People are generally not in the greatest of moods when they set out to fly in the not-so-friendly skies, so flight attendants are typically prepared for just about everything. Assisting customers and making sure they have the best experience possible is one of the most important aspects of their job, but sometimes it can be the worst.
A Reddit thread recently asked flight attendants to dish on the most entitled passengers they ever had the displeasure of flying with. Whether it was wanting better seats than the one paid for or making an endless list of insane demands, these flight attendants all have experiences worth sharing. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I remember flying into San Francisco and going through the final walkthrough - asking everyone to wake up, buckle up, headrests forward, tray tables up, and collect trash.
Halfway through the process, the pilot said, 'Flight attendants, be seated immediately,' which indicated a lot of upcoming turbulence. So I quickly started to trot through with my trash bag to my jump seat when a man yelled, 'HEY!' I was a few rows past him and he had his cup and wet-nap in his hand. I quickly said, 'I have to sit down' and turned back towards the back galley.
I then felt something hit me. I looked back and he had thrown his trash at me and was staring at me. I heard a few people gasp, and everyone in the last eight rows or so was tuned in to the drama. I picked up the trash, walked over to his row, and said, 'I am sorry, I cannot take trash right now. The pilot has indicated that I need to sit down,' and tossed the trash back on his lap.
He stared at me with a defiant look on his face and held out the trash again as if I was going to take it. I turned and left and I heard him yell a few more times but he didn't throw anything.
I have had a lot of terrible passengers before, but for some reason, that one sticks out."
"I was on a flight from Las Vegas to Boston when a passenger passed away in his sleep. The whole situation was heartbreaking, and the flight attendants were clearly shaken. We stopped in Buffalo, New York so emergency personnel could attend to him. The whole process was very quick, and the pilot and staff handled it like champs.
Just as we were about to take off, a guy in the front row asked the attendant if we would all get free drinks due to the inconvenience. The flight attendant gave him the iciest stare and said there would be no service for the remainder of our flight. My seatmate and I debated whether to say something to him when we landed - I wish I had.
I've never wanted to yell at a stranger so much in my life."
"I was on a flight where half of the passengers were ignoring the rules and pretty much everything else the flight crew had to say. When we touched down, these people immediately got up and started walking around and taking their bags out of the overheads. Mind you, the plane hadn't parked, it had just literally touched the ground, so it was still moving, making it dangerous for half the people on the plane to be jacking around, and even worse, taking all their heavy bags down above everyone else's heads.
The flight attendants were desperately trying to get these people to sit down until the plane stopped moving but people were waving their hands at them dismissively. I think the captain heard the commotion and the flight attendants half yelling, because all of a sudden, the plane came to an abrupt stop, knocking down most of the people causing a scene. The flight attendant then said, 'This is EXACTLY why we have rules.'"
"I was (still am, but working on it) a fat guy. My new employer sent me out to the UK. Admittedly, I understand that being fat makes flying with me a pain to deal with (at the time 5'6" and like 370). To my benefit though I do try and squeeze myself into a corner or out into the aisle. I do whatever I can to minimize the frustration of my neighbor. I don't put the seat back. I don't use the table. I ask if they want the window raised or lowered (if I'm a window seat). I don't talk, fart, eat, get up to use the restroom (I'm actually too scared I would get stuck). Essentially, I understand I suck to fly with and I do my absolute best to minimize your hatred of me, which I admittedly deserve.
To that end, however, I remember flying out to Heathrow, and about 20 minutes into the air, the guy looks over at me and says, 'This isn't going to work.' I looked at him back and said, 'I'm sorry?'
He stated, 'Look, this isn't going to be a comfortable flight for either of us, one of us needs to move,' and looked pointedly at me.
I told him, 'I'm sorry, I can't fix this right now.'
So he hit the light and called out, 'Excuse me, ma'am,' to the flight attendant at the front of the class cabin. She came back and he said as loudly as he could without actually shouting, 'Look, I have a problem with this guy here, one of us needs to move, and it should be him.'
To her credit, she surveyed the cabin and saw only middle row seats were available and seemed to understand the situation. 'Sir, you may move to any of these open seats,' looking at him.
I don't enjoy being 'that guy.' I won't lie, I took up more than my fair share and couldn't pay for the second seat: it was a business trip. The company would only buy one ticket. It was international and I had just switched jobs and couldn't afford an international flight ticket. Had I refused I'd have lost the job.
I'm working on the whole health thing. As for being treated with respect: One thing I learned is that no one deserves anything. Got to the UK and I swear it felt like I was the fattest dude in all of Reading. You could feel the animosity of some of the Brits as they saw my fat American self walking around London. LOL, I'm pretty sure a few people were taking pictures to laugh at. It is what it is."
"My husband has cerebral palsy and uses crutches to walk. We'd had a miserable trip filled with people who harassed us or made clumsy, with some painful attempts to 'help.' We were tired and just beaten down. We boarded our flight home and my husband stashed his crutches in the overhead bin.
Two minutes later, a flight attendant screeched, 'Excuse me, what are you doing?!' We hadn't noticed, but the couple in the seat behind us had stolen his crutches and were hiding them behind their seats! The woman replied that she needed more room for her bags and didn't want them touching 'those disgusting things that touched the ground.'
I swear, that flight attendant looked like she was going to murder them. We watched, silent and wide-eyed, as this angel of the metal tube in the sky advanced upon the crutch thieves like a bird of prey diving for a rabbit. They were saying things like they shouldn't have to sit next to us, it's not their fault my husband needs crutches, the airplane will be responsible if their luggage is dirtied by our crutches.
And I'm sure they continued to complain on their next flight because they were kicked off!
It was pretty cathartic. Kind of wish I whacked 'em a few times around the shins with the crutches first, though."
"I had the opportunity to help out a couple back in the day. A fellow passenger across the aisle pretty much thought he was flying private instead of being on a commercial carrier. He was constantly pressing the overhead button and making demands...no 'pleases,' not a 'thank you,' just a constant barrage of orders. The end came when he pressed the button and shouted, 'Get me a drink now!'
The flight attendant was very accommodating in spite of this person acting like a total prick. She brought the drink, handed it to him and he bellowed, 'There is too much ice in this drink, make me another!' She was dumbfounded, and at this point, very flustered. She turned around and headed to the galley at the front of the plane. The lead flight attendant came back and proceeded to tell this 'man' that he needed to behave.
Well, that just made him amp it up. He belted out, 'Do you know who I am? I am a very good longtime friend of Mr. X. You know him, he's one of the executives at your awful airline. He's a personal friend whom I've known for years. Give me your name and the name of the idiot who can't make a decent drink.'
I chimed in at that point with, 'Sir, if Mr. X is a longtime personal friend, what is his nickname? His very good friends address him with his nickname, not his surname.' He looked perplexed and then told me to 'mind my business.' The flight attendant told me very nicely to not involve myself as she would handle the situation. He said, 'You're right, you'd better handle this.' I reached into my wallet and pulled out a picture taken on my wedding day that had me in my suit....the new wife in her wedding dress...and my new in-laws, one of whom is Mr. X. I handed it to the flight attendant and said that I would call the office when we landed and let him know that one of his very good friends is dropping his name and treating members of the flight crew in a very unprofessional manner. 'Sir, may I have your name, so I can tell my father-in-law that you are going to make a formal complaint against members of the cabin crew?' Crickets. Nay but a peep.
The lead FA handed me back my picture and told the guy if he touched the button again or even spoke to any of the flight crew, the police would be waiting for him when we landed.
I called the father-in-law after we landed to fill him in, just in case. I found out much later that he pulled the passenger manifest and wrote the guy a letter banning him from traveling on the airline."
Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock
"I'm pretty tall, with most of the length in my legs, and I fly a lot, so I've run into a moron or two. Almost every plane I get on, my knees are already touching the seat in front of me. If the person in front of me reclines, the only way for me to sit is to straighten out my legs and shoot them underneath the seat in front of me.
I was probably 16 years old when this guy in front of me couldn't have been more than 24. He reclined his seat, practically hitting me in the chest. I could smell his hair, he was that close. We asked him to put the seat up a bit, but he declined. The seat was clearly broken and reclined a good six inches past the other seats in his row, so we called over the flight attendant. She also saw the problem and asked him to put his seat up, and told him it was broken. HE SAID NO, AND SHE SAID THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE SHE COULD DO!
Great, thanks. Luckily my mom is the 'pack everything you may need on a plane' type, so I got an idea. I started eating pretzels with my mouth wide open and got crumbs all over his head and shoulders. He didn't notice until the crumbs were bouncing off his shoulder and into his lap. It was gross. He finally turned around with a look of disgust and asked me to stop. I got great pleasure in telling him no and showing him the rest of the bag of pretzels I had to eat over him.
He put the seat up after that."
"I am a college student, and thus naturally, people (especially couples with babies) think that it would be much easier to force me into switching seats.
There was this one time I was on a really long flight from Chicago to India. I usually never haggle much about seats and am pretty cool about switching if people ask me to. This time I was fortunate enough to get one of those front seats with a lot of legroom. I knew this seemed too good to be true, and at any moment, a couple with a baby would 'request' the seat.
Needless to say, minutes later, this couple came up to me (with the flight attendant) asking me to switch because they had a baby and the father was sitting next to me. The mother had a middle seat way back into the plane for a very long flight. I was hesitant, but with three people awkwardly waiting for me to say yes, I eventually caved.
As I was moving my stuff, one of my small empty plastic bottles fell from my bag and nearly hit the father. Now, you have to understand this was one of those light plastic water bottles that could barely hurt if you tried to hit someone with it let alone when it falls from the bag. But for some reason, that angered the father into believing that it could have somehow seriously injured their baby. Even after apologizing to him for a solid minute, he kept shouting at me about how careless I was and that I need to learn plane etiquette.
That just did it for me. I told him that I was no longer comfortable with the switch and just went back to my seat and pretended to fall asleep. He tried his best to annoy me (fighting me on the hand rest and making it hard for me to move around), but I never felt so good about my 'plane etiquette.'"
"I have been a flight attendant for a legacy airline for the past five years, and I have a few that pop into my head.
When I was working a quick turn at the end of a three-day, we had a medical emergency in first class where a passenger passed out. We had to give him CPR and hook him up to an AED, so two of us were with the man and the other flight attendant was paging a doctor and communicating with the captain. While this was going on, a passenger in the first row of the main cabin, who could clearly see everything going on, kept paging us for a soda and was getting VERY upset that we wouldn't serve him. Finally, a commuting flight attendant stepped in for us and had a word with him.
Another time, a woman who boarded late was sitting in row 10A and left her luggage in the aisle blocking everyone else trying to get on because she was looking for a place for her bags. She found a spot towards the back and put her hand in the air and started snapping and hollering at me to get her bag for her. I went up to her and told her to get her bag out of the aisle, she got in my face and demanded that I needed to put it up. When I told her I could not lift her bag for her she threw a fit. Finally, a nice gentleman helped her. After boarding, she accused me of stealing her fur scarf, which I didn't. Then she called me a little blonde witch. She was removed.
Then there was the woman who got mad at me because I wouldn't give her my personal food which I brought from home and paid for with my own money. She said she was hungry and she needed it.
Finally, there was the flight where a man and his small kid asked me for one of the first class meals I was preparing. When I asked where he was sitting, he said a row in the main cabin, so I told him that I was sorry but those were for first class but we had food for purchase in the main cabin. He then told me that his kid was hungry and demanded that we give him free food. I kept saying I'm sorry sir but the food was for purchase. He didn't think it was fair that he had to pay for food because he had a hungry kid."
"A friend of mine is a pilot for a North American airline. There was a passenger on the plane from India, and during the flight, he kept being rude and extremely disrespectful to the female flight attendants.
Halfway into the flight, one of them finally got fed up and confronted him asking what his problem was and how they could find a middle ground. He responded with saying 'In my culture, women are supposed to be slaves for the men,' and she responded with, 'Well, in my culture, you're a taxi driver.'
The proceeded to lose his mind and they had to restrain him in his seat. Nothing ended up happening to the flight attendant because they all thought he was being so disrespectful he deserved it."
"I was a kid flying out to Utah to start my teen tour. About halfway through the flight, (departing out of NYC), the captain got on the speaker to announce an engine had failed and we needed to make an emergency landing in Chicago. Needless to say, we got a little concerned.
Well, except for the passenger who stormed up to the flight attendant and explained she was a nanny and needed to get to Utah to attend to the children she watched. I'm not exactly sure if she was hoping the pilot, upon hearing that a babysitter was on board, would risk the lives of everyone to fly us all through or that the flight attendant would be so moved by this story that she would climb out on the wing and repair the engine mid-flight.
Alas, there was no emergency jet pack to give this passenger to blast away from the plane to get to Utah on time, and she was told to sit down."
"My EMT girlfriend responded to the call for medical personnel over the intercom when we were flying from Seattle to Chicago O'Hare over the holidays.
A man was having a seizure. He was epileptic and hadn't eaten or taken his medication because of the trip. The pilot made the decision to land in Montana because the guy needed medical help ASAP, and his wife flipped out, saying they 'needed' to get to Raleigh for the holiday and that my girlfriend and the flight crew were ruining their holiday on purpose.
The guy was behind us, so they had to carry him past me to get him off the plane. He was experiencing full convulsions and clearly not doing well at all. If it had been any loved one of mine I would've been screaming to get them off the plane, not keep them on it. It was crazy."
"On an eight-hour flight to Florida, a family of five boarded first and then demanded the attendants rearrange their kids' seats to all be together. I get it, I'm a mom now too, but they occupied my seat, in fact, the entire row while the flight attendant tried to arrange them to all sit together.
I politely asked them to let us sit down and they just ignored us. I asked again and they said no, they were waiting for their seats and that I could probably wait at the back of the plane. I just crossed my arms and stared them down. I held up the whole plane, but I made it clear it was the entitled family that was the hold-up and not me. They finally moved to go wait at the back of the plane.
I can't stand people that think they are a higher class just because they have kids. I had no problem with them wanting to be seated together, they most likely specified that and the airline probably messed up. Happens all the time. I had no problem with them boarding first. The obvious entitlement was that they occupied a seat that I paid for, refused to move, and then told me that I should wait in the back holding my luggage until their accommodation was made. Because they were too good for that and so much more important."
"I once got stranded at Newark for 22 hours after our flight had an unfixable issue and was canceled late at night. We got put up in a hotel, but understandably, by the time the new flight rolled around (earliest they could fit in a new flight), everyone was quite tired and agitated.
As we are waiting to board the new plane, the flight attendant announced they would be boarding people with additional needs and families with young children first, followed by first class, then premium economy, then coach. All pretty standard stuff. Obviously, it can take a bit longer for people in wheelchairs to board so makes sense for them to go on first - it's common on most airlines.
This businessman raced to the front of the crowd and started yelling at the attendant, saying it was already DISGUSTING that he had lost a day due to their INCOMPETENCE and now he had to WAIT even longer despite being a first class passenger and paying big bucks every year to fly with them!
The worst part was he was looking at others in the crowd to back him up as if it was perfectly reasonable to scream at this woman, who like us, had also been stranded and had most likely had very little sleep, and was doing her best to do her job in this difficult situation.
But she was awesome. Without missing a beat, she smiled and nodded and said 'ok sir,' then made a big point of leaning into her mic and telling the waiting line of people in wheelchairs and mothers with babies that this gentleman needed to board before them and could they please wait.
Literally, every single person at the gate was looking at this guy with disgust as he tried to backtrack and say he didn't mind waiting for the first group, but the attendant said, 'No, no, you made yourself quite clear - let's get you boarded, the others will have to wait.'
He was humiliated as he sheepishly walked by all of the other passengers. The flight attendant handled it perfectly."