Home Travel What Flight Attendants Are Really Doing When They Greet You On The Plane

What Flight Attendants Are Really Doing When They Greet You On The Plane

by SharonKurheg

The first thing you encounter when you board a plane is the flight attendant greeting you. It’ll just be a quick hello and a smile. We’ve already posted some things about what you should do so flight attendants will like you, and that greeting is mentioned.

However, that quick hello is, not surprisingly, significantly more than it seems. It all has to do with safety.

Being a flight attendant is a whole lot more than giving out blankets, snacks and drinks. That’s all most of us see, so some people think that’s all there is to it. But there’s a load of things they’re trained for, to keep us safe in the event of an emergency. The process of the many things they need to learn was even a reality TV show a few years ago.

And that greeting when you come aboard the plane? That’s when flight attendants are totally checking you out. No, not because they think you’re cute ;-). But if there’s an emergency, they want to know who they think are (what they call) A.B.P.s – short for Able-Bodied People. Those are folks who they think could help the flight attendants (FA) in an emergency.

Kat Kamalani is a FA based out of Salt Lake City and she recently posted a TikTok video with everything the FAs are doing when they greet you.

“So when you’re walking on the airplane and you see our happy, smiley face, we’re actually looking you up and down and we are trying to find our ABPs and what that is called is our Able-Bodied People or person,” says Kalamani. “So this is people who are going to help us in an emergency.”

Some examples of ABPs are doctors, firefighters, military personnel, nurses, pilots and police officers. But also people who appear to be big, strong and capable. That way, if there’s a medical emergency or a security breach, they have an idea of who to potentially ask for help.

In other words, if you look like a bodybuilder, they may call on you to help with someone like this woman, when she started beating up her husband on their flight. Or if you’re listed as Dr. Smith on the plane’s manifest, they may ask if you can help with the woman giving birth in row 27.

Here’s the video to explain more:


You would never guess the last part… #secretsrevealed #traveler #momsontiktok #flightcrew #travelhacks

♬ Sunny Day – Ted Fresco

The other thing that FAs look for when they’re “checking people out” as they board the plane is anyone who might be victims of human trafficking.

“It happens a lot in the industry,” she said, “and our passengers’ safety is our number one priority, so we’re just looking for things that look off.”

Kalamani didn’t go into detail about what they’re looking for for that, but last year Business Insider wrote an article about it: Delta and United Flight Attendants Reveal How They Spot Victims of Human Trafficking.

And now you know 🙂

Feature Photo: Vera.vvo / Wikimedia

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Tony N August 10, 2022 - 8:02 pm

Its like the Police; they just want to know if you are in a good or bad mood or if you’re drunk, of course.

AngryFlier August 11, 2022 - 8:40 am

Some FAs (and I say some) are very stealthy when they do this, pretending to stand their gossiping with their colleagues and laughing it up and ignoring the pax – just to throw us off, apparently.


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