People fly for a variety of reasons, therefore their attitudes, anticipations, and even luggage will vary substantially. The act of flying has changed significantly in recent years due to unpredictable personnel shortages brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic, new air travel regulations, weird items forbidden from airplanes, and uncertainty around current policy (like whether you can bring food on a plane). Some elements, though, have remained the same, such as what the flight attendants observe about you when you board.
The knowledge of every area of flying is possessed by flight attendants. They are aware of what to look for, what should raise red flags, and how to address certain situations quickly. It’s one of those flight attendant secrets, along with things to never say to a flight attendant and things flight attendants wouldn’t do on an airplane, that they start making some quick observations as soon as you get on the plane.
Do you want to know what the flight attendants think of you specifically? To ensure a safe and pleasurable journey for everyone, we asked five professionals to discuss what they look for throughout the boarding process.
What footwear are you sporting?
The flight attendants will always pay attention to what shoes you are wearing, and it’s not because they have a Carrie Bradshaw-esque preoccupation with footwear. Amy Caris, flight attendant and director of in-flight at JSX, claims that she “always looks at what sort of shoes a customer is wearing to assess whether they can run rapidly and smoothly in them.” “I can make a point to add in an emergency directive regarding removing them if the necessity arises if I observe someone wearing high heels during boarding.”
Flight attendant with American Airlines Avalon Irizarry observes that flip-flops are given particular attention. She explains, “Flight attendants have this habit of partially hiding your feet. “They also watch for passengers entering the restroom or strolling around the cabin without shoes because we know how filthy the floor is,” said the traveler.
Spoiler alert: One of the things that airlines don’t clean properly is the floor. Keep your feet covered throughout the journey to protect them.
Wearing what you’re wearing
It’s likely that flight attendants are looking at your outfit and accessories if you observe them scanning you from top to bottom. Irizarry exclaims, “You’d be surprised at what people dress.”
You don’t want to be wearing difficult or uncomfortable clothes that is practically hard to change or take off when you need to use the restroom when you’re sitting for hours in a metal tube. Do yourself a favor and read about what flight attendants recommend wearing on a plane before your upcoming travel.
How amiable are you?
The things that flight attendants learn about you go beyond just your appearance. They observe your behavior as well. It’s common to emit some sort of energy when you board a plane, and flight attendants are uniquely situated to notice it when they greet passengers. The pleasant words and smiles of fellow passengers are much appreciated by the flight attendants working during COVID-19.
“We notice if we are acknowledged by a grin or a reciprocated hello if we are greeting at the door,” explains Irizarry. Naturally, you’re going to come out as more approachable if you do reciprocate their greeting. For being courteous, you can even get a free drink or an additional snack.
Conversely, avoiding eye contact or acting erratically or aggressively can instantly trigger caution flags. Even a couple’s behavior with one another is something I pay attention to, says Caris. “Flights have been utilized by human traffickers as a tool to assist trafficking, and recognizing the indications and indicators could save a life.”
The condition of your carry-on items
You might be more worried with what a TSA agent first observes about you when it comes to carry-on bags. However, flight attendants also focus on your carry-ons, paying particular attention to the number and size of your luggage.
To make sure you’re abiding by the plane’s rules, for example, is one of the reasons for this attention to detail. The last line of defense against passengers trying to board a plane with too many bags or luggage that is too large to be a carry-on is the flight attendant.
Delta Air Lines flight attendant Reginald D. Dominique states, “I strive to pay as much attention to bags as possible.” “Anything that seems a little off? Are the bags too big to fit in the overhead storage? Additionally, I look to see if any bags have hazard labels or have been marked for cargo.”
No matter if you’re preoccupied
When you’re on your phone, flight attendants will try to get your attention because they need to know you’re paying attention. Lou Rod Cueva, a former flight attendant for a large airline, says, “We look to see whether a passenger is texting or talking on their phone and delaying the boarding process.” “Are they entirely preoccupied? The flight crew must depart with the aircraft on schedule.”
How fit are you?
What flight attendants observe about you will have a significant impact on your capacity to maintain your own and others’ safety because safety is their top priority. They will mentally record any passengers who are in good physical condition and who can assist with lifting large objects and provide assistance if required.
I look for clients who, in my opinion, can help me in an emergency, says Dominique. “I therefore consider physical appearance. Or I’ll take note of where someone is sitting if they say they can aid in any way during an emergency.”
In the event of a medical emergency, telling the flight attendant that you are a doctor when you board can help save time.
If you’ve been drinking,
Overindulged before boarding? Your flight attendant will probably notice that right away. It’s crucial for a flight attendant to pick up on the indicators as soon as the passenger enters the aircraft if they suspect they may be intoxicated and disruptive or wasted and belligerent. This will allow them to take action to prevent confrontation.
An unnamed flight attendant who was not permitted to go on the record said, “If a passenger is visibly intoxicated, they can be removed from the flight, therefore that is something I keep an eye out for.” “It’s preferable to remove them before takeoff because the last thing you want on a flight is someone intoxicated and crazy.”
Additionally, the flight attendant emphasizes that you cannot bring your own alcohol into the aircraft. Actually, all flight attendants are required to abide by the prohibition against stealing alcohol from passengers. They cite an instance where they had to take a passenger’s beverage away since the gate attendant must have forgotten about it. It is illegal, and both the passenger and the airline risk fines.
Whether you require particular support or extra care
Additionally, flight attendants are watching for anyone who could require additional assistance, such as young children, the elderly, or anyone who has had an accident. Dominique explains, “I want to make sure that everyone requires extra assistance is taken care of. And in case of an emergency, I want to make sure they are in the right seat and are not blocking anything.
The flight crew is also very aware of passengers who request amenities even though they don’t seem to require them. Irizarry recalls, “Occasionally, we’ve already seen them at the gate chatting to the agent, or they come on begging for special treatment or whining. We can tell who is attempting to attract our attention in first class because they want their coat hung straight away, even if it’s challenging to reach during boarding.
The condition of your animal
Flight attendants will notice if you are traveling with a dog or cat and will probably inquire about it. Cueva adds that because of changes to the regulations made by the [Federal Aviation Administration], emotional support animals are no longer permitted to fly. “A service animal needs to be certified as such and registered in advance with the airline. Additionally, if you paid for your pet’s flight, it must stay in its carrier the whole flight.”
Whether you appear ill
Even after the mask regulations were removed, COVID-19 remains a major threat. So let the flight attendants know if you’re feeling under the weather.
Unfortunately, this occurs frequently, says the unnamed flight attendant. “I’ve had passengers say they’ll be alright a number of occasions, but five minutes later they’re throwing up at their seat. The passenger must then be removed off the aircraft at that point. Since their condition is only going to get worse, it is preferable to deal with it while on the ground, where medical assistance is readily available, rather than during the trip.”
That will not only ensure that the unwell individual receives the best care possible, but it will also stop the infection from spreading to other passengers.
Reporting by Alexa Erickson in addition.
Amy Caris, a JSX flight attendant
Avalon Irizarry, an American Airlines flight attendant Reginald D. Dominique, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant
Lou Rod Cueva, formerly of the airline
What a Flight Attendant First Notices About You was originally published by Reader’s Digest.
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