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Worst Passenger of the Week

“Dealing With Passengers Is Like Dealing With Meth Addicts”

“Dealing With Passengers Is Like Dealing With Meth Addicts”

Life as a flight attendant may have its perks. If there is one aspect of their job that makes it a challenge – it would be the passengers, and even as a passenger, you can notice how obnoxious another passenger can be. Flight attendants are onboard to ensure a comfortable flight experience for their passengers and that everyone adheres and acknowledges the safety protocols. When it comes to dealing with passengers, they have to choose their battles.

In a Vice video called, “How to Treat Flight Attendants, According to Flight Attendants,” four veteran flight attendants shared inflight etiquette (and general life etiquette) to take into consideration when flying on a plane.

The video opens with a flight attendant announcing: “Dealing with passengers on an airplane is like dealing with meth addicts ’cause they’re out of control,” which pretty much sets the tone for the video. If there is one thing that passengers should take away from this video, let it be: JUST BE NICE.

What to do

  • Do say hello
  • Do know where you’re sitting
  • Do have everything you need for the journey prepared
  • Do pay attention when your flight attendant walks by with the drink or food cart, and ESPECIALLY during safety demonstrations
  • Do take off your headphones during the safety demos

“The least you can do is shut the f— up,” said one flight attendant.

What NOT to do

  • Don’t ever touch your flight attendant to get their attention
  • Don’t be inappropriate
  • Don’t walk into the bathroom without shoes or socks 
  • Don’t take photos of your flight attendant
  • Don’t take your clothes off

One flight attendant in the video wants us to remember to “Wear your shoes, flush, wash your hands.” That should go without saying, but you’ll be surprised how many passengers walk around barefoot.

As a reminder, don’t forget that flight attendants are also human. If you have “the customer is always right” mentality and assume all your questions and demands will be met, you’re wrong. Flight attendants have a hundred other passengers to tend to so they can’t make your Manhattans or stir your drinks, hold the plane for you, make the plane go faster, etc.

And if you ever ask your flight attendant, “Do you know where we are?” They don’t. They’re too busy getting your drink order.

One flight attendant responded, “Don’t ask us where we are on the flight…A lake. That’s a lake right there…and that’s where we are. Eat your nuts.”


[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (11)


  1. strickerj

    May 20, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    I was in agreement until halfway through, until the part where they basically said don’t bother us for anything other than an emergency (basically, don’t ask anything). I have to believe most flight attendants don’t hate their jobs as much as it sounds like these do. But then that wouldn’t make for a video that gets clicks on Vice “News”.

  2. drvannostren

    May 21, 2019 at 5:42 am

    I am VERY conscious of trying to be a “good passenger” as a frequent flyer, and a Canadian. But some of the stuff in this video was just asinine.

    OF COURSE passengers are going to ask you how long it might take to get from gate to gate in a given airport. Just like you don’t know the airport, they don’t know you don’t know. You might be based out of wherever and know EXACTLY where they need to go. You might never have been there before. So a simple polite “sir/ma’am I’m not too familiar with the airport actually but if your next flight is another domestic flight, the gate shouldn’t be too far”. The white guy I THINK was joking when he said “ask us if we’re single”. I feel like that’d be a very intrusive or offensive question for me to ask someone unless it was the ONE time someone happened to be mutually attracted to me, but 9/10 that’s gonna go poorly for me as a strange asking anyone something like that.

    I do side with them a lot, as an airport employee, I know people lose their minds as soon as they park their cars. People can’t follow simple instructions/directions/signage, it’s incredible. The shoes in the bathroom thing…I’ll never understand what people are thinking when they go in the lav without shoes.

    Just generally be nice and polite, that’s just plain human decency, if the FA is being a crank, then that’s his/her problem.

  3. chavala

    May 21, 2019 at 6:01 am

    I think these FAs should stop whinging or rethink their carreer paths.

  4. DCAFly

    May 21, 2019 at 6:05 am

    “don’t take your clothes off” – astonishing that we have to say that.

  5. patgarrett

    May 21, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Here’s some advice for AA FAs. Don’t show more enthusiasm for the credit card pitch than for your actual duties. It’s tawdry and antagonistic.

  6. alphaod

    May 22, 2019 at 3:13 am

    Treat your customers with the same respect you expect to receive. If you treat your customers like trash you’ll get trash in return.

  7. ksandness

    May 22, 2019 at 7:05 am

    I was once upgraded to business class on a trans-Pacific flight (bliss, I thought), but during boarding, one man started complaining loudly that he had not been seated in the upper section of business class. He went on ranting about how his company spent $10,000 a year with the airline (that’s what, two paid business roundtrips?) and that the airline should show him more respect.Other passengers were saying, “Don’t make a fuss. There’s no difference between the upper and lower levels.”

    The head FA, a middle-aged man with a vaguely European accent, walked up to him and said, “Sir, will you please come with me?”

    I don’t know where the FA took the whining man, but as I remarked to the person next to me, “I hope they’re taking him to the cargo hold.”

  8. skidooman

    May 23, 2019 at 5:54 am

    There are definitely passengers that are exaggerating. Take off clothes? Well, unless it is your sweat shirt, I would say this is a no brainer!

    At the same time, plenty of cranky FAs polluting the skies, especially above the US. Yours is not only a safety job, it is hospitality too. Just like the hotel clerk is there both for safety and to welcome you. Both roles aren’t mutually incompatible and can be quite easy with 99% of all passengers. A smile, politeness, all this will go a great way to ensure passengers remember you and your employer, and will want to fly with you again.

    A passenger asks you about transfers at a certain airport and you don’t know the answer? Just be polite and admit it. Give some kind of true statement that is assuaging a bit. You know, the same type you should give your kids when they get a cavity fixed: sure, I know this is a concern, and I am sorry I cannot be more helpful, but please keep in mind X, Y, Z, there is a way forward. Don’t worry too much.

    Many Asian airlines (not that much in China) do this quite right. No power trip. No surly FAs. Just a nice ride. It isn’t too much to ask. If you believe it is, then you should change jobs.

  9. HomerJ

    May 23, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Sorry but why would they care if someone went shoe/sockless into the lav?
    I mean it’s gross but why would an FA care about that??

  10. denver19

    May 26, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Here is my favorite FA story:

    I flew a quick turn around to Houston. A 7 AM out of Denver, 2 hour meeting then a 4 pm back to Denver. On the way to Houston I got a first class upgrade. As I take my seat:
    The FA: “Hello Mr. Denver19, can I take your jacket, would you like a coffee”. She was flirty.

    On the way back to Denver in 10C, as I got my stuff in the overhead. The EXACT same FA says “Hey, get your stuff out of the aisle, you’re holding up the line!” I say: “No, remember me! Its Denver19 from this morning!. Good to see you again.”
    FA: “All this stuff, the bag, the briefcase. OUT OF THE AISLE!”

  11. Gringa

    May 27, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Why are there never articles about how FAs should treat passengers?

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