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5 Things Passengers Do That Annoy Cabin Crew

Cabin crew, in general, love their job and will do their best to provide a safe and efficient flight for all. They like their passengers to be happy and do what they can to make things more pleasant. It’s not easy being trapped in a metal tube in the sky with a bunch of strangers, but what passenger behaviors are the worst for cabin crew?

1 Ignoring safety instructions

This is probably the most frustrating of all for most crew. Cabin crew members follow procedures to make sure that the flight is as safe as it can be. When they ask you to do something like put the window blind up or take off your headphones, it’s for a good reason. It’s not that they are being difficult; it is for a specific safety purpose.

A Qatar Airways cabin crew working in the business class cabin.

Photo: Qatar Airways.

As a simple example, if a flight attendant asks you to put your seat back to the upright position and you immediately recline the seat back down again, you are risking the person’s safety behind you. In the unfortunate event of an evacuation, they might not be able to get out. Please comply and do as the crew asks; they just want everyone to be safe in case there is an emergency.

2 Seat belt sign

Please do not ignore the fasten seat belt sign. Going to the lavatory when the seatbelt sign is on is not permitted, and some crew members will even lock the lavatory doors. If the seatbelt sign is on during a flight, then there might be turbulence, or we are still in the take-off or landing phase of the flight, so you should remain seated.

A wizz air cabin crew providing a safety demo.

Photo: Wizz Air

It is always wise to keep the seatbelt on while seated in case there is unexpected turbulence, which can cause fatal injuries if you are not secured. Also, standing up and getting baggage out during taxi after landing won’t get you off the aircraft any earlier, yet you risk injuring yourself or another passenger.

3 Call bell

Please don’t press the call bell repeatedly. The cabin crew will get to you as soon as they can. Sometimes they might be in the middle of service behind you, stuck between meal carts and have no way to get to your seat immediately. Even if a flight attendant is eating their crew meal in the galley or taking a break, they will come to help you.

A Cabin crew member using the panel at the front of the aircraft.

Just give them a few moments to get to you. If someone is repeatedly pressing a call bell (and yes, they do take note) for no valid reason, they can disable it. Sometimes, children think it’s a fun thing to do. But when crew members hear a repeated call bell, they will likely assume it’s a medical emergency or something unusual like smoke and act accordingly.

4 Handling trash

Cabin crew will take your trash away as we would like the aircraft to be kept clean, and there may be another flight on the same aircraft soon after landing. Please consider hygiene; handing a flight attendant a sick bag or dirty diaper during the meal service is not appropriate. They will take it away after service but not during. When you hand them your meal trays, please remember not to stack them all up together with trash on top. There are individual spaces for each tray with its dishes in the cart.

A Lufthansa cabin crew member serving food and drinks.

Photo: Lufthansa

Also, considering hygiene, it is advisable to keep your shoes on when visiting the lavatory. The water on the floor is usually not water, and do you really want that on your socks or bare feet? Try to be considerate of other passengers around you; they don’t want to deal with a dirty environment either. Also, please use the baby changing facilities in the lavatory, not the tray table or crew seat.

5 Handling baggage

Cabin crew will help you find your seat and also help you find space for your baggage; it’s kind of like playing ‘Jenga.’ There might not be enough space in the overhead locker above your seat, but they will move things around where possible. Please be aware that flight attendants likely cannot lift your bag directly.

A British Airways cabin crew member checking the overhead bin of an Airbus A319.

Photo: British Airways

If it’s too heavy for you to lift, they shouldn’t be lifting it either. Many a cabin crew has injured themselves by helping passengers stow their bags heavy carry-on luggage. They will assist you in maneuvering the baggage in a suitable space. If the item is just too heavy to lift, then it might be offloaded and stored in the hold.

Bottom line: be nice

Cabin crew are safety professionals and not just servers, as some passengers think, and they deserve respect. It is inappropriate for a passenger to touch a crew member or pull at their uniform to get their attention. Please don’t get mad at them because of delays; they are stuck there, too, and aren’t paid any extra.

A Delta Air Lines flight attendant looking out the window of an airport terminal.

Photo: Delta Air Lines

They, too, have places to go and people to see; it’s of no benefit to the flight attendants to be delayed, and they can’t do anything about it either. Be nice! If crew members have time, they love a chat and always will have an exciting story to tell you. Also, they love a thank you at the end of the flight; it makes the hard work all worth it.


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