English, Fact Check

A made-up story is viral with old visuals of two separate incidents of air hostesses getting heckled


A collage of three photographs showing a flight attendant in an aisle where she seems to be trying to hide her face with her hands is doing the rounds on social media. It is claimed that these photos belong to an incident in which the pilot of this flight forgot to turn off the mic inside the cockpit. Allegedly, after announcing the time of the landing, he told his co-pilot that he would have a cup of chai and kiss the air hostess. Apparently, she fell in the aisle, attempting to turn off the mic. This article aims to verify the authenticity of this claim.

Claim: Visuals of an embarrassed flight attendant after she fell in the aisle attempting to turn off the pilot’s cockpit microphone. 

Fact: These visuals show two separate old incidents that occurred in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The first one took place on an AirAsia flight, and the second and third photos belong to an incident that happened on a Russian airline named Aeroflot. The first screenshot of the collage shows a 2014 incident in which a Chinese passenger threw a cup of boiling hot water at a flight attendant on an Air Asia flight. The remaining two images show a 2016 incident that was reported to have happened when a flight attendant was giving the flight safety instructions, and a bunch of football fans onboard tried to distract her. Hence, the claim made in the post is False.

Through performing a reverse image search on the three individual pictures of the viral collage, we learned that these images show two different incidents that happened on flights; none of them match with the viral claim that these photos showed an embarrassed flight attendant who fell while trying to turn off a cockpit microphone kept on by a pilot. The first image from the left in a clockwise direction is from an incident that happened in 2014, while the remaining two are linked to an incident from 2016.

Image one

News reports (here, here, and here) from December 2014 that contained this image stated that the picture shows a flight attendant who was attacked by a passenger. 

Reportedly, this incident took place on an AirAsia flight travelling from Bangkok to Nanjing, where a female Chinese passenger attacked a flight attendant with hot water after an argument broke out between her and the air hostess. 

Images two and three

Reverse image searches and keyword searches regarding these two images led us to news reports (here and here) and social media posts from 2016 that contained screenshots similar to the second and third images in the viral collage. 

Reportedly, these visuals show an Aeroflot (Russian Airlines) flight attendant being distracted by a few football fans on a flight while she was performing the safety drill. Speaking to Dailymail online, a spokesperson for the airline said, “…safety is always our top priority, and we encourage even frequent flyers, and even excitable football fans, to pay attention to demonstrations, as they contain important information that all passengers need to know.’ ” 

All of this evidence makes it clear that these visuals from two separate incidents are being shared with a false and made-up story of a pilot who forgot to mute his cockpit microphone.

To sum up, the viral collage shows flight attendants being heckled by a bunch of passengers in two separate incidents but not the made-up incident in which the pilot forgot to turn off his cockpit microphone.


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