When it comes to air travel, flight attendants are the keepers of the cabin. They’re not just there to bring you drinks and snacks; they’re stewards for safety, advocates for passengers, and all-around in-flight experts. And while they’ll always do their best to ensure you have a comfortable experience on board, there are some over-the-top requests they just can’t accommodate. Here are some of the most outlandish requests flight attendants have received from passengers — some of which they were miraculously able to fulfill.
“One of the craziest requests I’ve received was a passenger who asked for a parachute mid-flight, in case of an emergency,” said Luke Xavier, a former flight attendant with Delta and the founder of USA Rover. “Of course, these requests are impossible to fulfill, but what I can do is try to make the flight as comfortable and enjoyable as possible by providing freebies to my passengers.”
Susan Fogwell, a retired flight attendant with 22 years of experience on major airlines, once had a famous passenger make an unusual request. “Gary Coleman politely asked if I could fry his chicken. He liked it ‘extra crispy,'” she said. Unfortunately, the galley (that’s a kitchen on a plane) only has so many capabilities, and deep frying is not one of them.
Cup of Water for a Falcon
It’s not uncommon for passengers to ask for water, but this particular request was unusual. “A cadet from the Air Force Academy walked on board with a falcon on her arm — the school’s mascot — and asked me if the falcon could have a cup of water,” said Fogwell.
A flight attendant’s domain is the airplane cabin, but they can often help with airport details like connecting gates and baggage claim numbers. Once you’re off the plane, though, their work is done — unless you’re these passengers: “A family once requested that I organize transportation to their final hotel destination,” said Josephine Remo, a former flight attendant of seven years. Remember, a flight attendant is not your personal assistant.
“One of my most common requests is for additional food and drinks — often more than what is offered on the plane. This doesn’t include asking for extra snacks or drinks, but requests for totally different meals or requests to make a special order that the airline doesn’t provide,” said Alison Meacham, a former Virgin Atlantic flight attendant and blogger at EverythingMouse. “One time, I had a passenger ask if I could make them sushi burritos. It was definitely a strange request, but I respectfully declined since it would be difficult to make and serve on the plane.”
Cat and Mice
“One of the weirdest requests I ever got was from a family who requested I bring them a live cat and a bag of live mice for their daughter,” said Meacham. “I was obviously unable to meet their request.”
Space for a Snake
“One of the craziest [requests] has to be from a passenger on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto. The passenger had a pet snake in an aquarium and asked if he could bring it on the flight as his carry-on,” said former flight attendant Carly Campbell of Mommy on Purpose. “Obviously, this was a surprise to all involved, and we had to take a few extra steps to ensure the pet would be allowed on the flight. After consulting with the captain, we allowed the pet on board, but we had to move other passengers to different seats to accommodate the tank.”
Raw Fish to Be Cooked On Board
“Another strange request I encountered was from a passenger traveling from Toronto to Phoenix,” said Campbell. “The passenger asked if he could bring a fish on board and have it cooked in the galley during the flight. Of course, we had to decline this request since cooking on board is not only against the rules, but also dangerous due to the limited space and potential fire hazards.”
A Chicken to Lay Fresh Eggs for Breakfast
“On a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, a passenger asked if he could bring a live chicken on board to have fresh eggs for his breakfast.,” said Campbell. “Again, this was a dangerous request and had to be declined. It’s interesting to see how certain passengers go above and beyond to make their flights more comfortable and enjoyable, but safety must always be the priority.”
“I’ve been asked a range of colorful questions like, “Can the noise of the aircraft be lowered? I can’t sleep.'” said Ben Whatman, Air New Zealand’s in-flight service manager. While newer aircraft are engineered to be as quiet as possible, you’re still going to hear noise from the engines and air flow as you zip through the sky at some 500 mph.