10 Things You're Doing That Annoy Flight Attendants

We asked flight attendants about the most annoying things passengers do on planes — here's what they said.

As any frequent traveler will tell you, flying can be a rather stressful experience, especially as more and more flights are delayed or outright canceled. But it's important to remember that while it can make your blood pressure skyrocket, flying is a miracle, and those who help you get from point A to point B safely — a.k.a. flight crew members — deserve the utmost respect.

"There's much more to the job than providing an in-flight service. We are first and foremost safety professionals and are trained to handle emergency situations that can occur at any point during a flight," Andy, a current crew member at a major airline, shared with Travel + Leisure. "When something happens 36,000 feet above the ground, we are the first responders."

So, how can you maximize your admiration and chances of getting treated like a VIP in the air by your cabin crew? It's simple: Be nice.

"At the end of the day, it comes down to the golden rule. If you show me a little respect, I'll be more than happy to go the extra mile for you and make your flight as enjoyable as possible," said Andy. "Your flight attendants are people, too, so the next time your travels don't go as planned, come and talk to us because we've probably been in a similar situation at some point in our lives and can try to help the best we can. That also means that we have feelings and emotions like everybody else. A little kindness can go a long way."

What else can you do? We took to Reddit to ask the flight attendant community about all the things passengers do that annoy crew members. Here are the 10 most offensive actions you should avoid.

Flight attendants serve refreshments on a Delta Airlines flight from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Touching a Crew Member Without Their Consent

Just as you shouldn't touch a stranger on the ground, please don't touch a crew member, who is a stranger to you, in the air.

"Do not touch us. Stop touching us. Don't poke me or tap me or wiggle your fingers on my arm. I have a name tag. 'Ma'am' and 'excuse me' also work really well," one flight attendant said.

"We appreciate it when people use their words, and poking and shaking items like trash in our faces is beyond annoying and rude," another added.

Another implored, "Poking me or touching me on any part of my body in an attempt to get my attention — don't. Just please don't."

Asking for Water Immediately Upon Boarding

Boarding is chaotic for both you and the crew. However, crew members have several important safety tasks to handle, so avoid asking for a glass of water during this time.

"Asking for water to take a pill during boarding," one crew member shared as their biggest pet peeve. "Why didn't you take the pill while waiting in the gate area? There are ample water fountains and bottled water for sale in the airport."

Another added, "If you need to take medication, prepare yourself and get a bottle or drink water before walking on board. Folks don't realize we only have a few minutes to get everyone seated and buckled up so that we can close the boarding door."

Using the Bathroom at an Inopportune Time

We get it. Sometimes, you just have to go. But if you can, plan bathroom trips so that they don't coincide with service.

"I hate when they see me in the aisle and still choose to get up and push past me toward the bathroom," one crew member said.

"I cannot stand when passengers get up to go to the bathroom as soon as we're out there handing out drinks," another added. "It's hard to carry the tray as it is, let alone balance it over someone's head while they try to squeeze in beside me to get back to their seat."

Pressing the Call Bell Every Two Minutes

You know that call button above your seat? Use it sparingly.

"If we have just taken off and the seat belt sign is still on, we will be out [soon]. Just hang on for five minutes," a crew member stated. "And if we've just finished service, or if you can see we're doing service a few rows behind you, just wait a minute."

Asking a Crew Member to Be Your Personal Connection Concierge

Ensuring you get to a connecting flight is, without question, an important task, but don't expect the crew to know every detail about every flight arriving and departing from the airport.

"Finding out the flight is delayed and immediately expecting the [flight attendants] to know about their connection," a crew member shared of the passenger behavior that most bothers them. "We find out about the delay when passengers do, and we can't control connections."

Another attendant added a bit more clarity, noting, "We don't know much more than you about your connection. And no, they won't hold the next flight for you."

Demanding a Meal After Service Is Complete

If you slept through mealtime or didn't feel like eating at that particular moment, note that you may not be able to get your food later. "We have about 300 passengers here. Why not behave like everyone else?" one crew member shared.

Needing Assistance With a Bag That's Clearly Too Heavy

This isn't just a pet peeve, but a truly hazardous task for crew members.

"We're not getting paid, so if we injure ourselves at work, we get no workers' comp because we're technically not on the clock yet," one crew member noted. "Also, a lot of [flight attendants] get torn rotator cuffs and other issues from repeated heavy lifting."

Another crew member added, "When people know they can't lift their bags due to an injury or any other personal reason and expect the flight attendants to put it in the overhead bin for them — please just check your bag at the gate. Flight attendants are only able to assist, not lift."

Stretching in the Middle of the Aisle

Stretching is important for a long-haul flight. Just make sure you do so in an appropriate spot.

"When I'm moving through the aisles doing my work, and a passenger is standing there to use the facilities or stretch their legs, don't act like I'm inconveniencing you when I ask to go past," one flight attendant said. "I'm doing my job in my workspace."

Filing Your Nails

This one goes for both flight attendants and all fellow passengers: "Clipping or filing finger and toenails is up there on the passenger annoyance list."

Not Saying Thank You

Next time you're exiting an aircraft, take a moment to think of everything the crew did for you — from ensuring you have water and food to keeping you safe in the air — and say a simple "thank you."

"Thanking the pilot while deplaning and ignoring me or not even looking at me — how insulting," a flight attendant shared.

Another crew member added, "Not acknowledging us or looking us in the eye, not saying please and thank you. We are people, too. Please treat us with respect."

Editor's Note: Andy is identified by first name only to protect his privacy, as with every crew member quoted here.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles