Rude Flight Attendant Almost Spoils My In-Air Proposal

Consumerist reader Jacob had planned to ask his girlfriend for her hand in marriage mid-flight during their recent trip from Tel Aviv to Memphis. But thanks to a terribly rude flight attendant, those plans were almost grounded.

There were indications early on during the first leg of the trip — a KLM fight from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam — that one particular attendant was going to give them a hard time about everything. First, she refused to allow Jacob to have a second blanket after he gave his to his shivering girlfriend (a second attendant helped him out with no issues).

There were also some tense moments over Jacob’s request for a can of Coke, but that is nothing, he says, compared to what happened toward the end of the flight.

After noticing that his girlfriend’s visit to the restroom was taking longer than it should, Jacob became concerned and went to make sure she was okay, especially since she hadn’t been feeling well before they boarded the plane.

When he got to the back of the plane, he was greeted by the short-tempered flight attendant who he claims stuck her hand in his face before commencing the following exchange:
FA: “Sir – Sit. Back. Down. The lavatories are closed.”
Me: “Ma’am, I just want to check on my girlfriend.”
FA: “She’s fine, don’t worry about her.”
Me: “Yeah, but she’s been gone for over 30 minutes and wasn’t feeling well prior to the flight.”
FA: “Well, maybe she had to wait in line…”
Me: “That’s fine, I just want to see if she’s okay.”
FA: “What – do you want to use the restroom with her?”
Me: “What? I just want to check if she’s okay and didn’t pass out or anything.”

He says the flight attendant eventually, and reluctantly, relented and allowed him to check on his girlfriend.

That’s when, claims Jacob, the flight attendant said to other passengers within earshot, “It must suck to have an overprotective boyfriend like that – can’t even use the bathroom in peace.”

This resulted in another exchange:
Me: “Excuse me, ma’am? That was inappropriate; don’t make comments about my relationship. Now, I need to know your name.”
FA: “I don’t have a name.”
Me: “What do you mean you don’t have a name?”
FA: “We don’t have names at KLM.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll take your employee ID or some other form of identification.”
FA: “I don’t have to give you that!”

She may not have been willing to share that information, but the head flight attendant had no problem providing that attendant’s name and ID number after the flight landed.

The experience had left such a bad taste in his mouth that he almost decided against his plan to pop the question during the connecting flight from Amsterdam to Memphis, especially since it was through KLM’s SkyTeam partner Delta.

But he says the Delta cabin crew were incredibly helpful and actually assisted in his marriage proposal shortly after the plane departed from Amsterdam.

Says Jacob, “If the crew on the Delta flight wasn’t as kind as they were I would have surely scrapped the whole plan, and proposed to her another way.”

And as you can see from the above photo, the proposal was a flying success!


Edit Your Comment

  1. AttackCat says:

    “We were going to join the Mile High Club and I was going to propose to her after that–I mean, who wouldn’t want to lock that down–and the flight attendant totally messed up my plans.”

    • Lethe says:

      I know a couple flight attendants. They’re always coming across people making up ridiculous excuses to join the Mile High Club- I don’t really blame this one for being suspicious, although she could have been nicer (and perhaps offered to check of the gf herself).

    • bluline says:

      Years ago I was on a flight from Vegas to Indianapolis when one of the flight attendants stopped by my seat and whispered that her colleague wanted to know if I was single and available. I wasn’t, but it was very flattering anyway. You certainly don’t get that on a flight anymore. Those were the days!

  2. umbriago says:

    OK, Jacob, but the first rule of marriage is, “Leave her alone when she’s in the bathroom.”

  3. Coffee says:

    That sounds like a terrible flying experience, but I have to ask: what is the appeal in proposing on an airplane full of people, and when your fiance is sick, no less? I’m not trying to troll the OP, just honestly curious.

    Also, I was expecting the flight attendant to be connected in some way – any way, really – to the proposal. Instead, the story read more like “We encountered a rude flight attendant, then later I proposed.”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Agreed on the latter point.

      The proposal and bad experience had nothing to do with each other.

    • dks64 says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • runswithscissors says:

      Yep, it was a perfectly good “rude flight attendant” story without any of the engagement stuff. Muddies the waters and adds confusion.

    • corridor7f says:

      If things were going well, I can maybe see the point.

      If not, adapt and rethink. Life isn’t peachy keen all the time – perhaps consider a more controllable setting.

  4. Ben says:

    Why the hell would you propose to someone on an airplane?!

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Because they know at that point there’s nowhere to go but down, both literally and figuratively.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      Yeah her saying No, would definitely make for an awkward second half to the flight.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I’d like to ask, why would you ever propose to someone? For those of us who don’t live in fairy tales, the mutual decision to get married should probably be the result of a long series of discussions, not the result of having to give a hasty answer to an unexpected question. I personally oppose the notion of the proposal, and didn’t (ahem) ‘engage’ in it myself; my spouse and I got married after a long relationship and many long talks.

      This only applies in post-feminist presumed-equality relationships. For people in “traditional” relationships where a man tells a woman what to do, I can see how a proposal could make sense. Also, some people have fake proposals, where they’ve already had the requisite explicit conversations, agreed on everything, and do a proposal just for grins; that also makes sense, but was too silly for me personally.

      • DemosCat says:

        Sometimes it’s just “plane” fun to do something special like a proposal. That said, I do agree there are good ways, and terrible ways to go about it.

        When I proposed to my girlfriend (now wife of nearly 30 years), I did so in private.

        I think making a splashy proposal in public is not a good idea, because that clearly puts pressure on the proposee to say “yes,” even if there are doubts.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Me and Mrs. Bladerunner had talked a lot about it in advance…she got super embarrassed at me for officially proposing to her in the apartment parking lot after we’d picked out our respective engagement rings. (“Yes, yes, not GET UP OHMYGOD”)

      • runswithscissors says:

        You do both. Long, serious talks over time. Then when it’s agreed on, you pop the Q as part of the romantic side of things.

      • ap0 says:

        I think you can have those discussions and still find a clever way to propose after the talking is done. My girlfriend was a women studies major in college, so she definitely has the feminist ideals, but she still has the desire to have a cute proposal someday (which I hope I can deliver upon).

      • Captain Spock says:

        My mother is the same way , “Shake hands, you’re engaged!!” My fiance and I discussed getting married after she started at her new job, so once that happened, I picked a date, and tried not to give it away (i did so very poorly). She knew it was coming, I knew the answer, but she still cried and was super happy.

  5. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Some couples like to revisit the site of the proposal … sounds like it’d be rather tough in this case.

    Still, an employee of a company refusing to give a name or identification? That sounds really shady, and I hope that isn’t really an official policy–customers should ALWAYS be allowed to know the names of the employees with whom they are dealing.

    • Skittl1321 says:

      When United Airlines lost our luggage after my honeymoon the employee was horrible. My husband was sick, and in the restroom, so I dealt with everything. The people at the first airport checked both bags in his name, despite one of the bags being mine and on my ticket. It didn’t matter our tickets were linked, our last names were not the same yet, so they wouldn’t talk to me.

      When my husband was finally able to come over the guy was incredibly rude though after about an hour with this guy he did finally fill out the lost baggage form. When we asked for his name he said “he didn’t have one” and left.

      We’ve never flown United again. (We did get the bags 2 days later.) Never a response from the company on why they checked MY luggage under someone else’s name if I wouldn’t be able to access it. Seems like the tickets purchased on the same reservation would have been enough. I just could not believe a public facing agent would be so rude, and also allowed to work without any sort of identification to the customer.

    • iesika says:

      Maybe not the name, depending on the business, but some sort of identification for sure.

    • Captain Spock says:

      My proposal happened in her family’s living room (her parents were at the summer house for the weekend). The wedding is happening at the aforementioned summer house, so as long as both places stay in the family, we will be able to revisit it. That is the reason we are not having it at a hotel, and why i did not propose at a restaurant or whatever.

  6. nicless says:

    While I’m glad things worked out… don’t you usually go on vacation to a great destination, setup dinner and propose AT THE DESTINATION?!

    “I can’t wait to tell my mom! MOM! So he knelt down in the aisle and proposed! He had to move for the drink cart and after that the seat belt sign came on, but we hugged right after we were told we could depart the plane!”

    • Coffee says:

      “She said that no, she would never marry me, and that, in fact, she had planned on breaking up with me after the vacation. The next eight hours were long and uncomfortable.”

    • notserpmh says:

      It all began with taking off our shoes…

  7. slyabney says:

    I get that he had a rude flight attendant on one flight, but I’m not sure how that meant he would have one directly on another flight with a new crew.

    Also, I’m curious what the purpose of this story was? To show how creative he was with the propsal? To show how rude one flight attendant was? What is it he didn’t get resolved without this publication? Did he contact KLM to complain and get an unsatisfactory response? Did he contact them at all?

  8. PolarDan says:

    What if she said no? Awkward rest of the flight….

    • pk says:

      hahaha I was getting ready to post the exact same comment, almost verbatim!

    • kobresia says:

      Good point, some venues for proposals, especially the massively public ones, seem to be chosen such that the burden is unfairly placed on the one being proposed to, since refusal would be incredibly awkward for all. An airplane has it all, a captive, public audience & no hope of escape for hours.

      I would have a lot of trouble putting someone in that position, where there would be much humiliation and awkwardness in a rejection, and I think I’d justifiably be pissed if someone manipulated me if it wasn’t already an absolutely sure thing (i.e., agreed to in advance and the real proposal was just a formality and theatre).

      Then again, the best way to ease out of being cornered in a manipulative proposal would be to accept on the spot to avoid mutual awkwardness, and then call it off at the earliest private convenience, leaving the manipulator to explain why it’s off.

      The first thought that occurred to me was what AttackCat said in the first comment, though. Bet the airline attendants have to deal with couples trying that shit ALL. THE. TIME.

      • spartan says:

        About 15 years ago, a guy i sort of new proposed to his g/f on Wheel of Fortune during the brief interview. he was a contestant and she was in the audience.

        He one a trip which of course Pat Sajal declared would be the honeymoon.

        This was the exact awkward position that you described. Even though she said yes on national TV, she changed her mind; tried to get wheel of fortune to edit ti out and had no luck. The relationship ended in the short period between the tape date and the air date.

      • spartan says:

        About 15 years ago, a guy i sort of new proposed to his g/f on Wheel of Fortune during the brief interview. he was a contestant and she was in the audience.

        He one a trip which of course Pat Sajal declared would be the honeymoon.

        This was the exact awkward position that you described. Even though she said yes on national TV, she changed her mind; tried to get wheel of fortune to edit ti out and had no luck. The relationship ended in the short period between the tape date and the air date.

        • kobresia says:

          It’s kind of douchey of the WoF show to not edit that out on request. I’m sure they thought it was one of those superawesome moments on the show, but seriously? If someone begs for dignity, you generally should give it.

          But then again, after a stunt like that, the guy might have deserved bonus humiliation if he was being a manipulative jerk.

  9. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I wouldn’t ask mid-flight; what if your SO said no? An airplane is not the place for a discussion about why the person doesn’t want to get married.

    I agree, however, that the flight attendant was a rude asshole. Definitely report the behavior.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I know several couples that, while dating, had agreed that they were going to get married at some point, but hadn’t quite settled on all of the details. So the “girl” of the pair knew in advance that the “guy” was going to pop the question–but not the method or location, and for him it was more-or-less a sure thing.

      Less nerve-wracking for all involved.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      On the other hand, you can be pretty sure she won’t shoot you for the public embarrassment.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      Depends on the couple. My wife and I were already living together and had already discussed marriage. By the time I actually proposed I knew the answer was yes. Good thing too. I proposed on the first night of an 8 day cruise. her saying no would have made the remaining 7 days even more hellish than Carnival managed to make them anyhow.

  10. Shtetl G says:

    That reminds me of my surprise proposal to my first wife. It was on a plane too. First I made this elaborate vest that had a digital a clock built in it that counted down to the “magic” moment. I’m Dutch Presbyterian but my wife is Muslim, so to honor her faith I learned to say, “God is Great” in Arabic. With about a minute to go, I ripped off my coat to show the vest. I got on my knees and screamed God is Great in arabic (I was a little nervous) and popped the question. Everyone screamed in excitement. No one had ever seen a proposal like that.

  11. motoracer1486 says:

    Says Jacob, “If the crew on the Delta flight wasn’t as kind as they were I would have surely scrapped the whole plan, and proposed to her another way.”

    Too bad they were so kind…she could have had a decent proposal then.

    • eccsame says:

      “If the crew on the Delta flight wasn’t as kind as they were I would have surely scrapped the whole plan, and proposed to her another way.”

      Maybe in the cab on the way to the hotel? Or, perhaps, while waiting for the luggage?


  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Rude employees always refuse to give out their identification when pressed by a customer.

    If an employee is being clearly uncooperative/rude and says “I don’t have a name” you might as well respond with “Good, so no one will miss you when you’re gone?”

    Or, maybe a little less threateningly: “When I make my complaint to your superiors, I can either include your name, or include the specific date, time, and location this occured which they will be able to confirm it was indeed you that caused this problem, but with the added complaint that you did not follow company procedures by giving your name out. So you can either get reprimanded, or get fired. Your choice.”

    • misterfweem says:

      Maybe you haven’t read these kinds of threads before — comments like “Good no one will miss you when you’re gone” usually result in “Federal marshalls will be waiting for you at the gate.”

    • Here to ruin your groove says:

      The first one is simply ridiculous and asking for trouble.

      The second one I got a sentence in and suddenly the “blah blah blahs” set in. If you don’t get a name simply document the time, flight number, appearance, etc. No need to make a production out of it unless you love drama.

    • Consumer007 says:

      Also, “Fine then, please ask the captain to come visit me at my seat.” will usually settle their hash. Insist on it. Any air idiot on crew who pisses off a consumer enough to get the captain out of his chair is usually in MAJOR trouble.

  13. JJFIII says:

    So is the fact he was proposing supposed to make us feel that the service was worse? It was completely unnecessary to include it in the story.
    In fact, for all people planning on proposing to someone. We do not want to be props for your love life. Why people think proposing at football games, in airplanes or in front of thousands of people is beyond me. I think it is to not allow the person to feel comfortable saying no.

    • Kaleey says:

      I agree 100% (speaking as a woman). When my husband and I were dating, if I saw a proposal on tv, I would sometimes make the comment (paraphrased here) “Propose when she’s alone, not in front of a crowd – bad, bad, bad!” Proposing alone gives the other person a chance to say no, then enter into a discussion, instead of feeling forced to say yes (to not look like a heartless evil person).

      He must have taken it to heart – he proposed at home on Christmas Day 2011. :)

    • BluePlastic says:

      That was my thought, too. I’m sure the other people on the airplane (or at the football game, in the restaurant, or any other public place) are just devastated that the OP ended up not feeling comfortable proposing to his girlfriend in front of them. Not! He was going to use them to show off in front of and make his girlfriend feel embarrassed if she wanted to say no. How romantic.

      The flight attendant was rude and could have simply said she’d check on the girlfriend for him if she was suspicious about something going on, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the proposal. I thought this story was going to be about a rude flight attendant actually interrupting the proposal.

  14. homehome says:

    I would’ve been laughing at that whole exchange. And how did it remember it word for word like that, did he record it?

  15. TerpBE says:

    He wouldn’t have had any of these problems if Billy Idol was on his flight.

  16. aloria says:

    Looks like his taste in proposal spots is about as good as their taste in engagement rings.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Wow, what a pointlessly hateful and judgmental thing to say.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Well yes it was, and so what? This guy wanted to splash his proposal story and engagement ring on the internet by connecting it to mild inconveniences caused by a rude flight attendent. He didn’t have to include the ring pic, and also – Consumerist didn’t have to post it but you know, page clicks.

        You lay out the steak, the internetz will devour and puke it back up.

  17. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Pretty unconventional to propose on a plane — it can turn pretty awkward quick if she said “No”. I broke up with my ex at one time we and our common friends had already booked a trip to an island resort a couple weeks later (I could’ve waited until after the vacay but it was a now-or-never situation). The whole thing was pretty expensive so neither of us could back out. Needless to say, it was a VERY awkward vacation (he was very bitter about the breakup and it drove me nuts).

    On another note, I haven’t had bad experiences so far with FA’s, except for one lady FA whom I asked if she could help me hoist my carry-on up to the overhead bins (I am short and my carry-on was quite heavier than usual that time). Considering she’s an older lady (about 40s) I just asked her to assist me so I don’t drop the heavy bag onto a passenger. She glared at me and outrageously said, “You want ME to carry your bag? At my age?” [Ugh] She did begrudgingly help me, but I shall remember her for the rest of my life.

    It was pretty minor, though, compared to the rude KLM FA in this article. “I have no name” sounds a really stupid answer — best to file a complaint.

  18. gafpromise says:

    OK, so they didn’t really spoil the proposal right? because it was planned to happen on another plane anyway? Hyperbole much?

  19. aloria says:

    This complaint makes about as much sense as “man, I was on my way the resturant to propose to my girlfriend and some guy cut me off in traffic and cussed me out. I almost didn’t propose, he was such a jerk!”

    I mean, really, dude? It wasn’t even the same flight.

  20. Schildkrote says:

    Lesson learned from this article: It’s easy to manipulate unrelated details of a situation to come up with a headline that’s more likely to accrue pageviews and (please please please) Consumer Reports subscriptions.

    Lesson learned from the comments section of this article: Consumerist readers are bitter husks of people whose hearts have been hit by the Grocery Shrink Ray.

    • Coffee says:


    • RickN says:

      >>Consumerist readers are bitter husks of people whose hearts have been hit by the Grocery Shrink Ray

      And they took my last can of Who Hash!

    • AttackCat says:

      I tried to get my heart repaired, as it was still under warranty, but the guy at Sears said it didn’t cover random chance, and then asked me to leave. I wrote corporate an angry letter, but they told me they were sorry, but my heart hadn’t been in its harness when I tried to return it to the store, which was why I was asked to leave. Now I make my own heart at home.

  21. Cicadymn says:

    A lot of people are complaining about the choice of places for a proposal.

    I just wonder why he thought that if she was feeling so sick that she had to spend 30 minutes in the restroom, that it would be a good idea to pop the question? If I’m feeling terrible I can’t imagine I’d want to propose or be proposed to.

  22. crispyduck13 says:

    Tel Aviv to Memphis? Proposing right after takeoff? Jesus, lucky she said yes dude, or that would have been an awkward 10 hours.

    Congrats on getting the proposal and ring you’re obviously so proud of featured on a heavily trafficked website. Now, about the rude flight attendant – I’m assuming you’ve filed a complaint with the airline based on the info you were able to get on the perpetrator? And maybe you added these details to your Consumerist email because you weren’t getting any feedback from them or maybe they were just coming back with a canned apology and you were asking for free vouchers?

    Oh wait, there is none of that. He doesn’t say whether he’s complained to the airline, he doesn’t say whether his complaints are being ignored, he just wanted to show off. Thanks for rewarding a jackass Consumerist.

  23. Slow-talking Walter, the fire-engine guy. says:

    Maybe your fiance’ was enjoying Sky Miles while taking a giant dump in the lavatory.

  24. blueman says:

    This is all part of today’s look-at-me culture. Nobody wants to do a plain old proposal. It has to be on a plane, at a ballpark, in the middle of a concert, in front of 1,000 of your closest flashmob friends, etc.

    • Cicadymn says:

      How about a middle of the street at night wearing all black on Saint Patty’s day proposal?

    • Schildkrote says:

      Yeah, those durned kids and their flashmobs and their twooters and their bookfaces!

      I remember the good ol’ days when your parents would propose for you! And the proposal was always followed up with an apology because in those days you never made a scene, gosh durn it! We didn’t even know what airplanes were back then, we flew by pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps!

      Now get off my lawn!

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I don’t think dumbassery like this is as common as you think.

  25. tasselhoff76 says:

    Am I the only person still wondering why she was in the bathroom for half an hour??

  26. ZenListener says:

    And this is why the next time I propose it will be on the Greyhound.

  27. spartan says:

    I dont get it.

    There was a rude flight attendant on KLM between Tel Aviv and Amsterdam.
    The proposal was on Delta between Amsterdam and Memphis.

    These are two separate stories and neither one of the is newsworthy,

  28. Crymansqua says:

    5 bucks says all the people trolling the OP for his proposal are single douches living in their parents basement.

  29. Alessar says:

    I bet the rest of the flight crew was very happy that this customer asked the head attendant for the snippy attendant’s name so he could make a complaint. She had probably been dodging them for a while.

  30. bohemond says:

    So really the whole story is that he ran into a flight attendant who was rude. She didn’t spoil his proposal in any way, because he made that proposal on a different flight, with different attendants.

  31. Charmander says:

    How is interacting with one rude flight attendant a Consumerist issue? It’s not like the entire airline could be faulted for this.

  32. pattymc says:

    There is one story about a woman being evicted from her home despite a restraining order and then there is … this. First world problems. Someone was rude to him, the co-workers made up for it and yet this is worth writing to the Consumerist. Cowboy up.

  33. taaurrus says:

    Everybody is bagging on the OP for the rude flight attendant not having anything to do with the proposal – it may have been the OP who submitted this story but it was CONSUMERIST who chose to run it; more specifically – wait, let me look, wow, big surprise (NOT) it was CHRIS MORRAN who decided to run the story, with the misleading headline about two things that had nothing to do with the other. The RUDE FA was a Consumerist story – that I get. Claiming this rude FA (and from the way the OP tells it – she WAS very rude & deserves a complaint filed against her and a reprimand or even fired if she this is the way she speaks/treats passengers and for her purposeful rudeness in refusing to give her name) almost ruined a proposal that took place on a following flight is beyond reaching. Furthermore, your fiance is sick and spent 1/2 hour in the bathroom of a, probably crowded, airplane – yet you think its the perfect time/place to propose? Okay dude – you’re obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed – still not reason to be treated that way by a FA though.

    • ovalseven says:

      He didn’t propose on the flight you’re referring to. I won’t question your intelligence, but maybe you shouldn’t question his either.

  34. msky says:

    I never understood Mile High club. how do you fit 2 people in airplane’s toilet?

  35. richcreamerybutter says:

    First, the flight attendant was definitely in the wrong and the OP should not have been treated this way. I’ve been told by my numerous flight attendant friends is that working a Tel Aviv route is among the most challenging when dealing with some economy passengers. It’s no excuse for her behavior, but that could be an explanation if one of the crew seemed unusually sensitive to requests; it would have happened to anyone, and the OP was most likely not the only recipient of such treatment that day.

  36. Consumer007 says:

    I would have been tempted to respond to the idiotic “We don’t have names at KLM”:
    Then how do I know you aren’t a terrorist who has stolen a uniform? Please get the air marshall so I can verify you are really a staff member on the plane.