Flight Attendants Hate When Plane Passengers Make This Common Request

Flight attendants are the often unsung heroes of air travel. They're busy as bees catering to planes full of people, ensuring they're comfy and cozy in the sky. Yet there is one way you can annoy a flight attendant that doesn't include being rude to other passengers, letting your kid kick an airplane seat, or starting a plane fight. Flight attendants generally dislike being asked to hoist bags into the overhead bin — which can lead to one of the worst parts of the job.

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Passengers often forget that flight attendants are not paid during boarding. In fact, they work for free until the plane doors close. "We have a lot of time in our days that we are unpaid," Julie Hedrick, an American Airlines flight attendant and president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told NPR. "It's our most chaotic and the hardest time in our day, and we can have four to five boardings per day." 

Believe it or not, the lack of pay isn't why flight attendants hesitate to help with bags. They often go above and beyond for passengers, though they must also account for their personal safety.

Lifting bags can be unsafe for flight attendants

Airlines don't prohibit their flight attendants from helping passengers put their bags in the overhead bin. That said, they also don't encourage the practice — unless they assist passengers with disabilities, elderly travelers, or unaccompanied minors. The decision to help or not when asked is mainly up to the flight attendant, though they often need to consider the potential physical impact.

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Taylor Garland of the Association of Flight Attendants explained to the Washington Post that flight attendants are trained to avoid hoisting bags because of the injury risk. Flight attendant Jamela Hardwick told Inside Edition regarding lifting bags, "If we put that bag in the bin and we get hurt, we do not get to write it off as an on-job injury."

What is less likely to cause frustration for a flight attendant is if you ask them to assist you with your bag. Rather than putting all the weight in their hands (literally), you can work together to put a bag in the overhead bin; it is a much better situation for everyone. Fellow passengers are also likely to spring into action if they see you struggling with your bag, from personal experience. After all, any slight delay can push back takeoff, which affects everyone.

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Use the overhead bin courteously

Outside of ensuring your luggage size fits in the plane's overhead bin, flight attendants stress the importance of courteous use of the bin space. Hogging the overhead bin is one of the things flight attendants want you to stop doing. Your items are not any more or less important than anyone else's, and you won't receive special treatment for them. Flight attendant Nancy Lee told Travel Awaits as much, especially about items like musical instruments or gowns.

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"Special items don't necessarily get priority treatment," Lee told the outlet. "We frequently are asked to put wedding dresses and various odd things in the first-class closet. We really try to accommodate requests like that, but like the musical instruments, if it's full, the answer may be no. Things to consider: You may not be the only bride flying to Hawaii, our closet is for first-class customers who don't want their expensive things smashed, and that small closet gets very tight during winter when it's full of coats ... "

Also, remember that the overhead bin, as flight attendants often remind passengers during boarding at least once, is meant for carry-on luggage. Items such as coats and personal items like backpacks are supposed to be stowed under the seat in front of you. Only after boarding finishes should you even consider putting anything else in the overhead bin — which is already prime real estate without all the jackets and neck pillows shoved in there.

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