9 easy ways to make a flight attendant go insane
An anonymous airline crew member lets rip on passengers' most annoying habits
I’ve been working for a well-known commercial airline in Asia for a few years now. On a good day, it’s a five-star hotel in Shanghai, shopping in Paris or winning a game of roulette in Las Vegas. On a bad one, it’s emergency landings, 12-hour long delays and an endless stream of obnoxious/annoying passengers.
Don’t let our svelte figures, exquisitely tailored uniforms and perfect smiles fool you. You do not want to get on the bad side of the person who serves you food, brings you drinks and keeps you safe when you’re stuck in a tin can flying at 35,000 feet.
I’ve put together a list of the nine things that really get under a flight attendant’s skin. Worst of all these crimes against aviation are so common sense -- yet they happen on every single flight.
1. Adopt an 'I paid for my ticket so I can whine all I like' attitude
“My seat is too small.”
“The flight is delayed.”
“The coffee is too hot.”
“The tea tastes weird.“
"The airplane is ugly.”
Stop it right there! I’m sorry your bottom is too big for the seat. Next time upgrade to first class.
And you know what? The plane is delayed because your fellow passenger couldn’t decide which bottle of vodka he wanted to buy at the duty free shop, so he was 30 minutes late to the gate.
Keep complaining and your next drink will be a gin and tonic stirred with a high heel.
2. Play it like Nintendo
Just keep on pumping that flight attendant call button. Mario & Luigi aren’t coming to rescue you but the angry King Bowser will.
According to international regulations, one flight attendant is responsible for up to 50 passengers. This means that, worst-case scenario, the cabin crew could be giving someone CPR or delivering a baby while you or your precocious little darling is jamming on that button.
Here’s my advice: just get up and walk to the nearest galley and ask for what you need. Stretching your legs, getting up and walking around the cabin may even help prevent complications such as blood clots, cold feet and the breakdown of your skin.
3. Pretend you’re in a restaurant
“Today, we have beef steak with lemon grass and barbecue pork with Japanese rice. Which would you prefer?” asks the beautiful flight attendant.
The man turns to her and says, “I’ll have fish. Do you have fish? I want fish. I can’t eat anything else but fish.”
First of all, a galley on a plane is not a kitchen. We do not cook.
Here’s how to get your fish: send the request when your book your flight if you wish to have a specific meal.
4. Ask unintelligent questions
When faced with a glass full of dark water with bubbles and ice, what do you think it is? That’s correct, it’s cola. How about that clear liquid? Yes, that’s water.
Let’s imagine the whole row is asking these mundane questions, even though they are sitting next to each other. After being asked by around 50-plus people, I am eventually so depressed I just stop answering.
A passenger once even asked me if we had iPads on board. I was speechless.
5. Laugh and whisper
Talking behind someone’s back is rude. It’s even ruder to look at someone and laugh in their face, and then whisper/giggle to the person beside you in your own language.
Last time that happened, I accidentally parked a drink cart in front of the restroom and trapped that funny man inside. Karma comes fast.
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6. Talk on the phone after the plane has left the gate
Not turning your phone off is a surefire way to make the cabin crew go berserk. I have to admit, I take great pleasure in yelling at people to switch off their phones. I make a really serious face, then point at the phone and say “OFF NOW.”
The fact is: communicating with the control tower is difficult enough. Pilots aren’t sitting there chit chatting about fashion or pop stars. They are trying to take off and not get struck by another plane that might be landing seconds later, all while your phone’s signal is potentially interfering with communications.
7. Be an irresponsible parent
A young mother once asked me put some coffee creamer in her baby’s bottle. Really. For your information: formula can be carried onto the plane with you.
Meanwhile, some parents assume flight attendants will happily babysit their kids for them while they do something else, like nap or watch a movie.
That’s not in my job description. Not every flight attendant loves children. Babysitting you is already hard enough.
8. Complain that your bags are too heavy
You came all the way from home, dragged your bags down the stairs to the door, put them in the trunk of the car, drove all the way to the airport, dragged them through security and all the way to your seat.
Suddenly, the bags are too heavy for you to put into the overhead compartment by yourself.
Passengers don’t realize that flight attendants don’t get compensated for any injuries that come of this common situation. The deal is: you brought it, shove up there yourself or we throw it out the door and under the plane.
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9. Ignore the seat belt sign
“When the seat belt sign is on, please take your seat and fasten your seat belt.”
Pretty obvious, isn’t it?
Yet on every single flight there will be people getting up to go to the washroom when the seat belt sign is on. This is somewhat understandable -- if you’re about to wet your seat. Or worse.
And then there are the passengers who just want to walk around and talk to people.
When the sign is on during takeoff, landing or during turbulence, it’s very dangerous to be wandering off. Your face could be smashed into the sink or another passenger’s head.