The Most Annoying Questions You Can Ask a Flight Attendant

Flight attendant questions
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Working as a flight attendant is pretty glamorous -- in theory, anyway. Arriving in Paris one night, New York the next, hopping from continent to continent, meeting people from the world over.

Of course, the reality is more like Sacramento one night, Albuquerque the next, juggling the buffoons who compose much of the flying public. Most travelers are pretty innocuous, true, but others drive their flight attendants insane. Fortunately, you don't need to be that passenger. We asked flight attendants about the most exasperating questions people ask and have compiled the most common offenders below (with the answers, in case you still feel inclined to raise your hand).

Can you ask everyone to stay seated so I can get off first?

Beverage cart

Can I get a free drink?

Let me guess: You also call your lawyer friends and ask them to "help you out" every time you get a speeding ticket. No? Well, if you’re not walking into bars and asking for freebies, why on Earth are you expecting it from me?

Can I use the first-class bathroom?

Despite what you may have heard, it's not filled with tea tree oil and an endless loop of "spa sounds." All you're missing out on is a shorter line, which these people up here paid roughly three times as much as you to enjoy. So, no.

Is it hard for you to date?

Harder than it is for you to ask personal questions of somebody you just met, apparently.

Can I have water to take a pill before we leave?

I get that Hudson News marks up a pint of Dasani like it's a gallon of gas. But please don’t ask me to go all sockeye salmon and hustle back to the galley because you couldn't use the terminal water fountain.

Airplane window

What are we flying over?

Sorry, I was absent that day in flight attendant school where they taught us how to identify every American city by its lights from six miles up.

Can I change seats?

Once we're done boarding, if a seat is open, sure, go to town. If you piss off the dude with the window seat who thought he had his own row, that's on you. That said, the key phrase here is "once we're done boarding." You're just inciting chaos until then.

Can I hang out back here?

In reference to the galley where we sit for those precious few moments between beverage service and cleaning up the cabin. Believe it or not, I'd prefer not to spend my tiny bit of downtime sharing 8sqft with you while you explain your scintillating job in commercial real estate. I'll be sure to return the favor and come hang out in your office when I'm bored.

Can't I just sit in one of those empty first-class seats?

No, Miss Benes, you may not. The people up there don't just buy those seats only because they want legroom and free domestic wine. And there's a very real chance that all the profit the airline will make on this flight will come down to a couple of first-class tickets. Giving them away willy-nilly wouldn't exactly thrill my bosses.

Connecting flights
Paul Matthew Photography/Shutterstock

Am I going to make my connections?

I have absolutely no idea. But yes.

Do you get, like, a special discount you can hook me up with?

Yes, I do. It's called "friends and family" discount. Not "middle-school lab partners who found me on Facebook" discount. Though when they start offering those you'll be the first to know.

Do you have any tips on buying tickets?

I've flown for free for seven years. Asking me how to get cheap airline tickets is like asking Zac Efron how to meet women.

What is your "route"?

People seem to think that we fly that same Phoenix-to-Chicago route all day every day, like we're making widgets on an assembly line. Actually we have a crew-scheduling desk that tells us where to go (and we hate them); better routes depend on seniority and a number of other factors. In any event, we’re not doing Paris to New York on endless repeat.

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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer with Thrilist who's never saying anything to a flight attendant ever again. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.