Hook-ups on flights, dealing with an in-flight death and playing passenger “hot or not” – turns out there’s more to being a flight attendant than just asking if people want tea or coffee.
Here, The Sun has rounded up some of the most jaw-dropping crew tales that have emerged from the cabin.
At the end of last year, a British Airways cabin crew member revealed she was selling sex between flights and offering passengers the chance to join the exclusive mile high club by hooking up with them in mid-air.
The flight attendant, who goes by the Facebook name AirHostess71, caused a bit of a fuss with her sexy online snaps – but it turned out she wasn’t alone.
Passengers on Air France offshoot Transavia might have thought they were going through a spot of turbulence back in 2016 when asked to put on their seatbelts.
In fact, one of their female flight attendants was up in the cockpit getting intimate with the pilot.
The mum-of-four, then aged 46, was said to have recorded multiple aerial exploits in a video diary – and was exposed when her pilot husband found the tapes and passed them on to authorities in a jealous rage.
But while you might have thought it was the crew reaching new heights of debauchery, more often than not they are trying to rein in the passengers.
Natalie Smith, who worked as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic, decided to spill the beans about her three-year stint flying the flag for Sir Richard Branson.
She told Compare Travel Insurance she once had to help restrain two first-class flyers who were determined to get it on without even bothering to hide in the plane bathroom.
“We played good cop, good cop – trying to reason with them,” she said.
“But eventually the crew resorted to sitting between them for the rest of the flight.”
Celebrities are at it, too, it seems. In an article in Cosmopolitan magazine, one flight attendant recalled how a Hollywood hunk headed to the bathroom with his female “manager” and kept hitting the call button with his bum while the rest of first-class were trying to get some shut-eye.
The same article told how an air marshal was trying to pack more than his pistol on one flight. Supposedly on the plane to protect passengers after 9/11, he repeatedly hassled a female crew member for sex.
“It’s not like your husband is here,” he said to her in a final attempt to bed her on board. “Actually, he’s the pilot,” she shot back, before the marshal beat a retreat to his seat.
These days, flight attendants often spend much of their time in the air delivering meals and dealing with drunk passengers, but there was a time when it was seen as one of the most glamorous professions for those who could physically match what airlines were looking for.
In the early 1960s, considered the golden era of air travel, now defunct US airline Pan Am had stringent criteria that today seem totally outdated — female crew had to be at least 157.5cm and weigh no more than 57kg. They also had to retire at 32 and have no children.
These days the demands are different, with reports claiming American Airlines simply advises that cabin crew have no noticeable hair in their nostrils, ears and underarms, along with a full set of front teeth.
Some cabin crew allegedly use secret signals to communicate with each other so passengers don’t know what they’re saying.
Former crew member Heather Poole reveals the lengths crew will go to in her book Cruising Attitude: Tales Of Crashpads, Crew Drama And Crazy Passengers At 35,000 Feet.
The airline she worked for let female crew shorten the hems of their skirts once they had passed probation. It also allowed pilots and fellow crew to know which ones were newbies and potentially more open to amorous advances.
Indeed, if it seemed like cabin crew got all the attention from passengers, the attraction could definitely be mutual.
One respondent to a survey by saucydates.com boasted: “I overheard the stewardess talking to her friend, telling her she had broken up with her boyfriend and hadn’t had sex in a long time. I hit on her and she finally asked me if I wanted to go in the bathroom and have sex.”
On TripAdvisor thread “confessions of a cabin crew”, it is claimed flight attendants often pass the time between rounds of duty by grading passengers in order of their looks.
If you hear one of them calling you by the name “Bob”, you may just have been awarded “best on board” status.
Of course, flight attendants also play important roles in maintaining safety and keeping people calm in emergencies.
But a crew thread on Reddit saw one user saying: “When people ask for the reason for a delay, we usually give a bulls**t response because the real answer would spook passengers.
“We say, ‘We have a minor technical problem and engineers are on their way.’ But in reality? The cabin pressure isn’t working.”
Indeed, crew have to deal with all manner of issues in the air – one of the most challenging being what to do when someone dies during a flight.
According to one British Airways trainer on the BBC TV series A Very British Airline, crew will often try to leave the deceased passenger in their seat or move them to first class if there is more space – but it was not always that way.
“Many years ago we used to give them a vodka and tonic, a paper and eye shades, and tell other passengers that they were fine,” the trainer told the program.
One of a crew’s biggest challenges is dealing with unruly passengers – and in 2008, 13 Virgin staff were sacked for calling their customers “chavs” in a series of social media posts.
That opinion might not have changed too much, according to Facebook page Flight Attendant Career Connection, which lists the following as the main gripes of crew: Taking forever to decide what to drink, leaving rubbish in the seat pocket, keeping headphones on while ordering, walking barefoot around the plane, and hanging out in and around the galley.
One of the more disgusting tales comes from the Cosmopolitan story. One crew member reported: “I had a passenger who bit off his toenails, making a small clippings pile on the seat console.
“When he asked me to throw them out, my face wrinkled up so bad that I think he knew he was way out of line.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission