By Travel columnist
updated 4/4/2005 8:26:41 PM ET 2005-04-05T00:26:41

Everyone in this life has their little pet peeves. Even flight attendants. The average passenger is usually unaware of how they are irritating us.

Not to worry. I’m here to bridge that gap. Or maybe I should say, to connect that jetway. Here are my top 10 ways to annoy your crew:

  1. Press the flight attendant call button repeatedly. It will send a tone into the galley that will drive us mad after a while.
  2. Tap us on any part of the body, or snap your fingers to get our attention.
  3. Pile the dishes and trash on your meal tray in such a way that when it is collected, everything falls all over the floor. Then sneer at us as if it is our fault.
  4. Ask several different flight attendants for the same thing.
  5. Talk to us with your mouth full, thus showering us with your food and spittle.
  6. Come back to our galley, and pass gas or throw up.
  7. Let your kids run around unattended.
  8. Ask for three or more drinks at a time.
  9. Take a bite out of your meal and reconsider entree choices.
  10. Hand us your warm and gushy sick bag or diaper.

Through the years, I have been there when passengers were actually removed from an airplane. The following is an actual list of things passengers did to get them kicked off a plane:

  1. Board a flight drunk and put your face directly into the chest of a well endowed flight attendant while yelling the words “Blobby, blobby, blobbly.”
  2. Snatch a man’s toupee and play “Keep Away” during boarding.
  3. Take a swing at me and then at the pilot. He missed on both tries but did land in prison for six months.
  4. Smoke marijuana in the lavatory and then insist it is for medicinal purposes. *
  5. Openly read a book on how to make bombs, underlining parts of the chapter on commercial aviation.
  6. Charge the cockpit, shouting “Allah be praised,” and then upon reaching the front say, “just kidding.” *
  7. Be a well endowed female, take off all your clothes, and start your collection of Mardi Gras beads on your way to New Orleans.
  8. Open an exit before takeoff to see if the emergency slide really works. *
  9. Have such incredibly bad gas that it makes everyone around you sick. (This has happened twice.)
  10. Pull out a realistic looking gun, aim it at a flight attendant and start squirting. *

The most bizarre case, although I did not personally witness it, was a story that made the headlines. On a flight from South America to New York, a passenger was so drunk that when he was cut off, he rebelled by going up to first class, defecated on a service cart and smeared the walls with his feces.

Upon arrival, the airline had him greeted by the police, and later filed a lawsuit against him. He filed a counter suit claiming the airline was liable, because they had served him too much alcohol.

He lost his lawsuit, and was forced to reimburse the fares of all the passengers in the first-class cabin (approximately $100,000), and was blacklisted from ever flying with that airline again. The shocker of the whole episode is that this guy was the CEO of a major company.

Can you imagine waking up the next morning and saying “I DID WHAT?” He really gave a new meaning to the term, “crappy flight”.

(*) = Resulted in jail time.

James Wysong has worked as a flight attendant with two major international carriers during the past fifteen years. He is the author of the "The Plane Truth: Shift Happens at 35,000 Feet" and "The Air Traveler's Survival Guide." For more information about James or his books, see his web site or e-mail him. Want to sound off about one of his columns? Try visiting Wysong's forum.


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