Flying is fraught with tensions mostly for the flight attendants who have seen more than their fair share on things. The sights they have witnessed can make anyone cringe. Being cooped up for hours with a diverse group of people – with varying habits – is not an easy task. Tempers fly, babies cry. And more shit goes down than one hopes for.
Here are 17 weirdest in-flight things flight attendants have seen passengers do.
1. Letting toddlers and small children cry
Airlines would give anything to have kids-free zone as an item on their hassle-free-flying-checklist. Children throwing tantrums is not a pleasant sight anyway but the incessant bawling can easily get dragged on for hours. Parents who not only fail to control children but encourage these tantrums as cute is the bane of everyone’s life on a flight.
2. Flying tempers
The news has been littered with incidents of flight attendants trying to restrain disruptive passengers. From fainting to throwing tantrums, from hurling ‘lucky’ coins at the plane’s wing to brawling with co-passengers, the stewards and stewardesses have seen it all.
3. Misusing overhead bins
Passenger arrives on time. He boards in a disciplined manner, finds his seat promptly, and proceeds to use his allotted overhead bin to stock his cabin baggage. As he takes his seat, another passenger follows, stuffs his belongings in a disorderly fashion in a space that’s not even his, and proceeds to sit 10 rows away. Cue eyeroll, because we’ve all seen it.
4. Being indecisive on what to drink
At 30,000 feet, you would expect a passenger to behave himself. However, at that altitude, annoyance assumes new height. For some, it’s perfectly okay to bell the flight attendant and then hog their time with never-ending indecisiveness on what to drink. Would you like a Diet Coke that froths more bubbles in a pressurised cabin or alcohol that hits you with twice the intensity? No, please take your time because we will be flying forever.
5. Leaving trash in the seat back-pocket
Dirty diapers, clipped toenails, used tissues – you name it and it’s there, stinking up the whole cabin. And if it’s India, be very sure to find spit tobacco too. Passengers will gladly put their trash anywhere but the trash. Flight attendants must frequently empty the seat back-pockets of their garbage because someone must clean the cr*p left behind by messy people.
6. Keeping the headphones on while ordering drinks
Really? Yes, really. Passenger bells the flight attendant and orders the drink (after much deliberation, of course). The flight attendant stares back, clearly offended. Why, oh why, can’t people unplug their earphones while ordering drinks? Do you know how loud you are? Stop screaming!
7. Walking inside the plane barefoot
Smelly feet, smelly feet, why are they parading you? Smelly feet, smelly feet, it’s not your fault. The need to remove their shoes and walk around the plane as if it’s their living room only evokes one response from flight attendants – ‘Ewww!’
8. Putting the feet up on other passenger’s armrest
Passengers who do this have a special place reserved in hell. Do not put your feet up on my armrest, you moron. Keep it on the floor! People don’t shell out thousands to air-travel with smelly feet. And even if they don’t smell, the unsightly sight is enough to ram that elbow in the soles.
9. Poking the flight attendant
How rude! Passengers who poke flight attendants or tug at their dress to grab their attention need a masterclass in basic etiquette. There’s a perfectly placed button overhead for you to press. Use it and use it wisely. Don’t go tugging at a flight attendant’s dress like a 5-year-old on sugar rush who just won’t stop at fifty candies.
10. Using the bathroom just before landing
It’s as if the bladder and the brain conspire together to make life difficult for the flight attendants. The pilot just made a landing announcement. You had hours to go to the washroom to do your business. Why is it that the moment you are asked to belt up and sit straight is when you urge to relieve yourself? Why?
11. Armrest invasion
Sharing armrests with other passengers is akin to declaring war in Satan’s hell. The weapons are out – it’s either his or mine. Who has more speed? Who will invade the territory first? The tussle is real – as if it’s the freaking armrest from the Iron Throne.
12. Middle-seat incursion
While most passengers would avoid plopping in a middle-seat, there are others who would gladly claim the no man’s land for their own – and declare it as their independent state by placing pillows, shrugs, or just neck supports. Anything that says the territory now belongs to them. You would think the scenario would change above sea level but the hogging of space is not restricted to only buses and metros.
13. Germ sharing
Ah, yes. The incessant coughing. The continuous sneezing. Why wouldn’t you pop a pill – a cold or a cough anyway takes seven days to cure. Let the snot flow. Let the spit fly. Let the germs invade the virgin atmosphere where an epidemic can easily break.
14. Reclining the seat
Some passengers think they have been awarded beds in instead of seats. They press the seat recline button with all their might as if bending the seat’s spine to crush the passenger seated behind is their ultimate agenda. Of course, this often leads to an undesired crossfire of words and the poor flight attendants have no option but to drill sense into people who display such selfish behaviour.
15. Encountering celebrities
Admit it – we have all secretly wished of bumping into somebody famous on a flight. There’s no escape room whatsoever so chatting them up and asking for pictures/autographs becomes so much easier. Little do we know that the task of saving a celebrity from getting hounded by unruly passengers falls squarely on flight attendants.
16. Hogging the toilet
At a given time, hundreds of passengers travel in a plane together. If not all, most would answer the call of nature. Hogging the toilet while others hover outside the door only goes to show how inconsiderate some people can be of others’ convenience. The loo is there to help passengers relieve their pressure – not to bide their time inside all the while stewing in filth.
17. Hooking up
Flight attendants are never oblivious to people hooking up on flight. Whether it’s an instant hook-up inside the washroom or a long overdue oral sex in the seat itself, attendants have seen it all. But that doesn’t mean they want to SEE it. They would be more than glad if passengers satisfied their urges on the land and not 35,000 feet in the air.
Passengers who exhibit these behaviours should be given a dressing down. The flight attendants are there to ensure your safety, not to put up with your unnecessary tantrums and in-flight performances. It’s true that flight attendants have seen it all but it’s not a wise choice to unduly test their patience.