The 15 Craziest Things Flight Attendants Have Seen on the Job
Flight attendants are always meeting new travelers, so it’s no surprise they’ve gathered some funny, scary, and just plain bizarre stories along the way.
“There were two older ladies who were sitting, and every time we would walk by, they would look uncomfortable but wouldn’t say anything. … Only afterwards did we investigate. There was an older man who had some sort of foot fetish or fascination with these two ladies’ feet, so he had crawled in under his seat and you couldn’t see him then. He was just kissing their feet and caressing and tickling their feet. They were so proper but so horrified that they were too embarrassed to talk about it.” —Merav Richter, flight attendant of 23 years. Here are 18 other (more common) things you should never do on a plane.
“This woman was walking off and was trying to hand another flight attendant her full sick bag. She said, ‘You can throw it away in the terminal but I can’t take it’ because it’s a biohazard basically. The passenger rips open the bag of vomit and throws it on my poor flight attendant, then scratches the flight attendant across the face. The cops came down and met us at the gate. This is why you don’t mix booze and sleeping pills.” —flight attendant with Southwest. Check out these other crazy flight stories from veteran airline workers.
“After a flight, I was cleaning the plane and realized a passenger had taken everything out of her seat pocket and put it on the seat. Luckily I was wearing gloves because I moved everything and there was a cow patty-sized turd on the seat. I don’t know how she did it without anyone seeing or saying anything.” —flight attendant with Southwest. Learn the genius way flight attendants deal with smelly bathrooms.
Let it slide
“One of the most random questions I have ever heard was from a lady who asked me how the emergency slides reached the ground, a normal question you may think. But the lady asked me as we were cruising at 39,000 feet. She believed that the slides could be inflated from up there and reach the ground!” —flight attendant who writes confessionsofatrolleydolly.com under the pen name “Dan Air”
“I had two twin boys on my flight. Their mom was in such pain trying to deal with the boys on a two-and-half-hour flight. She said she wanted to apologize for the mess, and I was thinking they’d smashed up animal crackers or something. But she’d spilled an entire thing of baby formula on the seat and stuffed a diaper in the seat pocket, and I found a hamburger patty on the seat, and one kid had vomited in the seat pocket. There’s not much we can do about it, so we had to block up the rows until we could get into another base.” —flight attendant with Southwest. Don’t miss these 21 airline worker secrets for flying with kids.
Limping through the terminal
It’s unsettlingly common to see items of clothing left behind on a flight. “The most random has to be the single and very expensive Christian Louboutin shoe. How the [heck] can you leave behind one shoe? Surely you would notice the limp you’d inevitably have as you disembarked, one foot six inches higher than the other. The female passenger in question, a minor TV ‘star’, had been enjoying the perks of first class and was rather worse for wear as she got off the aircraft at JFK. Blissfully unaware she was missing a shoe, the crew thankfully reunited her with the designer heel before she reached the top of the air-bridge.” —Air writes on confessionsofatrolleydolly.com
Some flights have a mini stable in the back of the plane to transport horses. If the animals start to act up, they’ll be tranquilized to avoid damaging the plane or passengers—but one time the tranquilizer didn’t work. “The horse did freak out, and when the handler came to take care of it, it kicked the handler and we had to supply medical first aid.” —Richter. Check out these other 32 surprising things pilots won’t tell you.
Polly want a plane ride?
“I’ve had an emotional support parrot before. They talk the whole time; he would say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’” —flight attendant with Southwest. Learn the one word you can say to make flight attendants like you.
“One of my favorite funny announcements made by a crew member once was: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please check in the seat pockets, underneath the seats, and in the overhead lockers. Any items left behind will be evenly distributed between the crew and you may end up buying back your lost property off eBay in the near future!’” —Air. Make sure you don’t do these things flight attendants wish you’d stop doing.