Unfortunately, things are not always chipper up in the friendly skies! Maybe these flight attendants were having an off day, but these passengers share the rudest, most entitled behavior they’ve encountered while on a flight.
Ms. Snotty Loudmouth
“I was on an American flight with my boss about 25 years ago. I am 4’10′ and weigh about 135 pounds. I was seated next to my boss (a tall skinny guy about 45-years-old) in the emergency exit row and the female flight attendant came up to me and said loudly ‘You need to change seats.’ I looked confused but got up and my boss and I traded seats.
She said, ‘Not like that! You have to move to a different row. You are too fat to sit in the emergency exit row.’ She said it very loudly, so all the people around me heard her clearly. (Now if she said I was too short, I might understand but too fat? Excuse me! I wore size 10 ladies’ clothes. That is not ‘too fat,’ perhaps kind of chubby but not anything like not strong and able-bodied.) My boss told her that we were not moving. She said he was okay but I wasn’t. I was so humiliated that I just said I’d move and to find me a seat to trade. A really big fat guy in the row behind me said he’d trade, so we did. Then he sat down and asked Ms. Snotty Loudmouth for a seat belt extension. She got him one. Not a word about him being too fat.
When we landed, my boss and I sent a letter to American Airlines about the incident. In a return phone call, they said they’d be counseling the flight attendant and offered me free flights for a year. I accepted, with the condition that I receive a personal apology from Ms. Snotty Loudmouth. Which I got, apparently very reluctantly from her tone of voice. But at that time I was flying about 300,000 miles a year, so I guess it might have been worth the humiliation.
They Do Things Differently Over There
“On a flight from Moscow to Tbilisi Georgia in the late 1970s, non-Russian passengers — only a few backs then — were grouped and sat over the wing. I assume it was so we couldn’t see the ground and whatever military or other facilities that we were going to fly over that the Russians didn’t want us to see.
We’d climbed to altitude but there was what was probably a five or six-year-old girl that was experiencing enough pain that she was crying loudly. She was holding her head so I assume it was an ear problem. Pressure not equalized between the inner and outer ear was possibly the problem.
The mother was trying hard to placate the baby, but the pain of whatever was too severe. The Flight Attendant (Stewardess, back then) came and told the mother forcefully that she must stop the baby from crying. At least that translation seemed consistent with the gruffness of her voice and her body language — I don’t speak Russian.
Over the next few minutes the Flight Attendant returned a couple of times trying to get the mother to calm the child, and finally, forcefully, grabbed the child out of the mother’s arms and took her back to the galley. The child’s screaming stopped. And, interestingly, the mother didn’t get up to check on the child for the remainder of the flight.
I don’t know if the Flight Attendant had some magic trick or whether she held something over the child’s mouth. But that was the last we saw of the child until just before landing.
About the Flight Attendant. She absolutely didn’t fit the Western World image of a Flight Attendant. She’d obviously had an accident at some point and was missing her left ear entirely and had a long radius scar from the ear down to her chin. Kind of spooky-looking and that went with her demeanor.”
This Is How You DON’T Treat A Passenger
“It was an American Airlines flight out of a regional airport which provides service to a major international airport. The aircraft was small, about 30 passengers, three seats per row with five seats across the back row. Seats are selected by passengers when tickets are purchased, so you know where you’re going to sit (front, back, window, aisle.) Except, not exactly. Once you board and sit down, the flight attendant (there’s just one) starts moving people around, I guess based on size(?) but I’m not sure. It’s an hour-long flight into DFW, you go up, then down a few minutes later; the flight itself is faster than it takes to taxi to the gate upon landing.
Anyway, one passenger boarded with a plaster cast from his toes to his hip. He was on crutches, not in a wheelchair. Poor guy had actually climbed steps to board because the jet bridge wasn’t working. He hobbled to the center seat in the back row and sat down, holding his crutches (which will not fit in the overhead ‘glovebox.’ ) This was the only seat that would accommodate a full cast since his leg was totally immobilized. No one else was seated on that row.
Our ‘lovely’ flight attendant started railing on him about his crutches and that he could have to check them, and then took them from him. She then set about rearranging all of us. She decided he needed to switch seats with a passenger in a single-seat mid-cabin. With no crutches, it was understandably difficult for him to maneuver to the seat, but not fast enough for the flight attendant.
Once he sat down, she then told him he would need to get his leg out of the aisle. When he couldn’t comply with that request, she grudgingly (with attitude) ‘reassigned’ him to the back row, but not in the middle. She simply could not understand that he couldn’t bend his leg. The flight wasn’t full, and another passenger on the back row said she would move to the next seat and he could sit where he was ordered and put his leg up across the other empty seats. People were starting to grumble, the plane began to back away so I guess the cranky attendant gave up.
I don’t know what her problem was, but it was a bad one, she was determined to take it out on that poor guy! Once we were in the air, it was announced there would be no beverage service due to turbulence (the usual type) so we didn’t have to deal with her the rest of the flight. Once we did land and deplaned, I saw a wheelchair on the jet bridge. I hope he got his crutches back from that crazy woman.”
He Put That Flight Attendent In His Place
“Mine was on a Philippine Airlines flight from Australia to Manila. Direct flight. I and my wife and I were Premier Elite Frequent fliers. We would alternate from Flying Business class to Economy, choosing Economy when the flights were full because we would be upgraded to Business and using points for business when we accumulated them.
For this flight, I had booked Business off my points and my wife was economy. As always when I have the business and she is in economy, I give her the business seat and go to Economy.
This flight was the same, and her Seat was 2D.
During the flight, I needed to come to see my wife about the business. I had some developments to discuss. While standing next to her seat the male Flight Attendant came to me and said ‘Go back to your seat. You are not allowed up here. Leave now’ in an aggressive and demanding voice. (I had already asked the female flight attendant if I could see my wife for a couple of minutes and was given the ok.
I left and sat in the seat in Economy, thought about it a little, then went to the front of the plane and asked to see the senior attendant. When asked why I told them I was going to complain about the attendant and wanted to see him as well.
I then went to my wife and asked for the boarding pass. She gave it to me and I went to the section near the galley and waited. He came along in about five minutes. Then I asked him some questions.
First I showed him my Premier Elite membership, Then I asked him what seat my wife was in. He responded 2D. I then showed him the boarding pass and said what seat is on the boarding pass. again he replied 2D.
Then I asked him who’s name is on the boarding pass?
He looked and hesitated.
I said ‘I want you to read it out loud’
Then he read out my name. I then asked him why he sent me out of Business class when my name is on the boarding pass?
At this point, I told him I was going to write a complaint to Philippine Airlines about him and his attitude and disrespect to passengers.
Then I gave my wife the boarding pass and went to the economy seat.
The head steward came to see me and when I explained it to her she apologized. We had seen her on many flights and she knew we traveled often.
Later she came back to see if I had finished my complaint and I had, BUT, I said to her, I want him to think this will be submitted so he learns respect for others. I might and I might not.
‘However, can I request just one thing?’
‘Yes, of course,’ she replied.
‘Before landing can I transfer to the empty seat next to my wife for landing so we can exit together?’ I asked.
I did not submit the complaint because it would have reflected on the supervisor as well and she was so nice but I am sure the male flight attendant got the message well and clearly.”
The FA Tried To Get Them Kicked Off The Flight For That?
“Many years ago, I was flying home from Seattle to San Jose, California with my son, who, at the time was about 4, maybe 5 years old. For reasons I do not recall, he had thrown a tantrum while in the airport and cried for a good solid 20 minutes or so.
I was a frequent flyer at the time and so we had gotten upgraded to first class. He took the window seat and I had the aisle. This was on Alaska Airlines. We were still in the boarding phase at this point when the flight attendant came by.
She saw his red eyes and she immediately became rude.
‘He has pink eye,’ she said.
‘No,’ I said, he was just crying, that’s all.’
She gave me a dismissive grunt.
‘I have a little boy and pink eye was going around in his preschool. I don’t think you should be on this plane. I’m going to have to talk to the pilot.’
‘No,’ I said, ‘it’s really not. He really was just crying.’
Of course, my son was listening to the whole conversation and trying to shrink in his seat to avoid any more scrutiny.
‘Well,’ said the attendant, ‘I’m not going to be able to serve you, then.’
Now, as I noted, I was a frequent flyer. And one thing I learned over the years was that you do not want to engage in an argument with a flight attendant or any member of the flight staff for that matter. And, given my son was still upset over whatever he had been crying about and was now embarrassed, and that she had threatened to throw us off the flight, I saw no reasons to make his situation any worse.
And so I negotiated, as politely as I could, to have her serve his drink and snacks (this was just a two-hour flight) to my tray table and that I would hand it to him.
We got off the flight and I took her name and immediately filed a complaint with Alaska Air. Not sure if it did any good, but I had to try.”
He Never Flew With United Ever Again
“My 10-year-old son and I were flying United from Newark, NJ to San Francisco, and the male flight attendant was ON FIRE!! He was aggressive and rude towards anyone and everyone who came close. I’m not sure why but it was obvious that he was just ticked off at the world and that was that.
The two other flight attendants in the main cabin were avoiding him at all costs and when his wrath finally found a specific victim he was game on. The victim was one row behind and on the other side of the aisle. He was an obviously religious Jewish man complete with yamaka, and pe-ahs down the sides of his cheeks.
The male flight attendant went at him. Screaming at him, berating him, threatening him, and telling him he was not allowed to stand up even to go to the bathroom. The infraction this man committed was to simply ask the Flight Attendant if he could stop yelling at every one since it was upsetting the child he was sitting next to (not even his own kid).
The passenger started pushing the call button for help and even started to yell towards the two other FA’s for assistance since there was a real chance the male FA was going to punch him, that’s how out of control this situation was. The other FA’s just moved towards the front of the plane to avoid the whole situation.
I’m with my son but this was out of control and I had my son switch places with me so I was on the aisle instead of the middle in case the FA crossed a line. I also looked around at the other passengers and saw there were two other guys in my same boat and about ready to jump up and tackle the FA if he laid a hand on the passenger.
When we finally landed the pilot announced that we should all stay in our seats so legal authorities could take the passenger off the plane. I think the guy was relieved to finally have someone intervene.
When we finally left the plane I saw officers interviewing the passenger. I approached them and explained that I had seen the entire episode from A to Z and that the passenger did absolutely nothing wrong, that the FA boarded this flight with something wrong and the passenger was the victim of his wrath. I gave my contact information to the officers and told them that if they needed a formal statement to clear the man from any wrongdoing that I would be happy to do so.
I’m not sure how much this man’s religion contributed to the event but I have to believe it did. The FA was looking for a fight and the guy he chose did nothing wrong other than asking for some basic consideration.
I ended up writing United about the event and eventually I received a letter acknowledging my letter but I’m sure nothing was done. I haven’t flown United since and I doubt I ever will again.”
Another Unhappy Customer
“In 2011, 20 or so of my colleagues and I won the quarterly trip offered by our company, all expenses paid, to the top sellers.
It was the first time they sent us overseas, usually, it was always in some nice European city as we were based in Dublin, Ireland.
This time, however, we were going to America’s playground, Las Vegas!
We flew United all the way down with one stopover, I think it was in Philadelphia.
So the rude experience was not with a fellow passenger but with the crew who were deeply unpleasant and looked like they’d rather be anywhere else than there. These ladies looked sullen and annoyed every time a passenger asked them for something.
When the time came for the meal, the different options were announced via intercom but I couldn’t hear well because the noise insulation and sound system were not great. This was added to the fact that most of us didn’t have English as a first language, so we weren’t sure what was on offer. I’m not picky but I don’t eat pork and wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be getting any.
When they came with the trolley, I politely asked what was on the menu and the FA rudely replied that it had been explained already and basically refused to repeat it. That really ticked me off because it would have taken her about 10 seconds to inform me. I insisted a bit more firmly that I couldn’t hear because of the surrounding noise and could she please let me know. She finally gave in and ungraciously told me.
That was not the end of it. About an hour before we landed I ordered a tea. I didn’t get the chance to finish it and when the pilot announced that we were on approach and please put the table upright, yadda yadda, I got up, went to the FA station beside the toilet, and asked the same shrew if she could kindly discard my cup. She rudely told me ‘Why didn’t you finish it? Next time just order half a cup!’ I didn’t even know there was such a thing as half a cup of tea. I was so stunned at her attitude that I was left speechless.
Then, I swear I’m not making this up, she opened the toilet and literally threw the cup with the remaining tea in the sink. However she did it so aggressively that she splattered tea all over the wall and mirror, and then slammed the door.
I stood there in disbelief for a second and then returned to my seat. I was torn between wanting to tell her to get lost and my knowledge that it’s never a good idea to antagonize a crew on a plane, especially on your way to the U.S. I was also on a company trip so ultimately it was not worth getting in trouble.
Needless to say, we were more than wary about our second flight. However, it went great. The crew was lovely.
One of the FA asked where we were flying from and I said Ireland. She asked how it went for the long haul and I honestly told her that we had gotten terrible service and we were surprised at the crew’s rudeness. She told me: ‘Yeah, I heard they are a bunch of old bats on that line.’ That really made me laugh, this FA was a riot. Apparently United had bought the line from another airline and the staff was treated poorly, hence the lousy service. I get it must be frustrating but taking it on the passengers isn’t going to help.
Overall we had a blast during that trip and it was in the end a funny anecdote to tell later.
I never flew United again though. Didn’t feel like repeating the experience.”
This Was Pretty Humiliating
“I was on a Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Orlando. Non-stop it’s a four and a half hour flight. We heard it was a nearly full flight but there would be a few empty seats. If you fly Southwest, you know it’s open seating, no reserved seats. I always get early boarding so I can get a window seat.
I was settled in at the back when a very large young woman took the aisle seat. She was easily over 300 pounds and took some time to get herself wedged into the seat and to request a seatbelt extender. I empathize as I used to weigh 340 pounds myself and HATED to fly back then! I chatted with her to hopefully make her more comfortable. We joked we’d put on our best mean faces to discourage anyone from taking the middle seat.
When the plane gets down to the last few boarding passengers, flight attendants routinely point out remaining seats. There was an open middle seat in the row behind us but the flight attendant blocked the aisle and motioned for a man to take the middle seat in our row. I would later determine that the man was Chinese. I never heard him speak so I don’t know how much English he knew. I told the flight attendant that the middle seat behind us was open but she seemed determined to force the man into our row’s middle seat. He voiced no objection.
The flight attendant then proceeded to instruct the young woman in the aisle seat to get up. This proved to be an ordeal as she struggled to unwedge herself from the seat. I continued to point out that THERE’S A MIDDLE SEAT RIGHT THERE, in the row behind us but the flight attendant ignored me and never once looked at me.
As the young woman struggled to her feet and to get herself into the aisle, teenage [mean] girls a couple of rows back took out their phones and laughed and gasped as they took video of the woman’s humiliation. It was yet another ordeal for the woman to get back into the seat, then with the man in the middle. She encroached on his seat significantly so naturally he leaned over on me and would for the entire flight. He never once looked up at me. It was a miserable flight for all three of us.
The middle seat behind us remained empty as the flight took off. When the flight attendant came around to take our drink orders, I glared at her with vicious dagger eyes of death.
When we arrived in Orlando, the man was clearly eager to get out of his seat and the young woman got herself up and out of the way. As the man stepped into the aisle, I raised all the armrests so the woman could sit down and relax a little. I chatted with her and asked if she would mind if I wrote a letter to Southwest about what happened. She agreed with me that what the flight attendant did seemed to be deliberate.
I waited to deplane until the back was empty. I went up to the flight attendant and with my most menacing mean face asked her in a snotty tone of voice what was her name. I mailed that letter the next day.
I’ll never forget that flight attendant and her name. If I ever see her again…well, I’ll spend that flight planning what I’ll say to her on my way out.”
She Thought She Was The Captain For Some Reason
“The American Airlines flight attendant who decided I, the captain, and all the passengers had no rights but she did.
I was on the first leg of a business class flight to Rio De Janeiro, which involved a commuter hop to LAX. I was first in line and at the door, with her legs and arms spread, was a flight attendant barring entrance. She insisted that my carry-on luggage, already approved, would have to be checked. She insisted they would not fit in either the luggage compartment or under the seat.
I gave my carry-on to the captain, standing behind her, and suggested he demonstrate to the flight attendant that it did in fact fit. He tried it, it fit. She would not budge. She told the captain that if the carry-on was allowed, she would quit. Captain replied that it was not her call. She still did not budge.
At this point, I became aware of a long line of people behind me and suggested a compromise where one of the carry-ons could be stowed in front. Turns out the flight attendant had her stuff there. Next, I agreed to have part of the carry-on placed in the luggage compartment. At this point, the captain told the still belligerent flight attendant to get away from the door and sit down.
I almost forgot that from the first sentence the flight attendant used the expression ‘my plane!’ as in ‘You are not boarding my plane with that carry-on!’”