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What Annoys Flight Attendants and Pilots the Most?

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What annoys flight attendants and pilots the most during the course of their job? There are many potential annoyances to a flight attendant and pilot, and we wanted to find out what about passenger’s behavior or requests annoys them the most. We reached out to flight attendants and pilots across the country to hear what they had to say in response to this question.

Before we get into the responses we received, here is what Never Gibbs, a writer and entertainer sent in on how you can avoid annoying flight attendants:

"Ma'am (or Sir if it is a Steward,) I'll be napping through the flight. Would you wake me for coffee? And not the unleaded kind please? I have 3 black belts, am a really nice guy, am overqualified in CPR and Field Triage, know which end of a Mae West is up and I can land the plane if I have to." Delivered with a smile.

Maybe it's the Cowboy hat, the John Wayne Walk, the Sean Connery smile or the bedroom eyes that does it. I've never ever had a problem on a flight and the crews like me.

There are a lot of reasons and a complete list of why your Flight Stewards and Stewardesses hate you online. Try to be a nice person, behave yourself and enjoy the flight. Play nice, smile often and be polite. Or she may have the Captain have me to toss you out of a cargo door...

Now it's time to go over rest of the responses. Here is what people had to say on what annoys flight attendants. If you're a current or former flight attendant or pilot and you want to share what has annoyed you the most, please feel free to share in the comments below the article.

What annoyed me most was the passengers that allowed their kids to run up and down the aisles even during take-off and landing. I pretty much saw it all as a flight attendant. But not keeping the children under control was downright dangerous.

Sherry Thomas
President, Palm Beach Etiquette

One thing that irks me [there's a segment in my book about this too] is when passengers stow their roll-aboard bags in the first empty bin that they come to, rather than a bin above or near their seat. You'll see a guy stow his Tumi bag above 4A, then go take his seat in row 35. This causes the forward bins to fill up quickly, forcing later-boarding passengers, who are typically seated in the forward rows, to travel backwards, to stow their luggage, then forward again opposite the flow of traffic.

The already tedious boarding process becomes that much slower. Then, after landing, these same passengers have to again move backwards, against the flow, to retrieve their things.

Patrick Smith
Airline Pilot, Author, and Blogger
Author of Cockpit Confidential: Everything you Need to Know About Air Travel

I'm no expert since I was only a flight attendant for 4 months, but I flew on tiny 51 seater regional planes and the regular business flyers would always ask if I could hang up their suit jacket. Every plane is different and we did have a closet area, but it was only meant for crew baggage. Our company even had rules against taking special requests such as that because it was strictly a crew closet, and also because there was not enough room for every passengers' jacket (so as not to play favorites). At times the frequent flyers can seem intimidating because they've had different experiences with different flight attendants, but once you state your reasoning for denying their requests they usually understand that we have to abide by certain rules. The frequent flyers are also the best advice givers since some of them pay attention enough to learn the tricks of the trade, and most are willing to share them with you...especially if you are new and they notice they can help!

Nicole Kruzel

In the results of the BEMOSA project, we interviewed security and other employees in 8 airports across Europe.
We discovered that "unmanaged drunken passengers" were considered the most serious threat to everyday operations, not only for security staff but also for other airport employees. If this is the case in the airport itself where a pool of options to manage this potentially serious (and certainly costly) type of behavior is available (e.g., airport police, security employees, etc.), then the more so in an aircraft where the number of options is much narrower and potential threat greater.

Professor Avi Kirschenbaum
Kirschenbaum Consulting Ltd
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