Stuff Passengers Expect Flight Staff To Do That’s Not Part of Their Job

by SharonKurheg

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Flight attendants have a tough job. The most important part of their training is safety, but that doesn’t stop some passengers from thinking flight attendants are mainly glorified servers and problem solvers. Of course, that’s because the safety demo, serving snacks/meals, and occasionally solving problems are all most passengers get to see. They don’t consider that if there’s an emergency, it’s the flight attendants who may save passengers’ lives.

Not long ago, a website asked flight attendants: What are some things passengers expect flight attendants to do that aren’t in your job description? The 1.3 thousand replies were pretty telling. Here are some of the best ones:

  • Organize the connecting flight to wait for them. — S.D.
  • Give them something sharp to pop out their SIM card when they reach the US from an international destination. I carry the pin from Apple in my bag. — S.C.
  • heat something in the microwave. — D.S.
  • I was once asked to “Rub Bengay on Nana” — L.S.
  • Go in their food and remove onions, vegetables or whatever comes into mind because they dont like it!! — N.S.
  • Be Magellan and let them know exactly which city or lake we’re flying over from 30,000 feet. It’s always Springfield, always. — S.M.
  • Change the baby — T.A.
  • Clear out the fog. I was once told by a customer to do something about the fog outside.— T.O.
  • A pax asked me if she could use my mascara to put in her hair to cover her grey hairs 🤦🏻‍♀️😆😂 — M.M.
  • Watch their children. Not just hold them, but entertain them as well as seemingly teaching them how to behave in a public space. — L.Z.
  • Had a lady who wanted to have a very serious conversation, she told me that she is going on vacation to meet her family n since she was too busy to. Get mani pedi.. She wanted crew to do it for her as we were just walking around the aircraft doing nothing🙄🙄🙄🙄 — N.K.
  • Did my bag make it on this flight? — C.F.
  • Give them refund for the connecting flight ✈️ if they miss or delay because of our flight — A.S.
  • Hold a full 15 hr flight because they left their phone in an airport toilet (they don’t remember which one) during boarding — B.L.
  • Expecting to pass on their regards or complaints to the CEO as they know them in person — S.B.
  • Filing out landing cards for them — L.C.
  • Lost items on previous flights… ” Can you tell me if I am going to find my hat it was a gift from my grandmother.” — E.J.
  • Change the weather! Like I’ve got a direct line to Mother Nature! In fact, I have her on speed dial and let me call her and tell her to stop with the Thunderstorms, hail, snow, torrential downpours, tornados, etc because it’s all about you babe. All about you! — K.F.
  • Ensure they dont miss their meetings/appointments……Fly the plane faster!!! — S.B.
  • Upgrade to business class/first class — P.S.
  • taking back bags from the cargo hole at flying altitude 40,000 in the sky to take some medicine— S.N.
  • Store a full length fur coat in a cool area with enough space so that it’s not touching any other garment in the coat closet. — J.Q.
  • Holding a HUGE framed painting in front of you saying: Stow it for me!  — M.G.
  • To use my galley for prayer during dinner service. — D.M.
  • Call their rental car company and let them know we are delayed! — K.H.
  • Hold a connection on a completely different company — C.Z.
  • In a casual conversation, it turns out this elderly man lives in the same general region as I do. (Obviously I didn’t tell him specifically where I live but a generalization that we lived within an hour radius or so). He then insisted I drove him home because it’s the airline’s fault we were delayed and he was going to miss his train, even drawing me a detailed map of where he lives. When I politely but firmly declined, he got soo mad and persistent, not taking no for an answer, to the point that I had to notify security — E.M.
  • Clean up after a MLB players kids. (oh, BBUURRNN!!) — J.M.
  • Change our arrival gate so it’s closer to the gate of their connection. — J.J.
  • Someone asked me to warm a colostomy bag — E.D.
  • Snaps fingers to gain crew’s attention, points at their bags, points at the overhead compartment bin and silently proceeds to sit in their seat.. — D.S.
  • Bake them a cake for their son’s birthday…I never laughed so much. — S.L.
  • I was asked once what number bus to get for the person to get to their daughters house — A.S.
  • Find a space in the overhead for a 3 foot tall bear after boarding has complete. — K.M.
  • On a recent flight, a passenger asked a flight attendant to take his shoes off for him. — J.J.
  • Magically find more of the meal option that we ran out of.
    Sorry, we’re out of that
    Will you be getting more? — A.S.
  • Give them my personal social media/ number so they can ask me questions about the city we are flying into…..
    Ma’am, we are not friends nor am I a tour guide, however I gladly reintroduced her to google. — D.C.
  • Help them join the mile high club — S.M.

Some of the FAs also mentioned things they’ve done, even if it’s not in their job description, just out of kindness:

  • I actually sewed up a man’s split pants on the plane. He was on a business trip, he asked for a safety pin or anything, he was desperate. I said go in the lav, hand me your pants & I’ll hand stitch them. It’s better than nothing. He was so grateful & nobody knew. — U.S.
  • I personally escorted an unaccompanied miner from Dulles to DCA years ago. I could not fathom a parent allowing a young child to try to negotiate taking a bus alone and be expected to make a connecting flight! I never heard from that little boys parent but knew I had done the right thing in making sure he got home safely. — B.S.
  • This passenger didn’t expect me to do anything. But I noticed she was upset. Crying-not making a scene but obviously not ok. She was traveling with her dog in a carrier and another dog in the belly. I sat down next to her and just told her that I was there for her-no questions asked. She explained that she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was leaving her abusive relationship-to top it off. She was supposed to be picked up at the airport by friends, but we were delayed until about 3am and her friends couldn’t pick her up. So I drove her and her pups to the friend’s house and wished her well. I still wonder to this day how she is doing… — T.B.
  • A man on my flight got the rubber part of his earbud stuck in his ear, he was a bit panicked. I use a tweezer to get it out of his ear. He was incredibly great full. I was happy to help. — L.V.
  • I once had to cut a woman’s pants off of her on a flight to San Juan. She was wearing skin tight pants, started eating and drinking and her legs and feet turned blue! Her pants were cutting off her circulation. I went in the lav with her and we cut her pants off with a tiny scissors someone had ( back in the day). We made an announcement asking if anyone had any extra sweat pants. A man in business class gave us his. And that is what she wore home 😂…. On my knees in a lav cutting off a woman’s pants 😂 — A.W.
  • I had a father traveling alone with a baby- International flight… he didn’t have any diapers!! So I made a diaper out of first class cloth napkins and maxi pads and used safety pins to fasten… — M.H.
  • My luggage was lost (long story) and the amazing United crew gave me a list of shops at my destination to get a few things. Not part of their JD but their kindness was much appreciated — S.L.
  • I’m a pax, not cabin crew, but I’d like to offer a story about customer service. Being pretty much an idiot, I left my iPad in the gatehouse when I boarded a flight to DEN after As our flight attendant walked by, I told her what I had done and asked if there was anyway of communicating back to the gate. She politely said there wasn’t (I didn’t think there was, but thought I’d ask just in case). I thanked her for letting me know and said I would just try to call the airport when we landed and said I shouldn’t have been so negligent. About 15 minutes later, she told me that she asked our captain to radio ahead to DEN and they would call back to SDF about my iPad and I should contact the gate agent when we landed. When we got to DEN, not only did the gate agent know about my situation, but customer service had already called SDF and the station manager found my iPad and held it in his office until I could arrange for a friend to retrieve it for me.I did not “expect” our flight attendant do anything. I ASKED her if I had any options. Pretty much any flight attendant will go out of their way to help if a pax is kind and respectful when asking for assistance. In my case, kindness and respect put a whole team of people into motion at the FA’s request. That was back in 2019 and I still look back in amazement that so many busy people cared enough to get one none-too-bright person’s iPad back to them. — J.D.
  • I had a diabetic woman on board and she’d just transferred from a long flight and asked for something to eat. At the time we had absolutely no food on board. I ended up giving her my lunch because I didn’t want her to fall into a diabetic coma like my mum had a few times before. — P.T.
  • rescue false teeth that went down the toilet during an upchuck in turbulence.. then spend an hour cleaning the blue off the enamel before returning it to the owner.. 🤣. ( that took a lot of vodka and toothpaste! ) — J.H.

I don’t envy flight attendants, y’all. One of the hardest jobs out there, AFAIC.

Feature Photo / Delta News Hub / flickr / CC BY 2.0

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Lara S. May 17, 2023 - 3:19 am

I think the comment about- be kind and polite and see what can be done and expect that mostly nothing can, is accurate. On the other hand I also understand (the less absurd) requests since FA are customer service facing people whose most visible job is providing food and drink service, blankets etc. Yes they are important to safety but statistically very few people will ever actually SEE that (hopefully). So mostly what people see is someone who helps them find their seat, delivers food and drink, and is their ONLY connection to the airline for the majority of their trip. It is no wonder people have expectations of being able to ask them to be of service.


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