Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 10 Passenger Habits That Annoy Cabin Crew

If you’re the type of person that snaps their fingers to catch someone’s attention, it’s time to break out of the habit! Whether you’re signalling for assistance at a department store, cafe or hotel, it’s unsurprising that the gesture is universally frowned upon. And the situation is no different on a flight either, it seems.

Skyscanner, the global travel comparison website, has published the findings from its recent survey, with more than 700 cabin crew from around the world interviewed about which habits are considered the most annoying when it comes to airline passengers. And guess what topped the list? Finger clicking! In fact, it was selected as the biggest gripe by more than a quarter of respondents, receiving double the number of votes in comparison to its closest rival.

So what other gestures are likely to upset the cabin crew on your next flight? Some of the answers are predictable –such as leaving your seat at the end of a flight before the light goes off, or chatting through the safety demo – while others might surprise even the most seasoned of travellers, me included! Something to remember while asking for an extra pillow or blanket, apparently.

“This is the first time that we’ve surveyed international cabin crew and the findings give us a real insight into what they really think of passengers,” commented Skyscanner’s Sam Poullain. What are your views on the top 10, listed below?

The most annoying habits of air passengers
  1. Clicking fingers to get your attention (26%) 
  2. Leaving seat at the end before the light goes off (13%) 
  3. Stuffing too many bags into overhead locker (11%) 
  4. Complaining there’s no space for their bag in the locker (10%) 
  5. Talking through the safety demo (9%) 
  6. Asking for more blankets/pillows (8%) 
  7. Stuffing rubbish in the seat pocket (7%) 
  8. Asking for a different meal (6%) 
  9. Ringing the attendant bell to complain about temperature (6%)         
  10. Asking for a specific brand of drink (4%) 
There is good news, however, for male passengers in their 30s. More specifically, there is good news for male passengers in their 30s who travel alone in economy class, visiting destinations for pleasure rather than business. According to Skyscanner’s survey, anyone who fits into this particular category is considered an ideal passenger by cabin crew!  

“It’s interesting to see that it’s the men who get the vote for the perfect passenger, and while many of us would love to travel business or first class, cabin crew prefer to work in economy,” added Poullain. “It must be frustrating for cabin crew when passengers try and cram as much hand baggage in the overhead locker as humanly possible, however carrying only hand luggage can save passengers quite a lot of money as the cost of putting baggage in the hold can be very expensive. Unless airlines charge less for hold luggage, I don’t see this changing.”

More details on the survey is available on the Skyscanner website.

RELATED: Top 10 Leading International Freight Markets Of The Future!


  1. I'm not a cabin crew member but I can't agree more, I think it's rude to snap your fingers at any one, especially when you want to ask for something. I am surprised though that asking for an extra pillow made it to the annoying list.

    1. Hello,
      Extra pillows are not loaded, so on a full flight it's impossible to get one. On a flight with vacant seats getting an extra pillow is as difficult as going to the nearest vacant seat and taking it from there. Hope it helps. :-) D

  2. I totally agree, I have asked for an extra pillow on past flights and never thought it might have annoyed the cabin crew. I would have thought its a common-ish request?

    1. Hello and thanks for your blog on Linkedin. Extra pillows are not loaded, so we're more annoyed at the inability to satisfy the request rather than at the request itself. :-)

    2. That makes sense now, thanks Maznyo!

  3. Agree, some surprises here! I would have thought it rude when parents don't care if their kids kick the seat in front, rude to not let other passengers out from their rows when leaving the flight, and rude to fart.

    1. Jan, I couldn't agree more with your last comment. I had a female passenger beside me on a long-haul overnight flight and she blew some real scorchers. It was impossible to remain beside her and I was too embarrassed to say anything to the cabin crew.

  4. The kicking children, or those that get up on their seats to peer over at you. I am not your child's entertainment! They are yours, CONTROL THEM.

  5. I am cabin crew, I disagree most of above voting. Airlines all around the world are meant to serve, that's what passenger pay and that's what they expect. As far as annoying way to attract cabin crew attention, I agree it is totally wrong, BUT as we all know "CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT" after all they are the reason we all working in this industry.Cheers!

    1. Thanks for your input, its great to hear the cabin crew#s point of view on this story!

    2. I understand what you're trying to say here, but it sounds a bit sycophantic to me. 'The customer is always right' is not meant to be taken literally. Cabin crew are not subhuman and finger clicking is a gigantic show of disrespect. We can serve perfectly well without grovelling and behaving like Harry Potter house elves when a passenger is behaving inappropriately.

    3. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!? I'm sorry, what decade are we in!? I'm CC for a prestigious Asian airline, and I couldn't disagree with this comment enough. In fact I feel quite insulted by this. CC are to make sure that PAX are brought to their destination safely and well fed and watered (sorry to sound condescending).

      Is it RIGHT for a PAX to be standing up while the seat belt sign is on: nope, it is CC responsibility to remind them to sit down and buckle up because if we fail to do so and injure themselves or others around, the airline is liable for damages... The same with hot drinks when the seat belt sign is on.

      Is it RIGHT for a PAX to tell me to tell the mother with the baby that she needs to keep her baby from crying otherwise I'd have to reseat him!? Nope, that mother and child has every right to be there as well! (To be honest, I hate PAX like these, GROW SOME BALLS AND DO IT YOURSELF!)

      PAXs need to remember CC are not slaves, we're crew and we do anything and everything to make their journey comfortable, but at the same time they MUST respect our safety standards and treat us as professionals.

      I've never had anyone's fingers snap at me, but I'd definitely snap mine back if it did happen. Most of the things on the list aren't too bad, they're just normal requests.

      Abnormal requests are:
      Q1. Can I visit the cockpit?
      A. No.

      Q2. Are we there yet?
      A. Moving map, sweetheart

      Q3. Do you have any champagne?
      A. Yes, it's in Business class, next question!

      Q4. I've booked the wrong date on my ticket and it's on a different airline to yours... can you change it!
      A. Ermmmm...!? *rolls eyes*

      Cabin Crew: What would you like for lunch, chicken, beef or pasta?
      PAX: What do you have...? *looks into my cart at the foil covered entrees*

      PAX: I pay your wages!
      CC: I need a raise then!

      You'd be surprise what other remarks come up and honestly, I may sound rude when I respond to PAX but it's all in jest and I am a nice person! :P

  6. Sorry dear Anonymous, you are not a cabin crew.

  7. I fly about 200KMiles every year, mostly USA carriers, most of it international, but also a fair amount on Asian carriers. By FAR the Asian cabin crew have the best attitude in customer service, and by FAR the American crew attitudes are the worst.

  8. To be honest as purser the only thing that truly annoys me is pax standing after the landing when they can get hurt in spite of the numerous PAs we make. If this happens we'll be the ones accused of not doing our job well and I really don't understand which part of "Sit down please" is not clear.

  9. My top ten list will be as follow:

    1. Snapping finger to get attention. So why airlines provide call buttons and gave name tags to crew?
    2. DO not listens to announcement especially safety announcements.
    3. Using mobile phones when it is prohibited.
    4. Use the toilets as though it is a shower room.
    5. Telling off crew when the flight just took off few minutes ago, and they said, " I have waited for an hour for my drink!"
    6. Stand up and open the overhead compartment to retrieve their bags just after the aircraft landed and the aircraft is still on the runway.
    7.Chatting on the aisle while boarding in progress. Taking your own sweat time storing your bags.
    8. Denied requesting spml (special meal) when it is catered to them.
    9. Drunk and do not know how to control their drinks.
    10. Ask a cabin crew to store your bags when you are able bodied.

    and the list can go on......


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