We asked a flight attendant about the worst things she’s seen
NEVER go to the toilet when there’s turbulence
We’re at our worst on aeroplanes. There is a lack of fresh air up there; alcohol affects us differently. People do stupid things. A boyband member fainted after putting on all his clothes to avoid an excess luggage fee. He was wearing five jumpers, two jackets and six t-shirts. People clap when the plane lands.
But behind those closed plane doors, staff have seen a lot worse. We asked Kara Mulder, who runs The Flight Attendant Life blog to tell us about the very worst things she’s seen in the sky.
Kicking drunk passengers off the plane
Airport bars practically never close. Alcohol is cheap in duty free and you can buy even more on the plane. The party might start when you’ve checked your bags in, but flight attendants really do see people in some incredible states. “It was an older gentleman. I found his half-bottle of duty free liquor and many other empty liquor containers only 30 minutes into the flight,” says Kara. “He was volatile and aggressive, swinging quickly from anger and grabbing my shoulders at one point. Then, he tried to give me a hug. Then he would yell at me. He then would comment on how beautiful I was.”
The flight landed in Bergen and the passenger was removed. She adds. “The Norwegian authorities met the aircraft when it landed. No charges were pressed, but I just really wished we had removed him before he joined us for the hop across the pond. The ordeal still leaves me with an unsettled feeling.”
‘Can I have your number?’
Other opportunistic passengers try to pull on their flight. “Flight attendants aren’t always getting asked out, but I will admit that, on occasion, I get numbers from passengers, and I do give my number to passengers, without being unprofessional.
“Please don’t be a creep,” Kara adds, “because flight attendants do not need that. I was given a number, written on a napkin ending with the word ‘LOL’, It was a late 30-something year old man.”
Lots of passengers have bad hygiene
Kara’s cardinal rule: don’t go to the toilet when there’s turbulence. “One girl decided not to listen to the announcements about staying seated. She ended up getting the blue juice (that toilet stuff) in crevasses you don’t want blue juice in. She had to be treated over a six month period for potential hepatitis, among other things. Why anyone would want to join the mile-high club is beyond me.”
There was another man who refused to wear shoes or socks. Kara says: “This is something that flight attendants hate to see. He insisted on using the lavatory, sans shoes. The first time, I gave him a fair warning. The second time I begged him to find his footwear, and by the third occurrence, three flight attendants, in total, cringed over his choices. Yuck. Wear shoes on an airplane. Just do it.”
Other gross things Kara has seen include people putting their feet on the tray table, their face on the tray table and food directly on the tray table.
“Another time a passenger reached to place a bag in overhead bin. His trousers fell off, exposing himself. It was shocking.”
Sometimes people forget they’re on a flight
It’s the little things that get on the nerves of flight attendants. “I’ve seen yoga stretches and and weird exercises in the flight attendant gallery,” Kara says. Once, a man opened his suitcase straight after stepping on the plane, holding everybody up.
“Apparently it was really important for him to unpack his suitcase immediately,” she adds. “And you know what he was looking for? Two packages of crackers. I’m sure he had no time when he was waiting at the gate to look through his bag [for those crackers].”