Don’t Blame The Flight Attendants for Everything

Why passengers blame flight attendants for everything is lost on me. Though I worked as a flight attendant before, I have been a passenger several times. So I know how you feel, more or less. 

I also get worked up – from check-in, getting separate seats, overweight baggage, long line in immigration, security,  etc. These stressful situations will make me stressed. I will end up nitpicking everything, looking for every minute mistakes, with nobody else to complain to but the frontline of the airline which is the flight attendants. But they don’t deserve it. 



I understand you paid hundreds of bucks for that ticket. You at least want to get and experience what you paid for. But, please don’t blame the flight attendants for everything, especially the following situations.

1. Delays

I am not sure if you know, but flight attendants don’t get paid for delays. In my experience, we only get paid when the plane is moving technically speaking. We call it ‘chocks off, chocks on’. Chocks refer to the wedge placed closely against the plane’s wheels to keep them from moving.

So once they removed the chocks until they put them on, that’s the only time we get paid. Flight attendants are not paid to do pre-flight preparations, safety measures, boarding, and disembarkation, nor delays.

So please don’t blame the flight attendants for delays. Believe me, they want that plane to get going as much as you do. And no matter how much you complain, shout and blame them, they are also not the right person to talk to about refunds, compensations, cancellations, and rebooking.

Read more: 12 Ways to Survive Long-Haul Flights

landing gear chocks on


2. Diversions

Based on my experience with the airline I worked for, the pilot or purser call a company on the ground for medical advice during medical emergencies. That company will be the one that will decide if the flight needed to divert or not – NOT the flight attendants nor the pilots. They will only follow instructions.

So, sad to say, diversions are also not their fault.

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3. Separate seats

I experienced this both as a flight attendant and as a passenger. It’s frustrating for both flight attendants and families when families are seated separately. Gate agents or ground staff will assign seats to these families, and sometimes pass the responsibility to the flight attendants to figure them out. Anyway, flight attendants try to sort it out or usually families sort it out themselves.

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aircraft passenger boarding


4. Running out of meal options

In a 400-capacity airplane, the catering department will never load 400 pieces of chicken meal, 400 pieces of fish meal, 400 pieces of beef meal, and 400 vegetarian meal. It is not possible.

The galley has limited space, and the food is not the only thing being loaded in the galley. There are water bottles, juice packs, soft drinks, wines, and alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee, cups and glasses, food carts, etc. Everything has to fit in that small area.  Plus, meal casseroles not eaten are being thrown. So imagine bringing 1600 meal casseroles for 400 passengers – that’s a lot of waste! 

Thus they usually load 60% chicken, 30% fish, and 10% veg (*this is only a sample ratio). So it is bound to run out of meal options. Unless you can not absolutely eat the last option, they will try to come up with food for you.

That’s why, the company always encourages passengers to pre-select your meal upon booking. 

aircraft cabin


5. Airline policies

Each airline has its own rules and regulations. You can’t blame the Flight Attendant for following the policies. I have been blamed so many times for following airline policies, even threatened me that they would call the CEO or complain to the company.

For safety reasons, mothers are asked to take their baby out from the bassinet during turbulence. It is also not allowed for passengers to pray in the galley or by the emergency door (!!!). The galley is for preparing foods and beverages. And emergency doors, well, are only used for an emergency. They can always pray on their seats!

When passengers complain of getting two meals on one flight, then suddenly got only one meal on the connecting flight, you need to take into consideration the time. Food services differ depending on the flight time.

Again, based on my experience, flights less than 1 hour, passengers get sandwiches. For flights less than 3 hours, each passenger gets one full meal. For flights less than 6 or 7 hours, passengers get one full meal each and a snack/sandwich. For long-haul flights, passengers get bar service and 2 full meals. For ultra-long-haul flights like the US, Canada, South America, they serve 2 full meals, and anytime snacks in between. So you see, food service depends on the flight time.

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Don’t be shocked if your flight attendant offers you a rice meal on a Manila flight for breakfast. Filipinos like rice! Meal options vary depending on the destination. However, there are also other meal options available.

Don’t blame the flight attendant for waking you up for the main meal service. Your body clock may be at night time, but it’s morning at your destination. They WILL wake you up to eat. Company policy! Plus you paid for it!

Don't Blame The Flight Attendants for Everything



There will be instances where it may be their fault, but they still deserve respect from us. Remember, the same flight attendant whom you blame will be the same one who will save your life in case of an emergency. 


Disclaimer: Again, the services mentioned above do not apply to all airlines. I only shared what I know based on my experience.


What are your thoughts? Have you consciously or unconsciously blame flight attendants when it is clearly not their fault? What other instances can you think of?



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33 thoughts on “Don’t Blame The Flight Attendants for Everything”

  1. Love this post! You’re completely right. Some passengers are just unnecessarily rude to flight attendants. Well done for this!

  2. This is so true! You’ve covered some very important points, which most people often overlook. I don’t believe in bothering flight attendants for something that’s beyond their control. At they end of the day they are doing the best that they can.

  3. Excellent post! I think these are great ideals to follow no matter what the service worker. It is crazy what customers think a single sales clerk, waitress, or flight attendant has control over. I had no idea that the flight attendants didn’t get paid for delays though. That’s horrible!

  4. Wow! What a great post. This is absolutely necessary for people to not act “the customers” all the time. I have seen people get rude to flight attendants for no reason. This is just disgusting. Thank you for giving us the inside story!

  5. You’re absolutely right. Anyone who blames the flights attendants and treats them rudely is just an inconsiderate jerk. They don’t like being blamed for everything that’s out of their control at work any more than the rest of us do.

  6. It’s just human nature to find it so easy to blame anyone convenient, isn’t it? I totally agree with you though, flight attendants do need to be recognised and respected as well unless they’re really giving you disservice!

  7. Interesting article, I didn’t knew many of these points about the attributions of flight-attendants. And luckily, until now, never had any issue during flights. I think it comes down also to the common sense of both the passengers and the flight attendants and that we are all humans after all and mistaking is part of our nature:)

  8. Excellent post. I don’t understand people who blame flight attendants for things that are clearly out of their control. It’s about common courtesy and politeness and many people seemingly forget these things. I think I knew most of these, but didn’t know about the “chocks on” thing. Very interesting.

  9. You just blew my mind by telling me that flight attendants don’t start getting paid until the plane is moving. Some of the most stressful aspects of their job happen “at the terminal” with trying to get people seated and overheads closed. I once watched a plane get delayed over an hour when the gate attendant allowed someone with the wrong ticket to board the plane. The people had to be de-boarded with their luggage and then have their tickets scanned again before they were able to find the wrong passenger–he was supposed to be on a similar flight from a different gate.

    • O. M. G! That must have been stressful for everybody. Sad to say, we don’t get paid until the plane is moving EVEN PILOTS. Nobody gets paid. That’s why, it’s really frustrating when passengers blame us esp for delays

  10. I agree – flight attendants cannot and should not be blamed for things not in their hands – we need to cooperate with them to ensure a comfortable and safe journey for ourselves and others too.
    But thanks for highlighting some points – like the one about “waking passengers up for their meal…..” I do tend to feel just a tad resentful when I’m woken up for a meal especially because I find it a challenge to fall asleep when on a long journey in the first place!!! 🙂 🙂

    • Yes. I get that all the time! We don’t give DND stickers in economy cabin. So when I fly as a passenger, I usually tell the flight attendant assigned to my area to not wake me up for the 1st meal or 2nd meal.

  11. I really hate it when I’m on a flight and someone is pestering the flight attendant about something clearly not in their control. Flight delays are a great example. Yes it’s annoying – but if it’s critical you are there at a certain time it’s worth building in an extra cushion of time – even if it means leaving earlier/paying more for a peak ticket.

  12. I can honestly say I have never blamed the flight attendant for any of these issues!! To my thinking they are beyond their control and I’m appreciative of everything that’s done to make my journey as comfortable as possible. So thank you for all your efforts. I think some people can be very rude and you definitely don’t deserve that!! Interesting post, thanks for sharing ?
    I didn’t know about the chocks on, chocks off system, that’s so unfair!

  13. I genuinely blame nobody for anything in life guys. Ownership is the key to happiness, serenity and calm. If it happens in my existence, it is in the perfect place, at the perfect time, to unearth any fear stuff. Thanks for sharing 🙂



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