Flight attendants’ most important job is to keep us safe in the event of an emergency. Fortunately, those types of situations don’t happen very often. So during a “typical” flight, they’re expected to do their typical responsibilities. And, of course, be professional and polite, even in the face of not-very-polite passengers.
Sometimes though, things don’t come out of a person’s mouth as planned; not even a flight attendant’s. Or maybe a flight attendant didn’t remember who their audience was and what was intended as a joke wasn’t in the best taste. Or even during a stressful time, their brain just goes out the window, while their mouth was still engaged.
With that in mind, here are 10 of the craziest and messed up things passengers have heard flight attendants say:
- I was on a plane one day, Southwest I think, and the FA came on: “Blah blah blah… In the event of a loss of pressure emergency, oxygen masks will automatically deploy. If you are travelling with a child, there is an extra mask. Place your mask on first, then then your child’s. If you are travelling with two children, pick your favourite now.” – Scott W.
- A working flight attendant talked bad about another flight attendant in front of a passenger who happened to be the son of the targeted flight attendant being criticized. Then the passenger kept agreeing till the end he revealed that “bad” flight attendant was his Mom who was Me. – Anna P.
- In 1989 I flew with this girl who was an evil Witch. It was on a flight that had been very bumpy with Mild turbulence. This was from PIT to LAX (guess the airline). The pilots kept the seatbelt sign on. Several passengers were ignoring the seatbelt signs and using the bathrooms. As flight attendants we cannot force passengers to obey the signs….but we are required by law to remind them. But “Robin”went further! She was yelling at passengers calling them foolish and risky! Finally she grabbed the PA mic and made this announcement. (Swear to God this is true),
”Ladies and Gentlemen, federal law requires all passengers to observe all lighted passenger signs and crew member instructions. Federal law provides for a personal fine of up to Two Thousand Dollars for disobeying a flight attendants instructions. So, the captain has the seatbelt sign on, and for those of you who insist on coming back here to use the lavatory had better bring YOUR CHECKBOOK!!!”
I gasped as did half the plane. I dove for Robins hand and tore that Mic from her Witchy fingers and told her to shut up, and stay off the PA the rest of the trip.
About 30 minutes later, a pregnant woman I had been talking to during boarding had her face to the window and was shaking. I reached over touching her shoulder. “Maam are you okay”? She just shook her head. “Maam, would you look at me and tell me whats wrong”?
She turned, makeup running down her face, sobbing. I was surprised and asked what was wrong,
She looked at me and cried out, “I am pregnant and my bladder hurts so bad…I have to pee”
”oh my God Maam let me help you go pee”. She took my hand, “why havent you gone”? I was assisting her out of her row. Ushe looked at Robin standing in the aft galley, pointed at her and sobbed, “SHE WONT LET ME”! Robin had her arms crossed in defiance, “She said if I took my seatbelt off I would kill my baby”
I looked at Robin, and that’s when I decided that some people are truly evil. I waited for the passenger and when she came out of the Lav, I walked her back to her seat.
Robin was the devil! Ha ha ha – Kevin B.
- I was an executive platinum member of American Airlines and was sitting in the bulkhead seat (first seat in coach) when the flight attendant came over and asked if I wanted a drink. I mentioned that I had gotten an email as I was executive platinum that snacks were free to me such as sandwich’s and tubes of chips etc, that they would normally sell. I asked for a sandwich as I had not eaten and it was a 3 hour flight. She walked away, came back and demanded to see my executive platinum card(there were none). I explained that it said EP next to my name on the flight manifest and she could confirm my status that way. With this she came back and dropped a 20 lb flight manual on my lap from as high as she could get and demanded I show here where I’m entitled to free snacks. This scared me and the guy sitting next to me as well. I told here never mind, I would like to buy the entire plane anything they wanted as long as I got her employee id. She grabbed the book and stormed off. I found the email from AA about the complimentary snack just in case this got nastier. We are only 20 minutes into a 3 hour flight.
Finally the first class steward comes over, apologizes profusely and says the other attendant was way out line. She never apologized and American Airlines gave me 100,000 miles to apologize. – Stephen S.
- I was on a British Airways flight seated in a row that was an Emergency Exit which was on the wing and slightly behind the port engine. After about ten minutes of cruising altitude, I looked out the exit window and noticed that there was a slight white trail coming from the engine. In order not to frighten other passengers, I went to the rear galley and said that there was a suspicious leak coming from the port engine and that I think she should have a look at it. FA said “Oh, its just clouds we are passing through” which I knew to be a lie as there wasn’t any above or below us. I repeated the fact and she said that if I didn’t go back to my seat and was quiet, I would be restrained by the onboard crew and arrested.
Fed up, I walked through the curtained off area at the front to Business Class and spoke to the purser, explained the situation and what had happened with the rear FA and she went white, then red with anger, went into the cockpit to speak to the Captain who came with me to my seat to look at it, groaned, thanked me and went back to get a priority landing at Heathrow. As I was leaving, I was asked my name and number by the purser and a few weeks later a letter arrived stating the FA had been sent for retraining and that I was to be awarded 2000 Avios points and a free upgrade for my next flight. – Robert S.
- My entire immediate family was in first class on a DC10 flying from San Francisco to NYC. My dad was the captain of the plane. It was his retirement flight. Back then airline pilots had to retire at 60 and the airline let them take whichever trip they wanted (within reason) and bring their family.
Immediately after take-off we started hearing very loud bangs and feeling the effect of those bangs under the nose of the plane. A long series of events took place, pretty scary, culminating in my dad announcing that we would be returning to San Francisco and making an emergency landing. Everyone braced themselves and the flight attendants strapped into the jump seats on the bulkhead. At the final approach, as we saw the fire and emergency trucks rushing along side us, one flight attendant screamed, “I don’t want to die in polyester!” It was actually kind of funny and broke the tension, although she was terrified and dead serious.
My dad expertly landed the plane with no incident. We looked in amazement at the plane; the nose gear was twisted around to a 90 degree angle. No idea how the plane didn’t spin out of control and end up in a fiery ball upon landing. We got on another plane and flew home. No details of the incident were ever made public.
And the flight attendant didn’t die in polyester. – Lynda K.
- I had been flying commercially quite a bit at the time, ironically as it later turns out to attend classes that would allow me to run Coast Guard aircraft maintenance operations. In fact on this flight I was en-route to jet engine mishap investigation school. As an aside, I had also been a Coast Guard pilot for several years at that point and certainly knew my way around aircraft and mechanical things, and while it doesn’t really matter I certainly looked the part of a mid-20s military officer.
When using the lavatory on this flight, I found that the latch was broken, locking me in until I moved it around with some significant force to get it open. I immediately flagged a flight attendant and told them that the latch was broken and offered that they might want to put an out of order sign up to prevent someone from getting locked in. The flight attendant, with the most condescending voice possible, told me “Sir, you have to turn the latch to open it”, then immediately turned and stalked away. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that a guy who’s been trained that he needs to tell us all how to buckle a seatbelt before every flight had developed utter contempt for the basic intelligence of his customers, but it did actually shock me enough I couldn’t even get a response out before he was out of earshot.
Sure enough, a couple minutes later there’s banging and a panicked voice from the lavatory from a women trapped inside. I got to watch Mr. “you’re beneath me” and 3 of his colleagues struggle with the door for 5 minutes while the woman inside understandably became increasingly panicked. They finally got it open, and of course put the out of order sign up exactly as I had so helpfully suggested earlier. It was almost funny to watch the lengths the guy went to in order to avoid eye contact with me every time he passed my aisle seat for the next 3 hours. – Kevin Q.
- So, she wasn’t technically a flight attendant yet, but was only a week away from graduating. Some background, I was a new hire at a small airline and was in training for pilot training with 22 other guys for about 10 weeks. The hotel where the airline normally put the pilots was being renovated so we were assigned to the hotel with the flight attendant trainees. Their training lasted about 6 weeks I think. Anyway, the two groups became friendly so we’d get together for drinks and whatnot after class. One evening a few of us were having drinks and one of the flight attendants asks “So what really happens if the plane loses pressurization?” So I chime in with the standard “Oxygen masks drop down for the passengers and the crew puts their oxygen masks on.” Simple, right? No, she looks at me, gets real serious, and says, “No, what really happens?” I was confused and made eye contact with one of the guys in my class who looked just as confused. So, I decided to have a little fun. I said “Well, look, we’re not supposed to tell you guys this, but if the plane depressurizes the masks you and the passengers use won’t really do anything. The guys flying the plane will put on their masks then eject the cockpit from the plane and parachute to safety.” I figured that was so outrageous no one with any sense would buy it. She got all red in the face (I assumed because she was mad that I was pulling her leg like that), balled her hands in to fists then screamed “I KNEW IT!”
Holy cow! Really?! I could’t believe it. I then had to spend the next 10 minutes explaining that I was joking. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe me. – Nathan B.
- In 1967 my brother and I were flying “space available” on United from SeaTac to O’Hare on the tail of a tornado. The aircraft was overheated, smoke filled (this was back in the smoking days) and bouncing all over the sky. As we circled O’Hare, and circled, and circled everybody in the full B-707 was getting greener and greener. Finally one of the stewardesses leaned over and threw up in my lap. I was only about 14 but I knew that THAT was not proper flight crew behavior. The stewardess was extremely distressed (as was I) and the Chief Stewardess came rushing over with apologies and dumped a pot full of cold coffee grounds on my lap to prevent the entire passenger load from getting sick. Ugggh.
When we finally landed I was whisked away to a crew lounge and sprayed down, clothes and all. A wool flight blanket was thrown over my shoulders and a United AL car took my brother and I to our downtown Chicago hotel. United picked up the hotel clothes cleaning bill and I received some type of compensation (which I forget).
A memorable flight. – Joe G.
- Long ago when I was young and when planes still went to small towns and tickets were anonymous, I took a late-night flight from Memphis to Natches MS on the old Southern Airways. As I boarded the plane the stewardess (they were stewardesses then, flight attendants had not been invented) said OH! Nice! Take the back seat, please. ”I had no idea why she wanted me there but I obey the flight crew, and I sat there. Once the seat belt sign went off she came back, threw a blanket across us, and unzipped my pants.. I don’t know what I said but she said “Wasn’t that a wonderful night we had in Buffalo” I replied, ”I have never spent the night in Buffalo!” She jumped up and said, “OH! you are not Hal?” She grabbed the blanket and left. I zipped my pants and waited to arrive in Natchez, She turned red-faced as I deplaned and would not look me in the eye! – John O.
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