Top Ten Gross Things Passengers Have Done on Airplanes

Jaunted: A flight attendant career is glamorous! Or so I thought! I admit, I signed up for the glamour eighteen years ago, but I quickly learned that most of the glamor was gone from this industry. I was on my second trip as a new hire flight attendant, my uniform was crisp, my hair was pulled back in a perfect french twist to match my beautiful french manicure, and I had all the right accessories.

This particular day I was the aisle flight attendant when a passenger asked me if I would heat up a baby bottle. I knew just what to do! Now all I needed was a sick bag so I could fill it with hot water. I reached into a seat back pocket, grabbed a sick bag and pushed my hand inside to open it up. Feeling the still warm, oatmeal consistency on my hand is where the glamor ended for me. Yes folks, I had just stuck my manicured hands into fresh vomit!

You've heard about the gross things people do on airplanes. There's classics like cutting toenails, walking barefoot around the plane, changing a baby diaper on the tray table...I could go on. I hate to admit it, but these are all behaviors I see or experience as a flight attendant every time I go to work.

I recently asked some co-workers to share the grossest things they have seen throughout the years as well. Warning, the answers even shocked me! Fasten your seat belts for...

The Top Ten Gross Things Flight Attendants Have Seen Passengers Do on Airplanes:

10. Breast Pumping: A lady decided that it was appropriate to use a breast pump during boarding. She fully exposed both breasts and with just a bottle (not with a baby) did the vacuum effect on her fully exposed boob. Let me remind you this was both breasts out in the air, on a full flight, during boarding, taxi, take-off and part of cruise.

9. Breast Milk Drippage: A few passengers notified me of something leaking from the overhead bins down onto their heads. The look on the men's faces was priceless when a woman stood up and said, “OMG....My breast milk! It's not frozen anymore and it's leaking what should I do?!"

8. Blankets and Boogers: A passenger in first class rang her call light. She handed me her blanket and asked if I could give her a new one. I was puzzled since everyone had started the flight with a fresh blanket. I looked down at the blanket and it was all wet and slimy with boogers. I felt so grossed out—like I was going to hurl—as I tossed it into a plastic bag.

7. Impromptu Snacking: A first class passenger picked something off his bare feet...and ate it. I saw it myself!

6. Jump Seat No-no: A passenger sat down on the back galley flight attendant jump seat "waiting on the lavatory." A flight attendant told him he couldn't sit there. After I came out of the lav and sat down, we realized that he had urinated on the jump seat!

5. Pedicures: Lady using the "ped egg" on her feet. And then tried to dump her foot shavings in my trash.

4. A Little Laundry: A first class passenger took off his soggy socks and dried them by putting them over the air vent above his seat. Passengers all the way back in coach complained about the smell.

3. Lost Panties: I was helping clean the plane at one of our out-stations so we could turn the plane on time and found a pair of bloody panties in the seat pocket. This is why we wear gloves.

2. Adult Diapers: Someone shed their humongous Depends adult diapers on the toilet seat—yep, shed like a creature shedding its sea-shell, and they were left perfectly wide open and obviously used on top of the toilet lid, for the next passenger.

1. Going No. 2: A passenger used the tissue (out of the tissue box dispenser in the restroom) to clean up after their bowel movement. They then placed the used tissues back into the tissue box. A fellow flight attendant reached into the tissue dispenser for a tissue and...discovered the issue firsthand.

About the Author: Sara Keagle is a Flight Attendant for a major U.S. Airline with over twenty years of experience. On her blog she shares advice on making air travel less stressful for all and offers peaks behind the galley curtain. She also co-hosts The Crew Lounge, a weekly podcast that gives insight into the career of a flight attendant.


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