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Flight Attendants Share 20 Things We Shouldn’t Do on a Plane

We all know and try to abide by plane etiquette rules, like keeping your shoes on and following basic safety measures. But in reality, there are a million and one things that nearly make flight attendants’ eyes twitch. Let’s see if you’re the kind of passenger they dread or one they welcome with open arms.

We at Bright Side listened to patient flight attendants and prepared a list of helpful guidelines that’ll make any journey pleasant for you, your fellow passengers, and the crew.

While seated

  • If a flight attendant asks you to open the window shade before each takeoff and landing, do it. You are “her eyes” to conditions outside and you can advise the crew that something is going on.
  • If you’re annoyed by another passenger’s reclining seat, don’t start an argument or get the flight attendant involved. You’re all entitled to be comfortable and that’s what those seats are designed for. If you plan on reclining your seat, be mindful of other passengers and hope the respect will come back to you.
  • Don’t touch flight attendants to get their attention. It feels like an invasion of personal space as they’re already very busy. Just push the button and say “excuse me” if you need something.
  • Don’t ask the crew to take your trash unless they’re walking around purposefully collecting it. They simply won’t have anywhere to put it and you’ll be distracting them from serving other passengers.

When nature calls

  • Don’t flush the toilet while you’re still sitting on it. The created suction may wedge you into the toilet, so you’ll be completely stuck. One flight attendant recalled this happening and said it wasn’t easy getting the person out: “Maintenance came to the rescue and detached the toilet head, which freed the passenger. As humiliating as this was for the passenger, we as flight attendants were speechless.”
  • Don’t flush diapers down the toilet, there’s a trash bag for that. A diaper can get stuck and make the bathroom completely unavailable to other passengers.

Pets on board

  • Don’t try sneaking your dog onto an aircraft. Either flight attendants or other passengers will notice it and you’ll be escorted off of the plane, no questions asked.
  • If you have a pet allergy, you can’t demand the crew to kick the animal and their owners off a flight. You should assume that your flight will have a passenger with a pet, so have your allergy medication on you. In severe cases, the airline will try to seat you as far away from the animal as possible or put you on the next available flight.

Handling luggage

  • Take off your backpack when you board the plane. Your bulky bag might hurt someone. As one flight attendant shared: “There has been more than one flight attendant who has been injured severely by these items. I, for one, had my head nearly taken off and had to actually go to physical therapy and a chiropractor for weeks.”
  • If your carry-on can fit under the seat in front of you, don’t put it into the overhead space. You’ll only be holding up the line when entering and exiting the aircraft.

Traveling with children

  • Don’t count on getting your child a free seat. If you purchase only one ticket, your child must remain on your lap for the remainder of the flight. It’s actually illegal for you to sit them down in an empty seat at your own will. A flight attendant might help you out, but only if the flight isn’t full.
  • If your child likes to drink milk, make sure to buy it beforehand. Most airlines don’t carry milk on board, so the flight attendant might be unable to help you.
  • Don’t change your baby’s diaper on a tray table. Apparently, this happens more than it should and flight attendants have to remind people to take it to the bathroom, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
  • Don’t ask flight attendants to watch over your kids while you use the bathroom. They cannot take responsibility for your child, especially when turbulence can happen at any moment.

“Special” needs

  • Don’t ask for gluten-free food or any other type of special meal when you’re already on the plane. If you have dietary restrictions, you must take care of that beforehand. Flight attendants are not in charge of meal preparation, they only hand out whatever’s prepackaged.
  • Flight attendants cannot provide you with any type of medication, so don’t even bother asking. Anticipate your own needs before boarding the plane.
  • The crew can’t request the destination airport to hold your connecting flight. A flight attendant says people ask her that all the time, but not even the pilot can grant that wish.
  • You can’t make anyone move their seats. If you want to sit with your friend but another person doesn’t want to switch, don’t involve a flight attendant. They won’t force a passenger to take another seat just to please you.

General tips

  • While it’s tempting to sit in the front, don’t do it (unless you have a short connection ahead of you). Back rows get better service because flight attendants are much closer to you. The crew even revealed that they sometimes ignore calls from the very front of the economy class.
  • You might want to avoid drinking tap water or even tea or coffee on board. Flight attendants personally avoid hot water on planes because the water lines never get cleaned.

Do you know more flight attendant secrets? What do you wish your fellow passengers would stop doing while on a plane?

Preview photo credit unknown / imgur