Airplanes are not adult day-care centers, but that won't stop some weirdos from treating them as such! These poor passengers and flight attendants witnessed and even had to shut down some absurdly immature meltdowns. I'm so glad I can stay home instead. Content has been edited for clarity.
We, as in myself, sister, mother, and father were waiting to board a Pan Am 747 in 1978 at the Bangkok terminal. At the time, I was 21. We would be traveling for over 40 hours, including stops to refuel and pick up other passengers. The stops were Istanbul, Frankfurt, London, and finally New York. Then we would fly to Atlanta, which would take us close to the Florida air force base we are planning on visiting. As I looked out the window at this huge aircraft, I despaired over how I would survive 40+ hours inside an aluminum tube. How long is it going to take to adjust to a 12-hour time change? This flight was going to be so beyond miserable. Many of you might remember how the ‘older’ ticketing was done? It was on flimsy red/black carbon paper. These pieces of garbage would become unreadable if you were to only fold them once to fit in a pocket. The call to board is announced, there was a mad rush by all 14 passengers (not joking at all, there were more stewardesses than passengers) to get aboard. I was the first to board of my family, but I had not looked at my ticket. I began to turn right towards coach, when the attendant asked to see my ticket. Surprise, all four of us had been moved to first class all the way into New York. Seemed that the captain pulled some strings as a surprise for my father.
Finally, the aircraft was wheels up, only 10 hours until Istanbul. We were hours into the flight, and my father was celebrating by drinking way too much. He seemed to have disappeared for a while, but then I saw him stumble back in to our area. He motioned for me to come over to the cockpit. At my age, I thought I was way too cool for that sort of thing. But my father was persistent and wouldn't let it go until I finally gave in. I had no idea what to expect. I was completely overwhelmed by all the different lights, switches, and buttons. Of course were were super high up in the air. The flight engineer asked for me to take the jump seat. I was speechless, but I quickly agree. After about ten minutes, the co-pilot unlocks his safety harness and steps over to the center console. He asked me to sit there for a while and man the controls while he got some coffee. Yeah, I definitely peed myself a little in terror. I was so terrified I would accidentally bump the wrong buttons and destroy the plane. The co-pilot tries to give me a whole bunch of information about the cockpit all at once, which was beyond overwhelming for me.
He asked me to place my hands on the steering mechanism, but all of a sudden I hear an alarm blaring above me. The co-pilot calmly says that he disengaged the autopilot. He told me, 'You're flying the aircraft.'
I was livid. He calmly and gently held my hands on the steering device and turned it to the left. I could feel the aircraft move, and then he said for me to move it to the right. Then I demanded that he take over again. I was so terrified for those few moments. That memory is still as clear in my mind as it was when it happened decades ago!"
"I was on an airplane headed for England. I was young, so excited, and having the time of my life. The person sitting next to me was a delightful, middle-aged man. We had a little friendly chat right off the bat, very nice indeed. We discussed partners, his lack of one and desire to have one, my husband, family, the usual small talk. Just a little while after we took off, seat belt signs off, my seatmate stood up. We were chatting about this and that, and I figured he was going to take off his jacket and get more comfortable for her flight. Well, he was getting more comfortable alright! He was taking off his adult diaper.
He is talking during this entire time, and somehow was able to cover his privates and behind while wiggling out of this adult diaper. You heard me. He maintained eye contact the whole time, because clearly he thought there is nothing wrong with what he was doing, he told me, 'These things are great, but I don’t want to wear it for 6 hours! I’ve only peed a little in it, I’m going to save it for later so it’s fresh, they get warm if you wear them too long!'
He pulled them over his feet, right off and into the netted magazine holder on the back of the seat in front of him. Good Lord! I asked him if it would be better to keep it on? If you need to wear an adult diaper, I asked with much respect, can you control yourself if you’re about to have an accident? He said, 'Well of course I can, I’m not a child!'
'You’re not? You just removed an adult diaper in front of a complete stranger and shoved it in the magazine rack! I don’t know if that’s adult behavior!' I replied.
He refused to speak to me the rest of the flight, I was so okay with that. At one point during the flight, he stood up and snatched his adult diaper out of the magazine rack and headed to the bathroom. I don’t want to know about it. I don’t know if he needed it, because he certainly wasn’t ashamed of having it there in front of them, but the rest of the flight was uneventful. When we landed, I turned to him and I wished him all the best. He stared at me with a stone-cold stare. I said,'I think maybe if you didn’t shimmy out of your nappy in front of women, you have somebody in your life!'
He squeezed by me. I was aware of the crinkling sound as his behind came very close to my face, and there was a crinkle, crinkle, crinkle all the way down the aisle as he got off the plane. I had a lovely time in England, but I couldn’t help but wonder, how long he wore his adult diapers for the rest of his trip. I’ll never know, and that’s perfectly fine by me."
"My mom, aunt, and I were on a plane coming back to where we lived from California (I was about 12, I think). We took a night flight, which meant that they gave us dinner and a nightly snack a little bit after the meal (we were flying on United). We paid extra to have better service with points my mom had got from all her traveling. So we saw the lady with the food cart. She served first and business class like normal. They paid more than us, so they go first. I get that. When she finished, she started coming towards us and the other economy plus people. And then she passes us and goes all the way to the back. We were very confused. Maybe she went to get more food? Eventually, she came to us. And by the time she was there, she had one option left. And it was a weird one, too. We took it, but I could tell my aunt and my mom were getting a bit angry. What was the point of paying all that extra money to get served last? But trust me, it gets worse.
Maybe about an hour and a half goes by, and the lady’s back again! This time, she’s handing out granola bars. Again, we’re served almost last. We were getting upset because we were hungry (we picked at our food and barely ate it. Like I said, it was a really weird and disgusting meal). She hands them out and we thank her (like the good people we are), and then look down at them. The wrapper reads, 'has granola, honey, chocolate, walnuts, and almonds.'
I bet you’re wondering what’s wrong with that? I have a nut allergy. It’s not terrible. Like if I ate one on accident, I wouldn’t die or have to go to the hospital or anything - my throat closes up a bit and it gets really itchy and hoarse and just a plain gross feeling. But it’s still an allergy. So we called her over with the button on top. She looks at us and goes, 'What?'
'My daughter is allergic to nuts. Do you have another option for her?' my mom asked
'We have pretzels,' the attendant said in an annoyed tone.
'Okay, I guess we’ll take that, thank you.'
The flight attendant walks off, and a couple minutes she comes back with two bags of pretzels. But then she literally tosses them at me! Who does that?! Before my mom and/or aunt could say anything, she walked off. When we got off of the plane later on, my mom and aunt went on their phones and sent emails or made complaints about the plane ride. They were responded kindly (luckily) and we were given (yes, even me. I had the United App, too) points and some other things. We were content with that. Luckily, I never had a plane trip as bad as that again, but I will never forget it. I know not all airlines and attendants are like that, but this one really didn’t qualify to be an attendant. She was so rude and inefficient. I hope nobody else had to experience that nightmare!"
"I was en route to a conference in Miami on American Airlines. Because the airlines are smarter nowadays, and purposely exaggerate how long flights will take to account for delays, we arrived a bit early. The downfall to arriving 30 minutes early was not having a gate ready for us. Nevertheless, the consensus amongst the passengers was willing to be patient while we waited on the apron for a gate. Everyone agreed to this except for a younger bougie couple with two kids. You know the type, the father a gym rat and the mother caked with makeup and rocking a Louis Vuitton purse with thick Gucci sunglasses. Tired of waiting five minutes, they unbuckled their kids and let them run up and down the aisles of the aircraft. They were quickly met by the flight crew, who warned them that their kids needed to remain seated in case the aircraft abruptly moves. To this level-headed response, she decided to yell at the stewardess, 'IF I MISS MY CONNECTION, I'LL SUE!'
To which the calm cool and collected flight crew staff replied, 'Ma'am, we are 30 minutes early.'
Upset and frustrated, the mother started arguing with her husband as well as everyone around her. Glances were being thrown from all over the aircraft at this family who was visibly unhappy. The part that really left me shocked was as they buckled their kids back in, these little gremlins started ripping apart every issue of American Way and Sky Mall they could get their hold of. They were tossing each page on the ground as either a crumpled ball or a ripped up page. When they were hungry and given a muffin, they threw it on the ground and stomped on it, so that crumbs and smushed food were everywhere. Thankfully, it was 15 minutes later when we were finally deplaning. The mother and family rushed to the front of the aircraft to deboard. Which is fine if they were going for a connecting flight, But they weren't, and they left that massive mess and bad energy on that flight."
"I have taken between 70 and 90 flights a year for the past 6 years. So I have experienced just about every possible inconvenience of flying short of crashing or a mid-air collision. But, by far, the most bizarre experience I have experience on a plane took place while still attached to the jet way at Charlotte International. I arrived late for my connection from Ft. Walton Beach to Pittsburgh, and I had to run from one gate to another, only to find out the flight had been delayed. I was in one of the early boarding groups, and while waiting for boarding to start, I noticed an unusual group loitering together by the entrance to the jet way ramp. It was made up of 4 middle-aged people (3 men and a woman) and a girl who appeared to be in her late teens, maybe early 20s. They did not appear to be related or family members. They seemed completely normal, calmly chatting. When they announced family boarding, this group proceeded to board the plane. I thought this was a bit odd, since family boarding is reserved for families with strollers and wheelchair bound people, but I had completely forgotten about it by the time I had settled into my exit row seat on the aisle. The plane filled up and my row mates were a cute college girl in the middle and a middle-aged woman, maybe an infrequent business traveler. A guy across the aisle and up a row turned to speak to the guy behind my seat. He said, 'I talked to the attendant and she told me that we could move up front after we take off.' It was a full flight so I thought that was strange but you never know. Without warning, a girl in one of rows at the front of business class jumps up, turns around, and starts screaming, 'There is an 'effing bomb on this plane! There is an actual BOMB on this plane!'
The aisle instantly filled with people and no one could move, they were pushing each other. The girl sitting next to me tried to climb over me and could not get into the aisle. I had pull her back into her seat. I told her to put her head down and cover it. The guy who was across and up the aisle was shouting at everyone else. He had made it up about 5 or 6 rows then turned, put his hands up, and said, 'Stop, there is no bomb, sorry!'
Then the group that I saw before boarding, including the guy behind my seat, the guy saying 'stop' and the others, went to the girl who was screaming (yes, the same one who boarded with them) and took her off the plane. End of story? Nope, it gets weirder. Everybody sat down and it was quiet. I looked around and realized there were no airline employees on the plane, none. This lasted like 10 minutes. Then all of a sudden, the plane started moving back from the jet way. Some people around me started talking and saying they were relieved until I mentioned that there were no pilots on the plane. The lady by the emergency door got up and shouted to help her open it. I told her no, we’ll never get home if you open that. I did not know what they were doing with plane, and then we heard noises in the hold below. People were saying, 'they are looking for a bomb', but then it became obvious that they were getting some of the luggage off, likely the group’s with the bomb girl. They eventually pulled back up to the jet way, and two female attendants came on board and mumbled something on the PA about having to follow airport protocols and airline safety procedures. No apologies. They seemed to be embarrassed. I have no way of knowing where they all went and what they were doing, but it appeared the protocol and safety procedures were to run off the plane, get it away from the terminal, and let the passengers blow up with the plane.
We eventually took off about an hour and a half late. A male flight attendant came back and was talking to us and said, 'Yeah, we were surprised, they were on the flight with us coming here. They warned us, but we did not have any problems.'
What?! Something was up, as they knew it and were completely unprepared. Trust me, if had not been there, I would not have believed this story, either."
"A couple of years ago, I was on flight between Helsinki and Munich. I boarded the plane and went to take my seat, but instead there was a woman sitting in my spot. Next to her, there was a guy presumably her husband. I realized they were both 30-something Russians (Helsinki is a common departure hub for Russian people from nearby St.Petersburg), and they were dressed like parody characters from comedy movies: she had a flashy dress and matching jacket with leopard prints, heavy makeup, lots of rings and large earrings. He instead had a big golden chain necklace, open leather shirt and some lame neck tattoo. Basically the stereotype of a Russian redneck on holidays.
I told her that was my spot, but she was speaking very broken English and she didn’t get why I wanted to sit there, since she was sitting next to her companion and from her point of view it was normal to swap seats. I realized they didn’t get originally to sit next to each other, but only in different rows. I turned around and asked the steward that she took my seat, and if it was ok for me to sit in the row behind them. No problem. So I sat down and minded my own business. Nothing too remarkable so far. Then we took off and later we got the belt off signal. So the hostess began the tour with the drinks. As soon as the drinks arrived next to us, the guy asked several stronger drinks. They drank it all pretty fast, so when the hostess was returning back, they ordered more drinks. And then the moment arrived! I heard the woman making some weird funny voices, but I thought she was flirting with the guy. But with great shock, I realized she had a small dog hidden in her purse! The dog was a Yorkshire or chihuahua, and she clearly didn’t declare it. No idea how’s possible to pass all the controls and x-rays without for the security noticing that. The dog was happily yapping while she was petting and talking to him. Other passengers started to notice it and someone called the hostess. The hostess came, and the following dialogue was surreal and hilarious:
Stewardess: 'Excuse me madam. Did you declare that dog? Your flight information doesn’t mention it.'
Woman: 'Sorry. Me no speaks English.'
Stewardess: 'Do you understand that you cannot bring a dog on a plane without registering it first? He also needs to be in a portable cage.'
Woman: 'Yes. My dog. Good dog. No problem.'
Stewardess: 'Excuse me, but I have to tell the airport authorities about it. Where are you going?'
Woman: 'We going holidays! Red Sea! Sun!'
Stewardess: 'Well, I’m afraid you will never reach the beach.'
Woman: 'Yes, beach! Holidays!'
Stewardess: 'Do you understand my English? I have to call the police'
Woman: 'Police? No, no. We go holidays! Good dog.'
Stewardess: 'Do you actually understand what I’m saying?'
Woman: 'Yes, yes. All good.'
Then the couple proceeded to order more drinks (at least they paid for it). Me and the other passengers around were giggling and showing the thumbs up to the hostess (also giggling with her colleagues) for the good comedy show. Then we finally landed in Munich. The captain announced that disembarking would take few extra minutes. Meanwhile, outside the plane, there were two police cars and soon two pretty large German police officers boarding the plane that went straight to them. Some people were filming the whole scene (I didn’t, and I regret that). The police asked the couple to follow them, and they still didn’t have a clue of the whole thing! 'Me don’t understand. We need go holidays. Dog is good dog.'
They couldn’t grasp what they did wrong and why there was police removing them from the plane! Their completely puzzled and shocked face was the best part. Many passengers started to laugh loud, and when they left, we made a big applause for the police! Comedy gold!"
"For me, it was the airline and cabin crew. I am aware that, today, complaining about treatment aboard an aircraft by the airline management and crew is de rigueur. That said, this was cruel and unusual, even now. To set the scene, it was Christmas day in 2002. It was after 9/11 and before the passenger bill of rights. There was an honest to God blizzard happening in the northeastern U.S. I had just spent several days with my wife and her family in a finger lakes home near Rochester, NY. I was supposed to have Christmas dinner with my family in NJ. The flight from Rochester was barely an hour long (air time). My departure was about 11:00 a.m. It was my first and subsequently only time flying JetBlue. There were a lot of delays that day, but unbelievably, when my departure time came the captain made an announcement that air traffic control gave him a slot because there appeared to be a temporary clearing on our route. We took off on time. Before we arrived, the clearing had closed. The blizzard was getting worse. We were refused landing. We circled for hours, literally. There was nowhere to land from White Plains to JFK. At some point late in the afternoon, the captain announced that we would be diverting to Washington National for fuel. We landed around dinner time. The plane was fueled, sprayed with de-icer, and parked on an apron somewhere.
When the captain shut off the engines, I assumed we would be canceled for the day and allowed to disembark, if we wanted to. I used my cell phone to call my niece, whose family home is in Arlington. She said that she would gladly pick me up and put me up for the night.
The passengers began asking if or when we could disembark. People were getting edgy and worse. There was no food on the plane. We had all missed Christmas Day. At first the crew was doing their best to remain cheerful and explain our situation. As the night wore on, the facades evaporated. Some people needed to eat. The crew made a call and ordered pizzas, which were delivered to the plane. They started serving from the front of the plane. They had miscounted. By the time they got 2/3 of the way through the cabin, the pizza was gone. People in the rear third went hungry. We were told that we would not be allowed to disembark because JetBlue did not have gate privileges at Washington Nat'l.
At about 11:00 p.m., the engines were started. We landed at JFK at a few minutes after 1:00 a.m., 14 hours after departing. The blizzard had wrought havoc with the roads. It was dawn by the time I got home, having spent all of Christmas Day on the JetBlue flight from my nightmares. To add insult to injury, I wrote a letter of complaint to JetBlue headquarters and sent it to an email address ostensibly belonging to the head of the company. I received a reply, also supposedly to him. He offered to refund me the value of my return flight, $42 and change. I replied and, as politely as can be done, I told him where he could put his refund. I never received a cent and never flew JetBlue again. I also told everyone whose ear I could bend about this flight and would like to think that I 'diverted' some passengers away from JetBlue."
"I took a trip to Thailand, flying from Germany with Aeroflot over Moscow. I had never flown with Aeroflot, I had heard it was a bit dodgy, but the flight was so super cheap that I caved and said let’s go for it. The flight from Frankfurt to Moscow was uneventful. It was a normal easy flight. When we arrived in Moscow, we learned that our flight to Thailand was delayed, they had to switch the aircraft for whatever reason. When we finally boarded the plane, I was shocked by how old the airplane was. It appeared to have not changed since the late 70s (at the time, it was 2004). There were no overhead compartments, the seats were so close to each other that when you sat, your knees were pushed up against the seat in front of you. Most of the passengers on the flight were men. Creepy men. I could only imagine what type of tourism they were going for. I was one of only a handful of English speakers on the flight, the rest were Russian.
Taking all of this in, I was somewhat culture shocked. There were four seats in our row, and my partner and I filled the two middle seats. A Russian couple sat in our row, but one wanted the window seat and the other wanted the aisle. Through gesturing with our hands, we offered they sit together but they refused. So we remained book-ended by the both of them for the entire flight. Right after take off, my partner said he was checking out, took several pills, and passed out next to me. I was told the flight would be 12 hours and I had also planned to take some pills, but I decided to wait a bit. The row in front of us were a group of Brits, and honestly they were the hooligan type. The rest of the passengers were all Russians. My neighbor sitting in the aisle seat pulled out a handle of Johnny Walker Black Label. A handle is not the normal bottle size, it’s the biggest industrial size bottle you can buy. He and his partner sitting at the window begin to pass drinks to each other, both are actively trying to include me in the conversation, but I had no clue what they’re saying. The guy sitting next to me grabs my cup and pours me a full glass of this strong stuff. At this point, I just thought I might as well join them.
We drink, and they start laughing, which makes me start to laugh and we were all having the best time. Mind you, my partner is passed out cold next me the entire time. The food comes and then it’s cleared. I decide to recline my seat and debate whether I should take the pill or not. I had a full glass and my neighbor kept trying to refill my cup. I decided against it and just wanted to snooze. I get comfy, close my eyes, and then I feel a push on the back of my seat. I ignore it, thinking to myself no big deal, we’re all cramped in here. Then another push, and then another a bit harder. Then a really really hard push to which I turn myself around and come face to face with a very angry person sitting behind me. She apparently didn’t think it was polite of me to recline to the seat. I asked if she spoke English, and she said no. I flagged the flight attendant over to explain that I simply wanted to recline and sleep. He angrily yelled at the person behind me and she stopped. People were smoking on the flight, but they weren’t allowed to. It was against the law, but they did anyway. I got up to use the restroom once and the person who used it before I did was clearly smoking in there. Smoke came billowing out as I entered the hot boxed toilet.
The kicker was when we were reaching the 12th hour of the flight, looking through the window it didn’t seam as though were were going to land anytime soon. I felt a bit of panic. Most of the passengers were all sleeping, and all the flight attendants were not to be seen. One of the Brits sitting in front of me was awake, so I asked him if he knew when we would land. I thought the flight was 12 hours. He replied, 'No, the flight is 16 hours.'
I blurted out, 'OH, YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!'
At that point, I had been wasted and then sobered up, wasted again, and sobered up again. I decided it was a good idea to take the pill then. We bought additional tickets from another airline for the way back. Never again, Aeroflot, never again."
"Sadly, my story is what happens on almost every flight I take. I come prepared to deal with rude and entitled people. Usually I get aisle seats because I don’t like to be “hemmed in'. However, if I’m flying a red eye from the west coast (USA) to Chicago or Minneapolis, I get a window seat, so I can lean against the side of the plane and sleep. I have airline credit cards, which get me early boarding and free checked bags. So, I usually get to my cattle class coach seat way before my seatmates. It’s always my luck that the middle seat remains empty until the LAST possible minute before the doors close. My ideal seatmate is another woman. In general, they are smaller, better smelling, and more considerate than a man. Anyway, this guy runs onto the plane and plops into middle seat. He has not used deodorant in at least 24 hours. He immediately puts up the armrest. I tell him that it needs to stay down. I don’t ask, I don’t suggest, and I say it assertively (not raising my voice at the end like a question.) This gets me labeled as something that rhymes with witch right away. It’s actually really hard for me to do this. I am a child of WWII/ Great Depression era parents, and I was raised to be quiet and polite and to not 'make a scene'. Guy grumbles, pulls out a newspaper, puts his arms on the armrest with his elbows touching my rib cage, and man-spreads. This guy has a gut, but he fits in the seat without a belt extender. Being in the middle sucks, and when I’m not in the middle, I cede the armrests, but NOT my little bit of space. I take out my iPad and shove it in the gap between the 2 seats, so his legs aren’t touching me. I put flight magazine between my torso and the armrest.
Guy says nothing but is obviously a little peeved. About 15 minutes after takeoff, he says, 'So you have to have THAT iPad there?'
I looked him in the eye and said, 'I will remove it if you promise to keep your body parts on your side of the seat divider.' He doesn’t say anything, so the iPad stays wedged in the seat gap. He then mumbles in agreement, so I remove the iPad, but leave it on my leg (to send the message that it’s gonna go right back there if you spread your legs again). He 'behaves' the rest of the flight, but he looks uncomfortable keeping his legs in his space. When he starts spreading them, I tap the iPad with my hand, twice, and look at him. He will not make eye contact with me.
I’ve dealt with men like this my entire life. As a mechanical engineer starting my first job out of college in the food industry, many MANY men asked me if I was REALLY an engineer, or what my dad did to get me the job. Off-color jokes were standard, but since they weren’t directed at me, I shrugged it off. I have three children, two sons and one daughter. I have tried to raise them to be respectful and considerate, to always consider another person’s viewpoint, and most importantly, to be critical thinkers. For my daughter, I have told her that people will try to push you around and take advantage of you because you are young and female. Four years ago, I flew with her and my son to Portland. On the way home, our original plane had mechanical problems. Cue deboard, wait for new plane to show up, and then re-board the new plane. This cut our layover in Chicago from 2 hours to about 25 minutes. When we landed and the door was opened, a guy from the row behind us tried to push past my daughter, saying, 'I have a tight connection, let me by!'
Aisles aren’t wide, and no one was moving forward yet. I didn’t hear this, because I was still in the window seat. She took a step back, tossed us our carry-ons, and blocked him while my son and I exited. I was wondering why she didn’t go first, but she was making sure he wouldn’t try to squeeze past me or my son. I was SO proud of her for standing up for herself. She was 17, and she’s so cool."
"I’m a Flight Attendant, and I see so much stuff every day that I shake my head in wonder at the general public. I see these sorts of things all the time. For example, it’s an hour and a half before boarding begins, and I’ve wandered to the gate early, hoping for a chance to relax on the plane for a while, maybe even take a quick nap before I start work. And lined up in the 'Premium Boarding Line' are twelve passengers who are so determined to be first on the plane that they’re willing to stand for 90 minutes or more until boarding actually starts.
The flight takes a delay because of weather in Chicago. We’re in Denver, and one passenger berates and rips into the Customer Service agent, calling her a liar and demanding to know 'the truth', convinced that the airline has launched some nefarious plot to delay his flight, to inconvenience him, and to make his life miserable, and by the gods, they’re 'gonna pay for it.'
The passenger boards with four bags and promptly argues vehemently why they are a special situation and should be allowed when every other person on the airplane is limited to two. Or the passenger boards and crams his bag in the overhead bin at 2AB, then walks all the way back to 39C to take his seat. (Apparently that saves him energy… or something!?) Or the passenger hoists his/her bag into the overhead, sliding it in wheels first and leaving nine inches hanging out the opening, and then takes his/her seat. The bin won’t close, and when the Flight Attendant asks loudly while standing next to him, 'Does this bag belong to anyone?', he simply looks away and ignores us.
The passenger slumps into the First Class seat wearing a sports-bra/tank top and spandex-shorts/cargo-shorts, slouches down, kicks off the flip-flops and plants their bare feet on the wall/TV screen/tray table/arm rest of the seat in front. Such class, such decorum, such sophistication.
The Captain has come on the PA to direct Flight Attendants to be seated IMMEDIATELY. Severe turbulence hits, dishes are rattling in the carriers, stuff is falling in the galleys, several overhead bins drop open with a bang, a few shrieks are heard as drinks (and little kids who aren’t buckled in) are tossed upward and slopped, the plane is bouncing like a basketball on a gym floor, and some idiot decides that now is a good time to get up to use the bathroom. The bi-fold door on the lav has a big sign on it, at eye level, in large letters that read PUSHin three languages, and a graphic icon of a hand pushing the door. Passenger is standing at the door, looking for a handle, pulling on the ashtray that’s built into the door (a leftover from when smoking was allowed), trying unsuccessfully to grasp the crack in the door to pull it open, and desperately searching for a way in.
After take-off, the passenger insists on moving forward and settling into the premium Business-Class or even First-Class seat without paying the upgrade, then argues vociferously that it should be allowed 'Because they’re just going empty anyway!'
The meal choices were chicken and beef, but we’ve run out of the beef. Passenger wants beef, and when given the option of chicken, flatly states, 'You have to find me a beef because I’m allergic to chicken!' I preempt that whole discussion by offering a different presentation: I smile sweetly and say, 'We’re serving chicken tonight. Will you be having dinner with us?'
3A has asked not to be awakened for dinner, they want to sleep through the flight. Until, of course, we’re just finishing up the main entrée and are halfway through the final dessert course, at which point 3A dings the call light and innocently asks, 'I’m hungry. Is it too much trouble to get my meal?'
We’ve landed, and everyone has gathered their belongings and exited the aircraft, anxious to get on to their destination. Everyone that is, except the last couple, who have decided to wait until everyone else is gone before they finally get up out of their seats. They open their bags on the empty rows next to them, and begin collecting their clothing, electronics, toys, books, eye masks, earbuds, and packing them to leave. Fifteen minutes later, most of their repacking is done, and they’ve stopped the process to search for those eight-dollar reading glasses that they just have to find. Half an hour goes by and they still can’t find them, along with the 89¢ earplugs and that adorable bookmark that they got free when they bought the book. And we wait, and wait, and wait. Flight Attendants cannot leave the aircraft to go to their layover hotel, or go home, until every passenger is off the plane.
Even after more than 25 years of flying, I’m still astounded at some of the behavior that I see on the airplanes. But instead, I beam my best smile, step up to the plate and commit myself to making that idiot passenger’s flight a lovely and pleasant experience!"