Airline flight attendants have witnessed a wide range of passenger behavior throughout their careers, and sometimes that behavior can be truly appalling. In this collection of stories, flight attendants share the shocking and disturbing behavior they’ve encountered from passengers.
From disruptive and disrespectful actions to downright offensive and illegal behavior, these stories shed light on the darker side of air travel. Each tale provides a glimpse into the challenges flight attendants face in maintaining order and ensuring the safety and comfort of all passengers on board.
These accounts serve as a reminder that while air travel can be convenient and exciting, it can also bring out the worst in some individuals. They highlight the importance of respectful and considerate behavior when sharing a confined space with fellow travelers and cabin crew.
So fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a bumpy ride as flight attendants recount their encounters with appalling passenger behavior. These stories will leave you shocked, frustrated, and perhaps more aware of the impact our actions can have on those around us during air travel.
He Deserves It
On a cross-country flight, a passenger decided to make lewd and inappropriate advances toward me. Completely disregarding personal boundaries, professional conduct, and just being a decent human being. Unfortunately, this happens pretty frequently so we’re trained on how to handle these specific unruly passengers.
I was able to discreetly gather witness statements from other passengers sitting around him and one of them even agreed to provide footage they had taken on their phone during one of the man’s disgusting tirades.
Upon landing, I shared the incident details with the airline’s management, who take these matters very seriously. The airline launched a thorough investigation, which resulted in the passenger being identified and banned from all future flights operated by the airline.
But the revenge didn’t stop there. I also decided to reach out to my network of flight attendant friends from other airlines, sharing the passenger’s name, photograph, and a brief description of his behavior. Word quickly spreads among the tight-knit community of cabin crew members.
As a result, the inappropriate passenger found themselves on a ‘no-fly’ list unofficially circulated among flight attendants. Whenever the passenger attempted to book a flight, their name would raise red flags, leading to increased scrutiny and an overall miserable experience any time they flew. I’m talking about “no room for your carry-on,” being bumped for stand-by passengers, the whole works.
The revenge was sweet and swift. The passenger’s inappropriate behavior had consequences beyond that one flight, impacting his ability to travel comfortably and inconveniencing him at every turn for the rest of his life.
We Need More Public Shaming
During the boarding process, a passenger became irate when another traveler placed their carry-on luggage in the overhead bin above their seat, claiming it was his exclusive space. Despite my attempts to mediate the situation and explain that bins are shared, the passenger became increasingly belligerent.
At this point, I was determined to teach the entitled man a lesson.
I loudly informed the passenger, “Don’t worry, sir. You can have this bin all to yourself. Anyone else who has a bag in this bin please move it immediately,” and shut the bin after they had done so, leaving only his bag in the bin
Every single person on the flight began staring daggers at the entitled man. Realizing he was now the odd one out and feeling the weight of disapproval from fellow travelers, the man tucked his tail between his legs.
He quietly muttered, “They can put their bags in the bin.”
“What was that?”
The man spoke up, “They can put their bags in the bin. It’s not just mine.”
“Very well, sir. I’m sure your fellow passengers would appreciate that.”
Nothing teaches someone a lesson like a little public shaming.
Why Do People Drink To That Extent?
During boarding for a long-haul flight, I clocked a man who had very apparently been drinking before the flight. I pointed him out to the other flight attendants and we all agreed to not serve him any more drinks on the flight.
Of course, shortly into the flight, he tried to order a drink. When I offered him water or a soda instead, his behavior quickly escalated from loud and obnoxious to verbally abusive and physically threatening towards both myself and his fellow passengers.
Despite my attempts to reason with him, he continued to create chaos onboard. Finally, fed up with his behavior, I discreetly enlisted the help of other passengers who were equally annoyed with him.
Together, we hatched a plan. When the unruly passenger passed out from his excessive pre-flight drinking, I quietly rearranged the seating in his vicinity, ensuring that upon waking, the passenger would find himself surrounded by a group of chatty and boisterous passengers.
The plan worked like a charm, and the passenger spent the remainder of the flight regretting their previous actions, unable to find a moment of peace. It was a subtle but satisfying revenge that left the unruly passenger feeling the full weight of his disruptive behavior.
The Airlines Don’t Play Around
Phones have created many issues for us during the takeoff and landing procedures during a flight. I understand it’s a pain to put your phone in airplane mode but you just have to do it. Just download stuff to watch before the flight. And you aren’t discreet, we can see that you’re magically scrolling social media with your phone in “airplane mode.”
Most of the time, we only have to remind a passenger once to put their phone on airplane mode and they obey. However, one passenger I’ve had took things too far.
She ignored multiple warnings to put her phone in airplane mode during takeoff. She defiantly continued using it, even recording my attempts to simply enforce safety regulations.
The situation escalated when she continued to refuse to comply, resulting in the involvement of the captain which made it a potential threat to the aircraft’s security. As a result, we had to contact law enforcement, who was waiting to arrest the passenger upon landing.
To make matters worse for the passenger, anyone who is arrested due to their actions on one of our flights faces a lifetime ban from the airline. So many serious consequences over simply not putting her phone on airplane mode.
They Deserved Worse Than Isolation
Out of nowhere on a routine flight, a passenger unleashed a barrage of racially derogatory comments towards a fellow traveler seated beside them. It was loud to the extent that it attracted the attention of everyone seated around them. I was shocked and appalled by the passenger’s behavior. I swiftly intervened and demanded that the offensive language cease immediately.
I also quickly moved the passenger who had been the target of the comments to another seat. Their new seatmate happened to be a person of the same ethnicity as the targeted individual. They struck up a conversation and the two quickly formed a bond, exchanging stories and laughter throughout the flight.
The offensive passenger, witnessing the genuine connection and camaraderie, felt increasingly isolated and ashamed of their behavior. The revenge was subtle but powerful, demonstrating that kindness and acceptance prevail over ignorance and bigotry. It served as a stark reminder to the offensive passenger that their behavior would not be tolerated and that their attempts to divide and demean only resulted in their own isolation.