I’m a flight attendant. Here are 17 things I wish passengers would stop doing.

A group of flight attendants with their suitcases inside of an airport
As a flight attendant, I’ve seen some pretty bad passenger behavior. Caroline Mercedes
  • I’m a flight attendant, and there are some things my crew and I want passengers to stop doing.
  • It’s rude to poke the flight crew, take your shoes off, and wake up your sleeping neighbor.
  • Please say hello to us when you board, and don’t leave your children unattended.
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After being a flight attendant for five years, I’ve seen just about everything you will see on an airplane.

And though I absolutely love my job, there are a few things I wish I could change, or at least let my passengers know about.

I spoke with some of my colleagues and came up with a list of 17 things we wish our passengers would stop doing.

Ignoring us at the boarding door is a little rude

Boarding usually sets the tone for the entire flight, so we really appreciate when you say hello to us.

You’d be surprised how many people step on board and won’t even make eye contact with us but will still try to hand us their trash on their way in without saying a word.

We are only human, but if your flight attendants can say good morning to over 200 people in a row, I think passengers should be able to say it back at least once.

Don’t ask us if you’re going to make your tight connection when we are landing on time

We understand that flying can be stressful and connections can be tight, but please stop booking on third-party websites that don’t even give you 30 minutes in between flights. It’s not enough time.

I can’t tell you how many times a passenger has asked me if they’re going to make their tight connection when our flight is landing right on time or early. Unfortunately, if you have to ask, the answer is probably no.

If you give yourself less than an hour between flights, you’re pushing it.

Please stop poking us to get our attention

When I asked coworkers what their No. 1 pet peeve was, this was it.

I truly don’t know why people think poking or grabbing someone is OK on an airplane. If you wouldn’t do it in any other customer-service setting, why is the exception on the plane? You wouldn’t grab your server at a restaurant, would you?

Use your voice, use your call button, raise your hand … anything. But please stop touching us.

Taking your shoes off on the plane is pretty gross

Please stop taking your shoes off midflight and then walking around the airplane barefoot. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen a grown adult walk into the lavatory with no shoes on.

I don’t feel like I should have to elaborate, but here’s why I think it’s a bad idea:

  1. It’s gross.
  2. Your neighbors probably don’t appreciate smelly feet
Caroline Mercedes in her travel wear
The author suggests wearing layers for a flight. Caroline Mercedes

Try not to ask us for a blanket – we usually don’t have a bunch of extras

Airplanes and airports are known for being cold.

Even if you’re flying from Florida to Cancún, bring a sweater in your carry-on. You won’t regret it. In general, you should dress on the warmer side when you’re going to the airport or wear layers so you have options.

I’m not sure where everyone got this false idea that we have hundreds of extra blankets stored on the plane.

We don’t like when you ring the call bell to hand us trash

It’s our job as flight attendants to walk through the cabin after the drink service to collect trash. We also do this throughout the flight so there’s almost always a crew member in the aisle (as long as there’s no turbulence).

It’s frustrating when someone rings their call bell so we can pick up trash, because we were probably just there, and we may not have gloves on or a trash bag with us.

To make things easier, you can use the motion-sickness bag in your seat-back pocket as a personal garbage bag throughout the flight. At the end of the flight, seal it and hand it to us.

When you leave your headphones on while talking to us, it’s harder for us to communicate

Even if your headphones aren’t playing anything, sometimes it’s still tough for you to hear us or realize how quiet you might be talking, so we’d appreciate it if you could take them off while speaking to us.

It’s frustrating when we come through the cabin to offer you a snack and drink and you just stare at us while we’re trying to get your drink order.

The view from outside of an airplane window
Try not to get up during the flight unless you need to. Caroline Mercedes

It’s not a wise idea to get up to use the bathroom as soon as you get on the plane or we take off

This happens pretty much every flight.

There’s always a line of people in the back during boarding that makes the process slower. The line grows again the second the seatbelt sign turns off when the airplane levels off.

Level-off is also when we are trying to get the drink cart out in the aisle to start our service. When we have a long line of people trying to use the bathroom, it’s hard to get the service started.

The best thing to do is to try to use the restroom in the terminal before you board or wait until we finish our service.

We can’t allow you to play music or videos out loud at full volume

Make sure you pack headphones, because we are required to tell you to put them on or turn your volume off on a personal device if you’re playing something out loud.

Don’t bother arguing with us over the face-mask policy

I didn’t sign up to be the face-mask police when I got this job, but regardless of where you or I stand when it comes to masks, it’s still my job to enforce the mask policy on the airplane as long as the CDC and the Federal Aviation Administration require it during air travel.

Airlines have been super strict about this. Failure to comply means you might not be able to fly with us again or even continue on to your connection later that day.

Please stop using the galley as your personal yoga studio

We get it if you need to stretch your legs, but you can’t do it in our galley, the front or back area of the airplane where all the carts are and where the crew sits.

Not only is it frustrating to the flight crew, but it’s an FAA rule that we can’t have passengers congregating in these areas.

The view of a plane wing
Every airline is different. Caroline Mercedes

Telling me what other airlines do won’t change anything

Just because another carrier does something doesn’t mean the flight you’re on does it too.

Every airline is different. You wouldn’t go to a McDonald’s expecting to see a Popeyes menu – airlines kind of work the same way.

Waking up your neighbor to hand them a snack or drink isn’t as polite as you think

If your neighbor is a stranger and they are sleeping, do not wake them up. I promise they don’t want airplane food that badly.

If they wake up later and want something to drink or eat, they can use their call light.

You can ask where we’re flying over, but we probably don’t know

Contrary to popular belief, most flight attendants do not have a set route, so this probably isn’t mine.

I probably have no clue what we’re flying over. I wish I could tell you, though!

Caroline Skahn with a mask on on a plane
We have to enforce the face-mask policy. Caroline Mercedes

Getting up during turbulence puts you and those around you at risk

It seems like the second it gets ridiculously bumpy, everyone stands up.

I think sometimes people forget that you’re 30,000 feet above the ground in a metal tube and that the weather isn’t predictable.

If you can, wait until the seatbelt sign is off to use the restroom or get out of your seat. This also means you shouldn’t ring your call light unless there’s an emergency – your flight crew doesn’t want to risk their own well-being either.

Not watching your children can be unsafe and unfair to other passengers and the crew

I love kids and am happy to help you if you need it, but just because I’m a flight attendant doesn’t mean I am automatically a babysitter.

Each day I see so many parents get on a flight and immediately fall asleep or just not pay attention, leaving their children unattended.

It’s not fair to the crew or other passengers. Plus the airplane is still a public space. Just because they can’t get off the plane midflight doesn’t mean it’s the safest environment.

Try not to take your frustrations out on us

I’m aware that flight attendants represent the airline – but having people yell at us for things that are out of our control is draining.

I understand that a lot of times people just need someone to vent to, but you also have to understand that your flight attendants are just the employees you see. There’s a huge company behind us comprising people just trying their best to do their job.

I love my job and do my best to help customers, but a lot of the time I can’t do as much as I wish I could. Sometimes the best I can do is direct you to a customer-service number to call after we land.

We’re human, too, and this year has been difficult for everyone, including your flight crews.

Caroline Mercedes’ identity is known to Insider but has requested not to have her last name included for safety concerns.