As far as service jobs go, flight attendants have it better than most. Sure, they have to deal with unruly customers, but they also get to travel the world and get paid more than your average retail job. I think the hardest part about being a flight attendant would be keeping your inner emotions hidden from the customers. I have seen some real weirdos on flights but it is a flight attendant's job to treat everyone cordially, no matter their faults. There are certain things, however, that are bound to push an airline employees' buttons. This list will countdown the Flight Attendants Are Judging Passengers For The Following 20 Things. If you do any of the things on this list, just know that every flight attendant who has caught you has judged you for them. Considering how vigilant these attendants can be, I am willing to wager that you have been caught by them more times than you think. The best way to avoid the judgment of the airline staff is to avoid doing the 20 things on this list. If you can think of any actions that draw the ire of flight attendants that did not make this list, please mention them in the comments.
20 Hitting on Other Passengers
Since the #MeToo movement has become so popular, the general public has become aware of the fact that airplanes (and seemingly everywhere else) are a hotbed for harassment. I am sure that any flight attendant in history could have told you that this kind of stuff has been going on since passenger flights were invented. Flight attendants themselves are often the focus of this unwanted attention but that is not what this entry is about. One piece of advice that flight attendants would give to their passengers is that the cute girl (or guy) sitting next to you almost never wants you to hit on them. There is a weird thing in American culture where men of all ages are totally inept in determining when it is appropriate to hit on women. A good rule of thumb is that if you are in a situation where the woman cannot easily physically leave your presence, then you should not make advances on her (or him). This is certainly the case in airplane rides. Do us all a favor, just wait until you get off the plane (and the other person has an exit route) before you make your play.
19 Freaking Out
Despite the almost constant assurances in the media and at the airport that airplanes are safe, it still seems likely like an inordinate amount of people have a fear of flying. This is despite statistics that show that flying is far and away the safest mode of transportation. You are more than 100x more likely to die from a car accident than you are from a plane. Despite these statistics, there are always multiple passengers in the plane who sit with white knuckles, holding on to their seat like that could save them in the event of a crash. This does not even include the hundreds of thousands of people who are so scared of flying that they will not even step into an airport. If flight attendants were given the chance to give one piece of advice to these people, I think it would be this; "just chill out." These are people who have dedicated their lives to being in an airplane. People who have been taught the numerous safety measures and back up plans that make a plane so safe. As such, I would imagine that it gets pretty old seeing multiple passengers freak out on every single flight.
18 Taking Their Shoes Off
You would think that this would be common sense for people in a crowded airplane, but I can attest from my own limited experience with airplanes that it is not. For whatever reason, passengers think that it is okay for them to take their shoes off on an airplane. This is incredibly rude to all of the other passengers and is especially rude to the people sitting in your immediate vicinity. Even if your feet do not smell you are bound to make the people around you uncomfortable. For the purposes of this article, it is certainly awkward for flight attendants to have to tell a grown adult that they can't go shoe-less on a crowded airplane. They have enough issues to deal with on a flight without having to enforce something that should be common courtesy. A study that I discovered while researching for this list found that
more than 50% of people admitted to taking off their shoes on an airplane.
This number is way too high, and I think that most flight attendants would agree with me. I know that flights can get long, but be considerate of other passengers and keep your shoes on during flights.
17 Getting Sick
There is a weird combination of sympathy and distaste that goes into watching someone get sick. I was once on a train when a woman in my cab began feeling very sick. But this was not regular vomit, it was a weird, thick liquid that reminded me of something out of the Exorcist movies. While I felt a great deal of sympathy for this woman (throwing up is bad enough without having to do it in a crowd of people) I was also disgusted by the whole incident. This experience was not on a plane but the end result was the same. If you get sick on an airplane, the flight attendants will feel bad for you but they will also judge you. They will question why you got on a plane in that condition and they will worry that you are carrying some kind of exotic disease. Planes have barf bags in each of their seat backs but they do not seem solid enough to hold more than a cursory amount of spittle. So do the flight attendants and other passengers a favor, if you feel yourself getting sick, do whatever it takes to make your way into the bathroom.
16 Blaming Them For Things
At this point in my life I cannot imagine holding a job where I had to deal with the general public on a daily basis. There is an old saying; "a person is smart, but people are stupid." Never is this saying truer than when you work at a service establishment. If you help 100 customers in a day, 97 of them will be smart, but those remaining three will be so outrageously dumb that they will leave you with a much more lasting impression than the majority had. When I worked at the university bookstore I would constantly have people (mostly parents) yell at me about the high price of the textbooks. The bookstore was owned by a large corporation, so obviously the teenager behind the counter got to set the prices. This same kind of thing happens with flight attendants. These men and women have almost no say in the overall workings of an airline but they are always the ones that get an earful when things don't go exactly according to plan for some passengers. I understand that flights can be frustrating, but if you choose to yell at a flight attendant for something that is not their fault, then you deserve to get judged by them and their colleagues.
15 Being Badly Dressed
This next entry is not unique to flight attendants, it is actually something that seems to be inherent to human nature. How people think about and act towards a person is largely determined by how they dress. A common experiment in sociology is to send out someone in their regular clothes to ask people for help and then to send out the same person in raggedy, old clothes, and see how the reactions differ. People will much more readily help the man when he is better dressed than when he is in shabby clothes. Flight attendants tend to follow this trend.
A recent survey on flight attendants for JetBlue found that the employees were more likely to judge passengers based on their clothes than any other attribute.
I don't like the idea of people being judged by their clothes, but I guess that at least it is better than having people be judged by their race, gender, or orientation. At least people are able to decide what kind of clothes they wear. If you want to avoid being labeled by flight attendants on your next trip, try to wear the most unambiguous clothes possible. Studies have shown that dressing up for flights significantly raises your chance of being upgraded to first class.
Some of the entries on this list are infuriating, others are downright disgusting, but this one is mostly comical. No matter how loud you snore in an airplane, it does not really hurt anyone. It may be annoying for the people in your immediate vicinity but a pair of headphones and a loud movie should rectify any harm that has been done. But this does not mean that people aren't judging you for it. There are several videos on YouTube of odd snorers that were captured on an airplane. If the other passengers took enough notice to record you on a video, you can bet that you also drew the attention of the flight attendants. As exciting as flying is for most of us, it must get pretty boring for the attendants. The only thing that changes from flight to flight is the passengers, so it is understandable that this would be their main focus of gossip. With all the shady things that go on in airplanes the gossip can get pretty dark. Judging, and making fun of, passengers who snore is a simple way to bring some levity to the office gossip.
13 Being On The Larger Side
I debated whether to even include this entry, but since overweight passengers are such an important part of the current conversation about airlines, I felt that it was necessary. I assume that most of our readers have flown recently but if you have not, the seats are not very big. I am a normal sized man and even I have trouble sitting in an airline seat without spilling into the seats next to me. I cannot even imagine having to fly if I was on the larger side. As if having to squeeze yourself into these tiny seats isn't bad enough, you will undoubtedly be judged by the other passengers and the flight attendant. This is similar to the problems that obese people have everywhere they go. People in Western culture have a very defined conception of their space and if you violate this space, even if you did not do so intentionally, they tend to get angry. To be obese in America you have to have thick skin. Things are no different on an airplane and even the flight staff are likely to give you funny looks if you cannot fit into one of their miniature seats.
12 Standing Up Immediately When the Plane Lands
If I live to be 100 years old, I will never understand why people immediately stand up when the plane lands. Never have I been on a flight where the plane landed and it did not take at least 12 minutes for the outer doors to open. This means that instead of resting comfortably in your seat for an extra 15 minutes (or longer) these people stand in a crowded corridor, sweating on the people in front of them. It is one thing if these people decide to be stupid for themselves, but I often see the passengers in interior seats force the putter passengers in the aisle so that they can stand there like an idiot for 12 minutes. If you need to catch a connecting flight (or want to use the restroom without everyone hearing you do your business) and every minute is precious, then feel free to stand in the aisle the moment the plane lands. But if you simply cannot control yourself enough to sit in your seat until it is your turn to exit the plane, then you probably are not mature enough to fly.
11 Bringing An Oversized Bag
I will never understand the rules of an airplane. It seems like when you are on certain aircrafts that every little thing you do is governed by a set of overlapping rules but on other flights, passengers are able to get away with almost everything. What rules are enforced on an aircraft is extremely subjective, a fact that is frustrating for passengers and flight attendants. One rule that attendants probably wish was more strictly enforced is the one regarding the size of carry-on bags. Carry-ons can only be a certain size before they must be checked and stored within the aircraft. Most airlines even have little boxes so you can determine the size of your bag. The problem is that this rule is almost never enforced. This leads to situations where one person's bag takes up a shelf that was meant to hold three bags. This makes life harder for everyone, especially the flight attendants. Next time you fly, do everyone a favor and check your monstrous bag with the airline staff, even if it costs you an extra $50. The flight attendants will thank you and so will your fellow passengers.
10 Hitting on Them
The fact that passengers continue to try to flirt with flight attendants after it has been a stereotype for decades is amazing. Nothing besides pure hubris could convince a man (or a woman) to hit on a flight attendant when they know that there is a 99.9% chance that the attendant will not reciprocate their feelings.
Putting the stereotype aside, you should never ask someone out while they are at their place of employment. These people (flight attendants, especially) are in a situation where they are literally getting paid to be nice to you.
Why do people think that it is okay to put them in a situation where they would be uncomfortable? Flight attendants have difficulty turning down patrons without causing a scene, so I am sure that they would like passengers to know to keep their advances to themselves while the attendants are in a work environment. Some airlines have become more lenient with what their attendants can do to unruly passengers, so do not be surprised if you get an intense tongue lashing if you keep pushing your luck. I promise that the risk of getting shut down in front of a plane full of people is not worth the slim chance of getting a date with an attendant.
9 Plane Clapping
If you were to ask 50 people what the most annoying thing in the world is, it is very possible that you would get 50 different answers. At least 49 of them, however, would be wrong. The most annoying thing in the world is when a plane lands after a routine flight and people start clapping. I only fly about twice a year, and I get annoyed by this. I can only imagine how annoying it is for flight attendants who are on multiple flights every day. What exactly are you clapping for? For the pilot who has done a good job, because he cannot hear you all the way up in the cockpit. In reality, I think these plane clappers are applauding some divine entity for allowing them to land safely. This is plain weird (pun intended). Flights are no more dangerous than any other mode of transportation but you do not see people clapping every time they safely ride the bus into downtown. This practice does not hurt anyone but it is bizarre that I can't help but be annoyed by it. So, I am sure that many flight attendants feel the same way.
8 Joining "the Club"
Ah, the infamous Mile High Club. It does not cost anything to join and it only takes a few minutes of your time to sign up. For those of you who are out of the loop, the Mile High a Club is the fictional honor given to people who have done the deed on an airplane. The guidelines for this are pretty loose, so I believe that it includes both passengers and airline staff. The rules regarding this, as with many things, are pretty murky. Doing the deed on a plane is technically illegal, but it is unclear what punishments there are if you get caught. I have heard that the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison but I doubt that this happens in less than extreme circumstances. Whether charges are filed is left to the discretion of the airline, so in most instances people do not even get prosecuted. But even if you don't actually get punished for being caught, you will certainly be judged by the airline staff. Everyone loves to talk about "it", so I guarantee you that every person on that flight will tell their friends everything they know about your dirty little incident.
7 When What Goes On In The Bathroom Can Be Heard By Everyone
I have never noticed that this has happened on any of the flights that I was on but honestly this feels like it is inevitable. I have heard some horror stories about people who have absolutely destroyed the in-flight bathroom. It was so bad that what had just happened became evident to everyone, even the flight attendant. Almost every airplane bathroom that I have been on had been set up so that every possible precaution was taken. This means that airlines have done everything that is humanly possible to ensure that what happens in the bathroom on an aircraft, stays in the bathroom. Therefore, if what you do is so bad that it becomes noticeable by other people on the plane, you are bound to get judged by the flight attendants. Everyone poops, but not everyone is so toxic that they can make an international flight miserable for everyone else. If you know that you are about to be on an airplane for 16 hours, maybe don't eat the extra-large chalupa at the airport Taco Bell. You do not want to be the person who has to return to their seat after everyone heard what went on in the washroom.
6 Sitting in the Wrong Seat
I do not understand why people think that this is an acceptable thing to do. This entry is not talking about people who move into empty seats once the plane has already taken off (in order to save themselves, and other passengers some room) it is about the people who do not understand that the swag numbers on a plane ticket are 100% mandatory. Everyone prefers an aisle or window seat and no one wants to sit next to the large, sweaty man in 33B.
But just because you can take the seat of another passenger does not mean that you should. Even if they don't call you out on it (which they probably will), you are still subjecting them to the situation that you just escaped from.
Causing this conflict is an unnecessary stress on the flight staff and is frankly a classless move. Never have I seen it work out for the person that steaks the seat and in certain instances it can even lead to violent confrontations between passengers. A recent United Airlines flight got violent after a man refused to trade seats with another passenger.
5 Taking Things Too Far
While I was researching for this article I was supposed to learn that there is no standard for flight attendants to cut off intoxicated passengers. They are technically allowed to do so, but there are no clear guidelines for when someone should get cut off and airlines hope that none of their passengers ever have to be cut off. Instead, they create a climate where it is very hard for people to become noticeably intoxicated. For starters, most flights are fairly short, so passengers would have to consume a lot of drinks in a short amount of time to get truly drunk. The flight attendants play their own part in this.
They only walk by every so often, so passengers only have a limited number of opportunities to order a drink.
If you get obnoxiously drunk under these circumstances it is because you wanted to get drunk, and flight attendants are liable to judge you for it. There is a bar in every airport and any city you are going to will have alcohol for sale. Save your heavy drinking for a situation that is not already so hectic and stressful.
Of all the entries on this list, this might be the one that is the most forgivable. We all have those days where we forget to put on deodorant but we do not start to smell until we are some place where we cannot possibly buy something to cover our smell. Sometimes this place is an airplane. But this entry is not about the people who give off a slight whiff of body odor, this entry is about the people who smell so pungent that it is unbearable for the people around them. I have a friend who is a flight attendant and he told me a story about an older man who smelled so bad that people two rows behind him asked to be moved. Any number of things could have caused this man to smell, including a serious medical issue, but this did not prevent him from being judged by the airline staff. You might be able to get away with being stinky out in the world but once you are trapped in a metal box, your business becomes everybody's business. I recommend that everyone does a smell test before they board their plane...
3 Stealing/Sneaking On Flights
Have you ever wondered why people are constantly looking at your plane ticket when you're at an airport? Every time you go through security and every time that you board the plane your ticket is checked, and there are often people sprinkled throughout the airport who will ask to see your ticket. Part of this is simply for security reasons. The TSA does not want random, sketchy people hanging around the airport. The other reason for these precautions, however, is to keep people from sneaking on-to flights. This was very common in the 80's and early 90's, when people were able to routinely slip onto planes without the flight staff noticing. If you have seen how expensive plane tickets are nowadays, you understand why the airlines would not want to lose this revenue. But this problem is not a thing of the past. When I was flying out of Cancun, a woman was caught trying to walk up the ramp without scanning her ticket. It turns out that her ticket was a fake and she was escorted from the airport. Before she even left, I heard the flight attendants talking bad about her.
2 Being Obnoxious
When you are in an airplane there are certain strict norms that you must abide by. Flying is quick and efficient but for most people it is not enjoyable. Therefore, most passengers understand that they are expected to act in a certain way so that this bad experience is not made any worse for the other passengers. This is similar to being in a crowded elevator, where everyone is expected to stand quietly, facing the front, until the ride is over. If you violate these social norms on an elevator, you will be judged by the people around you. If you violate them on an airplane, you will be judged by the flight attendants. We understand that you are excited to get to your destination and that alcohol is commonly available on flights, but no one wants to listen to you yell in an aircraft. Most people like to read, work, or sleep on a plane, and none of these things are possible if the guy behind you is starting his Mardi Gras celebration early.
Make the flight attendant's job a little easier and just chill out until you get off the plane.
1 The Invisible Wedding Band
I have a friend who has been a flight attendant for about a year and I asked her what the most appalling thing that she has seen on the job is. Her answer, the number of married men who are clearly not faithful to their wives. According to her, this happens in the airport bars, in the waiting area, and even on the plane itself. As sad as it is, it kind of makes sense. If you cheat in the area that you live, there is always the chance that someone will see you out and report it to your wife. At an airport, however, you are much less likely to see someone you know and therefore less likely to get caught. Even if people you know aren't watching you step out on your wife, I guarantee you that someone else is. My friend estimated that she sees an average of 3 married men a week trying to pick up other women (there are probably more, she just doesn't know that they are married). She knows that these ones are married because they don't even have the wherewithal or decency to take off their wedding band.