Topic of the Week: The Best Things You’ve Heard Onboard

Miscellaneous

This week’s topic comes from a reader, Herb. What are some of the best funny, clever, or sarcastic comments you’ve heard come from a pilot or flight attendant on duty? Maybe it wasn’t even intentional, but it might have given you a chuckle. Have at it in the comments…

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60 comments on “Topic of the Week: The Best Things You’ve Heard Onboard

  1. “Hi, this is Jeff Smisek, CEO of United. We’ve made several changes recently, and I think you’ll like them.”

    1. Did anybody else notice that for the first year of the Jeff videos that no matter how long the cut, the man didn’t blink.

      1. He also signed off with, “Enjoy your flight…” delivered in a creepy, ghoulish, manner. I had a long running joke with a fellow UAL flyer about it.

  2. ‘We are preparing our descent to Milan where the weather as we say is ME RA VI GLIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!’ – Iberia Captain to Milan in July: in English, Italian and Spanish

  3. On a recent USAir flight before pushing back the captain comes on and says “Welcome aboard USAir flight XXX, this is your Captain Art Vandalay up here with first officer Dave Puddy. We’re expecting a smooth ride at 39,000…….” I don’t think anyone else caught it, but it gave me a chuckle. When I de-planed I asked the pilot that was there thanking us for flying who was who and only got a wry smile.

  4. While temporarily held just short of the gate after landing: “The captain has informed me that our cabin monitoring system is indicating that several passengers have already unbuckled their seatbelts. All seatbelts must remain buckled until the fasten seatbelt sign has been turned off.”

    By ‘cabin monitoring system’, the FA was referring to his own eyes and ears.

    1. always bothers me when they make up technology. Your example, or the device that knows there are 5 cellphones still not turned to airplane mode, or when they quote fictitious FAA regulations or unpublished airline policies….But I digress

      1. Meh, in this case the flight attendants are the captain’s cabin monitoring system. ;-)

        (Unless you’ve got that fancy system that has camera in the cabin that the pilots can look at..)

  5. Post-landing FA announcement on an Alaska Airlines flights from SAN to BOS last fall….

    Welcome to Boston. Please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened until we reach the gate. Once you disembark, please refrain from smoking… permanently… or at least until you are in a designated smoking area outside of the terminal.

    1. I don’t remember the exact terminology, but one time after landing in SAN, the no-smoking reminder basically implied that you couldn’t smoke anywhere in California.

  6. In 2012 DTW-BWI, “Welcome aboard Northw…err Delta. Uugghh this is what happens when you don’t read from the manual.”

    On southwest DAL-STL “if you don’t like our service, there are six emergency exits on this aircraft”

    WN SFO-LAS the captain “It’s gonna be slightly bumpy en route cause we like to make it interesting sometimes”. Only 2 of us on the plane laughed

  7. How about things I’d *like* to hear, like “We would like take a moment to remind you that a little common courtesy goes a long way. Remember that being a jerk may get you an unwanted visit to an unexpected location and your face on national TV and/or Youtube” ?

  8. Numerous times aboard Dragonair, a CX subsidiary doing lots of regional flying ex-HKG…

    “Welcome aboard this Dragonair flight KAXXX to [silence]” and the FA just stops for a minute or so and you can hear her fiddling with her script/lists trying to figure out where the flight was headed!

    Poor KA cabin crew…and they love to repeat the pilot’s PA, “…My name is XXX, your ISD, together with Cpt. [silence] err….” forgets again and they don’t even stop the PA so just leaves it hanging. Also many times upon arrival at an outstation “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hong Kong, I mean, err… [silence]”

  9. I was on a South African Airways plane, waiting our turn for takeoff from Atlanta. We were pretty far back in the line. Our captain came on and gave an approximate wait time, and then said “…and as soon as it is our turn, we’ll be off like a robber’s dog.”

  10. Different era, but as a male flight attendant in the early 70’s, the captain said, “We’ve been cleared for take-off so we’d ask that our fabulous female flight attendants fasten their fabulous physiques to the fuselage. Oh, and you can sit down too, Larry.

  11. Once on an a Air Wisconsin/United Express flight, the flight attendant indicated that in the event of a water landing, our seat cushon could be used for floatation. And after we were done we should return it to United because the airline was in such poor financial help.

    I’ve actually been on a Southwest flight were they did the joke stating that in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, insert 25¢ to receive an oxygen mask.

  12. Recent AA flight returning to ORD: “Your Dallas and Chicago-based flight crew would like to be the first to welcome you to Chicago, home of the world champion 1908 Chicago Cubs.”

  13. To nervous first time flyers. When you feel the airplane begin to take off, lift your armrests to help the pilots..

    Specific to HP. “If I take America West (westbound), what do I take to get home? America East.

  14. Captain announcement. ‘Welcome to Miami. Please keep your seat belts buckled. We don’t want you reaching the gate before we do’.

  15. On approach to SGF on Air Midwest, while totally engrossed in a book and not paying attention to the announcements I started paying attention when I heard … pilot says (insert charley brown teacher voice to start) “whaenh whaenh whaenh whaenh…don’t panic … yet…” And we proceeded to fly by the tower to make sure the gear was down.

    Shortly after America West started serving hot meals which was a major step (you can suggest the direction), one of the snarkier flight attendants (and a lot of fun) was accosted by a passenger complaining about the quality of the potatoes (“these potatoes are bad”). Without missing a beat she leaned over the tray table; shook her finger, and said “bad potatoes, bad potatoes, bad potatoes…”

  16. I’m sure anyone who has flown WN very often has heard some variation of:

    “Welcome to Las Vegas. For those passengers continuing on to Reno, this is your aircraft. For those passengers continuing on to Reno, and then Boise, and then Spokane, I would suggest getting a new travel agent.”

  17. Many years ago on UA into ORD we had an exceptionally long, circuitous taxi back to the terminal. The FA thanked us for flying UA, suggested we join the frequent flyer program where we would have gotten XX miles for the trip we just flew; “however no additional miles for the tour of the airport”…

  18. The joys of United’s Channel 9: On an approach to CMH a few years ago, the pilot asked for an alternate runway (obviously because the assigned runway was on the opposite side of the terminal as the gate) but indicated that it was so he could “display his superior airmanship.” The controller and several other pilots gave him some grief for that.

    Upon disembarking, I congratulated whoever landed the plane for “superior airmanship.” It was apparently the co-pilot because the captain got a big laugh out of that.

  19. I didn’t actually hear this personally, but this NW pilot quote was making the rounds back in the mid-2000s during the wave of airline bankruptcies:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know very well, there’s no shortage of bankrupt airlines right now. We’d like to thank you for making NW your bankrupt airline of choice.”

  20. “Prior to deplaning, please check under your seat belt for any personal belongings you may have brought on board”

  21. I was flying from DAY to DEN once on Horizon on an evening flight, and the flight attendants were giving the safety briefing “…event of a water landing, your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device, grasp the cushion and take it with you as you exit the airplane, then stand up, because how much water is there between Dayton and Denver?”

    Though when flying into BGM back in the old mainline days many flight attendants would struggle with pronouncing the name, trying to meld Birmingham, AL into Binghamton… It was a bit annoying to my 8 year old airline geek self.

  22. Years ago after a particularly bumpy cross wind landing on Southwest into Chicago’s Midway after we had hit the tarmac hard and then rolled out to the stand all the pilot said was: “We’re here”.

  23. On a US flight operated by Mesa from DAB to CLT the pilot told us, “the word for today is smooth. Smooooooth.” He was right; it was a smooth flight.

  24. WN upon landing: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Seattle. We need some volunteers to help clean the cabin this afternoon. Would you please signify your willingness by unfastening your seatbelt before the captain turns off the seatbelt sign?” For the first time in memory, there was not the slightest sound of a seatbelt being released until the light went out.

  25. On a domestic Qantas flight, many years ago, the passenger seated next to my wife and I wasn’t cooperating with the instructions to stow his bag under the seat in front of him. The flight attendant came over and said, in a very pleasant tone, “if you don’t put the bag under the seat and we have to evacuate, you will trip and fall and die.” He promptly stashed the bag.

    A few weeks ago, on a domestic United flight, after the pre-landing seatback and tray table speech, the flight attendant went on to remind us that “if we have to evacuate the aircraft, please leave your carry-on luggage behind.” That was unexpected.

  26. Overheard on a Delta flight: “We will be dimming the cabin lights to enhance the attractiveness of the cabin crew.”

  27. on a Northwest Airlink flight from MSP to TUL we had a pretty funny FA, and he had the whole cabin laughing. But he must have not have practiced the following “joke” he told during the safety demo: “in the event of an emergency landing, bend down, grab your knees and kiss your ass goodbye”…crickets. Good news is we all got free drinks after that last joke.

  28. Several years ago I flew WX for work. The best safety announcement I have ever heard had this quality snippet in it “Ladies and Gentleman this is a non-smoking flight however for the smokers on board the smoking area is conveniently located outside the doors between rows 13 and 16. If you choose to use the smoking area please ring your call button so we may prepare the cabin. However, we suggest you wait the 35 minutes between wheels up and wheels down as its very difficult to light your cigarette at 30k feet going about 500mph.

    I always get a kick when FA’s tell you the time and they forgot to set their watches or do their math wrong.

  29. I once flew to Jackson, MS via Memphis, TN. Two solid comments from the flight attendant.

    1. Hello, everyone and welcome to your flight to Jackson……………..Mississippi.

    2. Looks like we have everyone settled in a bit early and if we have no objections we are going to head to Jackson early. If anyone has a problem with this please just press your call button and we will discuss it during the flight.

  30. On approach into a fogged-in ADQ on AS, the pilot did a go-around and had this to say: “Folks, all I saw was water and this is not a floatplane”.

  31. Korean Air, from Seoul to Singapore, just before landing:

    “We would also like to remind all passengers that chewing gum is prohibited at all times in Singapore. Passengers who brought chewing gum should take care to dispose of it before leaving baggage claim.”

  32. Also, I love it when flights arriving in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia take the time to remind everyone that drug trafficking is a capital offense: “Just a heads-up: you might be shot!”

  33. Overheard on a KLM 747, flight attendant asks two girls “Would you like to see the horses?” Both girls accepted the excursion to the cargo section in the back.

  34. After a long Tarmac and gate delay I asked the American Eagle flight attendant if I was going to make my connection she replied “I don’t have that information and we don’t have time for that, the pilot is busy flying the plane”

    Delta gate agent when I asked for a better boarding position than zone 7 ” I can’t sir, we board from the rear of the aircraft”

    Continental gate agent when I asked her why the flight crews were stuck in traffic staying at a hotel 15 miles away for the airport and not next to the airport ” Cause our airline is run by a bunch of morons”

  35. On an Easyjet flight after landing – “If you enjoyed your flight today, thank you for flying Easyjet. If you didn’t enjoy your flight, thank you for flying Ryanair”.

  36. UAExpress RJ
    “Normally I’d serve the cabin from the cart. But tonight I’m not feeling very well, so I’m gonna remain seated and if you need anything ring your call button.”

  37. My mom flew United from California home to SEA about 2004, when several of the major carriers were in bankruptcy. The FA said “Welcome to Seattle. We know you have a choice of which bankrupt airline to fly, and we’re glad you chose our bankrupt airline.”

    I flew San Juan Airlines yesterday KORS-KBLI, a small regional carrier that serves Washington’s San Juan Islands. The San Juan Islands are gorgeous, but the lines to get onboard the ferry on busy summer weekends are terrible. It can take all day to wait for your spot on the ferry to get home if you drive your car. Flying, if you can afford it, is a lot more enjoyable than waiting in that line. So the pilot told me “On holiday weekends, I always fly over the ferry dock, and show my passengers ‘that could be you.” Pretty good salesmanship to book a ticket on San Juan next time, instead of waiting all day for Washington State Ferries!

  38. My mom flew United from California home to SEA about 2004, when several of the major carriers were in bankruptcy. The FA said “Welcome to Seattle. We know you have a choice of which bankrupt airline to fly, and we’re glad you chose our bankrupt airline.”

    I flew San Juan Airlines yesterday KORS-KBL. San Juan is a small regional carrier that serves Washington state’s San Juan Islands. The San Juan Islands are gorgeous, but the lines to get onboard the ferry on busy summer weekends are terrible. It can take all day to wait for your spot on the ferry to get home if you drive your car. Flying, if you can afford it, is a lot more enjoyable than waiting in that line. So the pilot told me “On holiday weekends, I always fly over the ferry dock, and show my passengers ‘that could be you.” Pretty good salesmanship to book a ticket on San Juan Airlines next time, instead of waiting all day for Washington State Ferries!

  39. During the oxygen mask instructions… “Put your oxygen mask on before helping others. If you are traveling with a small child, please put your oxygen mask on before helping them put theirs on. If you are traveling with more than one small child, please pick your favorite now, and help them first, but only after you get your mask on.”

    I’ve heard that one a few times, I think on Southwest.

  40. FA with Jamaican accent: “We’ll be delayed about five minutes Jamaica time.”
    Guy Next to me: “Fudge, that’ll be at least an hour.”

    Pilot at MIA: “The jet bridge is broken and it can only be repaired by airport employees. They work for the county and since it’s Friday afternoon, we might be waiting until Monday.”

  41. “we´ve just been hit by lightning. everything SEEMS to be all right” on a UA flight between Dulles and Buenos Aires several years ago.

  42. JetBlue flight from DCA-MCO Upon landing in Orlando…

    “Ladies & Gentlemen welcome to San Juan, Puerto Ric….. Oh darn it’s Orlando. At least there’s Disney”

  43. Pilot upon landing at a fogged in SLC. “We’re stopping short of the gate due to the lack of visibility on the ramp. We’ll be towed into our gate. Thankfully, we have autoland since there is no way we could ever find the runway.”

  44. Southwest FA: “On Southwest, we recycle. So ladies, please wipe your lipstick off the cups so we can reuse them for the next flight.”

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