There’s no arguing that flight attendants have a tough job. They’re trapped inside a plane with hundreds of demanding passengers. A lot of the time they have to attend to the absurd whims of those on board, no matter how ridiculous their whims may be. And even if members of the crew hate some of the passengers they still have to remain professional and polite because that is their job. It must be exhausting but that is the life they choose. Of course, sometimes it can be rewarding and it is rarely dull. Each passenger is different and each flight brings new surprises and challenges with it. And naturally, flight attendants have their own little ways of getting back at the passengers they despise the most.
Flight attendants that are just starting out are always shocked when they see for the first time what the job truly entails. They can’t believe the bizarre stuff that some of the seemingly innocent passengers do. Plus, sometimes passengers die mid-flight. Sometimes female passengers give birth. A flight attendant must always be on his or her feet.
Of course, those flight attendants that are more experienced are used to the curious and ridiculous behavior of some of the passengers. They are rarely shocked and they have many bizarre stories to share. We have collected 15 stories of the gross things that flight attendants have seen on planes.
15. A Passenger Pulling Out Loose Strands Of Hair From Her Head And Handing Them To The Attendant
It’s not just snots and diapers that terrify flight attendants. They don’t care much for balls of loose hair either! In response to the question ‘what are the weirdest things flight attendants have seen in their line of duty’ one Quora user replied with: “having a lady hand me a teacup to clear, and then asking me to wait while she pulled some lonnnnng loose strands of hair from her head, balled them up and popped them in the teacup that was now on my tray”. Yuck.
14. Maggots Escape From Carry-On Bag
Sometimes people bring disgusting things with them in their luggage and carry-on bags. For example, one reddit user recounted a horrifying tale of a maggot attack on passengers: “It was a transatlantic flight and halfway through, near the back of the plane, the overhead bin started raining maggots on the passengers in one row. Just pouring through. One of the other flight attendants on the plane investigated and discovered that a passenger had flown in from Africa and was travelling to the US via Europe and had a whole dead fish filled with maggots wrapped inside a newspaper, apparently a delicacy in some parts of the world”. On the bright side, at least the passenger wasn’t trying to snack on the maggot filled fish during the flight!
13. Passenger Gets Covered In Poop
Sometimes flight attendants see some shitty passengers… literally! One reddit user claims that he was a customer representative for Southwest Airlines. The user claims that one of his favorite stories ever is “about a gentleman who went into one of the lavs to relieve himself. As he flushed, and opened the gooseneck valve to the tank, the plane hit a pocket of dead air and dropped, like 15 feet vertically. Everything in the tank proceeded upwards at the speed of gravity”.
12. People Making Soup With Dirty Airline Water
Food on airplanes is not cheap. And let’s face it, it’s not that tasty either. So it is not surprising that many people opt to bring their own snacks on board. However, some of these snacks can be rather gross. We’ve all sat beside that person on the plane who brought something incredibly smelly, like a curry or a tuna salad.
But some people take their snack game even further. According to one Quora user and a former flight attendant Heather Wilde, one time during a flight she witnessed passengers making soup with the airline water. Wilde then offered a piece of advice: “Guys, the water lines haven’t ever been cleaned – ever”.
11. Dirty Baby Diapers Shoved Into The Pockets Of The Seats And Adult Diapers Left In The Bathroom
Some parents travelling with kids have no choice but to change their kid’s diapers on board, especially if it’s a long flight. Thankfully, most of the parents do it in the bathroom. However, according to flight attendants a lot of them then end up leaving used diapers in the pockets of their seats. Gross.
But it’s not just baby’s diapers that are constantly found on board. Sometimes adult diapers also get left behind. One flight attendant recalls finding huge adult diapers on the toilet seat. The diapers were “left perfectly wide open and obviously used on top of the toilet lid, for the next passenger”. How is it even possible that some people are so gross?
10. Blankets Soaked In Boogers
Don’t you just hate it when you’re in public and you see someone picking their nose? It’s extremely gross and naturally you try to stay away as far as possible from that person. However, if you’re a flight attendant, staying away from people who love picking their nose is not that easy.
One flight attendant recalls how a passenger in first class rang her call light and asked for a new blanket. The flight attendant was rather puzzled because passengers get a fresh blanket at the start of the flight. But then the attendant looked down at the blanket that the passenger had handed her and noticed that it was slimy with snots. Naturally, she was extremely grossed out and threw away the blanket immediately.
9. Breast Pumping During A Flight And Thawed Breast Milk Dripping Down Onto Passengers
How come it is almost always parents that are the grossest passengers on the plane? One flight attendant revealed how one time on a flight a woman decided that it was totally appropriate to breast pump during the boarding of the plane. The woman exposed both of her breasts and did the vacuum effect on her exposed boob with a bottle. The flight attendant then added that it was “both breasts out in the air, on a full flight, during boarding, taxi, take-off and part of cruise”.
Speaking of babies and milk, another flight attendant recounted the story of how one time when she was attending a flight a few passengers complained that something was dripping onto their heads from the overhead bins. A woman then abruptly stood up and exclaimed that her breast milk must have thawed.
8. Women Carrying Out Their “Services” Mid-Flight
One reddit user recalls the good old times when she was a flight attendant in the 1970s. She was a flight attendant for American Airlines and very often was a witness to bizarre passenger behavior.
She often flew on the all-nighters from New York City to San Juan and “on a couple of occasions, hookers would saunter around the plane, hitting on guys who looked as if they were travelling alone. I’d see them occasionally sneaking into a lav with a john. Some of them did enough business with them to pay their fare. The all-nighters were a perfect place to pull this off because after meal service, we’d dim the lights and most people would be sleeping for a couple of hours”.
7. A Drunk Couple Doing It In Front Of Everyone
Flight attendants often catch people trying to do it on the plane. It seems that doing it mid-flight is a huge sexual fantasy for most passengers. In fact, a few weeks ago a couple was caught on video doing it in their seats on a Ryanair flight from Manchester.
About an hour after the plane took off a woman straddled her partner. Both of them were extremely drunk. One of the passengers, Kieran Williams, filmed the whole thing and then later said – “We all laughed but then ten minutes later they actually did it”.
6. Two Tarantulas Escape Mid-Flight
In 2016, two tarantulas escaped from a passenger’s bag towards the end of an Air Transat flight from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to Montreal. Once the spiders escaped and began scurrying down the airplane, chaos ensued. Passengers screamed and stood on their seats and flight attendants insisted that all passengers should keep their ankles completely covered.
But as one can imagine, most flight attendants were just as scared of the spiders as the passengers and were unsure of what to do. One passenger claimed that her husband caught the spiders in a plastic container but they managed to wriggle their legs out. While one of the spiders was captured during the flight, the second one roamed the airplane until the plane landed. The spider was then captured by a federal agent.
5. Peeing In A Bottle Mid-Flight
What happens when passengers are for some reason prevented from using the toilets on the plane? Well, if the passenger that needs to use the loo is male he will probably pee in a bottle. Which makes sense. If you have to go, you have to go, right? However, as you can imagine, flight attendants really dislike these “pee in the bottle” situations.
Recently, a man on a three-hour Ryanair flight from Leeds Bradford to Faro in Portugal was fined after he urinated in a plastic bottle. A witness claimed that the reason the man peed in a bottle was because the front toilet was out of use and the two rear toilets were not working.
According to the witness, the man could not hold the pee any longer and went to the front of the plane where the flight crew sit in privacy. He was caught there by a flight attendant who claimed that some of the pee splattered on his jacket.
4. Semi-Naked Passengers
Very often, flight attendants are exposed to semi-naked passengers. One reddit user said that when he was playing cards with the flight crew on a quiet flight they confessed something quite disturbing to him. Supposedly, one time the crew witnessed a man stripping down to his underwear because the “seat felt bad on his pants”.
Another reddit user claimed that his father, who was a pilot, was once flying the Australian rugby team home. The team had rented out the first class part of the plane and once the plane was in a cruising mode they all stripped down to their underwear. The rugby team players were incredibly nice and polite but it was still a little weird for the pilot and the flight crew to see them half naked.
3. Some Passengers Flash Their Private Parts
Some passengers like to flash flight attendants. One Quora user recounted an interesting story where one of the new team member’s was flashed. Of course, the new team member was a woman: “It was a relatively easy flight… But we weren’t an hour into the flight that the young junior rushed into the back galley in tears. She was sobbing. After calming her she finally blurted out that the man in 36K (indicating a window seat in the back of the aircraft) had lifted his thobe, exposing himself to her”.
When another female crew member went to confront the man about the incident, the man replied with “She likes these things, doesn’t she?” and then added, “Maybe you want to see too?” before exposing his private parts to her also. Creepy, isn’t it?
2. The Smell Of Poop Forces The Plane To Turn Back
In 2015, BBC reported that a British Airways flight had to turn around because of “smelly poo”. The plane was on its way from Heathrow to Dubai. The flight was to take seven hours. However, the plane had been in the air for just half an hour when the pilot requested senior cabin crew. About 10 minutes later the pilot told the passengers that they may have noticed “there’s a quite pungent smell coming from one of the toilets”.
Apparently, the pilot further added that the smell was caused by “liquid faecal excrement”. A man named Abhishek Sachdev tweeted saying “Insane. Our BA flight to Dubai returned back to Heathrow because of a smelly poo in the toilet”. The next flight was not leaving until 15 hours later so passengers had to stay in a nearby hotel overnight.
1. Snotty Napkins And Tissues Covered In Poop
According to flight attendants, some passengers have absolutely no manners – they use tissues and napkins for dirty deeds and then either leave them for flight attendants to collect later or try to shove them into the hands of flight attendants even when the attendants are wearing no gloves.
One flight attendant recounts the story of how one passenger used a tissue from a tissue box dispenser in the toilet to clean up after their bowel movements. However, instead of flushing down the dirty tissue the passenger then put the tissue back into the tissue dispenser. The gross tissue was later discovered by a flight attendant… who wore no gloves. Another flight attendant recalls how someone blew their nose on a linen napkin and tried to hand it to her while she had no gloves or tray.
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