Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Top Ten Types of Annoying Airline Passengers

Jaunted: Do you have things in your job that annoy you? Do you notice it's the same things that annoy your co-workers? Yeah me too. As a flight attendant I get asked over and over again what is the most annoying things passengers do? I always tread lightly, because flight attendants get accused of, well, complaining too much. And, believe me we can probably complain better than most.

In fact there's an old joke:

Q. How many flight attendants does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Zero, because we'd rather sit around in the galley and bitch about it.

So, what behaviors annoy flight attendants the most? Well, besides urinating in the aisle, and other super gross activites, here are Ten Types of Annoying Passengers:

1. The Manner-less: Just a "please" and "thank you" goes a long way in our world. We hear “what ya got” and “gimme a coke” far too often. Also, if we offer a meal choice and they don't like it, it's okay to just say no thank you; only five year olds wrinkle up their nose and say "ewww."

2. The Amateur Geographer: Flight attendants don't know our exact location coordinates, especially in the middle of in-flight service. And chances are we don't know what body of water that is below us either.

3. The Pen-forgetter: Passengers that leave home without one are particularly annoying, especially on an international flight with forms to be filled out. And, yes we know you are glaring at the pen on us when we say no we don't have one. Flight attendants are required by the FAA to have a pen on them at all times.

4. The Smartphone Addict: Those who insist they're about to turn off their phones even after we've already asked numerous times usually reply, “I know! I am turning it off!" But they're not—they're texting and it's not like we can't see that. It's just as annoying for us to ask as it for them to have to comply. Just do it!

5. The Thirsties: They need a drink of water as soon as they board the plane and need to use the lav just as urgently. We understand there are close connects and exceptions, but most passengers have been sitting out at the gate area with ample time to use the restroom and get a drink of water.

6. The Headphones Wearer: We ask: “Would you like something to drink?” No response. "Would you like something to drink?" Nothing. Wave in front of face. Nothing. Wave in front of face again. Confused look. “Would you like a drink?” “What?” Motion someone drinking. "Ahh, gimme a coke." Is it possible they didn't see the bar cart coming?

7. The Trash Collector: It's super gross to be handed trash during in-flight service, especially when they blindly put it wherever, like in our ice. And let's not talk about handling dirty diapers or wiping their nose or face and then trying to hand us the tissue.

8. The Free-for-all Parent: Passengers that let their kids run wild on the plane and then expect and ask the flight attendants to watch them are of course expecting too much. This behavior often includes parents telling us to return their children to buckle up their seat belts.

9. The Dare to Barer: Perhaps this type of passenger shouldn't bother us because it's a personal choice thing, but they do. We're talking about those who use the lavatory in their bare feet. Maybe it's because we care so much about the well-being of our passengers?

10. The Coffee Snob: It's a safe bet that passengers probably didn't have breakfast with their flight attendant, so you need to let them know how you take your coffee. If they're picky and don't indicate their preferences, there's no reason to get mad. And to my people in the north east, "regular coffee" does not mean milk and sugar; it just means not decaf to the rest of the country.

About the Author:

Sara Keagle is a Flight Attendant for a major U.S. Airline with over twenty years of experience. On her blog TheFlyingPinto.com she shares advice on making air travel less stressful for all and offers peeks behind the galley curtain. She also co-hosts The Crew Lounge, a weekly podcast that gives insight into the career of a flight attendant.

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