10 Things You Should Never Do On Your Flight

It’s absolutely true that there are citizens of the planet Earth who have NEVER stepped foot onto an airplane. It’s shocking, but it’s accurate. I don’t get it, but it’s the truth. It’s mind-blowing and bizarre, but so was the election of Donald J. Trump. These “new” flyers are easy to spot because they walk on the airplane as if they are stepping onto the bridge of the U.S.S Enterprise. It’s a Boeing 737, not a space cruiser. It’s like watching a straight guy enter a gay club for the first time. They step off the jet bridge, walk a few feet inside the airplane, and their eyes grow wider than mine when I see Halo Top ice cream on sale at the grocery store. (Have you tried Halo Top? It’s life changing.) It’s so new they can’t contain themselves. They giggle. They point. They look in the flight deck and they usually need help reading their boarding pass. It’s almost too much for some of these passengers. As these newbies step on, and I greet them with a smile, I often feel the urge to politely remind them that (a) this is not a space ship and (b) we’re on our way to San Diego and NOT Europa. Can you imagine that flight? I complain about working a flight from JFK to Las Vegas, Talk about sore fucking feet. Oy vey! 

There are hundreds — thousands? — of lists for airline passengers out there, I can’t even keep up. Honestly, I’ve written my share, and guess what — I’ve written another one. This one is for people who need a friendly reminder about a few basics they should never be found guilty of on a flight, whether it’s a flight to: London, Honolulu, or — if you are reading this in 2284 — the dwarf planet, Ceres.


1. Letting that little tyrant run around the airplane

As annoyed as you are with your child, believe me that everyone else on the airplane is equally annoyed. We hate your kid. We hate you for bringing your kid. Nobody on this planet likes a kid on the airplane. And don’t start shaking your head and saying, “Oh… my Billy is so sweet on–” No. He’s an asshole. Kids are assholes. Plain and simple. Passengers who travel sans children (like me) get that you’re embarrassed that your kid is an asshole. We get it. We almost feel bad for you, but you were the one who decided to destroy your life with a kid. Why the hell do the rest of us have to suffer after spending $1200 to fly to Seattle for the weekend? On a recent commute, I was seated in the exit row with enough leg room to teach a line dancing class. This dad was allowing his — maybe threeish year old? — daughter to run up and down the fucking aisle. Up and down. Up and down. They eventually found themselves in the exit row, and the toddler found herself tripping and planting her jaw on the tip of my shoe. She screamed. I looked at the dad the same way I look at people who buy annual passes to the Creation Museum. 


2. Bringing too many luggage pieces inside the airplane

This is literally one of those broken record moments. I think I’ve said this about 1,000 times, so here’s 1,001. Each airline has different requirements. Some airlines charge for all carry on bags. I know, that’s fucked up. But it is what it is. Most airlines allow you to bring ONE carry on bag (that fits in the overhead bin) and ONE personal item (that fits under the seat in front of you) on the airplane. That’s TWO items. That’s it. That’s all she wrote. Not one carry on bag, a personal item, and a Disney bag of souvenirs. Not two carry on bags, a purse, a bag full of big black dildos, a backpack, your camera bag, and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s one plus one, which equals two. Basic math. 


3. Hang out in the galley

You won’t believe how many passengers stand in the galley, with their asses in the flight attendants face, like it’s acceptable behavior. Nobody wants your ass in their face unless you bought them dinner and multiple drinks. Alright, maybe an inflight movie. But that’s it. You might have heard a flight attendant say to you, “Please stand on the carpet in the aisle,” which translates to, “I’m trying to eat my dinner in the five minutes a call bell isn’t going off and you doing yoga next to my $15.00 salad is NOT good for me.” Also, it’s unsafe to have four people crowded in the galley. If the lady in 23A starts having a heart attack, I have to get to here ASAP, and I shouldn’t have to be pushing people out of the galley (technically, the flight attendant’s space) to do my job. Stay in the aisle, or even better — at that expensive seat you paid money for.


4. Be told more than once about wearing the seat belt

Please, for the love of Madonna Ciccone, wear your fucking seat belt WHENEVER YOU ARE SEATED. I even put that in the title of my book, Fasten Your Seat Belts And Eat Your Fucking Nuts. Yes, that was a book plug, but it’s my blog, so I can do whatever I want. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if the seat belt sign is turned on, turned off, or fucking broken. If the sign is turned off, and you need to use the lavatory, do the following:

(a) Double check to make sure the seat belt sign is off

(b) Unbuckle seat belt

(c) Use lavatory. No standing in galley. Please see above #3.

(d) Return to seat and immediately fasten seat belt

If the seat belt sign is on… stay your ass in the seat. Don’t ask the flight attendant if you can get up when the seat belt sign is on… because the answer is always NO. 


5. Ignore your flight attendant when you board the airplane

What would happen if you walked into a restaurant and ignored the server? You wouldn’t get served, right? You’d sit there staring at the menu while acting like your server was invisible. You’d never ignore the employee seating you in a restaurant, so why ignore the flight attendant when you walk on the airplane? Do you know how many people ignore me as they walk on the airplane? Well, if there are 200 seats on the airplane, I’d guess half the people act like I’m invisible. I know I’ve lost some weight but not enough to see through me. Do passengers have zero respect for the people who will serve them drinks, food, snacks, hold their kids while they go to the lavatory, help them with their bags because they can’t reach the overhead bin, save their life with the AED if they have a heart attack, or ask the person next to them to put their shoes back on because their feet stink? Would you believe me if I told you that people have actually talked shit to me on social media because I expect passengers to greet me when I address them? Well, it’s happened. Flight Attendant Joe’s the bad guy because I called out rude people on the airplane. Think about that the next time you order your third Diet Coke on your flight to Orlando. I often compare the flight attendant role to other jobs, and I will say — without stuttering — that people disrespect flight attendants more than almost any other job in the country. And that’s just from my experience.


6. Bitch about the airplane temperature

Bring a blanket, sweater, or layer up. At least once per flight, a passenger will address me aggressively about the temperature of the airplane. Usually, it’s too cold. There’s this myth out there that we keep the airplane cold so you’ll buy a blanket. You know what, fuck airplane blankets. We don’t care about selling you shit. Here’s the truth, there are hundreds of other people on the airplane. Are you surprised? I know, you thought it was all about you, but it’s not. You actually share the airplane with other human beings. You might be cold in 4D, but the person in 6A is sweating like their STD results just came back. We do our best to keep the temperature comfortable for everyone. I’ve written about this in the past. Unfortunately, someone is not going to happy, and if you are cold, it’s probably you. 


7. Leaving the overhead bin open

Close the bin when you get up to grab something from your carry on bag. I could write about why this is a safety issue, but that’s really all I have to say. You weren’t born in a barn, so close it when you are done. Unless you were born in a barn, and that’s awesome. Please email me at joe@flightattendantjoe.com with all the details of your barn birth.


8. Question why we cut you off from alcohol

Sure, you can question us, but the answer will never change. When we’ve decided you have had enough to drink, we have the right to stop serving you alcohol. The FAA backs us up on this 100%. It’s for your safety. It’s for other passengers safety. It’s for my safety, and I hate to say it, but my safety is the most important. It’s actually common to cut passengers off from alcohol on the flight. Happens all the time. A few months ago, we had some guy who had way too much to drink. We cut him off. He didn’t think we were serious about it, so he repeatedly asked us to serve him alcohol. The answer never changed. He asked strangers to buy him alcohol. Finally, as he slurred out the words, “Can I buy a Bud Light,” I had to break it down for him like we were hanging out at a bar. “Sir, you are done. We aren’t having this conversation anymore.” He got it that time.


9. Poke the flight attendant

Should there even be a number nine? The answer is… Yes.  Don’t touch the flight attendant. Don’t touch the flight attendant. DON’T TOUCH THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.  If I am talking to another passenger, with my back to you, don’t fucking poke me to get my attention. I am having a conversation with another person. When did you buy the airplane? I have been poked by more adults than I can count. Not children. Not teenagers. Adults. The parents of the people you’d expect to poke you to get your attention. Boggles the mind. I’d rather have you ring the call bell while I am five inches away from you than have you poking my fat. Let’s not even get started with hissing and snapping of the fingers for another Sprite without ice.


10. Put your feet on the tray table

How many of you just read #10 and said, “Flight Attendant Joe must be hitting that bottle again. There’s no way passengers put their feet on the tray table.” I hate to be the bearer of bad feet news, but they do. And often. So often, it’s number 10. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not fake news. This is real news, as real as it gets. Why do passengers put their feet and legs up on the tray table? Is the airplane floor too dirty for their bare feet? I’ve actually leaned down and whispered to passengers, “Please put your feet down. People eat on that tray table.” And when that happens, I’m always rewarded with a dirty look. Like, how DARE I ask a person to act like a human being on a commercial airliner? The audacity of me, the flight attendant, to address a passenger and ask them to take their crusty feet down off the table where the next passenger will eat their lunch? I should be caned and placed in a North Korean prison… or made to work in the White House. Here’s another real news bombshell, all my experiences with this issue have been with women putting their feet up on the tray table. In all my years, I’ve never had to tell a dude to take his feet off the tray table. Lordy, I can hear people screaming about me being misogynistic from that truth. But facts are facts people. And what’s great about facts, whether you believe them or not — they are true. 



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