American Airlines Flight Attendant Hates 3 Things About Passengers

American Airlines flight attendant Ally Case says that she hates three things that passengers do. And she says these are the three things about passengers that get cabin crew talking.

  1. Talk during the safety demonstration
  2. Expect flight attendants to help with your bags
  3. Poke flight attendants

At American, flight attendants have to do a safety demo. Since the airline has taken seat back screens out of most of their planes, flight attendants physically show you how to buckle a safety belt and blow into the tube of a life jacket. And it is, in fact, rude to talk through the demonstration.

Case says that maybe someone who has never flown before is trying to listen? I suppose that’s possible, and they’ll somehow remember the instruction when needed. More likely they’ll be grabbing their carry on bags, taking selfies, and digging their heels into the evacuation slide on the way down.

As for helping you with your bags, she says “we’re actually not supposed to help with your bags because we could get hurt” but then suggests asking another passenger nearby to do it because who cares if they hurt themselves I guess?

She’s right in the general case that if you can’t lift your bag yourself you should check it. But it might be light and contain medications, and your inability to lift is due to a medical condition. And whether a crewmember or fellow passenger, helping out someone in need without hurting yourself is just common courtesy.

Finally, she says not to poke flight attendants use “the call light or a little wave” instead to get their attention. Of course. Do not touch the flight attendants but you should, of course, fully expect them to bang you with the galley carts as they roll down the aisle. That’s not their fault, it’s the airline’s, since they’re the one that laid out the cabin and bought the carts.

It’s always struck me weird, though, that when crew apologize for bumping me they usually do so touching me on the arm or shoulder? Like, they’re apologizing for touching me by touching me. Go figure.

@allycase1 Very requested video: 3 airplane pet peeves from a flight attendant 😅 #petpeeves #flightattendant ♬ original sound – Ally | Travel + Lifestyle

Be polite! Don’t touch! Use the call button. Clearly Ms. Case wouldn’t do well at United or another airline represented by AFA-CWA, since their union’s head says passengers should never use the call button to request a drink. Already then she’s got something going for her!

(HT: Johnny Jet)

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  1. Here’s what I want from my FA:
    Pleasant demeanor
    Stop playing games on your phone and service customers
    Stop using your phone for whatever while ignoring customers
    Stop gossiping with your coworkers and start servicing customers
    Stop being so noisy with your coworkers. It’s rude.

  2. Those seem like perfectly reasonable requests, although legally/liability wise it would be better to let flight attendants do it than passengers (workers’ comp).

    I wonder if banning flight attendants from lifting gives airlines a break on their workers’ comp premiums?

    (I never expect anyone to help me with my bags. If I can’t lift it, I shouldn’t be taking it. That might change if I end up disabled as I age, but…)

    Talking through the safety demonstration isn’t just rude to the flight attendants, but to everyone else on the plane.

  3. Guess we should consider ourselves fortunate she could narrow it down to only 3 ítems. Kind of figured any list of grievances flight attendants had in respect to passengers would have at least been a Top 20.

  4. I’ve seen longer lists, which include:
    Excessive use of the call bell (that’s what they really mean by not using it for drinks. People press it every twenty minutes).
    Leaving a mess in the lav.
    Going barefoot.
    Asking for seat changes on board. Apparently, flight attendants don’t always know which seats are available. Gate staff do.
    Faking a fastened seatbelt
    Taking too long to deplane
    Asking for water immediately on boarding (I did this once, but I was breaking out in hives from something in the terminal, so it was an actual medical need, and it was pretty obvious I had a problem. Fortunately I recovered quickly once the door closed. I’m thinking it was cleaning chemicals, some of which I react to).
    Pushing past the drink cart to use the lav. I was once on a flight where the attendants actually announced when they had it out of the aisle. This should be standard practice!
    Asking for a meal later because you slept through service.
    Filing your nails. (eww)

    I’m guessing somebody asked this FA what the top three were specifically.

  5. Passengers are required to have the briefing, per Federal Aviation Regulations. In fact that is required on all aircraft, and even in the two place glider I would go over basic safety information with my single rider. That really did make a difference one time when the belt was getting tangled in the controls (though there is a final safety check of the controls before you launch). Still, how many times can you hear the same thing? What I wish they would emphasize is keeping your belt fastened when sitting whether the light is on or not. All those cases of people getting smashed around in unexpected turbulence are so preventable with this one habit.

  6. Tell me about it! It doesn’t help the flight attendants (at the most risk of being hurt because they’re more likely to be standing up) but…

    You can loosen it if it’s annoying, but *please* keep it fastened. Even with modern radar, turbulence can sneak up on a pilot.

  7. Can we respond with three things passengers “hate” (strong word!) about flight attendants?

    1. Making up “FAA regulations” that don’t exist to buffalo passengers into submission
    2. Assuring passengers on a late flight into a hub that “they’re holding connections for you” when it’s not true
    3. Telling the cabin service is not possible on this flight owing to turbulence or brevity, then hiding out with Us magazine behind a curtain as we sail through calm air

  8. My grandmother who was very hard of hearing due to a childhood medical issue would say “Come in” when we would tap her on her shoulder to get her attention. I would do the same thing to customers on board who chose to tap me to gain my attention.

    Here’s a tip for everyone who packs a rollerboard suitcase intending to carry it onboard. Take your packed bag over to your full-size refrigerator and attempt to lift the suitcase to the top of the fridge. If you can’t lift and control the bag you ought to contemplate checking it as flight attendants aren’t there to handle baggage. We can assist you but you need to be the primary lifter of your bag. Otherwise, you can get it checked right then and there.

    I’m surprised that the list of grievances didn’t include being situationally aware so that when you’re asked a question by the crew with the beverage and or meal cart in the aisle, you are prepared to answer. If I had a dollar for every time I asked if the customer wanted something to drink and I either was ignored or they rudely look up at me and say “What?” Instead of “Excuse me” or Sorry I didn’t hear you” I’d have retired years ago!

    Overall, people are usually happy onboard and like to engage with the crews.

  9. The lifting of the bags is always such a joke. At my work we had classes on lifting so as to not get hurt. Of course, we were doing it for the requirements of the job, not to directly take care of customers. I have flown on plenty of Asian airlines and the flight attendants always help out if they see someone too short or struggling. From my experience, only in America do flight attendants not help out when needed. There is one difference though, with the carry-ons usually weight limited to 10kg or 7kg or 5kg.

  10. Nothing like over-entitled employees complaining about the people who pay their paychecks while they do the bare minimum their job requires. Don’t like the customers? Find a new job.

  11. Hello flight attendants. Please understand many of your guests (aka passengers) may.. from time to time need assistance. Without attitude. As we have been informed you are there for our safety, and we will be grateful. Meanwhile don’t make your guests fearful of a simple request. You are better than that. Be nice.

  12. Why, o why are these nasty FA attitudes seen only on US airlines.
    I was on crutched once and was refused help to put by bag in the overhead.
    FAs passangers pay your salaries, they are not your subordinayes to order around

  13. Flight attendants
    1) Stay at an appropriate weight so you don’t bump passengers seated while walking down aisle
    2) Realize you are in a customer service role and treat passengers accordingly
    3) Quit if you hate your job. It would be better for everyone

  14. @ jns – true, I see flight attendants helping passengers with luggage all the time on Asian airlines. I wonder if it is a cultural difference or training difference?

  15. Their biggest gripe is that we’re not all somnolent as soon as we sit down. Although they do try on W/B day flights. I hate that.

  16. They turned the lights down on an evening westbound transatlantic. I have *never* had such bad jetlag. And this was not a U.S. carrier.

    I was trying to stay awake for jetlag management and it was nearly impossible with the lights in Sleep Now Everyone mode.

    So I feel your pain. They should actually study some science when deciding whether or not to dim the lights.

    But this was almost certainly not the flight attendants’ decision but somebody above them.

  17. Fire them all, rehire from the ground up to change the culture. No more mall cops in the sky or people who think the airlines exist to give them free travel and paying customers are an intrusion on their day.

    No thoughts or opinions from flight attendants, ever. SHUT UP AND POUR THE DRINKS.

  18. Before jumping to immediately blame flight attendants let’s start thinking about the why behind things. US airlines strictly tell their employees NOT to lift bags other than their own. Why? Because workers comp does not cover it. And if the flight attendant goes out of their way to choose to violate this policy, they won’t pay a dime of workers comp. If everyone is so quick to think of flight attendants as “servers” then ask yourself, do I touch my server when I’m dining out at a restaurant? I think not. That’s where the frustration I think comes from crews. While I can agree that many crew members ask not to be touched and then do the same, I do think it is fair to say that American passengers have gotten quite large, the aisles are narrow, the carts are big, and passengers keep their feet in the aisle even when they know a cart is coming through. We just need to go back to putting ourselves in peoples shoes and recognizing that even though I may want to help an elderly person lift their bag, I have experienced being out of work for 6 months unpaid even though I do strength training six days a week. It doesn’t take much to tear something, but greatly impacts my ability to support myself and pay my bills.

  19. I am with the beleaguered flight attendants on this one. I am an airline customer, not an employee, but I try to help when I can. I am tall and strong so I naturally get asked to help, but I am getting older. Sometimes when I pick up a fellow traveler’s carry on bag, I am stunned by how much it weighs – perhaps 20-25 kg on occasion. This is much heavier than allowed carry on bags in much of the world. Most US airlines have gamed this system with relatively expensive checked baggage fees. Still, anyone who carries on a heavy bag should be prepared to lift it themselves – or check it and then carry on a small bag instead. I’ve traveled the world on multi-month trips with only 10kg of total baggage, so I know it can be done.

  20. Dear Author,

    I appreciate that you’re trying to be witty. But you may take a bit too lightly how tough the FA job is. If they don’t want me to touch them but they need to touch me in order to be as efficient as possible, that’s fine with me. They know better than I do what is going to get us there quickly, safely, and quietly. I’m happy to heed their list of things not to do. I don’t understand the need to joke about it I guess. Just my $0.02.

  21. and you know what’s interesting? I have never felt disrespected by an FA. I have always they were at least professional, and frequently kind and warm. I have a theory. My theory is that their attitude reflects mine. I try as hard as I can to make their job easy and to treat them with respect. So I wonder about all the folks here who can do nothing but complain about FAs’ attitudes. Do they have 100% worse luck than I do, and somehow get lots of cranky FAs while I get none? It seems unlikely…

  22. A Captain once said, you pack it, you rack it. We are not supposed to lift bags into the overhead bin because if we get hurt, we don’t get paid for time off. A lot of F/A’s have torn rotator cuffs because of opening & closing bins. Again, if you can’t put it under your seat or put it in the overhead bin then check it, it’s that simple. We lift heavy inserts & push & pull heavy carts (beverage carts weigh 250 pounds). Enough is enough!

  23. Why anyone thinks a flight attendant should be responsible for lifting a 50lb bag that doesn’t belong to them into an overhead bin is ludicrous. Decades ago the overhead bin was for hats. They would be happy to help you with that, but doing a high heft and risking injury for all the random crap people toss into a carryon to avoid checking a bag is nuts. If you can lift it into the trunk of your car, you should be able to lift it into the overhead, otherwise check it.

    The disrespect (even fat shaming) reflected in the comments here is disappointing. Just be quiet in the moment no matter how often you’ve heard the safety briefing. I’m married to a retired F/A and flew as Capt for a major airline for 39 years. If you can simply put your iPhone down for a few short moments and take your earbuds out of your ears and make eye contact with the F/A briefing the single most important thing, then do that and be a decent person. Even with the training and experience I had, I ALWAYS stopped everything to pay attention to any F/A. I want them to know me, know that I’m present, aware and ready to assist at any moment. Keep things civil and light and your flight will go right. If you support your crew, even as a random passenger, I assure you that you will be held in high regard during the crew conversation on the ride to the layover.

  24. @ Tim – being quiet during the demo, for sure. Making eye contact, caring about what FAs say to each other about you between themselves – who’s the customer, the FA or the passenger?

  25. @Jake – it’s about being a decent human. You don’t need to have your tush kissed to fully enjoy first class service. I flew corporate jets long ago and a great trip for everyone had nothing to do with being the “customer”. Only a lout doesn’t care what people think of them.

  26. @Jennifer P, who said:
    “Those seem like perfectly reasonable requests, although legally/liability wise it would be better to let flight attendants do it than passengers (workers’ comp). I wonder if banning flight attendants from lifting gives airlines a break on their workers’ comp premiums?”

    Flight attendants are DENIED Workers Comp claims if they were injured lifting bag Stowing luggage is NOT covered in their position description. If it were there would be a bodily strength standard they would have to meet. According to the Department of Labor (OSHA) flight attendants are the third most-likely worker to be injured on the job for a number of factors, far more than police officers.

  27. *nodnods* Right. So, they are not *allowed* to lift the bag. Of course, the fellow passenger who helps you?

    They get injured and even if they don’t sue you, then their health insurance company will. I got injured horseback riding and had to fight to keep my health insurer from suing my trainer and the facility…who had done absolutely nothing wrong. I didn’t want her liability insurance payments to go up because I fell off for reasons that were, if anyone’s fault, mine and not really that either. Can’t even blame the horse. Health insurance companies will try to recoup their costs any way they can… (They asked me who my lawyer was and I was like *I am not suing*).

    The problem is that the fees for checked baggage encourage people to check bags they can’t lift. If you can’t lift it over your head comfortably then check it. Or pack lighter. Do you need four pairs of shoes? Can you take ebooks instead of paperbacks…

    Disabled people are, of course, another issue, and I do know some people who struggle to *reach* the bins. But I am not going to help, risk a back injury and lost income AND the poor person who asked me being sued into oblivion by my health insurer.

  28. @ Tim – being civil, certainly, for all involved. What you’re telling passengers should do goes far beyond that, and it’s one sided, as if FAs are the customer who’s promised a service. Not caring what FAs think of you doesn’t mean you’re uncouth or don’t treat people respectfully. It just means you’re an adult who realize such worries are pointless.

  29. The problem with heavy carry on luggage really didn’t become an issue till virtually all the air carriers decided that passengers were no longer entitled to have checked luggage in the cargo hold as part of the cost of a ticket. $30 a bag is pretty steep.

  30. Everyone that thinks flight attendants should lift bags into bins clearly isn’t thinking about how many passengers and how many flights per day. To think they could do that all day, every day without ( stated a completely uncovered) injury is selfish and absurd. Most gate checked bags now are both free and encouraged, by gate agents.

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