Smells on a Plane

Attention, passengers: This is “Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant,” a Yahoo Travel series in which “Betty” describes the harrowing, real-life situations she and her comrades in the sky face every day, 35,000 feet away from a foot massage and premium whiskey. You think you’ve got it bad when your in-flight entertainment conks out, the Pixy Stix-addicted kid behind you mistakes the back of your chair for a vertical trampoline, and the plane runs out of “Good Morning Sunshine” cheese boxes? That’s child’s play.


Your flight attendant has become an expert at covering up terrible smells. (Photo: Adam Hester/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Coffee to the Rescue

A friend of mine was working a flight on a 757 when she noticed a popular TV star board the aircraft. She was a fan of his show and noticed that he kept getting up from his first-class seat to use the restroom. After one of his numerous trips to the bathroom he asked her, “Can I ask you the craziest question you’ve ever heard?”

He asked her if she would get him a coffee packet. She asked what he wanted it for. He said he had bad gas and didn’t want to disturb his seatmate. She asked what he was going to do with the coffee … put in his underwear? Nope. He said he was going to “sit on it to muffle the sounds!”

Related: Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant — Tale From the Mile High Club


Watch where you smell. (Photo: frontpoint/Thinkstock)

Spray it Away

After a long flight the airplane bathrooms can smell really bad. They are in constant use, and let’s face it, when people aren’t on their normal schedules their stomachs tend to revolt.

Lots of flight attendants carry their own air freshener sprays since our jump seats are always near the bathrooms. One day a flight attendant was disgusted with the rank smell and got out her large aerosol air-freshening spray. She didn’t want to inhale any more of the stink than was necessary, so she only opened the door a tad and sprayed it up and down.

The next thing she heard was coughing. A little old lady had gone into the bathroom and forgotten to lock the door.

Related: The Most Annoying Things People Do on Planes


Sometimes it is tough to keep that smile on our face. (Photo: Chris Goldberg/Flickr)

Flatulence on Command

Flight attendants have a secret weapon hidden in their back pocket for the unruly or rude passenger. Because of the way the seats and the aisle are situated, if you were so inclined to “let one rip” near said mean passenger’s seat, it could make a definite impression. This is affectionately called “crop dusting.” I have never participated in crop dusting, but I know some fellow crew members who have.

Related: Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant — Attack of the Ambien Zombies

Save Yourself

One “colorful” flight attendant warned us before a flight that we shouldn’t be alarmed if we saw him with the medical oxygen mask on during the flight when most of the passengers had gone to sleep. We shouldn’t worry that there was anything wrong with him; he just hated all the gas passed on all night flights and the oxygen mask filters out some of the smell.

We all thought he was joking till later during the night he was sitting on his jump seat wearing the oxygen mask and writing out Christmas cards!

Here’s hoping your next flight smells as fresh as a daisy!

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