The Worst, Funniest, and Most Common Bad Passengers I’ve Encountered

ImageFrom time to time I get asked questions about bad passengers. I thought I’d share a few of them here.

What’s the worst passenger behavior you’ve witnessed?

I’ve caught passengers taking other people’s luggage out of the bin to make room for their own bags. I’m not joking. They’ll pull out a bag, drop it on the floor and walk away leaving it in the middle of the aisle for the passengers behind them to crawl over. Have you ever tried stepping over a 21-inch Rollaboard? Not easy. Happened three times last month!

The funniest?

Recently a woman tried to stow her suitcase in that, oh, what do you call that spot? Crevice? Crack? Between the overhead bin and the ceiling? There’s like a millimeter of space there! I don’t care which airline you’re traveling on, that’s not going to fit. Then there are the recliners and the anti-recliners. One anti-recliner got upset at a recliner because she couldn’t get her tray table down. I suggested if maybe she removed the gigantic fanny pack from around her waist it might go down. She looked at me like I was the crazy one! One man actually called me over because the passenger in front of him had reclined his seat. I had to point out that, uh … his seat was reclined too!

What’s the most common bad passenger behavior you’ve seen?


[photo credit: Telstar Logistics]



  1. And this is why you should run a “Heather Poole Approved Passenger” course! Comes with a T-shirt and a badge you can wear that makes you easily identifiable to other FA’s as an “approved, polite easy passenger to deal with”. Now, where do I sign up? (yes, sad that people would need to be trained in how to show consideration for others).

  2. I would never have believed the story about passengers removing baggage from the overhead … until it happened to me last year. A harried, late arriving woman handed me my stowed bag and put hers in its place. In a state of shock, I just sat there holding it … until a very fast-thinking FA grabbed it from me and stowed it afresh. Apparently, the FAs spent the entire flight buzzing about what a patient passenger-god I must be, and finally said something during deplaning. My explanation: sometimes people do something so inexplicable that the only alternative is to completely level them … and that’s not an option. The real reason … I’m just not a quick thinker. This has saved me more than once. 🙂

  3. My best bad passenger story was when during a beverage service I parked the bar cart infront of my next set of rows and a passenger on the aisle tugged aggressively at my uniform and shouted at me to move the bar cart immediately as I rudely interrupted her sleep and that I better not do it again or else! My best funny passenger story was when a passenger in coach rang his call be and asked if he could take his cat to use the lav as It it was potty trained and would not stop meowing until it could relive itself in the lavatory.

  4. So far I haven’t had any bad experience when traveling in an airplane. And I don’t know how I would react when someone remove my baggage from the overhead bin – but I’m sure I’ll be far from being nice. 😀

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