While many travelers want to behave nicely to the people who take care of them during their flights, there are those who would rather forge their own path. Those who know best, and who need their own way to be done no matter what. These are the people who will want to be as infuriating as possible to their cabin crew. But how can you make sure you’re doing all you can to reach your goals? Here is a handy and comprehensive list of activities to ensure effective and efficient irritation of your flight crew during the time you have available. From boarding to landing, we’ve got it covered.

Boarding the Plane

That one door that everyone comes through? You want to block that as you come in. It’s pretty much the only way all three-hundred-odd people are going to get on board. The cabin crew are going to want to keep that flow going. So if you block it, not only will you cause the crew stress, but you will also start annoying all the people who have to line up behind you. So many birds with one stone, right? Some ways you can do this are:

Asking for a seat change right away. This is literally impossible, as all people have to be on board before seats can be changed.

Ask for an upgrade. If you are asking now, no doubt you already asked at the check-in counter and at the gate, and were told no. The crew will know this. But don’t let that stop you.

Tell them all about your experiences at the gate. The crew have no way of controlling any unpleasant experiences you may have had waiting to board. So, while they will understand your frustrations, this will only serve to bring the boarding to a grinding halt. Therefore be sure to include this in your list of activities for maximum annoyance.

Tell them your seat number when they ask for your boarding pass. They want your boarding pass for security reasons, not because they need to check your seat number. That’s just for convenience. So be sure to put your boarding pass away, preferably in the darkest reaches of your bag, in the short walk between the gate and the plane.

Before Take-off

Make sure to block the aisle while stowing your carry-on luggage. Even better, call over a member of the crew to stow it for you, instead of doing it yourself or asking a fellow passenger for assistance. You should also refuse to put your carry-on bag anywhere except the locker directly above your head, even if that one is already full.

Don’t go to the bathroom inside the terminal. Wait until you are on the plane, and everyone is still boarding, then go. It is best if you choose a bathroom that requires you to go back the way you came, against the flow of boarding passengers.

Recline your seat right away. You have to put it up for take-off, as it is a safety issue. This means that one of the flight crew will have to come over and ask you to. See how long you can put off doing it, even once they’ve asked you. They will have to keep coming back!

Leave your phone on. Every time a crew member comes by and asks you to turn it off, tell them “it’s fine” and continue using it. Painstakingly explain that the odds of a cell phone affecting the communications of the plane is minuscule, as though they have never heard that before.

If you are feeling unwell or have any kind of health issue, be sure not to tell the crew. Let them figure it out for themselves if anything happens during the flight. Also be sure not to tell them if you have any medication on you. In fact, best hide this somewhere unreachable. This will make it harder to find if they have to search for it.

During the flight

If you’re going to be openly hostile, aggressive or abusive, you’d better wait until after take-off. (The crew has the power to offload you from the flight if you do it before.)

Of course, taking your seat belt off before you are supposed to is a given. Try standing up to talk to a friend, or walking around. See how long it takes before a crew member has to come and ask you to sit down. (Feel free to do this again if the seat belt sign is put on at any time during the flight.)


Raise your voice to get attention. Or snap your fingers. Demand any special treatment you desire. Basically, pretend you’re at a four-table bistro, instead of being one member of a group numbering in the hundreds.

If you ask for a drink outside of regular service (make sure to snap your fingers!) wait until it has been brought to you before asking for ice. That way, the crew member will have to make two trips. Even better, finish the drink before they get back with the ice, then immediately ask for another one.

When the meal service comes round, the crew member will give you your options, asking you which one you want. The trick here is to check the menu beforehand, so you know all the options already. If there is an option they don’t offer, this means that they have run out of it. So you should ask for that one. If they say they’ve run out, insist that they check with the other service carts to see if there are any left elsewhere. Try mentioning that you have a heretofore undeclared dietary restriction and see how they deal with it.


I refer you to the earlier points about cell phones and seat belts. Except this time, you can be even less compliant – after all, you’re about to leave, what can they do to you?

Closing Suggestions

If you fly often, you will have plenty of comparisons with other airlines to make. Each airline has its own specific way of doing things, and very particular instructions for the crew, with little option to deviate. This means that if you are unhappy with the way things have been run on board, the crew have absolutely no power to change anything. So you should demand that they do. Tell them how other airlines do things differently, and expect them to adjust their policies immediately and without question.

Last but not least: if you get the opportunity, try to explain to a crew member how to do their job. This is a great addition to the list of maddening activities, as the training to become a flight attendant is intensely rigorous, and they know exactly how to do their jobs. However, part of that training is to be polite and courteous. This means they will have to stand there and listen to you like you know more than they do. Watch for signs that they’ve started to grind their teeth, and enjoy!