5 Things Pilots Say Passengers Should Never Do

I’ve talked with a lot of pilots over the years, both men and women who fly for major carriers like American and British Airways. For the most part, they are very nice people but when they tell us to do something, we have to obey because a pilot’s word is law on a plane. The good news is, their biggest concern is for our safety. In that spirit, here’s a list things passengers should never do.

Don’t Roam the Cabin

Not long ago, a news report featured a young man who roamed his British Airways plane while repeatedly asking to get off. Where was the aircraft? Over the Atlantic Ocean! The lad ultimately got his wish when the Florida-bound flight was diverted to Boston and law enforcement officials escorted him off the plane. By the way, some passengers have been known to take it a step further, physically attempting to open plane doors in mid-flight. This good news is, this can’t be done.

Don’t Mess with the Crew

Passengers who mess with flight attendants and other members of airline crews generally regret it. They get kicked off flights, arrested and even jailed. Some examples:

  • A passenger who allegedly made sexist comments to an Alaskan Airlines flight attendant during a safety demo was reportedly ordered off the flight.
  • Another passenger on Hawaiian Airlines wound up in a Honolulu courtroom after being accused of biting a flight attendant (he pleaded guilty).
  • A traveler on an EasyJet plane also reportedly came to the attention of law enforcement after he was accused of – how to put this? – mistaking fellow passengers for the lavatory.

Don’t Overindulge in Alcohol (or Similar Substances)

Too many cocktails rarely bring out the best in passengers. This was certainly true for a fellow on a recent Frontier flight who was accused of being intoxicated to the point that he grabbed female passengers before allegedly urinating on the seat in front of him. Then there was the Ryanair passenger a couple of years back who supposedly drank from a whiskey-filled shampoo bottle while shouting expletives and threatening nearby passengers. Both men were ultimately taken away in handcuffs by law enforcement officials which is a terrible way to start a vacation.

Don’t Make Me Leave the Cockpit and Come After You

That may have been the thought going through the head of one American Airlines pilot who was overheard shouting, “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!” Shortly afterward, the pilot tackled the offending passenger. The incident wound up on YouTube and the passenger wound up in court.

Don’t Worry

Final thought: Every pilot I talked to said they truly enjoy 99.99% of their passengers and consider it a privilege to fly us. The remaining .01% probably didn’t follow these basic, common sense rules.



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