10 Things NOT to Say to a Flight Attendant

By: Lindsay MacNevin
withGod / Shutterstock.com

It seems that it is everyone’s dream job, jetting off to places you can only dream about. But being a flight attendant isn’t always about having fun, meeting new people and exploring new places. In fact it seems that the majority of passengers these days are downright rude, miserable and panicky. Crying babies, delays, drunken passengers and ignorance are a big part of everyday life for flight attendants. If you want to make their day just a little bit better and move from being the rude, ignorant passenger to the nice passenger, we suggest never ever saying these 10 things to your next flight attendant.


10. Is there anything else to eat?

Let’s review what happens when they load the airplane with food. The crew comes on, loads the tiny little carts with a select number of meals, sandwiches, snacks, etc and that is all the food on the plane. The plane takes off into the air and there is no possible other way of food getting onto the aircraft. If a flight attendant offers you ‘chicken or vegetables’, I assure you that there is not another option. Whatever they are telling you is the only option and if you don’t like it, that’s just too darn bad. As for flights that don’t offer anything other than a snack, same thing applies. There is one snack, take it or leave it, and next time pack your own food instead of complaining about ours.

Airplane Food

9. I am sorry to bother you but…..

The fact of the matter is if you were actually sorry about bothering me, you wouldn’t bother me. It is a flight attendant’s job to get you a drink, ensure you are staying safe, grab you a blanket if you are cold, etc. Therefore please stop saying sorry. If you actually need something that requires the flight attendants assistance, you don’t need to apologize because it is their job. On the other hand if you are ringing the call button and apologizing because you are asking for them to watch your children; “sorry to bother you but can you hold my baby”, then that is not okay. Bothering flight attendants for mundane reasons is not okay, they have a job to do to.

Call button

8. Am I going to make my connection?

Flight attendants are not psychic. Now just repeat that three times in your head. They are only privy to the information that is shared with them via the pilots, the air traffic controllers and the airport. Therefore if you are asking midway through your flight if you are going to make your connection, chances are they have no idea. They cannot predict what the weather will be like for the rest of your flight nor do they know if they will hold your plane for you. There are hundreds, even thousands of different scenarios that can play out in the time it takes you to get off the plane and run to your connecting gate that no one can in fact know the answer to this. Your best bet if you think you are going to miss your connection, is to start running, really fast once you exit the plane.

Scared Passenger

7. I will turn my phone off in just one minute.

This is perhaps the most annoying thing you can say to a flight attendant, and it may be obsolete in a few short years as cell phone use is becoming more and more common on major airlines. But for now, certain airlines make you turn off your cellular device, or at least turn it on airplane mode. Talking obnoxiously on the phone while you are sitting in your seat and the flight attendant is trying to get others settled in, brief emergency exit door passengers and making sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt is just downright annoying to all those people around you. Then to tell the flight attendant; who is ensuring your safety by the way, that they need to wait a moment while you finish you phone call is just rude. You know you are boarding the plane at a certain time, you know you have to get off your phone call, so do everyone a favor and switch your phone off when they tell you to.

Airplane phone


6. What kind of drinks do you have?

Even if you are a first time flyer, it is pretty obvious that airplanes have a select number of drinks on-board. Asking a flight attendant to list off all the drink choices is not like asking a server at a bar to list off draft choices. First off, your non-alcoholic drinks are most likely free, therefore just pick a regular soft drink or juice and ask for it. If they don’t have, they will mention something similar they do have. If you really can’t figure out something to order just reach into that seat pocket in front of you, there is probably a menu in there that lists your options. If that doesn’t help you, please just do everyone a favor and order water. Your flight attendant has 100 other people to serve and doesn’t have time to list off the 14 different drinks they have available.

withGod / Shutterstock.com
withGod / Shutterstock.com

5. Can you watch my kids?

If you look up the definition of a flight attendant, nowhere does it say the word ‘babysitter’. That is because they are not there to watch your kids. To you it may seem like the perfect excuse to hand off your baby to a stranger for 5 minutes while you run to the washroom but this is a horrible idea. What if something goes wrong in those 5 minutes and the flight attendant cannot do their job because your baby is now in their arms? Plus let’s be honest, as cute are your crying baby may be to you, the flight attendant probably isn’t going to think so when they are screaming in their face. If you want any chance of the flight attendant slipping an extra cookie your way to calm down your two year old who is throwing a temper tantrum; do not ask them to ever watch your kids for you.

airport 12

4. Can you put my bag up there for me?

If you cannot lift your carry-on bag above your head, you should not be carrying it. The rule is pretty straightforward. Your carry-on bag will likely have to be stored in the overhead compartments and guess what; you are responsible for getting it up there. Did you think that in flight attendant training they practiced lifting up people’s bags for them? The answer is no, they are not responsible for lifting your heavy bag that you tried to cram your entire life into. If you do ask this question plan on getting a dirty look shot at you by the flight attendant, followed by a snicker which will quickly remind you that placing your bag up top is your responsibility. Also don’t plan on getting any special service after you have asked this question, it is one of the most offensive.

Overhead Baggage

3. Why are we delayed?

Let’s go back to the idea that flight attendants are not psychic. Therefore if they aren’t making announcements about why you are delayed, they probably don’t know themselves. You see, contrary to people’s beliefs, the airline actually does want passengers to know what is going on. Leaving passengers in the dark about why delays are happening leads to unhappy flyers, unhappy flight attendants and an overall terrible experience. Therefore flight attendants are apt to make an announcement when they know what is happening. Delays happen, every single minute of every single day for millions of reasons. Your best bet is to sit tight because whether you know or not, it doesn’t change to fact you are stuck in a metal tube with no way out.

Passenger Announcement

2. I sure hope these pilots know what they are doing.

It is the most idiotic statement you can make, either to the person sitting next to you or the flight attendant, but they hear it all the time. Do you actually think the airline went to Joe Schmuck last week and asked him if he wanted to try flying a plane, and then just hired him as a pilot with no prior experience? NO! Of course the pilots know what they are doing. They have gone through years of training, hours upon hours of flying and if you seriously doubt that fact, perhaps you shouldn’t be flying with that airline. Do not ever utter these words, to a flight attendant, to anyone. Ever.

pilots cockpit


1. Can I get a free upgrade?

If they wanted to upgrade you for free, trust me, they would have. That’s the thing that passengers don’t quite understand about the airline world. First up, if you wanted an upgrade you should have asked before you got onto the plane because chances are, you would have had a better shot. Secondly, why would a flight attendant upgrade you for free while all those other people in first class have paid big money to sit there? Are you famous? Are you someone who deserves a free upgrade? I can almost guarantee if you ask for a free upgrade from a flight attendant they will say no, and probably not give you any free drinks either. Stop asking for things for free.

Airplane Upgrade