U.S. Airlines with the Rudest Flight Attendants

The UK-based travel website Skyscanner has released a new poll that is sure to raise hackles in airline cabins throughout the U.S. – namely, a list of the rudest flight attendants. According to reports, the results are based on the opinions of 1,000 travelers. But please see the low-down section on these polls (below) for what these surveys tell you – and what they don’t.

Q and A with a Burned-out Flight Attendant

Rudest Flight Attendants

American was voted rudest in this particular poll, while four airlines shared the honor of being least rude (and note that most of the nice airlines are relatively new ones). Airline names are followed by the percentage of negative votes they received:

  • American 25%
  • United 21%
  • Delta 18%
  • US Airways 12%
  • Spirit 10%
  • Southwest 6%
  • AirTran 4%
  • Allegiant 3%
  • 4-Way Tie: Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue, Virgin America 2%

Are Today’s Flight Attendants Too Old?

Another Poll Says Delta is “Rudest”

Of course there are polls and there are polls – another on the same very same topic claims Delta flight attendants win top honors for incivility – and United ranks in second place – while Southwest’s cabin crews are supposedly the nicest. Why the differences?

Low-down on Rude Polls

Here are a couple of things to consider before taking any of these polls as gospel:

Bad days: A flight attendant may have had a bad day – and as a result, a poor interaction with the passenger who voted negatively. We all have bad days, but should that count against us forever?

Poll-takers motivation: None of these polls appear to be conducted in a scientific manner, and when people are asked to voluntarily take a poll (as opposed to being contacted directly), often those with an axe to grind are most eager to vent.

Ignorance of flight attendant duties: Job one for all flight attendants is safety. Serving meals and pushing drink carts are of far less importance but for most of us – fortunately – that’s where we get most of our crew contacts. Couple of things to know:

  • Flight attendants can “assist” passengers with bags but many airlines forbid flight attendants from lifting and/or stowing baggage as a matter of policy.
  • When flight attendants tell passengers to turn off phones and electronic devices – or to stow tray tables or put seats in an upright position – they’re not doing it to be mean. The plane won’t take off unless these directives are following.

Flight Attendant Complaints about Passengers

A couple of long-time flight attendants once complained to FareCompare that passengers “never smile or look us in the eye when talking to us anymore.” Seems like a small enough request and might be worth trying next time you fly.


Published: January 2, 2013