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Galley Gossip: The Worst, Funniest And Most Common Bad Passengers I've Encountered
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!
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?
These days, people are so self-absorbed multitasking as they board a flight they don't even say hello to the flight attendant greeting them at the boarding door. They're too busy talking on the phone, typing on their laptops, listening to music and texting as they walk down the aisle to notice their backpacks and duffle bags are whacking people in the head. Recently a passenger got mad at me - ME! - because I wouldn't help him lift a heavy bag. That's because he couldn't get off the phone to improve his one arm bag swing. Two arms always work better than one when it comes to getting those bags into the overhead bins.
We can't call the police or the fire department at 30,000 feet. That's why it's a good idea to take care of problem passengers on the ground before we depart. Before we kick someone off the plane, we'll do everything we can to make a bad situation good again. Usually, it involves doing the following:
- Getting Down: Literally, we get down on one knee in the aisle at the passenger's level. This position is less threatening to passengers.
- Listening: Most passengers just want to be heard. That's it.
- Keeping Calm: We try not to raise our voices. Staying calm and in control will diffuse most situations.
- The Facts: We might ask what the problem is and then have the passenger suggest a solution. This way we're all on the same page.
- Walking Away: A new face is new energy. If I'm not getting anywhere with a difficult passenger, I'll remove myself from the situation and ask a coworker to step in. Even though a coworker may tell the passenger the exact same thing I did, they could get a completely different response.
[Photo credit: Telstar Logistics]