We all have annoying habits, and travel tends to bring out the worst in people.
If you have any sympathy for your flight attendants, who, day in and day out, are privy to some of the most extreme human behavior, you’d make an effort to do better.
The first step is knowing just what you’re doing wrong.
Luckily for you, we asked flight attendants everywhere to share the annoying things they wish passengers would stop doing, and more than 60 were happy to chime in.
Here are 25 things you may not have even known you were doing wrong, and one thing you can probably stop worrying about:
Hogging the overhead bins
“Put the suitcases in the overhead and put your small bags underneath the seat in front so we don’t have to run out of space and have to check bags.”
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Not saying hello
“I wish passengers would acknowledge the crew when they board.”
“Stop trying to hand us trash on the beverage cart or asking us to take your trash while we’re handing out food.”
Putting feet on walls or other passengers’ seats
“I don’t come into your office and put my feet on your walls or your desk!”
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Asking, ‘What do you have?’
“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?”
Not listening to the safety presentation
“Be a little more respectful of crew while we are just trying to do our job.”
Not specifying how you take your coffee
“When you order coffee tell me whether you want cream and/or sugar so I don’t have to ask for the millionth time.”
Not taking responsibility for your belongings
“Don’t bring your heavy carry-on on board the aircraft and then ask me to put it in the overhead bin for you because it is too heavy for you to do it.”
Occupying the toilets once you see that the aircraft is descending
“This leads to flight delays.”
Keeping your headphones on
“Please take the headphones off when we come by and ask you what you would like to drink.”
Ringing the call button unless it’s truly necessary
“Don’t ring call bells when we’ve already announced that flight attendants have to be seated, right after takeoff, or for silly reasons.”
Touching flight attendants to get their attention
“I have been poked, prodded, and tugged on too many times to remember.”
Getting up to use the lavatory when the seat belt sign is on
“When you remind them that the sign is on, they usually respond with some version of saying, ‘But I have to go.’ Well, unless you are two years old, do you wait until the absolute last minute to use the toilet?”
Thinking the world is coming to an end because you didn’t get your first meal choice
“It’s a plane ride, not a five-star hotel or restaurant. Stop getting bent out of shape over receiving your second meal choice.”
“Stop trying to sneak into an upgrade seat.”
“Please, please, please – stop walking into the restroom barefoot, or even with socks on. Would you ever walk into a public restroom barefoot? No. Thank you, sir, for mopping up the pee on the floor with your socks.”
Snapping your fingers
“‘Excuse me, miss!’ works every time.”
“Getting up and wanting to stretch in our galleys like its a yoga studio or wanting to stand in our galleys is annoying. The galley is our only work area, and we have nowhere else to go because our seats are in the galley by the doors.”
Getting upset with flight attendants for things that clearly aren’t their fault
“I agree, it sucks that the flight got canceled and you’ll miss something important. I was supposed to go home and see a concert. Now I’m stuck in this small metal tube with you yelling at me.”
Expecting flight attendants to have all the information from the captain
“We know maybe 5% of what they do. We don’t know how bad the weather is, why we are taking a new route, or why we can’t land early. But believe it’s for your safety!”
Clipping your toenails
“I’ve seen people clipping toe nails. It’s very gross, and you can’t make them stop. And it’s not an infrequent thing, believe it or not.”
“I’ve seen people watching porn on the plane. One guy had the whole row to himself and you had to be standing up and walking behind him to see that he was watching porn. I was like, ‘Really?’ What do I say to that? There weren’t any little children around, so there wasn’t anything to say. But there was one guy I could see was watching porn on his phone, and because it was nighttime, you could see the reflection on the window. I did point that out to him because I didn’t think everybody needed to see that.”
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Trying to get freebies
“People sometimes come on plane and hint for a free drink: ‘The plane was delayed ten minutes, is there a free drink for me for that?’ ‘Drinks are on the captain right?’ I just grin and smile. ‘Smile and wave boys,’ that’s what I say.”
“Some people will go to the local liquor store and bring their mini bottles of booze on the plane. We always know who you are; we always find it. You can’t serve yourself. We need to know how much you’ve had to drink so we’re not overserving you, because the higher you fly and the longer you go, the more the alcohol affects your brain.”
Making demands as soon as you board
“Boarding is one of the most stressful parts of the job with all of the required safety checks and federal rules we have to follow. So when people come on board and immediately demand water to take a pill or snacks for a diabetic, it always makes me wonder why that couldn’t have been taken care of in the airport.”
Ordering Diet Coke might not be as terrible as they say
- Anton Watman/Shutterstock
This one is controversial.
After we read that ordering a Diet Coke on your flight is one of the worst things you can do to your flight attendant, we wondered if it really bothers flight attendants quite that much or if this is a bit of hyperbole.
As Heather Poole, a flight attendant, wrote on her blog and was quoted in the above article saying, “Of all the drinks we serve, Diet Coke takes the most time to pour – the fizz takes forever to settle at 35,000 feet. In the time it takes me to pour a single cup of Diet Coke, I can serve three passengers a different beverage.”
But as the headline of Poole’s article suggests – “Do flight attendants REALLY hate serving Diet Coke? (How the misconception began)” – while it may be annoying to wait a little longer to pour someone’s drink, flight attendants don’t expect you to stop ordering Diet Coke. They certainly won’t.
“For the record, I drink Diet Coke both as a flight attendant and as a passenger,” Poole writes.
To get to the bottom of this one, we asked a couple of flight attendants specifically if ordering Diet Coke mid-flight is all that bothersome, and we also got mixed opinions.
One flight attendant we talked to said he’s never even heard of this before – the only time he found a passenger ordering a Diet Coke annoying was when he dropped the can and it shot across the galley, spraying soda all over him. So really, nothing to do with the passenger.
And another flight attendant echoed much of Poole’s sentiments:
“It takes a while to pour because of the fizz. It’s just a few extra seconds, but when you’re in the aisle trying to do a bunch of things it feels a lot longer. It happens with any of the diet sodas, I think. But Diet Coke is all I drink, so I can’t get too annoyed.”
Considering all of the far worse things you could do on a plane that we highlighted, we think you can let yourself off the hook on this one.