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3 Things Flight Attendants Find Rude and Obnoxious

Flight attendants say they've been “prodded, poked, and even pinched,” among other things.

Flight attendants are here to help, but they aren't your personal inflight servant. One flight attendant's column for The Sun laid out a few pointers for airline passengers to keep in mind to help them avoid being labeled as an obnoxious flyer. 

"There's absolutely no need for you to be rude," says the anonymous flight attendant who authored the post, adding that doing so can get you "worse service." Here are behaviors and actions to avoid on your next trip on an airplane, especially when trying to get a flight attendant's attention.

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1. Do not touch a flight attendant.

Touching a flight attendant is "something you shouldn't really ever do," according to The Sun's source, who says they've been "prodded, poked, and even pinched" while trying to do their job.

The flight attendant emphasizes that there are plenty of other ways to get a flight attendant's attention that doesn't cross such a personal boundary. "A gentle tap on the shoulder is the absolute most we would accept," they add. "But only in very rare instances."

2. There's no need to shout or act entitled.

Unless it's a true emergency, do not raise your voice on a flight, especially if it's just to get your drink refilled. "That's incredibly rude and obnoxious," the flight attendant emphasizes.

While whistling, clicking, kissing sounds, and other vocal indicators aren't ideal either, they do give some passengers the benefit of the doubt as these actions can be based on cultural factors rather than impoliteness.

"Most of us understand that different cultures find different things acceptable and that we shouldn't take offense," the source explains. "Not everyone speaks English and they all have their own methods of contacting flight attendants."

As long as the method of grabbing someone's attention seems reasonable, "we're happy enough to help you," they add. Any obviously demeaning words or actions are completely unnecessary.

3. Using the call button is the most annoying thing.

call button on airplane things that horrify flight attendants

Sure, it's there for passengers to use to get a flight attendant's attention without having to leave their seat, but it's an aspect of working on an aircraft that inflight employees "loathe" according to the author.

"We're taught to stick to the 'coke or stroke' motto whenever we hear the bell," they explain. "That means that each time someone presses the button, it could be for a drink, or it could just as easily be a medical emergency."

The flight attendant advises only using the call button for something really important because "we're usually doing something important elsewhere on the aircraft."

If your flight attendant isn't immediately visible in the aisle, the author advises simply getting up and looking for someone to assist you.

"It's worth checking what we're up to, one of us will be in the galley, with all the food, drinks, and pretty much anything you might ask for anyway," they add. "So it won't do you any harm to stretch your legs and come and ask."

The flight attendant emphasizes it's a great way to avoid any unnecessary urgency causing them to react "as if someone could be having a heart attack when all they need is a beer."

And while keeping kids occupied on a long flight can be challenging, the call button is not an interactive toy. The flight attendant has a tip to help families who might have push-button-happy kids.

"We have the option to turn off their call bell, so they can press away, without disturbing us and our service," they explain. "There's lots of other call bells on the plane if you need us urgently."

To stay on your flight attendant's good side—and to just, you know, be a mindful human being—keep your hands to yourself, get their attention in a polite manner, and skip the call button for anything other than a true emergency. 

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more
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