The Worst Things to Tell a Flight Attendant, According to a Flight Attendant

Flight attendants do for a living what many people dream of -- waking up every morning in a different city and mingling with a litany of characters. But not all characters are created equal. Sometimes, passengers are sweet, courteous people who make being a flight attendant a pleasure. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of day-ruining a*******, like the guy who thinks he knows your job better than you do, or the creeps who give backhanded compliments.

Sydney Pearl, an active flight attendant and author of Diary of a Pissed-Off Flight Attendant, took a break from patrolling the aisles to write down the worst things passengers say to her on a regular basis.

Flickr user FaceMePLS

1. "SMILE!!!!"

I am going to take a few more breaths to keep the expletives at bay… Just who in the hell do you think YOU are that you feel it’s appropriate to tell ME to smile?! Just because I am not smiling a fake smile does not mean something is wrong. I am 100% positive you do not know me, and if I am going through something, it’s none of your business. Just be happy that my ass showed up to work so that you can get your smart ass from point A to point B.

2. "You look sleepy."

And you look like an a********.

Flickr/Peter Clark

3. "Flight attendants are just glorified waitresses."

Is that what you tell yourself to justify your position in life? Honey, we do not live off of tip shares to make a living, and your job will never be as glamorous as ours. Check your condescension at the gate.

4. "It’s my birthday, I want a free drink!"

I tried that same trick at Lululemon to get free clothes and they looked at me as if to say, “Who gives a f**k?” While I’m happy you’ve lived another day, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to anything free. Let me decide if I want to give you a complimentary drink -- normally I would, but now that you’ve asked for it… the answer is no! Will that be credit or debit?

<a href=";pl=edit-00">ChameleonsEye</a> / <a href=";pl=edit-00"></a>

5. "I have diarrhea!"

Whoa… too much information, lady. I do not care that you need to be this close to the restroom so you don’t s**t your pants, and I do not care about your personal problems. I don’t know you. Do me a favor: just sit close to the john and stay mum on the subject. Although, FYI, if you do happen to crap yourself, I hope you brought baby wipes and a change of panties, because we do not have loaners.

6. "Can you change my Depends?"

Do I look like a nurse? I am a flight attendant, trained in emergency evacuations, not bowel evacuations. The last time I checked, that little spiel about flotation devices doesn’t include your pee-soaked diaper. Plus, I don’t want to catch Hepatitis… and I can already smell you from here.

<a href=";pl=edit-00">ChameleonsEye</a> / <a href=";pl=edit-00"></a>

7. "You are the least helpful flight attendant ever!"

Oh, I’m sorry I’m unable to help you process your frequent flier miles! I am a flight attendant, a*******, and my job is on the PLANE!! I don’t know the ins and outs of every position within my company, just like you don’t know what the IT team does or how being polite works.

8. "What’s up with a buddy pass?"

Um… what’s up with a ticket to the Grammys? Buddy passes are strictly for family, close friends, and significant others. We just met last week, and since you don’t fall into any of those categories, at least take me to a couple of dinners before you ask about my benefits… cheap ass.

Flickr/Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures

9. "You made us LATE!!"

You’re so right! I alone decided that I did not like you and, because I control the airport, plane, and air traffic control, I have the power to delay your flight and screw up your plans. Guess what? I have plans at my final destination as well, and I would like nothing better than to be rid of you so that I can get on with them.

10. "I hate to bother you…"

Then why would you? If you hated to bother me, then you wouldn't be in my face bothering me right now with your stale coffee breath. So please just ask your question and skip the preface.


11. "Can I meet you for a nightcap?"

It was great getting to know you during my flight, and maybe you kept me in stitches. I know you think we have a rapport because I hooked you up with free drinks. But the fun stops there, and you will not get an invite to hang out after the seat belt light turns off. For all I know, you could be John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

12. "Can I call you?" (while wearing a wedding ring)

Hell no! Actually, please do, so I can find out where you live and tell your wife, douchebag! Sorry to ruin your Up in the Air dream, but we will not be having a cross-country, jet-setting affair.

Diary of a Pissed-Off Flight Attendant is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Learn more about Sydney Pearl and her book at