Most of us know by now that while there are certainly some perks to life in the sky, the day-to-day life of a flight attendant is not as glamorous as the pristine uniform might suggest.
Proving this point, Susan Brown, a flight attendant who claims to have experience with Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad, aired some of her biggest gripes when it comes to poorly behaved passengers — and it's fair to say some are pretty disgusting.
According to her answer to a Quora user who asked: "What are some things that airplane passengers do that annoy the airplane crew?," some passengers seem to lose all inhibitions at 40,000 feet — bodily fluids, gases, and not-so-subtle smooches included.
She said she usually notices it after a passenger has been sleeping on a long flight, and the crew start the breakfast service in the morning.
"Wouldn't it be nice to at least chew some gum or take some breath mints when you speak to us in the morning," she said.
And that's not the only odour she has to deal with while on shift. Another thing she dislikes is when a passenger farts "really loud."
"This is a human thing, everyone [does] this. Being on board a plane for a long period of time, we get gassy, bloated and I understand that," she wrote. "But please don't make a really loud noise, and let it all out as if no one is around."
This prompted another Quora user, Rishi, who describes himself as a "self-motivated cabin crew who flies with a world renowned airline from the Gulf," to share another pretty gross low point of the job — when people "burp [i]n the crew's face when they are collecting their tray." Nice.
Brown went on: "I lost count on how many times I had to tell passengers to put their seat up when being served the meals. It is such a rude behavior to do this when it is meal time. Imagine the person sitting behind you and trying to eat their meal having the tray table literally on their tummy.
"I get so many complaints about this and I don't know how many times I had to go over and ask the passengers to put their seat up."
It apparently really annoys airplane crew when passengers walk barefoot to the loo.
"At least put some socks on. On many flights we give complimentary amenity kits that includes socks. Do they know how dirty/disgusting the aircraft floors are? Obviously not," she wrote.
And passengers who don't clean up after themselves after using the bathroom are also understandably irritating.
"How is it possible to pee all over the seat, flush and go out. Don’t they understand it is disgusting for the next passenger in line to see that? We often get complaints about this and it is so annoying."
And even if they're not doing it in the toilets, Brown said she also can't stand it when couples make out in their seats.
"Do they not understand they are on an aircraft with 100–300 other people? Some even make noises and we have to go and tell them kindly to keep the noise down because they are disturbing other passengers."
Brown added that some passengers spend the entire flight harassing crew for freebies. "When I give soda can number 5 to a passenger and he/she keeps asking for more. All this during a 4 hour flight. How many cans of soda can a person drink during such a short flight.
"Perhaps this is the reason why some passengers get so gassy in the first place," she said.
Rishi added that it's really not funny — and very disruptive — when people joke about "bringing a bomb on board," which he explained causes the flight to delay, divert, or even have jets escort them to a secluded runway.
Brown hates it "when we finally have [a] few moments to ourselves to eat something back in the galley (kitchen) when a passenger comes and ask for 100 things," she wrote. "Then comes the next person, the 3rd and the 4th. By the 5th person our meal is cold and not enjoyable to eat.
"If you see a crew eating, please just say 'sorry to disturb you I will come back later.' If it isn't anything urgent, let the crew have 5 min to herself/himself."