Passengers Gone Bonkers: Three Tales From a Flight Attendant

Shelby Rogers might very well win the lifetime award for the friendliest and most capable flight attendant in the stratosphere. With her exuberance and vim, she can usually transform the most unruly passenger into a lamb. But, she admits, there is always a percentage of passengers who are incorrigible. While Shelby doesn’t necessarily applaud the JetBlue flight attendant — who, earlier this week, had an altercation with a passenger, went on a verbal tirade over the intercom and then fled via the plane’s emergency slide — she can easily relate to the frustrations of unbelievably bad passenger behavior. Below, she shares three firsthand accounts of passengers gone bonkers. Got an egregious tale of your own? Share them with us in the comments section.

Warning: Water Can Be Hazardous to Your Sanity

During boarding, a passenger informed me that her doctor required her to drink one quart of water per hour. I asked her if she brought any water of her own, to which she replied “no.” So I told her “no problem” and informed the galley flight attendant, who graciously offered the passenger a pitcher of water. The passenger asked whether it was “plane water.” The galley flight attendant responded, “yes, Ma’am.” The passenger screamed, “are you trying to poison me?” and then dumped the pitcher of water on the poor attendant.

Where’s the Chicken?

I asked a passenger whether she wanted the chicken, beef or pasta meal. She replied she wanted pasta. I handed her the food. She immediately unwrapped it, stuck her finger in it, and started smooshing it around.

“I don’t see the chicken, where is it?” she asked.

“You requested pasta — there is no chicken in the pasta,” I said.

“For what I paid for my ticket, I should have anything I want,” she said.

“Ma’am,” I said. “You paid for transportation from point A to point B. This is not a restaurant. Enjoy your pasta!”

Frequent Flier No First-Class Act

I was halfway through boarding a flight when a man ran over huffing and puffing.

“My wife and I just missed our flight. Can we get on this one?” he asked.

I put the man and his wife on a waiting list. Lucky for them, we ended up having a couple seats available. The only caveat was that the seats were not next to each other. So the couple again approached me to complain that they wanted to sit together.

“I’m sorry, ” I said, “but we don’t have two open seats next to each other.”

The man slammed his briefcase on the counter and yelled: “I fly a million miles a year with you people and you can’t get me two seats together?!”

“No, Sir,” I replied. “I cannot. First, this is not the flight you were booked on — you missed your original flight. Second, you showed up twenty minutes to departure, so this is the best we can do for you.”

The man interrupted me. “Listen to me. I pay your salary and you will get me two seats together.”

In a calm voice, I said: “Sir, I will not help you while you are standing here cussing at me. If you continue like this, I will call the police.”

“You go ahead and call Barney Fife!!!” he replied, his face pinched and red.

So I dialed 911. Then I finished up the boarding process. All the while the man continued to berate me. Finally, a police officer arrived — a tall, buffed, muscular guy — and tapped the man on the shoulder.

“I heard you wanted to see me?” said the police officer.

The man continued to yell and started to get physical, so in one swift move, the police officer handcuffed the man and off to airport jail they went.

His wife, who had asked him to calm down several times, boarded the plane without him.

* * *

Got any stories of your own of passengers gone wild? Share them with us!

About Melody Demel

Melody is Senior Manager, PR for Boingo Wireless, where she is responsible for media relations, brand building and thought leadership initiatives. Melody is a die-hard Nebraska Cornhuskers fan and retired NCAA DI college field hockey player.
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