Advice about improving your English for flight attendants from Aviation English Asia.

Article written by Michael James Egerton

Strong English communication skills are important for flight attendants, regardless of their native language and the stage of their career. Unfortunately many airlines offer very little ongoing English training for their staff.  Greater proficiency in English, together with cultural sensitivity can help prevent difficult (and potentially dangerous) situations.  In this article we are going to look at some of the language that can be used when dealing with drunk and abusive passengers.

Drunk and aggressive passengers?

Reading comprehension

Hysteria erupted when a drunk Canadian, heading home after visiting Cuba, threatened to shoot flight attendants with a handgun after they stopped serving him drinks.

Police said the man started causing trouble about midway between Varadero, Cuba and Windsor.  A flight attendant told the inebriated passenger he wasn’t allowed to have any more booze.

“He was cut off from further alcohol consumption as a result of his behaviour, which essentially catapulted him in terms of his aggression.

The police sergeant said the man became “unruly” and made derogatory sexual comments to flight attendants. He then made a threat to one of the stewardesses with respect to shooting them with a 9 mm handgun.

The pilot, co-pilot and in-flight services manager were informed of the situation.  The pilot radioed ahead for police aid. When the plane landed at 6:50 p.m., officers were waiting for him.

The 58-year-old man is now facing a charge of uttering death threats.

Comprehension questions

  • Where was the problematic passenger from?
  • Where had he been?
  • What caused his behaviour?
  • What did he say to cabin crew?
  • What happened when the plane landed?


Find synonyms for the following words in the article above:

alcoholic drinks  / offensive   /   assistance   /   violence   /   intoxicated   /   disorderly   /   chaos

You should be able to guess their meaning from context, but if not you can also find the answers on the Facebook Page Discussion Forum.

What to do next

For feedback and more information about Aviation English Asia’s courses please visit We can help you improve your English whether you are an experienced pilot, a cadet entry pilot, a controller, aerospace engineer or flight attendant, with custom courses designed specifically for your needs. If you haven’t already please join the Aviation English mailing list for instant access to free demonstration units of the ICAO Aviation English Online course, special offers and details of courses in your area.

Of course, feel free to leave a comment or even a suggestion for a future article. We value all of your feedback.

  1. Kasun Kalhara

    I must thank to aviation English asia for giving us this valuable facts.It was really interesting to me.Thanks lot for your great service.

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