- There are certain things passengers do during flights that can be annoying to some flight attendants and even fellow passengers.
- Ignoring the safety announcements, not flushing the toilet, walking around barefoot, and ordering multiple drinks at once can be frustrating for some flight attendants.
- Many flight attendants don’t like when passengers use the call button for non-emergencies, like if you want to throw away your candy wrapper.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Between flight delays and cramped spaces, travelling can be a stressful experience for everyone involved, including flight attendants.
When dealing with dozens or even hundreds of passengers each day, they can experience behaviours from passengers that can be considered quite rude or bothersome.
Insider spoke to three flight attendants to figure out some of the most frustrating things passengers do (or don’t do) during their flights.
Here are 18 things flight attendants wish you’d stop doing.
Unpacking your overhead bags during a flight is inconvenient for other passengers.
Holding up the boarding process is irritating for both the flight attendants working and your fellow passengers, said Haley Fox, a flight attendant for a domestic US airline.
“The best way to maximise everyone’s time and make your fellow passengers not hate you is to keep all of your necessities in the personal space at your seat,” she told Insider. “If you come onto a plane, then get to your seat and have to unpack your big roller bag in the middle of the aisle just to get to your headphones, you are the worst.”
Asking for non-necessities during a safety demonstration is kind of rude.
Fox said whether you’re actually paying attention or not, you should respect that, first and foremost, flight attendants are safety professionals and the demonstration is for your own good.
“Wait until after the critical phases of flight (taxi, takeoff, and landing) are through to ask for things that are not immediately necessary,” said Fox.
If your flight attendant is walking down the aisle with a life vest around their neck, she advises against ringing the call light to ask for a blanket.
Ordering multiple drinks at once slows down the drink service.
“When someone asks for a water, a coffee, and a Diet Coke, it slows down our service,” Jennifer L., a flight attendant for a domestic US airline, told Insider. “We have to get through the whole cabin. So instead, ask for one drink and we can always come back to give you something else after we’ve gotten through everyone.”
If it’s already been announced, asking flight attendants which drinks they serve wastes everyone’s time.
Jennifer said that she gets asks this at least once per flight and it’s frustrating because there’s a menu and the drink choices are typically announced at the beginning of the flight.
“On top of slowing our service down it’s frustrating for us to have to tell you every item we have on our bar cart,” she told Insider. “Please have your drink orders ready by the time we get to your row.”
It’s considered kind of rude if you ignore them when they greet you.
You may want to look up from the ground and take your headphones out when the flight attendants greet you, Monserrat Andujar, a flight attendant for a domestic US airline, said.
“If I greet you, please have the courtesy to answer me back,” she told Insider. “Don’t ignore me or pretend I don’t exist. I’ve woken up probably earlier than you and will be working past the time you arrive at home, so be kind and remember to have manners.”
It’s a bit rude to put your shoes up on the aeroplane seats or stick your bare toes on armrests and tray tables.
Andujar said that it’s important to remember aeroplane cabins are a shared space, so try to keep them as clean as possible.
“No one cares whether you showered this morning – what people care about is the cleanliness of where they sit and eat their food from,” she said.
Disregarding safety compliance checks is a bad idea.
Fox said that this is the most common, dangerous, and frustrating thing she experiences on a daily basis.
“We make multiple announcements during boarding about safety compliance (seat upright, tray table locked, computer stowed, seatbelt fastened), so by the time we are ready for takeoff, those things have been said at a minimum, five times,” she said.
Fox said that she’s even had to remove passengers from the plane before takeoff because they wouldn’t comply with the plane’s safety regulations.
Asking to sit in an empty seat in first-class is not going to work.
Another faux-pas? Asking the flight attendant to move you to that open seat in first-class for free, Jennifer said.
“Flight attendants do not have the authority to upgrade you to first-class,” she told Insider. “Those seats are not up for grabs unless the gate agent upgrades you or you pay for a first-class seat prior to entering the aircraft.”
Not flushing the toilet is kind of gross.
One of Andujar’s biggest pet peeves is walking in on an un-flushed toilet. “There’s a large and bright blue, green, or white button that says ‘Flush.’ Just do it,” she said.
Ringing the flight attendant call button excessively or inappropriately can waste everyone’s time.
Fox told Insider that, during training, flight attendants are taught to respond to the call button immediately because it is the fastest way for someone to signal that are in dire need of assistance.
“Don’t abuse it for small tasks like giving us garbage,” she added.
Walking around barefoot on the plane is not ideal.
“Probably the most disgusting thing you could ever do is take your shoes and socks off and walk around the plane,” Jennifer said, adding the floor isn’t cleaned very often.
Spare the flight attendants the sight (and smell) of your bare feet and keep something on your feet at all times.
You might not want to ask flight attendants to warm the plane up because you’re cold.
“We aren’t flying in the golden age of flying when everyone receives a pillow and a blanket,” Andujar told Insider.
“We all know aeroplanes are cold so wear pants. Bring a travel blanket or a hoodie. It’s that easy. Quit ringing your call button to tell me you’re cold and, ‘Can we warm [the plane] up?’ when you have flip-flops and a tank top on,” she added.
Crowding their space in the galleys and jump seats is rude.
As much as you may want to move around during your flight, Fox said getting up and crowding the galley and jumpseat is a huge faux-pas.
“If you want to get up and move around during the flight, don’t utilise our only workspace as your stretch zone,” she said. “I don’t come to your office and put my butt in your face, please don’t downward dog and lunge around in mine.”
They’d prefer if you didn’t leave your headphones in while they’re trying to speak to you.
Even if your favourite song is playing, it’s always best to take your headphones out when flight attendants are trying to talk to you.
“Whether we are briefing you for your safety or just taking your food and drink order, please take your headphones out,” Jennifer told Insider. “It slows us down, having to repeat ourselves, and we do not like doing it.”
The plane isn’t a fully stocked supermarket, and they’d prefer if you didn’t treat it like one.
Planes come with a limited supply of food and beverage items, Jennifer said. If you didn’t specify dietary restrictions before your flight, they may not be able to be accommodated.
“We do not have everything,” she added. “Please don’t ask us if we have soy milk or some kind of food we didn’t say we had. If you have certain dietary restrictions or don’t like the options we have, please bring your own food.”
Putting small items in the overhead bins can slow everyone down, especially on a full flight.
You may want to stow your jacket and purse in the overhead bin, but that actually creates a lot of stress for flight attendants when they have to fit larger carry-on bags in there, too.
“We have full flights with everyone trying to get their bags up in the bins,” Jennifer said. “Put your bag where there is space and put your smaller items underneath the seat in front of you. Nothing is more stressful for us when you’re putting jackets and purses up in the overhead [because] you’re creating less space for someone with a larger carry-on.”
They’d prefer if you didn’t bad-mouth their airline while you’re still on the plane.
“The airline industry is unpredictable. We have delays, we have to cancel flights sometimes. We sometimes don’t have everything we need on board to serve you better,” Jennifer said. “What you don’t know is during those delays, we don’t get paid for that time so we understand your frustration, too.”
Using the bathroom right before takeoff and landing can be dangerous.
“You have time to use the bathroom after you board the aircraft,” Jennifer said. “Right before we take off or land is not the time to go.”
She said the seatbelt sign is turned on for safety reasons and it’s worth listening to.
- 12 myths about buying plane tickets that are actually costing you money
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.