Reader Feedback on Flight Attendants Reveals Different Experiences

Posted October 21, 2008 by Carl Unger

Airfirstclassmeal1About a month ago, my fellow blogger Zak Patten posted a piece about a New York Times reporter who went undercover as an American Airlines flight attendant. While the article and Zak's entry were interesting in and of themselves, a few of our readers chimed in with illuminating experiences of their own. What we found is a wide range of stories and opinions, much of which reflects the strained airline industry we're all dealing with.

Here's one reader's take: "They act like the passengers don't matter at all. If I'm sleeping in the aisle seat because it's 2am and we've been sitting on the runway for 7 hours, don't yell at the person in the window seat about a drink such that you obviously wake me up - have some common decency and speak softly. If you want to play with your bag that you brought on board, move it out of the way so I can get to the bathroom - I'm the passenger and you're the service professional. It's your job to do everything you can to make my life easier. I couldn't care less about their personal issues - they should pop some pills and shape up."

A flight attendant posted as well, lending a voice to the other side: "Sometimes the people who sit in first class, esp. the women become so taken with themselves that frequently they never look you in the eye when you take their order. And worse than that they get their male companion to order for them never giving any acknowledgment of my presence. Do you think I'm going to knock myself out to serve that person-think again."

One reader offers a tip that will make flight attendants' lives easier: "One of the best ways to help them and all passengers is: No carry ons. Faster boarding and esp. faster getting off the filled aircraft. Big deal another 10 minutes to get your suitcase when leaving." Still, others are just plain frustrated with flight attendants in general: "It would be nice to have flight attendants at least START with a nice attitude."

Finally, another flight attendant posted a sobering paragraph, reminding us all to keep things in perspective: "When someone is screaming in your face because their vegetarian meal did not get on, or they may have to check the bag, or they forgot diapers, (you know this is all our fault by the way) I calmly take a breath and think of the thousands that died on 9/11 and realize how insignificant all these little issues are. What customers do forget is we are the ones that will get your *&#% off a burning airplane and we will put you before ourselves, because that is how we are trained so if you don't get that extra drink in the timely manner you are so accustomed to, maybe we're giving oxygen to someone who actually needs us, or we are checking to make sure you are in a safe environment. I personally apologize for any rude behavior on any stew's part and really there is no excuse, sometimes we just lower ourselves to that level when someone is spitting in our face about really insignificant issues"

Want to jump in on the discussion? We'd love to hear what you think, so leave a comment below.

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Reader Comments

I want to be left alone on a plane. I always pick the window seat and go to sleep as soon as I sit down. The only reason I want to be bothered is for meal service on a long International flight.

Posted on November 03, 2008 at 03:23 PM by JetPunk

The one thing I think all passangers should realize is we didn't hire these flight attendants as personal "butlers"/maids". People get a grip and treat others as you would want to be treated. No I am not a flight attendant, just another passenger. This is why there is so much turmoil EVERYWHERE!

Thank You,

Someone Polite

Posted on November 10, 2008 at 02:41 PM by Janice Griest

I was relocating from abroad after a decade and so my carry on was heavy, but passed all inspections for size. I stored it under my seat. I thought that was the right place for it. The Delta flight attendant very loudly snarled at me..."oh no no no you don't! You store that in the overhead bin!" As I was doig so, I politely asked, "It's a bit heavy can you help me?" I didn't ask her to DO it, just to help me nudge it in. She scowled so loudly that others were staring..."No, I will not, my insurace doesn't cover that. This will teach you to pack better next time!" I was just left with my mouth hanging in disgust at her rudeness. People were laughing...on my behalf at her, it was clear. But I felt humiliated and my flight was ruined. Do you think I have ever flown Delta since then? When I think Delta, I think of her. She is a flight ATTENDANT. I don't see that she was attending to anything -just wasting space.
She was middle-aged, so I guess she had seniority, ad so felt entitled to be rude and lazy.

Posted on November 11, 2008 at 10:07 AM by I'm polite too

The post to not bring carry-ons to make a flight attendant's life easier is laughable. The airlines tell passengers to never check valuables, laptops, medication, etc. Most majar airlines also will charge me fees to check my bag. Why would I want to pay extra money, risk my bag getting lost, and wait (typically much longer than the 10 minutes the poster mentioned) at baggage claim to make deboarding go a few minutes faster?

Posted on November 13, 2008 at 11:04 AM by Michael

On a Northwest flight after boarding, we were stranded on the plane without taking off for 5 hours due to a broken cargo door. We were then told the problem could not be repaired and to go to a hotel and come back the next day. Fine, but WHY leave us on the plane for 5 hours before deciding this? But the WORST of the situation was the flight attendants. They did NOTHING but sit in a group and gossip for 5 hours. What were they talking about for five hours? Sharing "rude passenger" stories? They could have at least passed out water.. It was pathetic. The above poster stated they are not butlers/maids. True, they are flight attendants. They do have a job to do which includes the "indignities" of serving people. They are not slaves, they actually sought out the job. I have heard flight attendants complain that passengers should show more respect because if the plane goes down, they will be responsible for saving the passengers. Good grief, on the off chance that happens I am grateful for the assistance, but in the meantime, they did sign on and are paid for and receive some pretty good perks for kindly performing some other less heroic duties. I don't want to hear her chattering about her hot date to the other flight attendant as she sloppily plops my meal on my tray, sans eye contact, ignoring my existence. Of course I am talking about American carriers. I've flown Japan, Singapore, UAE, and Malaysian carriers to name a few. The flight attendants have impeccable manners, professional and polite. I have watched them handle problems/complaits with a class and professionalism that is often (not always) lacking on American carriers. And their demeanor seems to alleviate the situation...whereas being spoken to rudely or ignored by the flight attendant on a flight one has paid $1000.00+ for...will always exacerbate the problem. And customers WILL be lost.

Posted on November 15, 2008 at 06:48 AM by Frequent Flyer

i thinks this if people slow down a minute and reflect on there own lives first before demand others to serve them they will realize that it takes alot good effort inorder to be a good person according to society one bad day and it never seems to leave fast enough or changes. people need to start looking what they can do before needing others to do for them

Posted on November 17, 2008 at 03:57 PM by arthur monroe wells

My son has had the WORST experience ever on American Airlines and it will definitely be his last we will go to another airline that has people who care about the customers. His flight was canceled, got another that got in later, airport shuttle left him at the wrong place , stranded at 10:30 at night in a strange area. And to top of his day his bag was lost and this was on a flight that stopped at a city but to just let passengers on and off. The thing that is the most upsetting is that no one at American airlines cares about the customers.

Posted on November 22, 2008 at 09:53 PM by georgia Brosher

Late April 2009 flight from Cancun to Dallas. Delapidated plane and no lie, flight attendants were drinking (alcohol) in the rear of the plane. I wrote to American to complain, aside from asking for details they never responded to us.

Posted on June 03, 2009 at 05:33 PM by p coopers

I have flown AA 2 times. Both experiences have been horrible. This last experience being the worst. The 1st flight attendant was mean and threatened to shut down the bathroom b/c there were approximately 8 people in line. We had circled Dallas/FW airport for approximately 2 1/2 hours and had to land at another airport to refuel due to bad weather. No one had been able to get up to go to the restroom, so they did so when the flight had landed to refuel. She said, "Is this the line? I'm going to have to shutdown the bathrooms." One of many things she did. Passengers behind me were commenting on her need to retire. Futhermore, due to us missing our connecting flight, our luggage was lost. They rescheduled our connecting flight 2 times. I was finally able to talk to a person today on the phone regarding our luggage. They have an automated system you call to check if they have found your bags after you have reported them missing at their office at the airport. It's going on 48 hours and no one has called us regarding our lost luggage, even after they had promised to have it delivered to our house by midnight last night. Their disclaimer you read on lost luggage has not been true in our case, and all of our flights were on American Airlines. Luckily, for me I keep receipts for everything and if my bags are not found they will get a letter from my attorney along with 6,000.00 worth of expenses for the two bags lost. One my husbands and one mine. I will never fly American Airlines again. If you have had a good experience with them you are lucky. For me, I will no longer take any chances with this airline

Posted on August 03, 2009 at 01:06 AM by Melissa

American Airlines could save money by doing without the airline attendants. On the flight I was on all of the safety info was played on a tape player. The attendant was rude. She even made us take a plastic cup from a stack of cups for her to pour water into. I would have had a much more pleasant flight had she not even been there. So would others that were making comments around me regarding this attendant. On the other flight there was three attendants and we were never even offered any services.

Posted on August 03, 2009 at 01:12 AM by melissa

I just came back from Italy this past July, I flew on U.S Airways which I would say was OK. At the check in at Pittsburgh the U.S Airways conter the man was very mean I was the only one in line, and he was mad because I look up five minutes to check in my bages, when evryone eles used the self check in. When I got to Philly the gate was changed. When I found the new gate the men and women where kinda comeonish and they rushed everyone onto the plane. The flight attendant in first class was so mean. I never saw such a mean flight attendant. she looked like a man and walked liked one. And her comments to everyone like "who flies their kids in first class" I would put them in coach. "We have to start takeing orders now so what are you going to have". then she went in the back and took a nap when you have paying customers wanting your help

Posted on August 18, 2009 at 12:11 PM by dom

I agree with the first comment. I find flying to be a very stressful experience, so i like to get settled quickely and go to sleep.

Posted on January 27, 2011 at 11:33 AM by Bugaboo Donkey

As the saying goes, you cannot please everybody. But we will take it as a charge with our experience.

Posted on March 15, 2011 at 04:01 AM by Flight attendant

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