I’ve talked with a lot of pilots over the years, men and women who fly for major carriers like American and British Airways; they always have interesting stories and good travel tips. They know flying these days can be a pain (except, of course, for the part about getting the cheapest ticket), and they have some thoughts about making it a little easier for everyone. In that spirit, here’s a list of five things your pilot wishes you would not do.
5 Things Passengers Should Never Do
Every pilot I talked to said they truly enjoy 99.99% of their passengers, and that it’s a privilege to fly them. The remaining .01% probably didn’t follow these basic rules.
- Do NOT roam the cabin.
News reports say a young man roamed his British Airways plane last fall while repeatedly asking to get off – despite the fact that the aircraft was by then over the Atlantic Ocean. The lad ultimately got his wish to deplane (complete with law enforcement escort!) when the Florida-bound flight was diverted to Boston. By the way, some passengers have been known to take it a step further, physically attempting to open plane doors in flight, but relax, it can’t be done.
- Do NOT 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. The horrific incident of the man who got dragged off a United flight in April because he refused to be ‘bumped’ was really in a class by itself and hopefully will never be repeated, but here are other 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.
- Do NOT overindulge in alcohol.
Too many cocktails does not always bring out the best in passengers (or anyone for that matter) and this was true for a man accused of air rage on a Ryanair flight last year. Among his reported transgressions: abusive and threatening behavior after imbibing from a bottle of shampoo filled with alcohol. He was ultimately fined by an Irish court, but his solicitor stated, “Drink is the cause of anything that has gone wrong — and he has parted company with it.”
- Do NOT unbuckle your seatbelt.
This is strictly a safety precaution because of turbulence. Most pilots fly around turbulence-causing storms but according to the SKYbrary, clear air turbulence cannot be detected visually or by conventional weather radar. Those who aren’t buckled up during turbulence can and do get hurt. A recent example occurred in August when 24 JetBlue passengers and crew could were taken to a hospital after turbulence struck a Boston-to-Sacramento flight. A witness on the plane described a fellow passenger as “[rising] two feet into the air in the cabin…because she wasn’t wearing a seat belt.” Always buckle up.
- Do NOT make me get out of the cockpit!
You probably heard about this one: A 25 year old passenger shoved a flight attendant, prompting an American Airlines pilot to tackle the guy and put him on the floor saying, “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!” The incident wound up on YouTube and the passenger in question reportedly wound up in court.