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Airline Passengers Do The Darndest Things

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Be careful how you treat flight attendants because they have a lot of resources to fight back if you become abusive. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Airplane passenger

Be careful how you treat flight attendants because they have a lot of resources to fight back if you become abusive.

iStockphoto.com

Jeff Collins has served as the executive producer of several TV shows including Bridezillas. In 2009 he partnered with Virgin America and the CW to create Fly Girls, a reality show about flight attendants.

I almost fell out of bed laughing this morning when I saw the story of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater. Why didn't anything like this ever happen on my show? You couldn't make this up. OK, so perhaps Slater completely lost his cool, his job, and may face criminal charges. I guess he's had enough ...

I created Fly Girls, a show about flight attendants, in a partnership with Virgin America and spent a year of my life learning about their lives on and off the planes. I can tell you from experience I've seen airline passengers do and say things that could make any sane person lose his cool. Let's just say it's a good thing I'm not a flight attendant, because I don't have the patience to put up with the kind of crap these highly trained professionals deal with from complete strangers all day long. Virgin goes out of its way to try to calm people down the minute they walk onto their planes by keeping the lights low, playing soothing music and making sure the flight attendants are friendly and helpful. They do this for a reason — because they know flying makes a lot of people really anxious.

Jeff Collins

Jeff Collins has seen airline passengers do and say things that could make any sane person lose his cool. Courtesy of Jeff Collins hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Jeff Collins

True story: I was once flying on another airline and witnessed a male passenger reaching between a female flight attendant's legs — she was wearing a skirt by the way — to throw something into the garbage can on the cart she was pushing. I thought she was going to pass out, she got so angry. She managed to keep her cool and reprimanded the passenger in the most professional and polite way. I on the other hand lost my cool, cursed out the man and told her I would gladly testify on her behalf if she wanted to sue him for sexual harassment.

The guy had no response. None. He just shrugged his shoulders and went back to watching his TV. Somehow he felt a sense of entitlement because he'd paid $300 for a coach seat.

Do you know how many planes have to make unscheduled landings all the time because some idiot stuffed a used diaper down the toilet? I don't know how the flight attendants do it day after day. It's a tough job and I always go out of my way to say hello and be nice to them when I fly. The bottom line is ... they are in charge of the plane when you fly! You'd better be careful how you treat them because they have a lot of resources to fight back if you become abusive. Being dragged away from JFK in handcuffs is not exactly the way you fantasized your trip might end. The next time you fly I highly suggest you be really nice to the flight attendants. You'll be shocked how nice they are when you engage them.

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