While fast and a ready form a transportation, many people still find flight travel to be their worst nightmare. Airports already provide plenty of terror on their own with their long lines and confusing layout. To make matters worse, passengers don't make it any easier. Especially the entitled ones. Here, flight attendants share stories of their most entitled passengers. All stories have been edited for clarity.
“Why Don’t You Put That Away Now”
“My mom was a flight attendant in her 20s. Asked her for a story:
Her first week flying, there was a group of wasted men on the flight. At one point when returning to quiet them down again, one of the fellows had his wang out on full display for her in all its flaccid glory. She says to him very politely and a bit taken aback, ‘Why don’t you put that away now?’
This wasted man flat out says to her, ‘Why don’t you put it away for me?’ with the most revolting smug smile on his face.
My mom responded, ‘I’d be happy to do that for you, but you’d never be able to use it again.’”
Sure, You Can Be The First To Board
“I once got stranded at Newark for 22 hours after our flight had an unfixable fault and was cancelled late at night. We got put up in a hotel but, understandably by the time the new flight rolled around, everyone was quite tired and agitated.
As we are waiting to board the new flight, the flight attendant announces they would be boarding people with additional needs and families with young children first, followed by first class, then premium economy, etc. All pretty standard stuff, obviously it can take a bit longer for people in wheelchairs to board so makes sense for them to go on first – it’s common on most airlines, I believe.
Anyway, this business dude races to the front of the crowd and starts yelling at the attendant, saying it was, ‘disgusting that he had lost a day due to their INCOMPETENCE and now he had to wait even longer despite being a first class passenger and paying a lot of money every year to fly with them!’
The worst part is, he’s looking at others in the crowd to back him up, like it’s perfectly reasonable to scream at this woman who, like us, had also been stranded, had most likely had very little sleep, and was doing her best to do her job in this difficult situation.
But she was awesome. Without missing a beat, she smiled, nodded, and said, ‘Ok sir,’ then made a big point of leaning into her mic and telling the waiting line of people in wheelchairs and mothers with babies that this gentleman needed to board before them and could they please wait.
Literally every single person at the gate was looking at this guy with disgust as he tries to backtrack and say he doesn’t mind waiting for the first group, but the attendant says, ‘No, no. You made yourself quite clear – let’s get you boarded, the others will have to wait.’ He is humiliated as he sheepishly walks by. She handled it perfectly.”
Not Your Trash Man
“I remember flying into SFO and going through the final walkthrough-asking everyone to wake up, buckle up, headrests forward, tray tables up, and collect trash. Halfway through, the pilot said ‘Flight attendants, be seated immediately,’ which indicates a lot of upcoming turbulence. So I quickly started to trot through with my trash bag bag to my jump seat when a man yelled, ‘HEY!’ I was a few rows past him and he had his cup and wet wipe in his hand. I quickly said, ‘I have to sit down,’ and turned back towards the back galley.
Then I felt something hit me.
I looked back and he had thrown his trash at me and was staring at me. I heard a few people gasp and everyone in the last eight rows or so was tuned in to the drama. I pick up the trash, walked over to his row, and said, ‘I am sorry, I cannot take trash right now. The pilot has indicated that I need to sit down,’ and tossed the trash back on his lap.
He just kind of stared at me with a defiant look in his face and held out the trash again as if I was going to take it. I turned and left. I heard him yell a few more times but he didn’t throw anything.”
One Angry Pizza Man
“I was on a flight from New York City to Portland. Only empty seat was next to me, a middle seat.
Door is about to close when a large sweaty man comes running onto the plane to claim the empty seat. He was carrying a full size pizza box…
All overhead bins were already closed and full but that didn’t stop him from proceeding to open them to find a place to stash his pizza. The stewardess kindly informed him that he couldn’t put his pizza in an overhead bin. ‘But it’ll get stepped on!’ he gruffly informs her. She proceeded to tell him to take his seat and put the pizza in front of him. He told her that he flies with pizza all the time and has never been treated this way. He persisted but as their argument was getting pretty heated, he finally succumbed and put the pizza under the seat in front of him and sat down.
The stewardesses have now started the safety video/demonstration and he pulls out a flip phone and proceeds to make a call. I can tell he’s going through menus, so I’m thinking he’s calling Delta to complain. Nope, turns out to be his landline phone company. He had been late paying his bill and was trying to get them to waive the late fee. They wouldn’t. He is arguing with them. Plane has pushed back from the gate and is headed toward the runway at this point.
Stewardess comes over and tells him he needs to put his phone away, NOW. He motions with his hand to say ‘one minute.’
‘No, sir, it needs to be put away NOW.’ He flips it shut dramatically mid-sentence and puts it in his pocket. The stewardess walks back to the front of the plane. He then decides to stretch. I’m pretty much plastered to the wall trying to stay out of his way as he extends his arms up, and then to the side, etc. and then twists in his seat back and forth, clearly agitated. He then extends his arms up, stretches out his fingers and proceeds to crack his knuckles very expressively one at a time, sorta like a primary school bully would do on the playground before they were gonna beat you up. During that whole knuckle cracking process, he made an obscene gesture toward the flight attendant.
Next thing I know, I can tell we’re pulling back into the gate. ‘Flight attendants prepare for arrival and cross check.’ Door opens. Cockpit door opens. Captain comes to our row. ‘Sir, I understand you were harassing my flight attendant. I need you to leave the plane now.’ The pizza man attempted to argue and even asks me and the other neighboring passenger if we had witnessed anything. Clearly the pilot wasn’t budging on his decision, so the guy got his pizza off the floor and left the plane. Door closed and we departed, now with an empty seat next to me.”
Your Bag, Your Problem
“I’m working up at the boarding door and toward the end of boarding, just as we’re about to close up, we had a high ranking passenger in our loyalty program come on (sitting in first class where there is absolutely NO overhead bin space for his bag. He walks through, opens one bin, which happens to be full, then drops his bag in the aisle and demands I find a spot for it. I play the friendly card and I go through opening bins until I finally find one with a space for his luggage. I just stand there in front of the bin. He hauls his bag back a good 12 rows and sets it down in front of me. I look at him. Look at his bag. Look at the bin. Then look back at him and wait. He then proceeds to speak, ‘YOU need to put my bag up!’
I replied, ‘Not happening. You tow it, you stow it. Otherwise, I’m checking it. Our work will not cover us if we get injured lifting passenger’s baggage.’ He huffed a bit and slammed his suitcase in the overhead bin. Glared at me and proceeded to march his way up to the front to sit down. The best part about this was that because he was the last person on board, the plain clothes agent was right behind him while this whole incident happened. She saw his attitude and said, ‘Get up. You’re not going on a flight until you learn some manners,’ and pulled him off. It was sweet, sweet justice.”
Worst Family Ever
“About a year ago on a flight from SAC to SEA, a woman with a service dog came onto the plane. She sat in the front row of seats on a Southwest flight. After pre-boarding, a very hammered man, his wife, and their baby came on the plane. The man demanded that the woman with the service dog move because he wanted the front seats for his family. When she told him she would not move, he began grabbing her bags and throwing them in the aisle. The attendants came and told him that he could not move a passengers seat. He then grabbed the service dog by the harness and began yanking it out into the aisle. The woman was crying at this point, begging for help. The man was told that if he continued, he and his family would have to de-board the plane. This made the man stop, but put his carry-on in the bin above where the woman was sitting before taking a seat further back.
The entire flight there were complaints that his wife was holding their baby on the tray table, who was pulling the passenger’s hair in front of them, she was changing diapers in the seat, and storing them in the seat pocket in front of them. When the plane landed, the man and his wife pushed through the aisles, yelling that they needed their carry on. In the process, they shoved a woman with a full leg brace and a cane back into her seat. Finally, they were removed from the plane. However, it was too late. The damage had already been done. This was by far the worst set of passengers I have ever encountered on a plane.”
Control Your Kid Please
“There was this kid in customs who was going nuts. He was driving people crazy in the departure area. On the flight, he had a full-sized metal Tonka truck that he was running up and down the aisle with. He smacked me on the head and nearly hit my mom in front of me. I grabbed it before he could hit my mom who was very frail and on blood thinners. I gave it to a crew member who refused to give it back to the family.
The family also refused to seat him until it was announced that there would be no food or beverage service until the aisle was cleared. Another woman grabbed the kid and returned him to his family. They would let him run loose again as soon as service was over. Finally, someone from the cockpit had to come back and tell the family we couldn’t start the landing approach until the brat was in his seat. They put him in his seat – screaming like crazy. As soon as descent started, they let him up and he was running up and down the aisle as we landed.
The captain ordered everyone to stay in their seats and that only families with small children would be allowed to deplane at first – they smirked their way down the aisle. My mom walked with a cane, getting off was hard for her. Since we were at our final destination, we just waited till the aisles were clear. When we got off, you could hear the kid screaming 1/2 way down the jetway. A police officer was holding him and the rest of the family were in handcuffs.”
Please Stay Seated
“I was on a plane where half the plane were ignoring the rules. When we touched down, these people immediately got up walking around and started taking their bags out of the overheads. Mind you, the plane hasn’t parked, it’s just literally touched the floor of the landing strip, so its still moving and it’s dangerous for half the people on the plane to be moving around and taking all their heavy bags down above every one else’s heads. The flight attendants are now desperately trying to get these people to sit down until the plane stops moving and some people were waving their hands at them dismissively. I think the captain heard the commotion and the flight attendants half yelling because the plane did a VERY abrupt stop which knocked over all the people standing up and then continued to park. The flight attendant then said, ‘This is EXACTLY why we have rules.'”
Why Don’t You Stand?!
“Once, my father and I were first in line for pre-boarding on our flight to the Cleveland Clinic from Atlanta due to my extreme migraine disorder, cluster headaches, and general frailty. A large 30-something woman in a wheelchair behind us said, ‘Excuse me! You’re too young to need to pre-board! Let us older people go. You can stand!’
I responded that although I could stand, I could not do so for very long, and needed to be seated ASAP. She continued to berate us while I was in agonizing pain, and with a migraine aura which meant that I couldn’t see. I passed out while leaning on the gate desk and the woman essentially started screaming to ‘stop faking it’ and to move aside.
My wonderful Papa told me later that he responded, ‘As if we could move out of your way and still make our flight.’ The woman was shrieking at this point, and needed to be wheeled away to be calmed down, being told that she could either calm down at the gate or calm down with TSA.”
“I Hope Those Two Are Divorced Now”
“A few years ago, my wife and I were going down to Mexico for friend’s wedding. I just remember seeing a young lady getting very flustered at the ticket counter. She was demanding a seat next to her husband. As we started to board the flight, an attendant pulled my wife aside to say she had a seat change. We knew exactly what it was about and just laughed. We are very flexible and just excited for the trip. So as I settle into my seat the before mentioned ‘adult child’ comes and sits next to me. She started the small talk with how the airlines are so mean and they had the hardest time getting seats next to each other. I just causally mentioned, ‘Yeah I know, my wife was suppose to be in your seat but someone threw a fit about it.’ Overall good flight, they kept to themselves. I hope those two are divorced now.”
Proper Plane Etiquette
“I am a college student and thus naturally people think that it would be much easier to force me into switching seats.
There was this one time I was on a really long flight from Chicago to India. I usually never haggle much about seat and am pretty cool about switching if people ask me for it since I hate conflict. This time I was fortunate enough to get one of those front seat with a lot of legroom. I knew this seemed too good to be true and that at any moment a couple with a baby would ask for the seat, at which I wold cave.
Minutes later, just as I predicted, this couple came up to me asking me to switch because they had a baby and the father was sitting next to me. The mother had a middle seat way back into the plane for a very long flight. I was hesitant, but with 3 people awkwardly waiting on me to say yes, I eventually caved.
As I was moving my stuff, one of my small empty plastic bottles fell from my bag and nearly hit the father. Now, you have to understand this was one of those light plastic water bottles that would barely hurt if you tried to hit someone with it let alone when it falls from your bag. But for some reason, that angered the father into believing that it could have somehow seriously injured their baby. Even after apologizing to him for a solid minute, he kept shouting at me about how careless I was and that I need to learn plane etiquette.
That just did it for me. I told him that I was no longer comfortable with the switch and just went back to my seat and pretended super hard to fall asleep. The entire flight, he did try his best to annoy me such as fighting me on the hand rest and making it hard for me to move around, but I never felt so good about my ‘plane etiquette.'”
“Not The Best Time As It Turns Out”
“We were flying through really, really, really bad turbulence, seat belt sign obviously on, and everyone seated and hanging on for dear life. Guy gets up out of his business class seat and attempts to make way towards the toilet, cannoning off other passengers and accidentally elbowing one lady in face, breaking her nose. Amidst the screams from the lady, I tell him to sit down immediately. His response: ‘No, it’s fine. I’m a Platinum Frequent Flyer, it’s fine.’ Dumbfounded by that level of stupidity and entitlement, I try and help the lady with the broken bloody nose, ignoring the assist bell from the bathroom. He later emerges, enraged that we hadn’t responded to the toilet bell to help him. Yep, you guessed it, he’d pee’d all over himself because of the turbulence. Not the best time to use the bathroom as it turns out.”
You’re Just Flying Economy
“I was late to the airport due to heavy traffic and missed the cutoff for the baggage drop and hence my flight. Someone directed me over to the customer service desk to see about being rebooked on another flight. As it turns out, the next flight had one seat free and the customer service rep was happy to move me.
Whilst this was being done, another man was standing next to me at the desk, arguing with the customer service person because he’d also missed his flight, and demanding that he be rebooked on the next flight because he had a meeting to get to and he was very important and why are you not rebooking me, don’t you know you’re just staff and should be doing as you’re told? This guy was being way too rude for something that wasn’t even the airline’s fault.
The rep serving him says, ‘We can’t get you on a flight to Brisbane until later tonight as they’re all full, however we do have a flight to the Gold Coast, which is only an hour away from Brisbane, in an hour. Otherwise, you can take your chances on someone not turning up for a Brisbane flight and you can go on standby. Which of those would you prefer?’
The dude starts on a rant saying that’s not good enough, he HAS to be in Brisbane for a meeting and they WILL find him a seat on the next direct flight to Brisbane. The rep says, ‘No, I’ve provided the options available to you, which of those would you prefer?’
The obnoxious guy then starts another rant, ending it with, ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM AND HOW IMPORTANT I AM?’
The rep has clearly had enough of this nonsense and says, ‘Mate, I don’t care who you are, and if you’re flying economy, you’re clearly nobody important. Which option do you want?’
The guy went off on another rant, but I think he soon realized he wasn’t getting anything other than the options provided.”