How To Piss Off a Flight Attendant

June 22, 2007

Expect them to entertain your kids.

I don’t know about you but when I travel with my kids, I bring along everything I could possibly need - toys, snacks, dvd player, ipod, extra clothes, etc. I figure most other parents do the same.

That’s why I was so shocked when I encountered this family.

On most of our flights, we rent portable dvd players with movies already loaded in for $15. Of course, we don’t have enough for everyone on the plane since they cost the company $1500 each. We start selling them from the back of the plane and work our way up. Needless to say, we usually run out before we get to the front. There’s always someone who expresses their dissatisfaction but they get over it pretty quickly.

On this last flight, there was a couple with a 4 year old boy sitting in the 3 seat center section. Dad and Mom were in the aisle, boy was in the middle. When we reached their aisle, the Mom asked for a player.

This is how the conversation went:

  • Mom: I would like to rent one of those players.
  • Me: I’m sorry but we’re all out of them. Would you like to rent headsets for the movie instead?
  • Mom: No, I want a player for my son.
  • Me (speaking slowly): We are all out of them.
  • Mom: You mean, you don’t sell them to the kids first?
  • Me: No, we start from the back and work our way up.
  • Mom: Well, how am I supposed to occupy my child?
  • Me : I could rent you some headsets so he can watch the movie.
  • Dad: He can’t even see the screen! How the h*ll is he supposed to watch the movie?
  • Me: I could find you some other seats where he’d have a better view or maybe one of you could change seats with him since he can see the screen if he sat on the aisle.
  • Mom: We’re NOT moving.
  • Me: I could get him something to sit on so he’ll be a little higher up to see the screen.
  • Mom: No, he’s staying just the way he is. You better find something for my child to do or he’ll scream the entire flight.
  • Me: I’m sorry that you didn’t think ahead to bring something for him, but entertaining your son is not my responsibility.
  • Mom to Son while gently stroking his arm: She just doesn’t care about kids.
  • Dad: I want to speak to a supervisor right now!

I was speechless! Now, there are occasions when we do have extra players in first class. They allot one for each passenger up there but not all of them use it. If this family had been remotely civil about the situation, I would have bent over backwards trying to help them out. However, in this case, they weren’t getting squat from me.

I ended up walking away, found the Lead Flight Attendant, and explained what happened. I also told her that if there were any extra players from first class, she had better not give it to them. The Lead Flight Attendant spoke to the Dad and basically got the same harassment.

I’ll never understand why some people come on the plane with small kids and have nothing to occupy them with. Do they really think their child will sit quietly and stare at the seat in front of them for 6 hours? And what makes that Mother think it’s my job to come up with a way to entertain her son?

With my luck, I’ll be working their return flight home next week.

  • And speaking of great items to take on the airplane, what about My Royal Heinie from StollerMama? You have until Sunday, 9pm CST to enter this great giveaway over at Adventures in Babywearing. This item is perfect when a diaper bag is just too much to bring along. Go check it out and let me know if you win! Good luck!
  • The ladies at 5 Minutes For Mom is having a great 4th of July Giveway. There will be various prizes available along the way and right now they’re offering a Krups Ice Cream Maker and a Rosanne Sweet Dreams Bowl set. How perfect for summer!


Aloha for stopping by Sws2d, FAATSAregsknower, Waya, Groovyoldlady, Romie, Suzanne, Pamela, Mama Duck, FirstClassFlyer, Sg, CZ, Rach, Sidonie, Erica, Karen, Karen, Colm, Jack Crevalle, Amy, Newmom, Tiggerprr, Grace, NOLADawn, Mary, Mommy the Maid, Write From Karen, Growing in Grace (Nicole), Renee, Christine, Sheppard, Lissete, Holly Schwendiman, Desert Songbird, Jenn, Twisted Cinderella, Pickel, Char, Dana, Yoshi, Mike, SeaBird, Crissybug, Melissa, Suzie, AuthorMomWithDogs, Angela, Carey, and Hsien Lei

53 Comments on “How To Piss Off a Flight Attendant”

June 22, 2007
9:30 am

Hsien Lei said:

UNBELIEVABLE! I honestly don’t know how you guys put up with all this unreasonable behavior.

Personally, I always end up bringing twice as much entertainment for my four-year-old than we need but better safe than sorry!

June 22, 2007
9:58 am

Karen said:

Sheesh! How about this next time:
(at 30,000 feet)
Mom: I want a player and I want one now.
You: I’d be happy to show you the way to the nearest Best Buy…..Just go out the main cabin door and take a right.

I would never even THINK to get on a 6 hour flight without stuff for my kids to do (especially when the players are not guaranteed!)

June 22, 2007
10:05 am

Carey said:

She probably has a nanny for her child, and is never home to play with her son.

June 22, 2007
10:40 am

Angela said:

I don’t understand how people like this were even blessed with a child in the first place. The entire situation is ridiculous and can you even imagine what type of person the little one will turn into? Hopefully the poor kid will be one of those that turns into his own person and actually knows right from wrong when he see it.

I didn’t realize until this post that you were a flight specialist. My husband would probably LOVE your blog. He travels via the airplane every week. This year he has been 100% travel. Who knows, you might know my husband!! lol Boy does he have some stories for you.

June 22, 2007
12:26 pm

AuthorMomWithDogs said:

Takes all kinds… :(

June 22, 2007
2:35 pm

Suzie said:

What a hmmm, I’ll use the word pain but that isn’t what I’m thinking. The thing that really strikes me about this is how she then turns to her son and says “she just doesn’t care about kids”. Give me a break and we wonder why some people have such a sense of entitlement.

Sorry you have to deal with people like that.

June 22, 2007
2:47 pm

Melissa said:

I just read Karen’s comment! HA! LOVE IT! I can’t imagine going somewhere and not having BAGS full of stuff for the kids to do. Go to the dollar store and stock up! Glad you didn’t search for a DVD player!!! So the question is… how did the little boy do on the flight?

June 22, 2007
2:51 pm

Crissybug said:

Some people are just plain clueless. That is the one thing that is frustrating being a FA. People expect some of the strangest things from you…we are not Superwoman!

I am sorry that you were treated that way.

June 22, 2007
3:33 pm

SeaBird said:

That’s insane! We also bring everything we could possibly need - and I even plan for several extra hours in case we encounter some nightmare 911 scenario.

June 22, 2007
3:48 pm

Mike said:

When I was a kid, we brought books and maybe a walkman. If we needed more than that, we got spanked.

And we flew uphill both ways.


June 22, 2007
3:53 pm

yoshi said:

That’s just stupid. Tell that family they’re stupid. I could never do your job. I would get fired so fast for telling people off. I don’t know how you do it.

When I was 4, and flying, I think I recall my parents saying to occupy myself with a colouring book or something. We didn’t even have inflight movies. OMG how did we cope then! the agony!

People are too spoiled nowadays. They need to suck it up!

June 22, 2007
4:02 pm

Dana said:

Yea, people can be so rude. You have enlightened me on your blog here about what flight attendants must put up with. I guess anyone in the public service industry must put up with routine people.
It is sad that people get angry and take it out on others around them, especially when you are in a confined area like an airplane. That was totally out of line for the lady to tell you it was your responsibility to entertain her kid. She was pissed (and acting like a child). No excuse and the behavior is unacceptable. Sorry you have to put up with that!

June 22, 2007
4:28 pm

Char said:

For some reason I am not one bit surprised! You handled it like a pro, though.

June 22, 2007
4:41 pm

Pickel said:

I always take MORE than enough for Little Pickel to be entertained. That is absolutely absurd!

I have heard some great things, however, about the Russian flight attendants and their ability and want to help take care of new adoptees on flights. If they see a family in need of help most will step right in and help out. It certainly puts the family at ease. The children love hearing their language and lullabies.

June 22, 2007
4:42 pm

Twisted Cinderella said:

I can’t believe they were so rude and demanding! That is completely unacceptable! Entertain your own darned kid darn it!

June 22, 2007
4:54 pm

jenn said:

Some people are so asinine, I just can hardly believe it.
I’m the same way, you bring your own stuff for your kids, don’t rely on anyone else.

how rude!!

June 22, 2007
5:08 pm

Desert Songbird said:

My kids plan for WEEKS what to put in the backpacks for their trip back to Ohio. It’s a four hour plane flight, and I tell them ahead of time that it’s their responsibility to bring their own stuff.

When they were younger, I planned for weeks what to bring, including snacks. On our airline, we don’t get the player option, but we always bring our own. Plus our flight attendant always offers extra snacks, coloring books, and even a travel Uno card set. We are very prepared, and yet our flight attendants spoil my kids - and I never mention to them that my niece is a flight attendant for the airline, they just provide this service naturally.

I learned long ago that I’m responsible for my kids well-being, NOT the flight attendant, and I also learned NEVER PISS OFF YOUR FLIGHT ATTENDANT!

June 22, 2007
5:15 pm

Holly Schwendiman said:

That type of parental behavior just burns my butt - it’s ridiculous. I’m sorry you have to put up with such crap at work. I guess none of us are immune to the schmucks out there but darn it anyway!!


June 22, 2007
5:17 pm

Lissete said:

Unreal! Heck, I take a bag of stuff to entertain my husband for crissake! These are the same parents who depend on others to teach & raise their kids!

June 22, 2007
5:27 pm

Sheppard said:

What a couple of jerks! They can be firm with you but not thier child. Totally messed up minds. The weird thought s and beleifs that some parents have bobbles the mind.

Actually children don’t need to be entertained…boredom is a part of life. Live with it. I tell my 10 y/o (and have for many years) sometimes life is boring. Everyday is not Disneyland.

June 22, 2007
5:49 pm

Christine said:

That’s totally unacceptable parenting behavior. I can’t get over some parents thinking other people should take care of their kids. Good for you to remind them , that’s not in your job description.

June 22, 2007
7:49 pm

Renee said:

Well I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. I can’t believe that the family just EXPECTED that you would have a player for each child on the flight and would go to them first…it seemed to me from the conversation that the mother thought this was your policy.

Perhaps you should go flag their return trip tickets so they don’t get a player then either! har har! Don’t mess with your flight attendant as they can make your life he((. ;D

Even DD is smart enough to know that you don’t expect to find entertainment on the plane. I was reading your post to her and she started thinking about all the stuff she’s packing to do on our flight next week.

June 22, 2007
8:06 pm

Growing in Grace (Nicole) said:

It just feeds the entitlement attitude that so many kids are growing up with now. “I want to be entertained, so….entertain me” or “I want it so I get to have it.”

I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

June 22, 2007
8:41 pm

Write From Karen said:

I’m sorry but I’m confused - could the adult in this situation please raise their hand?

Sheesh. It’s a pet peeve of mine about kids and being bored. It drives me insane when my boys shuffle their feet and act totally put out when we go grocery shopping. The reason? “I’m bored.”

My answer? Tough. Life is full of boring moments, get over it.

I honestly don’t know how you do it. I’d be out of there so fast people wouldn’t even have time to read my name tag. I’m so glad you stuck to your guns and didn’t let them have a player. Spoiled rotten scum buckets.

I’m also curious how the kid, and his immature parents, handled the rest of the flight.

June 22, 2007
9:21 pm

Mommy the Maid said:

What a terrible person. She makes bad words come to my mouth that I have not said in a really long time because they are THAT bad. Apparently she is one who doesn’t care enough about her kids to bring something to entertain them.

Could she have meade advanced plans to have a DVD player reserved or something?

As much as a bitch as she was, she does have a point about the policy not offering the players to families with children first. She still should have shut her big fat mouth though.

June 22, 2007
9:38 pm

Mary said:

GF, you did very well keeping your cool! I am the same as you… I buy new toys to keep them occupied. And snacks and benadryl to dope them if I need to ;) LOL!

June 23, 2007
3:00 am

NOLADawn said:

All I can say is God Bless You dear, cause I would’ve laid into her….
I don’t travel to my mom’s house, which is only 10 miles away, without stuff for kids to do in the car or they’ll start with the “She’s touching me”, “He breathed in my direction”, “She looked out my window” stuff… I wouldn’t think of getting on a plane with my kids without a bag FULL of stuff for them to do.

June 23, 2007
12:49 pm

grace said:

We have been on long haul flights since DD was 2. Her hand baggage allowance of 7 kilos would usually consist of books and stuffs to entertain her to keep one flight attendant sane and unharmed! =)

how did the rest of the flight go?

June 23, 2007
3:13 pm

tiggerprr said:

People amaze me. I can’t really think of anything that wouldn’t echo what’s already said here. But, girl, I don’t know how you do it sometimes! LOL

June 23, 2007
4:09 pm

newmom said:

Ok, I understand your frustration with this parents who obviously have no brain!

However, the mom did bring up a good point. Why wouldn’t you offer the players to the parents of children flying on the plane first? You could explain to the parent(s) that s/he/they are being offered the players first since they are flying with a child and that if they decline, the chances of purchasing a player AFTER everyone else is offered one is not good.

June 23, 2007
5:31 pm

Amy said:

Not a very nurturing family, are they? I’ve travelled a lot, but have never encountered such rude people before. i think you deserve a raise! And I wouldn’t have let them have a dvd player either. I’m 42 and I bring a backpack full of things to occupy myself. LOL!

June 23, 2007
6:06 pm

Jack Crevalle said:

I’ve been on International flights over the Pacific where the parents had the kids “entertain” themselves by running all over the plane and standing on the tray tables of empty seats. I guess there are some idiots who believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to raise their kids. The only good thing is that these spoiled little a55h0135 will probably end up being burdens on their parents in their later years due to their inability to function in society.

June 23, 2007
7:09 pm

colm said:

boring! who cares? people can be ignorant, get over it

June 23, 2007
8:15 pm

Karen said:

I thought you handled that situation well. Yup, burns me up to think that people like that have kids. If you don’t care about kids, what about her, leaving her own kid hanging with nothing to do! The fact that she refused to move so her son could watch the screen - duh?!
We pack more in toys, food, distractions, than we do anything else for our trips!

June 23, 2007
8:39 pm

Karen said:

Jack, Nope, I disagree. They won’t be burdens to their parents. They’ll be burdens to us….taxpaying citizens! (sigh)

June 23, 2007
9:06 pm

Erica said:

Wow, that’s unbelievable. It must take some parents a little longer to ‘get’ the whole parenting thing!

June 24, 2007
1:42 am

sidonie said:

You handled the situation well, save for not checking in first class, sometimes you have to let ego go and kill them with kindness. I also agree with newmom, when I pay big money for a flight, I certainly don’t expect the airline to run out of things they say they will have. However, that is not your fault. That is the airlines fault and I know what it is like to work with the public. If you don’t laugh, you will cry and the kindness thing really works. People like that just don’t get it. It is good to have a place like this to vent too…

June 24, 2007
8:19 am

rach said:

I’m sorry about that encounter with an unreasonable parent. I’m the opposite. I always make sure I bring stuff to occupy my son like coloring books, crayons, story book and small toys when we go out. My mp3 player is also full of children’s songs.

June 24, 2007
11:46 am

CZ said:

You have to have a license to catch fish in this country, but any jackoffs can parent offspring.

I would of given directions to the nearest Best Buy as well (and not worried about getting fired!)

June 24, 2007
12:30 pm

sg said:

go get me some peanuts. waitresses in the sky who they they are everyones gift. Give me a break.

June 24, 2007
12:42 pm

FirstClassFlyer said:

That “mother” did not bring up a “good point”!!! She brought up how selfish and pathetic she is in this “me first world”. Bring your own entertainment for youself, for your children. Having kids is a responsibility of “yours” not mine. First come, first serve, is done out of fairness to EVERYONE (children and adults). If she wants her butt kissed she should have flown first class. If you are a new mom, good luck!! People cant demand kindness, it is given. Perhaps if she was kind, I would have given her my set. She was an idiot and should have been ignored.

June 24, 2007
11:12 pm

Mama Duck said:

OMG. We bring the iPod video, laptops, DS game systems, toys, snacks, etc. Most airlines don’t have those systems at all and I’d sure not count on it. Incredible.

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June 25, 2007
3:21 am

Pamela said:

my Anti-spam word was beach.
just like that passenger.

June 25, 2007
3:26 am

Pamela said:

Oh.. that was not nice. Sorry. You can please delete that one from me.

Neither parent was being a parent — I agree with some of the earlier comments about them not acting like adults… but rather as children, too.

I hope that each time I have done something that was extraordinary selfish and self absorbed that I learned from it and didn’t repeat it. (I hope)

June 25, 2007
6:05 am

Suzanne said:

We flew from Moscow to Zurich to Chicago to Seattle in one go with two small children. I hauled oodles of goodies but the fav was the removable stickers that Swiss Air gave us on the Moscow-Zurich leg and the wine that the compassionate flight attendants gave me on the Chicago to Seattle leg. It was 36 hours of airports. Oh yes, and we had just adopted the children and didn’t have a language in common.

Anyway, flight attendants saved us and anyone who is not nice to a one ought to be lashed. Hrmph.

June 25, 2007
6:13 am

Romie said:

There is always a bag of things for my little one to do in the car and especially on the plane.

I think flight attendants in general are very kind and go out of their way. One flight I took we couldn’t afford an extra seat for my little one so I planned to have her on my lap. The flight attendant went out of her way and asked the person sitting next to me if he would mind moving so I could have the seat.

I know you are that kind of a person.

If you do have a comment box for your corporation policy points, do throw in a note on getting the stuff to kids first. Not that big of a point though - that is what parents are for.

June 25, 2007
11:58 am

groovyoldlady said:

I have 6 and 7 year-olds. They know enough to pack their OWN activities. Then Mulletman and I also pack a few surprises to keep the boredom monster at bay. I can’t IMAGINE a prent who doesn’t provide for their own child.

Good grief!

June 28, 2007
12:42 pm

Waya said:

People like that give parents a bad name, I tell you. When we travel with our 3 kids, they each carry a back pack with all their favorite things. AND we even bought a surprise toy in our bag for them as a last resort. We go beyond in trying to accommodate other passengers around us b/c who wants to hear a screaming child on a six hour flight? Not us!


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FAATSAregsknower said:

SG is an ignorant asshole. If in F/C, his meal gets run under the lip of the head.. and he will wonder why it tastes funny. F/A s are FAA certificated safety professionals. Anyone saying “waitress in the sky” is so far inferior they need to be taught the hard lesson. Rush the flight deck, please, FG and watch your nose go into your brain. They can’t do that at Denny’s, where scum like SG probably hang…


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March 10, 2008
9:53 am

sws2d said:

when you encounter that situation,,,
YOU THINK nalang na in that situation, is a part of your job..,you think too
this is the part of your task…

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