In a previous post I shared twenty four hours in Chicago with you. What I didn’t tell you about was the flight to Chicago and how a day off to enjoy the city was well deserved by all. The flight started out like any normal flight. Well, except for the fact that it was less than half full with passengers. You might think this is a good thing, but ask any flight attendant and they will tell you this usually means more work for us. I have no idea why, but it always seems to be the way. This flight was no exception. Here are a few things that happened along the way:

  • As aisle flight attendant I was getting ready to shut the overhead bins after all passengers had boarded and was thinking to myself how nice it was that there weren’t any issues with bags on this extremely light flight when I came across a Tuba case blocking the aisle at row 21. An exit row. The instrument was just awkward enough in shape that it wouldn’t fit in the overhead. Turns out the man sitting in the exit row was kind enough to stow it there, since there is more space in that row. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Fortunately we had an empty seat at the bulk head row and I was able to strap the Tuba into it’s own seat. The only real reason I bring this up is you need to be careful when traveling with your instruments. The problem being, flights are usually full these days and airplanes don’t always have adequate closet space if any. The other funny thing that happened was that “Mr. nice guy” who was willing to stow the instrument in his row wasn’t supposed to be sitting in the exit row. My airline charges a premium for those seats and the gate agent let us know ahead of time that no one would be occupying these seats. So….
  • Mr. Nice Guy was told nicely that he had to move. Not the favorite part of my job, but that’s the way it is these days. Anyway, he would not hear of it. In fact, he demanded that he stay there. I then told him we had a couple minutes before the door closed if he wanted to take it up with the gate agent. “No!” he said. “I will be sitting here because it is a FAR (federal aviation regulation) that someone sit here in case of an emergency!” Well, it’s not a FAR and we had to go over that fact a few times before I got the lead flight attendant involved. The lead flight attendant then went over it few more times before he finally complied, but informed us he would be notifying the FAA (federal aviation administration) and letting them know that no one was sitting in the exit row. Click here to read more about the federal aviation’s role in the life of a flight attendant.
  • Not even fifteen minutes into our two hour flight time 25D rings his call light. He complains that he is not feeling well and would like to take his blood pressure. We followed our procedures for his complaints and eventually had to ask over the PA for medical assistance. A Doctor pressed her call light and was an angel. She helped our passenger in distress the entire flight. He did have high blood pressure and his heart rate was on the fast side. We were in touch with med link the remainder of the flight, and we landed without further incident. The hard part for me is that I rarely find out what happens to our passengers that have medical problems on a flight. It would be nice to hear how they are. I did have a chance to chat with the doctor a bit though, and since we were headed to Chicago I asked her if Chicago was home. When she said yes, I asked her half jokingly, “Oh so did you go to Oprah’s party?” To which she replied, “I did!” Wow! I was kidding! Apparently she entered a lottery and was chosen! How cool is that?

The flight back from Chicago was not smooth either:

  • Now a full flight, 25e was trying to stow his small carry on under the seat in front of him. I think we all know that this is a tricky task at best and this was a man on the larger size so he was pushing the on the seat in front of him while stowing. 24e appeared to become irate by this. Again as the aisle flight attendant I happened to be witness to the entire incident. 24e pushed violently on his seat back not once, but twice, I assume to let 25e know he was not happy with his seat being pushed on.  25e then grabbed his head and said he was hurt. I asked if he would like paramedics or a supervisor and he said no. Meanwhile 24e said nothing. I informed the lead flight attendant, who decided to tell the captain, who decided we needed a CRO (conflict resolution officer) since the aircraft door was still open. The CRO spoke with both parties who assured them there would be no further issue, but I still felt like 25e should say something. He was still holding his head after all! The CRO informed me there was nothing he could do if 25e didn’t want to make a complaint. Ok. Fast forward into the flight and 25e asked for and kept ice on his head the entire flight. He also deciphered mid flight that his tooth was chipped from the incident. And, hmmmmm. Now he wanted police and paramedics upon arrival. We let him know that the police probably wouldn’t be able to do anything since the incident happened back in Chicago and that the Paramedic visit could be on his dime. He then changed his mind. The captain though, anticipating a problem between the passengers upon arrival requested the police anyway. I’m happy to report there was no further incident, but it was funny to see about eight cops show up who were told there was a brawl in full swing. We walked a bit with police on the way out and they told us that 90% of the aircraft calls have to do with seat back wars.

How have your recent flights been? Notice any aggressive behavior between passengers? Any acts of kindness?



  1. I was coming home yesterday from seeing my family. 100% Full. Somehow I was given an exit row, aisle seat. Anyways- the flight was delayed so those who weren’t rerouted on other airlines or through other hub cities, were antsy about making their connections. The girl next to me had 5 minutes before they’d close her flight to Ft. Lauderdale and it was the next gate over.

    There were people pushing & shoving in the aisle to get out. I stood up to kind of hold up traffic and let this girl make her flight AND the other 5 people in Row10. And you would not believe how pissed off the people BEHIND me got. One woman just pushed her way around me.

    I said “Excuse me. Everyone is making tight connections. Wait your turn please.”

    It was the most disgusting display of inconsideration I’ve seen lately. It’s like come on people!

  2. I took American to and from Reno Nevada for the convention of the American Council of the Blind. I was pleasantly surprised with the level of service I received. On the flight from Reno to Dallas, the flight attendant hooked me up with a snackpack. I think maybe I had my headset too loud, as my seatmate tapped me on the arm. I immediately turned it down, though. I’m not always a good judge of volume, especially as others may be hearing it. There also was, not surprisingly, a bit of a row when the overhead bins became full and some people’s bags had to be gate checked. I don’t exactly know how that situation was resolved. Overall though I enjoyed it, and still very much enjoy flying.

  3. Had a guy shove me while I was blocking the business class section to disembark first, the guy was upset and wondered why they should get off the plane first.

    Calmly told him that those people had paid about a couple grand more for their tikets than he did & letting them deplane first was the least we could do!!

    Honestly! Lucky he apologised or he’d be having a chat with the cops.

  4. I love the photo! One of the pleasures of flying is watching how people behave. The nicest of people seem to take on an alto-ego in the sky, hilarious! In your profession you see it all and that is why I love your blog!

    I have to admit my most recent flights have been incident free, more the pity!

    Kind regards,


  5. Alice Madeley @ 2011-08-20 15:59

    Business class users may think that we steerage folks are riding on their backs. But,imagine the reduction in frequency of service which would be necessary if only business class passengers were allowed to fly? So perhaps both depend upon the other!
    On a flight I was in “steerage” a couple of rows behind the curtain. The flight attendants in business class could not stow all the luggage in that area and proceeded to try to jam one bag in the locker over my head where i had fragile objects: was forced to complain about this.
    Revenge on landing:when the owner of the bag came to collect it he got trapped behind the first two rows of steerage and had to wait like the rest of us!