13 Weirdest Things People do on Airplanes

By: Freelance Contributor

Have you ever noticed that when people are in their cars they seem to forget they’re still in a public place? A similar phenomenon seems to happen when people are on airplanes as well. Flight attendants have a little inside saying: “When you check your bags, you check your brain” and while that may be a bit of an exaggeration, people really do some strange things on airplanes. The following examples were provided by real airline staff who actually witness these bizarre examples of human behavior all the time.


1. Change Diapers in Unsanitary Places

Changing your baby’s diaper during a flight is of course necessary, and changing them in the washroom or on a change pad is perfectly fine and acceptable. What isn’t acceptable (or sanitary for that matter) is changing a diaper right on the tray table or on the empty seat next to you with no protection. There’s likely another flight after yours and having to eat off a dirty tray table or sit in a dirty seat is just gross.

Changing Baby Diaper on Plane

2. Washroom Behavior

Many weird things happen in and around the airplane washroom. Some common occurrences are people using the toilet without closing the door or trying to violently open the door while it’s clearly marked occupied. Another is people missing the toilet entirely. One flight attendant recounted a time when someone entered the washroom and shortly after a steady stream of liquid started to flow out into the isle. So make sure you check the door and aim appropriately!

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

3. Gross Garbage

The flight crew is responsible for keeping the aircraft clean, which includes collecting trash from passengers but frequently people will hand over disgusting bodily fluids without any warning (dirty diapers or vomit bags). It’s courteous to give the crew some warning if you have some garbage that’s particularly gross so they can make sure they’re wearing gloves or have proper disposal at hand.

Airplane cabin

4. Adult Content

This one is a little hard to believe but people do in fact try to watch adult videos on their laptops/tablets/phones etc. often without even using ear phones! Another inappropriate act witnessed frequently are couples getting hot and heavy right in their seats, as well as those people who still think it’s fun to try and join ‘the mile high club’. Not very appropriate behavior on an airplane, especially with children around.


5. One for the Road

Apparently this one happens a lot: people leaving the airplane try to get some snacks and beverages (even alcoholic ones) for the road. Flight staff say there isn’t an unlimited supply and these snacks and beverages are for your comfort during the flight. It’s not time to cram your pockets full after landing, there are always shops in the airport!

Beer and chips

6. Lose Their Temper

Perhaps people lose patience at high altitudes because many tend to become irate if something is unavailable. For example, there are limited supplies on-board so it’s very possible the crew may run out of sandwiches or a certain soda. That’s no reason to throw a cup of ice at a flight attendant (as one stewardess recounted) if you can’t get what you want. Another problem that seems to send passengers into a fit of rage is the entertainment system not working. Flight crew can only do so much tech support themselves and will usually change your seat or comp you some food or drinks for this inconvenience …as long as you treat them with respect.

Angry face

7. Lose Their Manners

Similar to how people lose their temper, it seems they frequently lose their manners and expect the world as well. Many flight attendants say they get ‘poked’ a lot; hard and usually in the hips or bottom by passengers looking to get their attention. People also seem to become more impatient at altitude, both with flight staff and other passengers. We know that crying babies aren’t very fun to listen to but there’s nothing flight staff can do for them and the parents probably aren’t enjoying it either.

checking watch

8. Use the Cabin as a Cargo Plane

You would be surprised how many people try to bring large objects onto the plane rather than check them as luggage/cargo. This is most common with people whose families are living in another country as they’ll try to fly things to them without paying for shipping. Items that have been attempted on-board include fans, sinks, televisions, purses, even animals! Sometimes people also bring overweight bags too heavy for them to lift into the overhead and contrary to popular belief, flight attendants aren’t actually required to help with bags, they do it sometimes as a courtesy.

9. Use the Airplane as a Gym

According to our sources, this happens more often than you think: Passengers trying to do yoga and other exercises in the aisles or back ally space of the plane. Stretching your legs is one thing and perfectly acceptable, especially on long flights but trying to get in a workout during your flight is another.



10. Wear Absurd Outfits

While many people do like to dress nicely when flying, others opt for more comfortable attire which is perfectly fine, but then there’s the downright inappropriate: adults wearing pajamas, women in sky high heels they can’t walk in, skimpy clothing, and even bikinis have all been seen on people in the cabins. This is especially inappropriate (not to mention gross) when scantily clad vacationers are coming back from their sunny holidays and shedding their sunburnt skin all over the plane.

11. Groom Themselves

This would be more acceptable if it happened in the lavatory but we’re talking about passengers grooming themselves right in their seats. People have been seen trimming their finger and toe nails, often leaving the trimmings on tray tables, doing their make-up, and even putting rollers in their hair. The airplane is not a spa!

Trimming nails

12. Get Wasted

It’s never a good idea to have too many drinks while flying, however many passengers seem to think it’s a good time to get drunk, often leading to inappropriate/obscene behavior and sometimes even leading to arrest upon arrival. It’s not cool when the flight staff have to play the role of bouncer. Remember, 1 drink in the air is like 2 on the ground!

Drinks on Plane

13. Pretend They Speak another Language

Passengers coming back from their sunny southern vacations frequently ask the flight staff “una cerveza por favor?” or use other ‘vacation phrases’ as if they were still in another country. We get that you probably had a great time on your holiday but just because you spent a week in Cancun doesn’t make you bilingual and after you board the plane just use your first language.