Airline Lounge Etiquette: Would You Have F*cking Said Something?

Filed Under: Advice, Travel

I’m presently in the Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt (more on why I’m here in a bit), which is a beautiful lounge overall. However, unfortunately the ambiance is being ruined by a couple of guys in here, and I’m curious what you guys would do.


The lounge has a quiet zone, consisting of a small seating area, as well as several semi-private cubicles with reclining seats.


After a long day of flying I managed to snag one of those reclining seats, which I quite enjoyed… for about 30 seconds.


Seated in the quiet area are two guys who are possibly the most vulgar human beings I’ve ever witnessed at an airport. I’ve overheard a lot of people using colorful language at airports (and I’m by no means a prude, and do my fair share of cussing), but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. These guys would make the cast of “Mob Wives” cringe with their language.

For the past hour they’ve been having a loud conversation. And every second word is f*ck.

  • “F*cking pot f*cking smoking useless f*cking bastard”
  • “I f*cking divorced that c*nt f*cking 15 years ago”

If I’m understanding things correctly, one of the guys is considering moving to Alberta so he can stop paying child support there at the age of 18, rather than 19. Keeping it classy!

Oh, and while he seems to want to stop paying child support for his daughter early, that’s not stopping him from talking about how one of his daughter’s friends is hot, and the things he’d do to her.

In 99% of instances I’m someone who minds my own business, and I’m not looking to “police” anyone else (like I said, 99% of the time… there are some exceptions). At the same time, I’ve now exchanged looks of horror with the two people in the reclining seats next to me (through the wooden barriers). So, what’s the correct thing to do in this instance?

  • Ignore it and just deal with it (even though it’s a “quiet zone”)
  • Sit somewhere else (though the lounge is crowded)
  • Advise the staff and have them deal with it (I would feel bad putting them in that position)
  • Approach the guys directly and ask if they can take the conversation elsewhere since it’s a “quiet zone”
    • If so, do you also bring up how beyond vulgar they are?

Like I said, I’m not often horrified by bad language, but in my entire life I’ve never heard anyone overuse cuss words to such a great extent, especially with children seated not far away. I doubt I’d be inclined to say anything if they were just talking in a quiet zone, or if they were just cussing like that in a non-quiet zone, but the combination of the two is what really bothers me.

What would you do?

  1. “Excuse me, this is the quite zone. Can you please continue your chat in the other part of the lounge?”


  2. Yup. I’d say something. But your instinct may be right on this one. They probably won’t appreciate it and will then make you the subject of their expletive laden dialogue. I’d approach it from the quiet zone angle, not the vulgarity angle.

  3. What I would do if I were in your shoes is that I would report it to the nearest available staff and try to help them handle the situation. After they have moved those people from the lounge, or at least the quiet zone, I’d simply thank them profusely for being very helpful, and leave out a positive review on the staff to their supervisor.

  4. I’d let staff handle it. You are totally correct to say something since they are disrupting the quiet zone.

  5. I think I’d have to go all out on them. It least worthy of a word with the staff though.

  6. I’d take the passive aggressive approach. Hold my phone to my ear and say something like “I should probably call you back later, I’m not really supposed to talk in here. It’s a quiet zone, but there are some people in here who aren’t respecting that anyway, so F*** it let’s talk.” Or something like that, loud enough of course for them to hear you.

  7. I experienced bad lounge behaviour in Bangalore once. The guy literally put his legs (with shoes on) on the chair next to him (thereby dirtying it and occupying two seats). I politely suggested to him that he put his legs down so someone else can sit. His exact words were, “I’ll move them if/when someone comes.”

    I took a photo of him and posted it all over social media. Not sure if that was super effective.

    Being Frankfurt, I would have tried speaking to the staff. The senator lounge in Frankfurt is run on near perfection so perhaps the AC lounge too?

  8. Can we get a picture of them on here? I’m sure facial recognition programs will take care of the rest…for the rest of their lives.

  9. Definitely notify the staff. You’re in FRA and that part of the lounge is a quiet zone.

    I’m 100% sure they’d understand and deal with it heh

  10. I’d be worried they’d do something dangerous if confronted, they sound capable!

    I’d quietly go and tell the staff then suggest the staff come over on the invented premise of checking their boarding passes, take note of their names then enter them into their system as being banned from using the lounge, downgrade them and then send them drinks laced with Valium to calm them the f**k down!

  11. Never suffer fools gladly. The simple answer is you don’t let something like this pass. I think it’s one of those things in life that you’re obligated (honor bound) to do something about. It’s just how I was raised. The more difficult part: what do you do? I’m 6’6″ 250 lbs so people tend to not say much back to me. Yes, there have been exceptions. With that in mind, If this was me, I’d inform the lounge staff and ask them if they prefer me to say something or would they like to handle it.

    When dealing with two guys who think it’s okay to skip country to avoid paying child support I’d want backup — regardless of how big I am. What’s more, they’ve probably been drinking (a lot) and we all know too well how these things end up in the air.

    I hope you got it settled and were able to enjoy at least more than 30 seconds of lounge-time.

  12. so annoying, but if they’re that vulgar they won’t take kindly to you interrupting them and it will prob escalate. I’d get staff to do it. they’re there to help. let us know what happens!

  13. I find the same noise-reduction headphones I use on my flights are also extremely useful in the airport lounge.

  14. Tell the staff. It’s their job to enforce the tiles of the lounge and they are clearly being violated.

  15. Definitely tell the staff and have them handle it. Regardless of the content of their conversation, they’re in a quiet zone NOT being quiet. That’s a totally legitimate complaint. I might consider going up to them, but I’m a woman and can play up the charm. They may not react very kindly to a guy asking them to quiet down.

  16. I would tell the staff. You’re right that it sucks to put it on them, but it really is their job, and they should be doing it proactively in fact. Anyway, I’m sure you would bring it up with them in a nice and empathetic way, rather than coldly commanding them to do it.

  17. They could be potentially quite hostile. It’s the staff’s responsibility to deal with people like that – notify them.

  18. Inform the staff.

    I wouldn’t have put up with it for an hour before complaining, either. If I couldn’t find a staff member, I’d give them a “if looks could kill” glare, and then probably leave the lounge. Yeah, it would suck not having a comfortable seat, but how comfortable are you being bombarded with that noise pollution?

  19. This happened to me while at JFK Admirals Club. It wasn’t me but someone reported the incident to the staff. The staff made an announcement through the speakers. The conversation definitely got quieter.

  20. Had a similar situation in Skyteam lounge in Frankfurt last year. One guy cleared the whole side of the lounge buy speaking with his wife, assuming wife, on Skype with volume all the way up. I sat for 20 minutes but gave up. This went on for more then an hour. Since he was speaking Russian, not sure what they were talking about, but I am sure it was not earth shattering.

  21. If they don’t care for their children, they won’t give a * for your complaint. Get a staff member to intervene, or just move. Don’t let it ruin your break.

  22. When someone WANTS to live in Alberta, you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

    Sorry for the rude Canadian experience, eh? I hope it was an anomaly.

  23. Agree with the majority: tell the staff. My first reaction would be to confront them myself. Like @Craig S and Mile Monkey, I am a fairly big guy. And I can utilize a damn good menacingly Russian accent. But I know that any confrontation on my part would probably escalate the situation into something even more unpleasant. Thus, I would ask the staff to deal with them.

    I like what @Credit said: “Discretion is not courage. Stand up for your rights.”

  24. My wife frequently tells me to “stay out of it” but I rarely do. When I was being raised it was in an era of respect. That seems to have sadly passed now.
    It’s unfortunate that people nowadays are to afraid to speak out for their own as well as others rights. When you’re in a designated quite zone you should have the expectation of it being so. Don’t tolerate that which is not permitted.
    Being the 6′, 245 lbs that I am and also not fearing for my life, like so many seem to, I’m going to speak to these assholes first. Then I’m heading over to report their response, their overall behavior and their language to the lounge staff.
    These are the type of people that should have their lounge privileges revoked.

  25. Wait- these are the same dizzy Canadiand that ask you stupid questions while passing through customs? The same people that followed you around the lounge for taking pictures? I would have complained to the front desk. Never ever get confrontational with passengers yourself – you know better than that.

  26. Option 4. If not successful, then inform the lounge staff. I wouldn’t want to place the staffs in a difficult spot right away. Considering the flowery and frankly, distressing nature of the conversation, I would definitely share my thoughts on their vulgar conversation with them publicly. It’s a public spot that all of us pay for in one way or another and I wouldn’t typically be disturbed, but the topic of their conversation gets my blood boiling. Oh – and I am sure they will say “mind your own business,” which would be fine if they actually tried to keep their “business” private in the first place. On another note, I have visited this lounge previously and I believe they do have noise-isolating conference/work rooms. Tell them to move there. Sorry – not usually this aggressive but I just cannot tolerate such indecency.

  27. I think I would confront (not in an aggressive way) and if there was no change tell the staff. I definitely like to mitigate things on my own prior to getting a ‘higher level’ involved. I wouldn’t comment on the vulgarity, but that is more of a personal thing. I just wouldn’t care.

  28. You should suffer for an hour, then write a blog post about it. Oh wait, you already did that.

    I would pull the quiet zone card myself. If that didn’t work, I would notify staff and they will fix it.

    You should take a few rides in the Acela NY-DC-BOS quiet car. People feel very enabled to be enforcers in that situation. It’s pretty funny sometimes when you see people who would probably never say anything in public about line cutters or rude people shushing people in the quiet car.

  29. I don’t know how many times I’ve told someone in the no-cell area of an AC, AA or UA lounge to please move to the appropriate area. If I were in the situation you were in, I’d have said, in typical Canadian apologetic words: “Excuse me gentlemen, but this is the Quiet Zone, so if you’d like to continue your rather colourful diatribe, could you please move to another part of the lounge?” Then I’d also explain how Alberta now has a very feminist regime and those support laws are being amended to make it 21 years. If that didn’t work, then it’s a trip to the reception desk.

  30. I think your best option would be to complain to the staff and let them deal with it. It is their lounge and their responsibility to manage the experience. It does not seem right that you should have to wear noise cancelling headphones to attempt to cancel out obnoxious behavior around you. If you tell the staff and they do nothing, then you have another element for your review.

  31. In Frankfurt,Germany ? They could end up in the locker for the night.
    You should alert the lounge-staff

  32. Entertaining. We always try to make a drinking game out of how many times we hear certain phrases or words out of some loud person in a lounge. Favorites are businessmen using *reach out* *circle back around* *going forward*

  33. Just ignore them. Not worth dealing with people like them. You never know what could be their reaction. When I was younger I would react differently but now with kids I just want to have piece in my mind and not deal with other people’s problems.

  34. @SW
    Yes, “reach out” screams a certain mentality, cringeworthy. C*nt in an airport lounge, indeed anywhere within earshot, is another level altogether.

  35. Assuming they are Canadian, eh, you should probably tell them to shut the f*ck up like the rude American they presume you to be.

    Or you could start swearing at them in German, and when they look confused, you can say something like, “Sorry, I just assumed Canadians would have better manners.”

    Enjoy the trip.

  36. I’d say something, if they continue or if they give me trouble I’d then go get staff. Most people will be surprised enough by you saying something politely that they’ll stop. If they don’t and are belligerent then staff can escort them out of the lounge.

  37. Pull out a knife (if you didn’t manage to sneak one past security, a plastic one will do.) What’s the worst that can happen?

  38. @SW: I’m not much of a drinker, but I’d gladly play the, “most annoying corp catch phrase” game with you. I always txt my friends when I hear new ones. I’ve found hotel lounges are a wealth for news ones.

  39. You could’ve asked for the staff’s help and also for security, as they were discussing sex with minors.

  40. I would approach the front desk and tell them that the vile conversation is about to be interrupted by the client (you) unless they walk over, assess the situation and intervene first. I’d also get your smart phone recording some of their garbage conversation (should be easy to do as their voice volume is obviously loud enough to infringe on your sound space).

  41. @craig @SW that is hilarious. i was just in the Admiral’s Club at JFK yesterday and thinking to myself how similar all of these loud, one-sided road warrior phone calls sound.

    it’s always some guy or gal on hands-free saying something along the lines of “OK WELL LET’S TABLE THAT DISCUSSION AND YOU NEED TO REACH OUT TO [BLANK] ABOUT THE [INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] CONTRACT” or some such. ridiculous.

    as for these jokers, just complain to the staff. it’s not your job to police the lounge and you’ve earned access to a quiet and peaceful place. if they’re disrupting the intended purpose of the lounge, they should be removed. it’s not on you to ensure everyone behaves.

  42. I could care less what people talk about and not sure why this is even relevant here. Would you be not bothered if they are loud but use a topic that is more to your liking?

    I would just go over and ask them politely to please go to the no quiet zone of the lounge to continue the conversation. No reason and none of your business what they talk about so I would not bring it up. They might not have even noticed that they sit in the quiet zone. Not sure why this should be hard. You are in the middle of an airport with security, what can happen to you except they tell you to get lost?

    I had an older Swiss lady come over to me in a train car telling me this is the quiet car (I went into the wrong area and didn’t notice it) because I was on the cell phone. Stopped my call, apologized and moved to a different section of the train.

  43. Classy guys. I would confront for sure if children were present and the vulgarity was continuous. As I don’t use foul language, they may not understand English though. I usually mind my own business, but when I don’t they would have been ripped to shreds. I’m a petite female. It could be a bit more intimidating for a man to rebuke 2 men.

  44. Why don’t you upload videos or images about this kind of “situations” (at least a sound clip hehe). I could understand if is about privacy issues, but you can always edit those photos or videos dont you? (like those images of people in google street i mean).
    Anyway I will advice the staff at least to let them know they are annoying “some people”, and whait to see if they are respectful enough to stop, or to confirm they are actually very rude people. At which point if they are rude, there’s nothing much to do with them, but you to go someplace else.

  45. I think you all Americans are low-cultured because of that
    In some countries you’ll get beaten up if you accidentally curse in front of a girl/ mother/ child and don’t apologize but in US parents curse themselves. Have you seen the book “Go the F* to Sleep” good humor? IMO gross. When woman curse I’m not even able to comprehend that but they will take it as a equal rights issue. Cursing in front of children? No problem, happens in every playground. Bi-product of free speech, sexual revolution? IDK! IMO it’s a child abuse. How about you yourself start less cursing because I’ve never seen an American who doesn’t curse a lot.

  46. @ ushuncadem — While I appreciate your well thought out perspective on “you all Americans,” these guys were Canadian, as stated in the post.

  47. I rarely try to make these kind of situations about my supposed “rights” or who is an ass or who is wrong or whatever. My calculation is always really simple. I try to ask which option will lead to the least personal discomfort. Concern that someone is going to accost me outside the lounge if I get them kicked out, or that there’s going to need to be some sort of law enforcement presence or whatever often makes it not worth it. Getting into a he/said he/said is of no interest to me. Getting nasty looks by people who just got told to quiet down doesn’t bother me that much, but isn’t ideal. That said, what’s my situation? How bad are the bad guys? True bad asses or just poseurs? Am I trapped in a place where I cannot move to another comfortable area? Where am I — in a place like Germany where rules seem really to matter and I know I’ll likely get a favorable response? Are there others around who also are annoyed and can back me up? All that goes into the calculation, but in the end, I try very hard not to let any phony considerations creep into it. It’s all about selfishness. Unless there are third parties being insulted or endangered who cannot protect themselves, I don’t give a crap about principle. I will take the road that leads to the most personal comfort and least trouble for me.

  48. One of the things I love about service… it that “I” don’t really have to do something… or make sure it’s done.

    Go to a staff member, ask to speak to a supervisory person. Inform said supervisor of your attempt to sleep. Give a detailed description of the two “f*ing guys” and their “f*ing behavior”. Then let supervisor resolve the situation.

    Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy.

    The key is to not inform just any staff member. They might just go to the two guys and chastise them directly (may or may not work). Informing a supervisor gets the situation in long term resolution mode. And the Supervisor can get very inventive about how to do it.

    Would you two gentlemen like a complementary drink at the bar? That way you can converse with a refreshment.
    Would you gentlemen like to have your conversation in a private area like a meeting room?

    in any case… the problem is now not YOUR problem it’s the supervisor’s. Staff are there for a reason. USE THEM to get these little problem resolved.

  49. I’d ask them nicely to be quiet and then go to the staff. I would without question deal with it. BTW, I am that person who calls people out on bad manners if it directly affects me, especially in transit. Last year, I was in a ankle boot due to a bad injury and the rudeness in transit was not to be believed and I got in the habit of self protection which I highly recommend.

  50. Definitely ask staff to handle.
    I once asked a father who was reading a book out loud to his daughter to do so in the children’s room rather than the adult quiet room of the library and the result wasn’t pretty.
    These guys: fuggedaboudit.

  51. I would go over and tell them “why don’t you two f**kt***s take your f***ing dumbwit conversation to the bathroom where it f***ing belongs and let’s keep it nice and peaceful in this elegant and serene setting here! It’s highly appreciated.”

  52. it’s simple, you take your phone put it at the ear and loudly pretend to have a conversation yelling how you can’t hear because some f*cking retarded morons won’t stop yelling and being loud next to you, and add more juice words describing them making sure they here you, believe me they’ll stop immediately embarrassed, works every time. make sure to put phone on silent before you act just to be sure it doesn’t start ringing in the middle of your “conversation”

  53. wow…this is so exciting.
    how did you come to FRA? AC 876 YYZ-FRA with 787-9 or LH 493 YVR-FRA with 747-400?
    what are flying to JNB? LH A380 oder SA346?

  54. They must have been watching Scarface for the first time last night and it wore off on them.

  55. Inform the staff. You confront people like this, they dont appear to be the kind of people that would be ok with this. They say something slick, you say something back, and then these low rent clowns start attacking you and you get hurt and everyone gets locked up. The German Polizie do not play.

  56. Take a photo of them – full face if you can… then post it on here and Facebook with a selection of their comments… see how long they last.

  57. I’d tell the lounge personnel that they are joking about explosives and that you feel uncomfortable…..

  58. Tell them you are a high maintenance gay guy who writes a gay travel blog and extremely sensitive. They won’t give a rats ass…most won’t. Funny how you think you’re entitled to your world. Sad.

  59. Your comfort is as important as anyone else’s so if you feel inconvenienced, handle it. I’d ask them to be quiet because we’re in a quiet zone and WHEN they respond inappropriately, like classless trash usually does, I’d bring in one of the staff to deal with them, hopefully by having them escorted off. It would have been kinda cool to get it on film and post it everywhere, imagine it being evidence in a child support hearing! Lol

  60. Ben,
    Great replies !
    Again as we travel throughout the year, 365, we have crossed quite a few situations.

    We think its a 50-50% chance it will go well or go very bad. Can never predict. Its the human condition, right?

    You know how loud a 8 year old noisy child seeking attention but has a harsh German mother and submissive father, to other passengers in a “Quiet coach”. You ask politely and it doesn’t get better. Can’t find the conducter.

    With these guys, obviously there was anger in the air, probably not a good idea to approach but go to the staff. However if you are the only sitting there besides them, you are still the one. Between a rock and hard place.

    Maybe send them good energy, or a pray before approaching them.

  61. I’ve been to that lounge, it’s very nice. I would politely walk over to the desk and inform staff of the groups behavior.

  62. you could 3rd party it: go up and quietly say something like, “hey guys, I personally don’t care, actually alot of what your saying is amusing and entertaining, so its not bothering me, but, look, there are young kids right over there that can hear you clearly, so maybe just try to be considerate of them as you might want others to do around your own children….. as I said, I could give a rats rear end myself….., I’m not bothered by it”

  63. hi,

    It true that some red neck canadian are like american red neck. For canadian, we all know that usually when we notice a situation like that, it mean that maybe some american must be present….but it was not the case for you but no mather where are from those people, american or canadian or else, they are very bad people. I would have talk to the staff and move a little bit farther, just in case those rude people want to “talk” to you after, we never know….

  64. Hi,
    I’ll definitely cope with it the simple way. Just plug my headphones, put some good music and keep relaxing. Really hate those kind of peoples but I won’t let them ruining my day.

  65. You should have just pointlessly fumed while posting a scathing blog post they’ll never read… Oh wait….

  66. @ ushuncadem . . . I think the plural for your “you all Americans” is “all Y’all Americans.” eh?
    What would be wrong with asking the two “gentlemen” if they are aware they are sitting in a QUIET ZONE? If the answer is YES, then perhaps a problem to be solved by staff. If NO, then you could politely suggest that their is a section where everyone might be more comfortable as you are certain that their sh*t-for-brains f*cking vulgar conservation emanating from their pie-holes is disturbing everyone in the lounge area.

  67. Inform the staff. That is what they are paid and trained for. They will likely handle it much better than I would.

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