using the staff as babysitters

Traveling with children is tough, and you may want to think twice about it if you think it's going to be too much for you to handle. The only people responsible for your children are you and any additional caregivers you bring along with you, and you shouldn't be relying on the airline staff to keep watch over any children on the plane or at the boarding gate. Additionally, if you did not book a seat next to your child, your child should be responsible enough to sit by themselves without the intervention of fellow passengers or the airline staff.

With the exception of an unaccompanied minor program, babysitting is not on a flight attendant's job description, and parents should not be putting anyone in a position that will make them feel as such. They have their own duties, and it's really no surprise why airline staff members don't want to add watching over children who are supposed to have a present guardian to the list.

Snapping your fingers to get attendants' attention

Any service industry professional will tell you that snapping at them is the quickest way to get on their bad side, and flight attendants aren't much different. No one likes to be snapped at, and it is arguably one of the most demeaning ways to get someone's attention. To not even be worth someone's words, let alone kind ones, is truly saddening and dehumanizing. Thankfully, flight attendants and most people who work with the public tend to have some thick skin, but don't be surprised when they don't react kindly to a snap in their direction.

It's also worth remembering that airline staff are not there to be your servants. They are there as your point of contact for anything you may need while on the plane, yes, but that doesn't mean that they will trip over themselves to serve you. Treat the flight attendants with respect, and you will likely get speedy and pleasant service; any rudeness will likely have the opposite effect.

Pretending the staff doesn't exist

Flight attendants typically take time to speak to each one of the passengers, even if it's just a few seconds for a greeting and some passing words. They almost always wear bright smiles and are meant to make you feel at ease as they welcome you to the plane and make you as comfortable as possible while you are flying with them.

While a lot of passengers might be relieved to see such happy faces when boarding a plane, other passengers end up giving the crew members the cold shoulder. No one likes to be ignored, especially when they go out of their way to be a bright spot in an otherwise dull plane interior. Please show the attendants some respect and give them a hello and a smile — or, at the very least, acknowledge they are there and have spoken to you. Flight attendants work hard to take care of guests, and a little nod of appreciation isn't much to ask.