How I Deal with Angry Passengers


You know what they say. Be careful what you wish for.

That’s what I would say to passengers who like to pick fights. I don’t mean legitimate talk about a problem or even a bit of venting after a hard travel day. I mean people who deal with a bad day by spreading it around.

We’ve all come across the type: every inconvenience is a magnified disaster that has just brought devastation upon their life. As in, an hour delay becomes talk of how an entire month of travel is ruined. RUINED I tell you!

Some flight attendants will give you what you really want. They will argue back or roll their eyes given half a chance. But not me. I will be sweet. As. Pie. I will look you in the eye and be very concerned as I offer solutions to your problem. When you get enraged that I am denying you your evil fun, well…one of us will be having fun.

On my last flight a lady went ballistic one hour before landing because the hinge on her TV was loose. She demanded a free Business Class flight plus 50,000 miles and wouldn’t let go. Instead we spent 20 fussy minutes mummifying it in place with loads of tape. Good fun.

My favorite was a French lady on a flight that was delayed because the water tanks had frozen. We should have cancelled, but the crew decided we didn’t want to disappoint a plane full of people. Maintenance had to climb inside to find out if we could squeeze in enough water to get by.

We explained all this to the passengers (in both languages), including a notice that we were preserving bottled water, though they were welcome to come to the galley with requests.

Soon, one passenger kicked up about how she’d dropped her blanket on the floor and wanted another. (For real.) I found her another, but oh no. She randomly demanded one from Business. When I declined, she suddenly forgot how to speak English. “Lucky” her, I was also the French-speaker. She asked questions, then yelled over any answer. Finally, her problem was that no one had come by with water. When I reminded her why, she said, “Well you are going to pay my medical bills because I have a bad back and we’ve been sitting here an hour!”

“Oh,” I said with concern. “I’m glad you told us. We better get you off this flight.” I began to gather her things. She looked stricken. “Why?”

“You said sitting here is giving you medical problems. You’ve got seven more hours to go once we take off!” Needless to say she decided not to deplane. She was going to be okay sitting after all. Whew!

So if you come to me grumpy, it’s best to be honest. I’ll commiserate! Otherwise? Be careful what you wish for. I just might give it to you.

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Comments (Showing 6 of 6)

  • JackE at 6:05am May 15, 2013


  • WhitePlains at 7:10am May 15, 2013

    While some pax can really be obnoxious, some crew are also likely to act as little ceasers and some crew/staff do’nt do the job they are supposed to do.

  • gojko88 at 7:55am May 15, 2013

    “On my last flight a lady went ballistic one hour before landing because the hinge on her TV was loose. She demanded a free Business Class flight plus 50,000 miles and wouldn’t let go.”

    Gotta love the compensation culture.

  • SQUALO at 8:59am May 15, 2013

    Excellent! 🙂 Very well done… !

    Whoever wants to be on Business or First-Class must pay for it, but maybe this person will never sit in Business or First, because somethings in life we can only earn but not buy:

    behavior and an air-miles Gold / Platinum Card.

  • SeamasterLux at 2:58pm May 15, 2013

    Good lord, you faced some pretty awful passengers but I’m not surprised. The worst I saw was a drunk 50yr old russian man with was looked like a 20 yr old thai prostitute on a TG flight and they were both reclining before and then during take off despite the crew telling them many times not to do so. Then they started opening a bottle of whisky purchased at the duty free and were spilling some on the seats as they were totally drunk.

    That was in business class, fortunately for a short flight but the crew did not really know how they manage them. The guy seemed quite agressive. The cabin chief did his best but the guy deserved to be punched and together with other passengers, we just went directly to the guy to tell him to stop right now as he was being a nuisance to everyone else.

    I guess everyone has had their fair share of annoying passengers.

    I think you acted the best you could given the circumstances

  • matinicus rock at 3:43pm May 15, 2013

    Awesome. You’re my hero FA

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