After hearing today what American Airlines had to say about their special passenger, I decided to share with you what flight attendants are saying behind the galley curtain:

Jake*: After reading about Alec Baldwin being removed from a flight for refusing to turn off his cell phone and verbally berating the crew, it got me thinking about enforcing the electronics policy. How little is too little? How far is too far? For me, I tell them it needs to be turned off and walk away. End of story. I really can’t be bothered policing every single electronic device. And giving a written warning for a phone! For some reason I can’t even see e-readers (wink, wink), which, by the way, do not use electricity unless the page is turned. What about y’all?

Beth: I inform and walk away!

Kim: Inform, not enforce.

Seth: Depends on my mood. Lol!

Sara: I’m an informer. It is ridiculous. If we really enforced everyone to turn off their electronic devices we’d never get a plane off the ground!

Carol: Inform once, remind once, then stare at them, roll your eyes and walk away. I am wearing as many hats as I can. Police is not one I signed up for.

Kris: “Informers not enforcers” also means we can inform the enforcers of the violators.

Angel: What happens when you have to evacuate and they aren’t paying attention because they are too busy on their electronic device to be paying attention to you? …just playing devils advocate.

Jay: Sounds like their personal problem to me. Maybe they’re live Tweeting the evac?

Jason: Which begs another question: how responsible are we for people paying attention to the safety demo and other critical phases of flight? The other day I had a lead flight attendant make an announcement prior to the demo requesting that all passengers cease conversations and focus solely on the video screens, no matter how well traveled they were. That was extreme and annoying!

Grant: I wait for the lead to make their announcement. Then arm the door. Then make my OWN announcement to turn them off. Then I go through the cabin from the aft and lean in and say “We’ve asked you three times now I’m telling you turn it off” It works every time.

Casey: I guess I’m in the minority, but I don’t mind asking as many times as needed to get the electronics turned off. It’s just another in a long line of regulations that passengers need to comply with, and the passengers that do comply aren’t very happy if others continue to use them. But, I’m nice about informing!

Lisa:  Pick your battles. somethings aren’t worth it when the company comes to you and gives you the 3rd degree for enforcing their policy!

Diane: I inform and enforce….it’s a FAR (federal aviation regulation) and I don’t want a big personal fine from the FAA>…I am not sure why everyone thinks we just inform and not enforce?

Cindy: I also inform and enforce. Had a guy in first…I asked him to turn off his computer….then he turns on his phone. I asked him to turn it off….after asking twice I said “Sir, this is the third time I’m asking you to turn off your phone” He gave me the look…I said, we can always go back to the gate. Passenger behind him said :Turn off your f*^%@*g phone!!!” He did 🙂

Sam: I find it sad how complacent most flight attendants have become about customers using their electronic devices. We have gotten this “whatever” attitude about it, but I find it personally annoying when I ask them to turn it off and they roll their eyes at me and give me this…Well, they didn’t make me on the last flight. Well, they didn’t give a rat’s ass on the last flight, but I do, so, turn it off…thank you. Not enforcing it creates the a-holes like Alec…..

Nadine: Remember the movie Clueless when being “a Baldwin” was a good thing? Perhaps we have a new catch phrase for the peeps who don’t turn off their stuff. 🙂

What do you all think? Everyone argues how stupid and/or mean flight attendants are, because we inform you that you need to turn off your electronic device. The reality is flight attendants are doing their jobs. It doesn’t matter what we think, it is a federal aviation regulation that we must enforce. The airline and the flight attendants can be fined for not enforcing this rule. The flight attendant can actually lose their job. It is pointless to tell a flight attendant your opinion about it, it’s not a judgement call.  Do you turn off and stow your electronic devices? Do you wait to be informed when the flight attendant walks through or do you do it on your own when you hear the announcement?

Any questions about air travel? Join me on Facebook/theflyingpintoblog or @theflyingpinto. You can also join me in The Crew Lounge and hang out with me and some of my flight attendant friends while we discuss industry news, and have great conversation with our guests! Have a kindle? Subscribe to The Flying Pinto for automatic downloads….just be sure to turn it off when informed;)

*All names have been changed.



  1. When I am not the lead flight attendant, I definitely inform once (as we all do) as I walk through the cabin securing as well as to get in my jumpseat. We’re required to only walk through once when we’re in the back of the plane. If I see anyone using their devices and I still have time to get out of my seat, IE we haven’t confirmed with the captain we’re secure, then I will enforce, because it’s my job.

    When I’m the lead, I make an announcement explaining we need anything with an on/off switch off, then I secure walking to the aft. On my way to the aft, I tell everyone they need to be off. As I’m walking back to the fwd part to my jumpseat, that’s when I enforce, but I try to be as “nice” as possible. I am not trying to be mean, I’m doing my job, and I will smile as I stand in front of their seat, waiting for them to power down! These are FARs, and I don’t want to lose my job because someone couldn’t stop playing angry birds!

  2. I always turn my phone off when the announcement of “door is shut, turn off device.”

    I just don’t get people. Rules are rules, period.

    A previous post of yours sparked me to write a blog post about it:

    Again, I just don’t get people who think rules aren’t meant for them…

  3. FlyDreamHope @ 2011-12-12 11:13

    Been flying for almost 24 years… I let them know that the device has to be turned off. If they do not comply after one other reminder, I have a conversation with the gate agent and flag their reservation for the return trip that they must be told to comply. We deal with enough in a sealed tube at 35-40,000 feet. And of course… blog and slam the person if they are famous 🙂

  4. sjthespian @ 2011-12-23 19:26

    I’ll update this if I can find the url, as there was a recent article that talked about how there is a risk with electronic devices in the cabin. While the cockpit and instruments are shielded the wiring in the cabin isn’t always. Someone using a device in the wrong place could potentially interfere with the operation of the aircraft.

    It made me feel a bit nervous when I saw the dipstick across the aisle from me apparently check his v-mail and start texting on his iPhone when we were on final into LAX last week. Good to know that his text message is more important than the safety of the other 150+ people on the flight.

  5. I agree it is a FAR and should be enforced. Having been a GM the FA’s have to deal with way to much to lack support from local management. I was always there to assist the flight crews.

  6. I think that if someone can’t follow simple instructions about something as silly as an electronic device do you think they are gonna listen when you need them to comply with something else more important. It’s 10 minutes without probably will survive 🙂 most people are just trolling facebook as they are ignoring you anyway. I don’t feel bad for telling someone to turn that off and if they refuse they can take another flight and play on their device while they wait.

  7. Flight attendants are responsible with ALWAYS not every now and then imagining the worst possible scenario and enforcing the mandated rules that will minimize the danger. If there is an emergency during the flight and the flight crew cannot communicate with the ground effectively because of electromagnetic waves it is solely our fault as flight attendants for not being bothered to argue with a passenger. Besides people think they only need to turn off phones up in the air, unaware that if there is an explosive on board, a ringing phone may activate it. Another risk is having a terrorist on board communicating with the outside parties at will. I always inform people very politely, wait till they comply then thank them and leave. If the passenger gets agitated I’ll pass him to a friend.

  8. I am still seeking my dream of being a FA. I have much respect for you all. I also see you as heros on a daily basis.I do not understand how hard it is for some to follow direction and it is announced that it is FAA reg for passangers to comply with ALL crew member instructions

    I was on AA and person next to me the FA asked her three times. I finaly said You know you seem like a nice person I did not wish to see you in trouble. I mentioned FAA reg and if she did not comply they can and will remove you from the plane. It is a safety issue.
    She said ok and did what I asked LOL

    I am sorry as a PZX myself, yes well behaved, and I give chocolates lol to my crew:)
    I am sorry some of us PAX do not listen.
    To bad there is no manual for PAXes on Aircraft behavior and common sense 101