Many a hostie will tell you with a glint in their eye that they've "seen it all" in the skies.
I heard a great horror story recently from a New Year's Eve flight on an unnamed airline. Twin Americans boarded with cannabis gummies in their system and promptly took turns to "green out", becoming very paranoid and unwell. The flight attendant said as soon as one of them was manageable, the second brother "lost his mind" too.
From rogue body fluids to gruesome cargo items to privileged passengers — these anonymous stories show why the coveted job of flight attendant isn't always the most glamorous.
So strap in and prepare for a bumpy ride as cabin crew take to the internet to share their war stories.
Some of y'all are rather entitled
Reddit user and hostie Zlinerlabs relates a story of sky-high entitlement; "Every so often we get the odd straggler who boards last who finds a vacant seat in first or business thinking that we won't know that they are from coach." Spoiler: This doesn't work.
Notweirdthrowaway had this to say; "Not an attendant but was on a flight with really bad turbulence. It went on for about 10 minutes then the old lady next to me reaches up and presses her button. Attendant walks over to see if the woman is okay, the woman begins to yell at the attendant for the rough flight and that she's been flying her whole life and clearly the pilot has no idea what he's doing. The stewardess just walked away."
TJeffersonsBlackKid has a blood-boiler to tell; "I remember flying into SFO and going through the final walk through-asking everyone to wake up, buckle up, headrests forward, tray tables up, and collect trash. Halfway through, the pilot said, 'Flight attendants, be seated immediately' which indicates a lot of upcoming turbulence. So I quickly started to trot through with my trash bag to my jump seat when an man yelled 'HEY!' I was a few rows past him and he had his cup and wet napkin in his hand. I quickly said, 'I have to sit down" and turned back towards the back galley.
"I then felt something hit me. I looked back and he had thrown his trash at me and was staring at me like the little [expletive] he was. I heard a few people gasp and everyone in the last eight rows or so was tuned in to the drama."
TJeffersonsBlackKid responded graciously. Many of us would not have.
Don't try swap your way into an upgrade
ConstableBlimeyChips is an attendant and this is their pet peeve; "A type of behavior I've unfortunately seen too much of: Couple will book separate seats, the man in a premium economy seat with extra leg room, the woman in a normal economy seat. The woman will then play the sad sack and ask another passenger to give up their comfy seat so they can sit together. If the other passenger refuses (usually because they paid extra and literally don't fit in a regular seat), some will even complain to the crew. And all this to save a few bucks on the second Premium seat."
Doc_Choc; "I never understand the logic of this and how it works on anyone. I've been the random person in a premium seat a few times, and when asked I decline and tell them they'd probably have more luck if the person in the premium seat traded theirs away. They always act like they hadn't thought of that and then move on to someone they hope is an easier mark. I can't imagine how I'd react if someone tried to get the staff to move me."
I_got_em_coach reckons you might just have to play dead, "'Sir were are going to need you to move.' Passenger, clearly reading a book, immediately goes completely limp in seat."
If you knew, you'd leave your shoes on
"Please do not ever walk into a toilet with bare feet. I promise you, 9 times out of 10, that is not water on the floor," writes Reddit user HausofDarling.
"The toilets are often absolutely disgusting and get deep cleaned only at the end of a route... For us this could be from one side of the world to the other... imagine how lovely they are at the end of a 12 hour flight with 200 people using them."
Seeyou_never adds; "So many incidents occur on the plane that everyday passengers don't see or consider. My last flight an elderly man accidentally shit on the floor, stepped in it, and walked on like it was nothing. Pee and poop happens, all over. I feel like I witness an 'accident' regularly; in their seat or in the lav. People get nose bleeds, or their wounds open. Obviously when we land, it is thoroughly cleaned. But in-flight our resources are limited. DON'T CHANGE YOUR BABY'S DIAPER ON THE TRAY TABLE. This also happens all the time. It's unsanitary and people use the tray table to eat!"
Dead on departure
As the crew members continued to list the horrors unknown to plane passengers, things took a dark turn.
"There is more often than not a lot of horrific things in the cargo," HausofDarling wrote.
As flying is the quickest way to transport cargo, passengers may be unwittingly sharing their flight with some unusual items.
"Usually the only people who know are the flight deck (pilots) and the Manager/Senior Crew member. Dead bodies, organs, blood are obvious ones but we also carry everything right up to Formula One car parts, exotic animals, marble tables, oversized televisions... everything."
"HUM" is the code for human remains and the cargo most air crew dread, said user Rosiulia who worked in the "booking department" of a long-haul airline.
While there is need for speed when transporting these shipments, the same urgency is not always met when the cargo arrives on the ground.
"When we have these kind of shipments we need to contact the family to make them aware when the plane lands and when to come to pick up the body," explained Rosiulia.
"And guess what.. The body arrived in Shanghai in time, and no one picked it up for days."
Your luggage, now with added corpse juice
Legion3382 has the grimmest of news; "I'm not a flight attendant but I work the ramp. We do send full bodies on planes a lot. Some in caskets some not. Twice in the seven years I've been doing this has "fluid" leaked out of the boxes the bodies are in and got all over the luggage."
Horrible little goblins (yes, us)
Sadly for hosties, it is their living passengers who give them the most grief. The items left behind are perhaps the most unpleasant things kept secret from passengers.
"People are generally disgusting on planes," acknowledged ex-attendant Boopboopster.
"People frequently do disgusting things on their tray tables (I've seen people change diapers, clip toenails and wipe boogers to name a few)" though these discoveries pale in comparison to "human faeces under a seat".
Nodealreddit chipped in, having dated a flight attendant; "One common story was about the Delta miracles. Passengers in wheelchairs would board the plane before everyone else, but they had to wait for everyone else to disembark before they could get rolled out. It is apparently common for people to be "healed" during mid flight and no longer need assistance when they reach their destination."
Thank goodness for autopilot?
Giftofnarwhals had this genuinely terrifing tale; "I used to work with elderly people and one of my clients was a former pilot that finally quit when he realized in the middle of a flight his dementia had progressed and he couldn't remember where he was supposed to be flying to. Meaning he had been flying for a commercial airline with dementia for quite some time before that."
A final note
Let's hand the final word to Seeyou_never; "It is NOT the responsibility of a flight attendant to lift your bag. There are multiple injuries caused from flight attendants lifting heavy bags to be friendly, and then they're out of the job for months to a year (on average). If you pack it, you lift it. If it's too heavy for you, it's too heavy for us."
On your next flight, spare a thought for your crew and try to be as chilled out as this little lad on your next adventure. And cross your fingers for a mentally sound pilot and no corpse juice. What are the odds, right?