If there’s any group of people who have seen and heard everything, it’s flight attendants. Maybe it’s the recycled oxygen, the access to booze, or the cabin pressure, but air passengers say the darnedest things. And they usually say them to flight attendants.
“People don’t have a filter with us,” says veteran flight attendant Emily Witkop. “They have that comfort level with us where they’ll say anything.”
These crazy flight attendant interactions are often funny, but sometimes not so much (in Dubai, a British man recently was convicted of telling an Emirates flight attendant he would chop her into pieces if she didn’t serve him another drink).
Whether rude or outlandish, there’s very little flight attendants haven’t heard. At the risk of forcing them into therapy after accessing a repressed memory, we asked some of our favorite flight attendants to recall the craziest, meanest, or weirdest things ever said to them during a flight.
1. “You obviously don’t like going to the gym.”
“I’m going to write a [complaint] letter about you! You like to read? Because obviously you don’t like going to the gym.”
Former flight attendant Shawn Kathleen, creator of Passenger Shaming, recalls this bitter response from a male passenger who was mad at her for making him sit down and buckle up while the plane was taking off (because how dare she enforce the rules of every single airline on the planet). “I was upset,” says Shawn Kathleen. “But I didn’t want to give this guy the satisfaction of seeing me upset.”