Readers Digest 13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You. Check your sources!

13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You

We asked flight attendants to spill secrets from the air.

Readers Digest.Com, by Michelle Crouch

Sources: Longtime flight attendant, Los Angeles; John Safkow, San Francisco–based flight attendant and creator of; and flight attendant Betty Thesky, author of Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase. Additional reporting by John Clark

Plus: 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You

1. “Want to start off on the wrong foot with me? Put your carry-on in a full overhead bin, leave it sticking out six inches, then take your seat at the window and wait for someone else (me!) to come along and solve the physics problem you just created.”

2. “Yes, passengers are incredibly rude, but stealing a beer, cursing out passengers, and jumping out of a plane the way Steven Slater did is not the way to handle it. You disarm an unruly passenger by introducing yourself, asking his name, and saying something like ‘I’ve been incredibly nice to you for three hours. Why are you treating me like this?’ Generally that gets the other passengers on your side—and sometimes they’ll even applaud.”

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please go to for a total of 23 things!"

3. “We don’t have a boyfriend in every city. And our median age these days is 44.”

4. “If you’re traveling with a small child and you keep hearing bells, bells, and more bells, please look to see if it’s your child playing with the flight attendant call bell.”

5. “An all-too-common scenario: I hand you a cup of coffee and say, ‘Cream and sugar?’ You say, ‘What?’ I say, ‘Cream and sugar?’ You say, ‘What?’ Come on, people. What do you think we’re going to ask after we’ve handed you coffee? Your favorite color?”

6. “The lavatory door is not rocket science. Just push.”

7. “No, it’s not OK to come back into the galley to stretch and bend over with your rear end in my face while I’m in my jump seat during my only break, trying to eat a meal.”

8. “If you have a baby, bring diapers. If you’re diabetic, bring syringes. If you have high blood pressure, don’t forget your medication. That way, I’m not trying to make a diaper out of a sanitary pad and a pillowcase or asking over the intercom if someone has a spare inhaler.”

9. “Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the airplane besides you. So don’t clip your toenails, snore with wild abandon, or do any type of personal business under a blanket!”

10. “If you’re traveling overseas, do yourself a favor and bring a pen. You would not believe how many people travel without one, and you need one to fill out the immigration forms. I carry some, but I can’t carry 200.”

11. “Passengers are always coming up to me and tattling on each other. ‘Can you tell him to put his seat up?’ ‘She won’t share the armrest.’ What am I, a preschool teacher?”

12. “I hate working flights to destinations like Vail and West Palm Beach. The passengers all think they’re in first class even if they’re not. They don’t do what we ask. And the overhead bins are full of their mink coats.”

13. “Do you really have to go to the bathroom right now, while we’re wrestling a 250-pound food cart down the aisle? You can’t wait 90 seconds for us to pass?”

Plus: 10 More Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You

3 comments for “Readers Digest 13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You. Check your sources!

  1. Madeleine
    October 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I remember when I was working as a flight attendant in the 80’s. We would do a charter flight from LA to Vail or Aspen. These people would purchase a seat for there mink coat and they would strap them too..I had a passenger on one flight and ask me to check if the restroom was empty..I told her that it was open for use, but she wanted to make sure it was not occupied. I told her that it was not, but insisted that I check anyways..

  2. H S Smith
    November 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I have sleep apnea, which can be a life threatening condition. It’s not like I want to disrupt others, it’s a very real & serious medical condition!
    And unlike the other examples, it’s unconsious & involutary.
    Would you tell the person blind person to watch where they were going? Or maybe the mourning family of the dead servicemen in the cargo hold to keep the crying down? So please, be a little more understanding with medical conditions

  3. November 12, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Not one mention of medical conditions in the RD piece. I think we’re very understanding.


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