50 Of The Darkest Airline Industry Secrets, Shared By Flight Attendants

Hello everyone, and welcome aboard Bored Panda flight number 623. Please quickly find your seats, and stow your bags in the overhead compartments. Our flight today will include drink service and snacks, as well as entertainment provided by flight attendants on Reddit. Please fashion your seatbelts securely and ensure your tray tables are in the upright position. Once we’ve finished boarding, we’ll be embarking on our quick 45 minute trip. Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.

Okay, I have no idea what it’s like to be a flight attendant, so I’m very curious about the mysterious world of the airline industry. Luckily, Reddit user Ayyitsjameslmao reached out to flight attendants asking, “What do the passengers not know?” So today, we can learn some juicy secrets from insiders. We’ve gathered some of the most interesting and eye-opening responses from flight attendants to share with you all, as well as an interview with B, host of The Flight Attendant Podcast, so the next time you take a trip you'll know exactly how to get the best service. Enjoy this list of industry intel, and be sure to upvote your favorite responses. Then if you’re looking to learn even more from flight attendants, check out Bored Panda’s last piece on the same topic right here.  


If you p**s off the cabin crew they will fart on you. The pressure on aircraft makes you naturally gassy and it's easy to puff one off in the face of an annoying git while bending down to speak to someone on the opposite side of the aisle.

Image credits: penguinopusredux

We all know what it’s like to travel via plane, but it seems like very few of us know what it’s like to be working on that plane. What happens behind the curtain that separates our seats from where the flight attendants sit? What does the cockpit look like? Is first class really that nice? (Okay, some of you may know the answer to that one if you are doing well financially, so if you'd like to donate to my future travel fund so I can experience the magic of first class as well, I would be happy to send you my contact information...)

Flight attendants seem so mysterious because most of us don’t travel very often, so it’s easy to forget that the profession exists until we take a trip. I have personally never met one, but it turns out there are quite a few out there. In the United States alone, there were about 117k active flight attendants working in 2019, and that number has been rising over the years, as there were only 95k in 2014.


Tray tables are rarely if ever sanitized do not put food directly on them.

Image credits: dallenhill

We reached out to B, a real-life flight attendant and host of The Flight Attendant Podcast, to hear what she thinks are the best and worst parts of being a flight attendant. "The best thing about being a Flight Attendant; For me, and for many, I think, is the fact that we can create our own schedules (work as little or as much as you want!), take as many vacations as we want, and travel essentially for free," B told Bored Panda.

"The worst thing about being a Flight Attendant, is that it's a pretty thankless position. While we love creating our own schedules, traveling, and vacationing, we also have this job, because we care about safety," B explained. "But many people do not realize that, and they treat us like their servants, and while that was the case when this profession started, incidents, such as the Hindenburg Disaster of 1937, which was evacuated by one of the Stews (first one to initiate evacuation), the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, and many more, have changed our profession. We no longer just serve as 'waiters, nannies, etc...', but we are the first responders in the air, and the last line of defense in a hijacking attempt."


I'm a flight attendant....
So many incidents occur on the plane that every day passengers don't see or consider. My last flight an elderly man accidentally s**t on the floor, stepped in it, and walked on like it was nothing. DO NOT WALK AROUND BAREFOOT. Pee and poop happens, all over. I feel like I witness an "accident" regularly; in their seat or in the lav. People get nose bleeds, or their wounds open. Obviously when we land, it is thoroughly cleaned. But inflight our resources are limited.
DON'T CHANGE YOUR BABY'S DIAPER ON THE TRAY TABLE. This also happens all the time. It's unsanitary and people use the tray table to eat, put their personal things on, etc.

Lastly, it is NOT the responsibility of a flight attendant to lift >your< bag. There are multiple injuries caused from flight attendants lifting heavy bags to be friendly, and then they're out of the job for months to a year (on average). If you pack it, you lift it. If it's too heavy for you, it's too heavy for us.

Happy flying, ya'll!

Image credits: seeyou_never

We also asked B if any particular passengers stand out to her as the best or worst she's every encountered. "I remember having a couple in my exit row once, and I made an announcement as we were boarding 'ABC is on your right, DEF on your left, rows start at 1 and go up from there'. The couple asked me, 'Really? You have to make that announcement?' I said, 'Yes, you will not believe the amount of times passengers are in the back looking for row 5 later on'. One of them asked, 'How many people are on this plane?' I said, 'About 250ish'. The husband replied, 'I don't think in an office building someone would go to the bathroom every 2-3 min'. He was commenting on the line for the lavatories. I replied, 'Yep, when people are on the plane, the lavatories are never empty.' This couple understood our everyday struggles! The received free goodies during the flight!"


There are sometimes body parts in the storage area near your luggage ( when they are flying transplants for hospitals). Also your pets are In the same area as well.

Image credits: oh_sneezeus

We then asked B what she would like all passengers to understand. "As I mentioned, we are there for your safety, we are not asking you to bow down to us, and we understand we are pretty much the face of the company. Just treat us as you would like to be treated, and most of us are there because we enjoy the job, with its many ups and downs, but when you arrive on our aircraft upset because of something that a Gate Agent, or Ticket Agent or even a TSA Agent, please do not take it out on us. We have no control on everyone else's mood or professionalism."

Lastly, she added that, "We do not make the rules of the sky, we are simply following our companies policies, and FAA Regulations, so please do not get upset at us when we remind you to follow these policies and regulations. They are there for a reason!"

If you're interested in learning more about the flight attendant world, be sure to check out B's podcast right here.


I'm not a flight attendant but I work the ramp. To elaborate on the body parts we send full bodies on planes alot. Some in caskets some not. Twice in the 7 years I've been doing this has "fluid" leaked out of the boxes the bodies are in and got all over the luggage.

Image credits: Legion3382

The flight attendant profession is greatly dominated by women, as about 75% of the workforce is female. It’s a popular job among people of all ages though, with the average age of women in the industry falling at 46 and the average age of male flight attendants being 43. Unsurprisingly, however, men still manage to make more money in the profession, as women tend to earn only 95¢ for every dollar their male peers make. In 2019, the average annual salary of an American flight attendant was about $50k, making their earnings around five thousand dollars less than the national average. So if the pay is not extremely enticing, what is the appeal of being a flight attendant?      


Airplanes fly "broken" more often than not... Dated a chick who was a FA and had a brother that was a flight mechanic at Sky Harbor, in Phoenix. They told some crazy stories about planes that flew with stuff that may or may not have been functioning properly. The duct tape game is strong.

Image credits: Squurrelly711

One of the biggest reasons many flight attendants will cite for pursuing this profession is that they wanted to travel. Depending on what airline they work for, flight attendants could visit multiple continents within a week, something many people never get to do in their entire lives. They might even have the opportunity to stay in luxurious hotels while waiting for their next flight. Although the salaries are not outstanding, getting to see the world while working and having great benefits for traveling in their time off can be a fair trade-off. In a Cosmopolitan article where Arielle Pardes and Mara Santilli inverviewed current flight attendants about things they wish they knew before starting their careers, the women agreed that “the perks make up for [their] paychecks”. “Flight attendants can ride in coach for free or fly with a companion for about 90 percent off plus tax and fees on international flights,” Pardes and Santilli wrote.


Just started at an airline;

* There isn't as much CCTV as you may think

* We can often be working 6 days in a row on minimum rest, treat us nicely please

* We have to ask the captain to remove you from the flight if you're being an a*****e. They will say yes.

* Even on the smaller aircraft, crew will find a place to sleep.

* Someone has probably thrown up on the floor by your seat.

Image credits: ICameHereToDrinkMilk


I used to work with elderly people and one of my clients was a former pilot that finally quit when he realized in the middle of a flight his dementia had progressed and he couldn't remember where he was supposed to be flying to. Meaning he had been flying for a commercial airline with dementia for quite some time before that.

Image credits: Giftofnarwhals


Dated a former Air Hostess, the story that got me was when an old woman died on the plane, just fell asleep on the long-haul overnight flight back from JFK to Manchester and never woke up.

Essentially they wrapped her in spare blankets and secured extra seat belts around her to keep her in place... Nobody further down the plane knew a thing until they got asked to wait in their seats while an ambulance crew took the body off before they could disembark.

TL:DR - Passengers might *not* know someone died on the flight and is still in their seat!

Image credits: anon

It’s great that being a flight attendant comes along with excellent perks, but becoming one in the first place can require all sorts of jumping through hoops. According to the New York Post, it’s actually harder to become a flight attendant than to get into Harvard. Apparently in 2018, Delta airlines announced that they were hiring 1,000 new flight attendants, and over 125k hopeful applicants submitted their resumes. After their initial submissions, a video interview, in-person interviews and eight weeks of training at Delta headquarters, only 1% of the applicants received job offers. And in true modern day fashion, Delta even documented the applicants’ journey in a Youtube miniseries titled “Earning Our Wings”.   


An airplane can fly with one engine, and if an engine catches on fire, they have the means of extinguishing it while in air.

Image credits: asamermaid


Not a flight attendant but...

Everyone knows that you can lift arm rests between seats for cuddling or whatever but armrests next to the aisle don't lift. Well, you can lift them. There is a button underneath that releases a catch so that you can lift the armrest. Useful for getting in and it while the food tray is down.

You can lock and unlock a lavatory door from the outside. The switch is under the metal plate next to the occupied sign.

Image credits: eyal0


If I tell the pilot " I don't feel safe with passenger in seat 35A" you can and most likely will be removed from the plane. So think twice before acting like a complete utter jackass on the plane. Standard jackass behavior is usually tolerated

Image credits: dallenhill

Apparently it’s necessary for airlines to put their flight attendants through boot camp before offering them jobs because so much of the position requires great knowledge of safety and first aid. There is a common misconception that flight attendants are mostly waitresses or customer service workers, but that’s only a small facet of the job, “Our first priority is to keep you safe and that’s what those weeks of training are for,” says Shawn Kathleen, a former flight attendant who was an EMT and police officer before pivoting into the airline industry. “Learning self-defense and how to take care of violent passengers and how to do CPR if someone’s heart stops. Being a flight attendant was 100 percent harder than being a cop. And they have to hire people who can handle it.”


My late mom was a Delta "stewardess" for 33 years. She used to tell awesome PG stories, and I'm sure she had a hundred more that were unfit for my innocent ears. Like any kid, I never really paid attention, but most of the ones I remember were about famous and / or drunk people. Or famous drunk people.

One common story was about the Delta miracles. Passengers in wheelchairs would board the plane before everyone else, but they had to wait for everyone else to disembark before they could get rolled out. It is apparently common for people to be "healed" during mid flight and no longer need assistance when they reach their destination.

Image credits: Nodeal_reddit


Ex crew here, few interesting tidbits I remember.

- Rubbish bags are referred to as gash bags.

- If you're on a short or mid haul flight then most airlines just have an hour or so turnaround, for 'cleaning' and security checks, and the same crew will then man the flight home.

- The 'cleaning' on these turnarounds isn't too thorough, a quick mop and Hoover is about it usually. Sometimes we went through with bug spray on certain routes.

- It was fairly common for people to leave phones, tablets, wallets etc in seat pockets which we would then find during security checks on turnaround. We can't take them back to the base airport due to security so they get handed over to a dispatcher with paperwork. We've just got to hope the dispatcher doesn't pocket them.

- Don't leave dirty nappies, used needles or anything else with bodily fluids in your seat pocket. You'd probably be surprised to find out how often this happens. Not only is it gross but it's also a health hazard.

- That's not water on the floor in the bathroom, put your bloody shoes back on.

- We know if you're having nookie in the bathroom, we can also open the doors, easily, from the outside.

- You get pissed quicker on board due to the air pressure (or something) and we don't tolerate drunken b******t. It's not a bar, you don't just get thrown out by the bouncer. You get off loaded and possibly even black listed. If you're clearly steaming before we've even taken off then chances are you're not going to be going anywhere.

- Safety and security is the first priority onboard. Your comfort and happiness is just an added bonus.

- You haven't seen bad turbulence unless the overhead lockers have opened and you have bags falling down on top of you.

- In the event of a decompression you only have a few seconds before your brain starts being starved of oxygen. Get your oxygen mask on pronto.

- Do not inflate life jackets inside if the plane ditches in water. If the cabin starts to fill with water you'll be unable to swim down to the exit.

- There's special straps in the cockpit and the chair moves back from the controller in case you need to tie the pilot up and move him away.

- We have fire axes and extremely heavy emergency equipment on board and are to stop you entering the cockpit by 'any means necessary'

- If you pay for 'extra legroom' then be aware that some of these seats are by uncrewed emergency exits. If you have a disability or require an extension seat belt then we will have to move you for safety purposes.

- I crewed 737s and 757 aircrafts, short to midhaul, economy only. We took our breaks (when we could) in the tiny little galleys at the front and back of the aircraft. If you see those curtains pulled then please don't bother us unless it's actually an emergency. (Another beer IS NOT an emergency)

None of these are probably that interesting.

Edit: A few extras I thought I would add.

- I still remember the order of priorities in survival situations by: Pilots Like Wet Fannys. (Protection, Location, Water, Food)

- Colleagues of mine used to sell their stinky old used cabin shoes to foot fetishists on eBay. You can also sell your used, unwashed, tights.

- To any fellow crew out there, if you find yourself in an emergency situation where fire is present, whip off your nylon tights so your legs don't go up in flames.

- To any passengers out there, don't make the crew hate you. The farting thing mentioned in another comment is true.

Image credits: BowieBlueEye


Most U.S. based domestic F.A.'s are only paid from the time the doors close and the plane pushes off until the plane lands and the doors open. So if it takes 45 minutes to get everyone on board and seated...no pay

Image credits: dallenhill

Along with being able to handle the rigorous safety training, there are a laundry list of other skills and qualifications that can help applicants have a leg up when trying to become a flight attendant. Having a college education, being fluent in multiple languages, being attractive and “well-groomed”, being friendly and a good conversationalist, having basic computer and math skills and being willing to relocate and work major holidays can all help an aspiring flight attendant stand out. Being physically strong is apparently important too, as those beverage and meal carts can be quite heavy and customers might require help lifting their bags into the overhead compartments. 


I'm a flightattendant.

I'm in this job for about nine years now and worked for two mayor german airlines. Over the years I recognized that many passengers don't know why they have to do the things we are telling them.

Why do I have to open the windowshades for takeoff and landing?

-because during the flight we (the FA) are inside the cabin almost the whole time and we are aware of what is happening outside. But during takeoff and landing we have to sit on our jumpseats and are not able to see whats going on outside. So, if for example an enginefire occurs, we are related to the passengers telling us.

Why do I have to fold away my traytable and have to bring my seat in an upright position?

- because in case of an emergencylanding you or the passenger sitting behind you would not be able to take your/his bracingposition correctly

Why are the FA's dimming the cabinlight for takeoff and landing when it's dark outside?

- in case of an evacuation you have to leave the plane quite quick. If the light in the cabin would be bright, and you leave the plane during night, you would be blinded by the darkness. So we're dimming the light inside that your eyes are able to get accustomed to the darkness.

These are questions I hear almost every week. I hope I was able to lighten up some things for you guys.

Image credits: BiggRicc


Flight attendant here with a major carrier.

Pilots can get qualified to carry fire arms in the flight deck (cockpit). They don't get paid extra for it. They are called FFDOs which stands for Federal Flight Deck Officer. There's a joke that they have the smallest jurisdiction out of any federal official (only behind the door of the flight deck).

Video taping/photographing crew is not allowed in any circumstance. Even if someone is getting arrested or during an evacuation, however, we can't force you to stop. If I like someone and they ask for a picture or want one taken with me I will.

Any animal can be certified as an emotional support animal. I had an emotional support turtle once. In my opinion it's a little out of hand. I don't discredit people who actually need them, but they aren't trained like regular service animals. They've been known to attack other passengers on occasion.

You aren't aloud to consume your own alcohol in flight. The reason is that we have to be able to monitor your alcohol consumption in flight. The exception is first class. If you bring your own booze we can serve it to you in first class only. We can also deny boarding if we suspect you're intoxicated.

Flights often times are transporting prisoners. Sometimes high profile ones. Serial killers, etc. They are most often escorted by 1 officer minimum and up to 3 officers. They are all dressed in civilian clothes and and the prisoners hands are usually hidden. They usually board first and are sat in the very back of the aircraft.

We are trained for just about any situation. I personally have had a lot of things happen in my short tenure. I've had to do CPR, I've had to subdue and hogtie a passenger for assaulting other passengers, I've been flashed by men and women (usually drunk), and various other medical emergencies. We're there for your safety first and foremost.

Training lasts for different lengths of time from airline to airline. Mine was 8 weeks. The majority of the time is spent on safety stuff and it's pretty brutal.

A large population of flight crew commute. Some even from all over the world. They are based in one particular city and commute in to work their trips. I've flown with people that live all over the world

Most of the people I fly with, I have never met before in my life.

Image credits: anon


I dated a flight attendant for a while. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that sometimes delays are caused by Flight attendants not showing up and the airline scrambling to get a back-up scheduled. Like a flight attendant was partying too hard last night and decided to call off 2 hours before that $1500 cross ocean flight you just popped on.

She loved to party as did a lot of her coworkers and were often hungover or "out of it" on flights. Even though pay was s**t, their union made it very hard to get fired so call-offs were kind of no-big-deal.

Image credits: tz100

When someone does manage to earn a coveted spot as a flight attendant, there are a lot of aspects of the job they need to brace themselves for, including dealing with difficult customers. There will always be a handful of difficult and entitled passengers who love to complain about the tiniest things or pick fights with the people sitting next to them, so sometimes flight attendants are responsible for de-escalating a situation. But there are also passengers who have the audacity to hit on or proposition the airline staff. “People hold on to this notion of Pan Am stewardesses from the 1960s and that we are there to look pretty and serve the passengers,” one flight attendant told the New York Post.


As a former aviation journalist I can tell you a few things:

Yes, on trans-oceanic flights there is a cabin for crew to get some sleep. No, you won't be invited in for fun times. On some newer planes there's also a hold for people who have died on the flight. No, you won't be invited in for fun times either.

If a meal service is on offer go for the kosher option, so you know it was prepared that day.

Image credits: penguinopusredux


- Never saw a seatbelt get changed out or washed either - even after they were puked on, pissed on, etc.

- NONE of the flight attendants have sex in the lavatories or anywhere else on the plane in our downtime. This was a question I got asked constantly - but yeah, no. We see how truly disgusting those planes are and we have to go into those lavs and see the diarrhea on the walls, p**s on the floor, etc.

- Along with the "sexy" flight attendant myth - lol. I have never felt more disgusting than when I was a flight attendant. I was constantly bloated from the air pressure, or doubled over with gas pain from holding in my farts. My feet smelled like hell, along with my shoes. I sometimes couldn't properly wash my uniform or tights on long trips. I avoided the lavatories because they were disgusting so god knows what my (required) makeup looked like half of the time.

- When the seatbelt sign is on, stay in your seat, or at least try to. I know there are emergencies with having to pee and all that, but the most likely situation where you will get hurt on a plane is turbulence.

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A flight attendant told me that in the event of a situation where passengers have to cover their heads you do not 'lock' your fingers over head but place one hand on top of the other. If something falls on your hand/head, you'll still have one good hand to use.

Image credits: DeviantOffspring

Most flight attendants enjoy the social aspect of the job, as they find it fun to speak to passengers and meet a variety of individuals, but there are times where travelers expect the cabin crew to act more like therapists than flight attendants. “You will find that most flight attendants are very empathetic and understanding, and they are going to try to make a passenger as happy and comfortable as possible,” one flight attendant told the New York Post. But she also noted that you can never predict exactly how travelers will behave. “We do enjoy most of the passengers … but then, you will find yourself having conversations with adult human beings about why it’s not okay to watch porn on a flight.”


3 consecutive dings over the loud speaker means you're probably going to die

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Im flight coordinator, a lot of people dont realize, that when they make jokes like "I know this plane will crash" or "security check failed to spot bomb in my backpack" during boarding, it MUST be reported to guards which will have a little talk with them.

Image credits: Big0addy


It's illegal for a plane to fly without an ashtray.

Image credits: iHeartMila

Another difficult aspect of being a flight attendant is that it’s almost impossible to live a “normal life”. Settling down and maintaining relationships or having a family is incredibly hard when you’re constantly traveling, missing holidays and on-call for work. As exciting as all of the traveling is, being a flight attendant is not usually a life-long career. Often, cabin crew members will hold the job for a few years until they are worn out from all of the industry’s demands.


I'm a flight attendant!

First, I wouldn't recommend drinking coffee or hot tea from the plane. It's made with the potable water and those tanks are rarely cleaned out. None of the crew usually drink it. I had a passenger on one of my flights fill his water bottle up using the sink in the lavatory and I stressed to him that it wasn't a good idea but he didn't care lol

Second, we aren't paid till the main cabin door closes so we are ready to leave just as fast as you are. When there are delays, bitching at the cabin crew isn't going to help anything! We are waiting around just like you and wanting to get back to our families as well.

Third, smoking your e-cig in the lav will set off the detector!

Fourth, bringing a bag of candy or treat to thank the flight crew will most likely get you free drinks or a seat upgrade, I always hook people up lol

Image credits: kerryb1989


I was cabin crew for five years - long haul only - and whilst we've all passed the exams and tests and bla bla bla and have a refresher every year, you never *really* know how anyone will react in any kind of emergency. Firemen and police are tested on a weekly basis, but in the five years i was crew, there was nothing I personally experienced that put any of the proper training into use, and I'd like to think I'd not not freeze or fall to pieces, but you just never know.

So definitely pay a bit of attention for the three mins of the safety demo and figure out where the nearest exit and it's alternative are because you never know, you might end up having to help yourself.

Image credits: HadHerses


Long haul flight attendant for a great airline here. Not sure if I'm allowed to name the airline so Let's just say it's the safest in the world. And if any of you watched Rain Man then u are in the know.
So so so many things the public doesn't know. Where to start. Ok. I'll just break it down into categories.
- the people who pay attention to the safety demo have more chance of getting out alive by a huge 70%.
- there is no smoking on an aircraft for several reasons. Though one of the main ones is internal fire. It takes only 90 seconds to burn thru the a/c and fill everyone's lungs with toxic lethal smoke YET it takes 8 mins to land the plan from cruising altitude.
- the captain is not always the last person to get off an a/c in an emergency, it depends on the a/c type.
- in an emergency- Disabled, incapacitated passengers, unaccompanied minors, babies, pregnant women, geriatric people etc will always be the very LAST people that we flight attendants will get off the a/c. And it will be only when we get everyone else off and go back thru the cabin to do a cabin check to see if these type of passengers have been left behind. So if it's a burning or sinking a/c your chances are slim.
- For us to get into the cockpit (since 9/11) we have a briefing before every flight and the protocol is different for every flight. It is also different for half the crew. So one half has access one way and the other half -another. Only the captain (not even the 1st officer) knows who does what to gain access to cockpit.
- Contrary to popular belief, there are no guns stored anywhere on an a/c. Not even the cockpit. (We have other things to handle a situation).
- All the rafts are equipped with survival needs that could keep the raft occupants alive for 4 weeks. That's a full raft, so if it was at half capacity, its longer. Also on the raft, if anyone dies, they must be thrown over board- no exceptions i.e. Babies etc
- In a successful ditching (a rarity), the a/c is designed to stay afloat for a min of 15 mins. However the aircraft is also designed to breakup on impact on land. so the chances of a successful ditching is so remote that your chances of survival are minimal.
- 99% of a/c crashes occur on take off and landing.
- 90% of a/c crashes are due to pilot error.
- It's protocol on my airline that men are not allowed to be seated next to a UMinor

There are so many more, especially in regards to safety -just think this post is getting a bit long. There are also heaps of mundane protocols like the service, boarding an a/c etc the public don't know about as well. So will reveal if anyone wants to know more. Just ask a question. I'll also edit and add as I think of them

We hope you're enjoying your journey on this Bored Panda flight today and that you've learned something valuable you'll take with you in your future travels. Enjoy the rest of this list of interesting tidbits from flight attendants, and be sure to upvote the responses you found most eye-opening. Let us know in the comments if you know any secrets from cabin crew members, and remember, in the event of an emergency, be sure to place your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Bon voyage!


My dad is a private pilot (Gulfstream 550 for those interested) and his girlfriend is one of the flight attendants on the plane.

They used to fly Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie around for press junkets and one time Brad Pitt got drunk and cut holes in the lunch meat on board and put it over their makeup artists eyes while she was sleeping.


How much the pilots sleep.

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We do not ask you to put your seats in an upright position during takeoffs and landings because we are jerks. It's because we have ninety seconds to evac. the plane in case of emergency and your reclined seat may impede the person in the row behind you from getting out.


Not flight attendant but former airport security.

Clearly, the passengers don't know that that joke they've just thought of we've heard about 5 million times, and the smile and laugh are fake all the way through.

Also, the little jokes the personnel will tell you are more like standup than improv. We see the exact same situations thousands of times and all have our little jokes that are usually tried and proven by the end of the first 2 weeks of work.

Image credits: anon


Flight attendant for a European airline for the past six years here. I'm late to the party but I'll still chime in.

Lots of passengers panic when the flight is delayed for technical reasons or when they see the maintenance guys board the aircraft. There's really no need to be! That just means that we're aware of a problem and won't budge until it has been resolved. Much better to be aware of a problem on ground than at 36000 feet! The pilots do thorough pre-flight checks to make sure that everything is ok, and the engineers check the aircraft at the end of the day. Flying is safer now than it ever has been, no need to worry!

Yes smoking really is an issue on board, please *please* don't do it. We're all trained in firefighting but it's still extremely dangerous to do so on board. Vaping on the other hand is completely harmless but forbidden anyway, purely because it may entice other passengers to light up real cigs. The only real problem with e-cigs are the lithium batteries.

Many passengers see us as glorified waitresses and waiters, and to be honest we are for 70% of the trip. But we are also highly trained professionals who are able to deal with any situation on board.

There are assholes on almost every flight, for sure but they are outnumbered massively by nice people (depending on the destination - stereotypes exist for a reason). A simple smile and politeness will get you a long way with most crew!

Image credits: Munkyspyder


It is nearly impossible for turbulence to crash a plane (even the bad stuff). Turbulence is only dangerous because of things flying around the cabin and that includes people not wearing seat belts. Most accidents happen at take off and landing that's why we make you do all of those things before take off and landing.

~~The plane can move like a seesaw so seats nearest to the wings can have the least turbulence and seats farthest away will be the worst.~~

Since the altitude of the plane (simulated to 8,000') thins your blood alcohol will hit you harder. We were told one in the air for two on the ground. Also, it is illegal to be intoxicated on a plane and it is illegal for us to get you drunk. So if we cut you off don't argue we may serve you later if you're nice.

Edit: Sounds like I was told wrong about turbulence. The back is the worst but the front is better than over the wings. Yay I learned something!

Image credits: skeeeee


Everyone knows what's going on under the blanket.


Lots of times when the planes go down they break apart in the air. The decompression knocks everyone unconscious. They wake up about 20 seconds later not remembering what happened.

So if something goes wrong on the plane you will suddenly wake up freefalling in your seat with no idea what happened. That fall will take a little under 3 minutes.


FAs and most airline crew get to designate a person to fly free on flights with space available. These people are referred to as "SA" or "Space Available" passengers.

They are often found waiting on standby and can recognize one another by the smell of anxiety.

Also, attendants usually hook them up something fierce on flights knowing that they are SA, as each attendant has his/her own SA designee that they would like other attendants to hook up.


Not a FA, but I have upwards of 1 million miles in the air as a passenger...

ProTip: If you wear a pair of compressible foam earplugs - the 3M orange ones found at gun shops are good - from the time you enter the airport until you exit at the other end - the reduction in noise will VASTLY improve your trip.


It's an FAA regulation to have 1 flight attendant per 50 passengers. Just a neat fact, I'm an aircraft dispatcher for a major airline.


Most passengers don't know about the overhead sleeping areas for the crew on 777 and 747 aircraft. Much less where the entrance to these areas are. Yet everyone walks past them every time they're on one of these planes.


Count the seat backs to the closest exit. Good chance you won't be able to see in some types of accidents.


We are not bionics and we may get hurt just same as you may during a severe turbulence and we have to buckle up immediately too. So pushing insanely on call panel to call us over and ask as if the turbulence is "normal" is not normal at the first place. Also, i can't stand up after "take off position" call out from the captain. That's why, you shouldn't feel frustrated when i get to respond the chime at least 4-7 minutes after take off.
The core idea behind everything we do (from being unresponsive to assertive; gentle to polite) is, calculating our moves that may lead to an emergency or save as much lives as possible during an emergency.
First 3 minutes during take off is the most dangerous part of the flight with last 7 minutes. Any abnormalities may cause a crush landing. Or an unstable approach with a runway excursion. This is also one of the biggest reasons for an evacuation. Each cabin crew is responsible for at least 50 passengers' lives on board. That's why, securing myself and deny to bring your water for 7 minutes is not selfish but to save lives in a serious possible accident/incident.
Just know that anything seems ridicilous has a real life saver idea behind it.


If something was gonna go down and we had to evacuate, 99 times out of 100 it will happen during taxi, takeoff, and landing. So when I tell you to put up your tray tables and seats and get your bags under the seat in front of you, please just *do it*. You are compromising the safety of everyone around you if you don't comply. And for the love of god please do not try to get up and use the lav during taxi or right before we take off! Most times we tell you things for everyone's safety, not just cause it makes us feel good or something?? Please just comply the first time you are asked.


Yes we know when you're upset/angry.

When we say "see you next time" to certain passengers as they deplane after arrival, that's our code word for "f**k you - I hope you never fly with us again".


I'm not a flight attendant so I don't mind letting out this little secret.

So about 30 mins before you land, a lot of the times, the flight attendants will lock the bathrooms so no one uses them during landing. But let's say you REALLY have to go. I mean it's at the point where it's the bathroom or the aisle.

You can unlock the door by lifting up the little metallic "Lavatory" sign. Under it is a slide lever identical to the one you'd find on the inside to lock it.

The flight attendants will probably get pissed at you for doing this but what're they gunna do? Stop you from peeing?


1. We can't strike without congressional approval. That isn't ever going to happen, leading to a stall in our quality of life.
2. It is perfectly legal to only give flight attendants 8 hours between getting off the plane to getting back on it.
3. We travel for free domestically on all airlines.
4. A lot of girl FA's do end up dating pilots.
5. Most pilots are so used to being in control that they don't listen to anyone else. That causes safety issues, and is the biggest risk in aviation today in my opinion.
6. Flight attendants that leave the US to go to Emirates, Qatar, or Etihad have a curfew when they're home.
7. Planes are disgusting. Don't. Touch. Anything.
8. They lied to you about the extra precautions during the Ebola outbreak.
9. Everyone is hiring big time. Delta is seen as most desirable due to work conditions. If you go to United you will have an "on-call" schedule for the first ten years of your career minimum.
10. The city you're based in changes the whole culture at work. You can tell how a coworker is going to behave just on where they are based.
11. I work at what is considered the worst airline (Spirit) and we have the youngest flight attendants, best health insurance, easiest standby odds, and most fun. Who'da thunk.
Edit: Also if your plane goes down in the ocean you better hope the impact kills you. Even if you make it on a raft you'll never be found.


Former jet engine mechanic here. Those drop down masks are orange because if there's an explosive decompression, it's going to get real foggy, real fast. Went through one on a KC-135 years and years ago.


DO NOT get on an airplane excessively drunk. If the we see you obviously inebriated, your a*s gets booted off the flight.


The FAA minimum crew rest on a layover is 8:45 block to block (between when the cargo or main cabin door is opened when we arrive to when to captain releases the brakes before departure). That does not include the time it takes for passengers to deplane, for us to get to the hotel van, the drive to the hotel or the time to get back to the airport in the morning. Meaning we often get less than 6 hours in our hotel room. So when you are told your flight is delayed because of crew rest it isn't because we are being lazy. It really is because we must have mandated rest. There is a big push from the union to get this changed to a longer rest period because of safety but I think the airlines are pushing back.


Is this limited to flight attendants? I'm a ticket agent and, boy, the stories I could tell.

One thing people definitely should know is that a surprising amount of the delays that happen are due to passengers. Yep, passengers. That one guy who throws a fit because he can't take four ounces of liquid through TSA and decided the gate agent was a great target to take out their wrath on caused your delay. So did that family that decided it was a great idea to bring three strollers and two car seats for their single child. That sweet old Grandma who insists she doesn't need help getting onto the plane, but can't walk faster than one step every minute? Gotta wait for her. And that last delay you had that the agent told you was due to maintenance? Was thanks to some guy trying to hijack the smoke alarm in the plane.

There are lots of delays for other reasons (weather being a big one. And don't even say that there's no weather where you are. There isn't, but that doesn't mean there's not weather somewhere else!), but you'd be amazed at how many are caused by the people around you while you're trying to board the plane. This is also part of why gate agents are so strict about cutting off loading times.

Airline employees love to help when they can, but there are times when we kind of wish we could turn to the nearest wall and whack our heads against it a few times just to improve the situation.


When you're taking off/landing and you see the flight attendant seated on her jumpseat, well she is simulating a crash/evacuation procedures in her head. It's called : SILENT review. So it's probably not the best time to flirt with her ;)