What Flight Attendants Wish They Could Tell Passengers

6 minute read

Whether it’s to keep their jobs or to maintain the peace, there are some things that airline workers just can’t tell travelers.

But sharing some of these things, while perhaps controversial, could be to their, your, and other passengers’ benefit, if only someone would say something.

So Business Insider asked more than 80 airline workers including flight attendants, gate agents, ticket agents, and other airport customer service reps to weigh in on what they’d love to tell passengers but can’t.

We’ve anonymously included some of the more constructive insights here:

‘I’m not talking to hear myself speak’

“I’m tasked with carrying out the rules and regulations set forth by FAA. I risk a possible fine if I don’t do what I am tasked to do. There is always a reason we say the things we say.” — A flight attendant

‘No, we can’t just give you a free upgrade’

“Different airlines have different rules, but a change or upgrade can get you fired these days. And it’s not worth our jobs. The airline computer system tracks everything, and big brother can be watching us.” — An airline customer service agent

Read more: Airline workers share some of the most bizarre things they’ve seen in their line of duty

‘Griping to crew about things they can’t control changes nothing’

“You’re venting, which is fine. But it won’t change anything. Speak to the folks who make the decisions and the big bucks. We didn’t choose the wifi system. We didn’t choose the leg room. We didn’t choose to charge for certain things. I’d love to have it all free and roomy and completely reliable!” — A flight attendant

‘Just relax — deep breaths’

“Is your issue really as serious as the stress you are causing to yourself and others?” — An airline customer service agent

‘Behave yourself’

“You are sitting next to a Federal Air Marshal, so put away that tequila you bought in Duty Free.” — A flight attendant

‘Be more considerate of your fellow travelers’

“Cutting your toenails, flossing your teeth, putting on nail polish, and talking loudly on your cell phone shouldn’t be done in public in the gate areas while you’re waiting for your flight.” — An airline customer service agent

‘Stop waiting till the last minute’

“If you show up to the airport with 20 minutes to spare, you might miss the flight. It is not like taking the bus. Plan ahead.” — An airline customer service agent

‘Keep your shoes on’

“That’s not water you’re stepping on in the bathroom.” — A flight attendant

‘We wish we were staffed better so we could give you the service you deserve’

“If it seems like we are forgetting about you, we are not. We just have minimum crew. Usually we are staffed with one flight attendant for every 50 passengers. We need better staffing.” — A flight attendant

‘Stop blaming us for flight cancellations’

“No, we don’t have spare airplanes to use if there is a cancellation.” — An airline customer service agent

‘An airplane is not a grocery store’

“We are 30,000 feet in the air — we have what we have today.” — A flight attendant

‘You don’t need to pack everything and the kitchen sink’

“Inexperienced international travelers don’t realize the size of taxis and public transportation in the cities they are visiting. That extra-large suitcase is not going to fit in a trunk of a cab. And you might often have to walk a distance to your hotel, which means dragging all your luggage with you. You really can get by with less when you travel.” — An airline customer service agent

‘You’re not the only one …’

“I’m afraid of turbulence, too.” — A flight attendant

‘Don’t keep bugging the gate agents with questions they have already answered in their announcements’

“They are working with a time crunch, and all those extra questions are keeping them from doing their work.” — An airline customer service agent

Read more: Airline workers share their 22 best tips for making travel less painful

‘You could get arrested for doing whatever you want’

“US law requires compliance with lighted and posted signs and crew member instructions.” — A flight attendant

‘We can’t control the weather’

“I kid you not: I had someone tell me that we had technology to control fog. We don’t.” — An airline customer service agent

‘Don’t touch me’

“It is never OK to tug on someone’s clothes to get their attention, no matter how loud the environment may be.” — A flight attendant


“Travelers think we are being rude when we tell them, ‘No, you can’t do what you want to.’ We tell them no because we are enforcing the rules that have been made up by our company, not by us personally. The rules are there for a reason — not to make traveling harder but to make it safer.” — An airline customer service agent

‘It is a federal crime to assault (and that includes credible verbal threats) an airport worker’

“If you threaten us, you can be arrested. We will call the police, and you will not fly. The punishment for assaulting us is a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison.” — An airline customer service agent

‘Please don’t exercise in our galley’

“The galley is our only work area, and we have nowhere else to go because our seats are in the galley by the doors.” — A flight attendant

‘You’re in close quarters’

“Take a shower before you fly.” — A flight attendant

‘I am not your servant’

“I’m not your maid or your waitress or your babysitter, either.” — A flight attendant

‘You need my help?’

“Treat me right, and you will get the best I can give you.” — An airline customer service agent

“You get more with honey than with vinegar.” — An airline customer service agent

Read more: 15 things everyone gets wrong about working for an airline, according to flight attendants and gate agents who do

‘You cannot drink your own alcohol on an aircraft’

“A lot of people just don’t know. They think, ‘I’ll order a glass of ice, and a thing of tonic, and we’ll just open up the bar.’ It’s a big no-no. That’s just bad etiquette, and it’s a huge Federal Aviation regulation and up to an $11,000 fine. It’s a very expensive drink, so just don’t do it.” — A flight attendant

‘It’s not all about you’

“You’re not the only person here.” — An airline customer service agent

‘We’re all human’

“A little more patience and understanding on both ends will make for a better flying experience.” — A flight attendant

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com

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