Flight attendants share 9 things you should never do on an airplane

Think twice before taking off your shoes.

American Airlines Flight
–Alan Diaz/The Associated Press

Do you kick off your shoes when flying? Do you clip your nails in your seat?

Before you board your next flight at Logan International Airport, three American Airlines flight attendants, members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), want you to know about behavior you should avoid in the air.

Ahead, three flight attendants offer nine tips for what you should never, ever do on an airplane.

1. Don’t walk around without shoes.

“The one thing [passengers] should never do — which they always do — is walk around the plane with no shoes and socks on,” said Stefany Jones, of Pennsylvania, a flight attendant for six years. “And they send their kids to the bathroom with no shoes and socks on. The plane shakes. When I tell you that’s not water on the floor, I mean that’s not water on the floor.”

2. Don’t tend to your personal hygiene.


“We get people who want to brush their hair in their seat, floss in their seat, trim nails in their seat,” said Alana Billingsley, a flight attendant for eight years who lives in Arizona. “It’s kind of gross. And of course they will just let all of that stuff fall to the floor. That’s part of why we say not to walk barefoot.”

3. Don’t touch a flight attendant.

“I don’t think passengers mean anything by it, but we’re often being tapped on the shoulder and being tapped in different places when people want attention, and it feels like we’re getting poked and prodded a little bit,” said Allie Malis, of Washington, D.C., a flight attendant for five years. “You can ring the call light or maybe just say, ‘Excuse me.’ It may seem innocent, but it happens so much to us that sometimes we feel a little poked and prodded, and our personal space has been invaded.”

4. Don’t ask a flight attendant to lift your luggage.

“The public doesn’t understand that we are not supposed to lift bags,” Jones said. “We’re only supposed to assist. A pocketbook or a small bag, yes. But a suitcase or a heavy suitcase, no, we’re not supposed to lift those bags. Because we could get injured. When we say no, it’s not to be mean. It’s for safety.”

In this June 27, 2019, file photo, dozens of grounded Boeing 737 MAX airplanes crowd a parking area adjacent to Boeing Field in Seattle. —Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

5. Don’t be too loud.


“Be considerate of other people as far as noise levels,” Billingsley said. “A lot of times people will let their kids play video games that make noises and songs. So bringing headsets is huge.”

6. Don’t bring your untrained pet.

“Don’t bring an untrained animal with you in the cabin,” Malis said.

Though she hasn’t personally witnessed any of the following, Malis said fellow flight attendants have shared stories of dogs urinating, defecating, growling, and biting on flights.

You can look up your airline’s pet policy before you fly. For example, according to the American Airlines policy, carry-on pets must stay inside a kennel during the entire flight, while “emotional support/psychiatric service animals must be trained to behave properly in public and they won’t be permitted in the cabin if they display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled.”

7. Don’t use the call button during inappropriate times.

Unless there’s an emergency, don’t use the flight attendant call button when the seat belt sign is on, Jones said.

“If the pilot says, ‘We’re going to experiences some turbulence and I’m going to put on the seat belt sign,’ don’t sit there and ring your flight attendant call button because it’s unsafe to be up, and that goes for all of us,” Jones said.

8. Don’t wait until you board to use the bathroom.

If possible, use the bathroom in the airport before you board, Malis said.

“Boarding is a really difficult time,” she said. “It’s probably one of the most chaotic times. There’s only one aisle and there’s, [for example], 160 people getting on a flight. It’s really hard to swim upstream during boarding.”

9. Don’t be unprepared.


If you prepare for your flight properly, you will likely be a happier traveler, Billingsley said.

Pack a sweater in case you get cold and snacks in case you get hungry, she said.

“We’re all in this tight tube together, so if you’re cranky, other people are going to feel that energy,” she said.


Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.