7 Things Flight Attendants Notice about You When You Board an Airplane

Let’s hear it for the unsung heroes of the air travel industry, the flight attendants! These men and women have a mind-bogglingly huge list of responsibilities, including caring for sick patients and preparing for the worst in terms of terrorist threats– both of which go way beyond serving you a Diet Coke with no ice.

Yep, being a flight attendant means being on and aware all of the time. Here are 7 things flight attendants notice about you when you board an airplane–and why they need to look for them in the first place…

  1. Your outfit choice

    No, the folks that serve you food and keep you safe when you’re flying high in the clouds aren’t judging your clothing choices, they are simply looking out for what’s best for their airline.

    For example, each and every airline adheres to a strict dress code, with some, like United, not even allowing family members of employees to wear leggings onto a flight. WE KNOW! That said, these guidelines are just there to ensure that everyone is comfortable and not showing off too much. These rules can be awkward for them to enforce, but they ARE part of their long job description.

  2. Your manners

    Let’s be honest, these days, air travel is hardly the treat that it once was. Back in the day, flight attendants were air hostesses, a glamorous profession with plenty of perks, but more recently, the focus of these workers has shifted to two very simple things: 1) safety and 2) efficiency.

    Because of this, flight attendants sure do appreciate it when you listen to them and follow their orders. Trust us when we say that good manners don’t go unnoticed. In fact, your cooperation could even inspire one of these workers to shower you with some airplane freebies. See— not all good deeds go unnoticed!

  3. Your breath

    No, flight attendants won’t go out of their way to get close enough to smell your gum flavor, but they will notice if you attempt to board the plane when you’re three sheets to the wind!

    While having a glass of wine or two may be a layover ritual for some, going overboard (pun intended) could mean a sloppy escort off the plane before the drinker even gets settled in. You see, all airlines grant flight attendants the privilege to refuse boarding to any person who may seem like they could get unruly during the flight— this obviously applies to drunk people, more often than not. Our advice: lay off the sauce until you safely land!

  4. Your visible health issues

    Visible health issues may come in all shapes and sizes, but that doesn’t mean that flight attendants don’t recognize ALL of them— from a permanent disability to a bad cold.

    These specialized workers keep an eye and ear out for folks who may need further assistance during the flight or, God forbid, during an emergency situation. In fact, flight attendants can even request to move passengers to other seats if the switch would benefit everyone’s safety and comfort. It’s good to know that they’ve got our backs!

  5. Your littlest co-travelers

    Air travel has, over the years, turned into quite the convoluted premise, with plenty of rigid rules implemented that seem like they were written just to upset fliers.

    One of the more particularly contentious issues that has recently been introduced is the “no children zone” sections adopted by select airlines. Though most parents find the notion to be offensive, it does mean that flight attendants must pay close attention to the children who board the flight to ensure that they don’t wander out of “their section.”

    On a brighter note, things aren’t so terrible for all parents traveling with infants. If a flight attendant notices a squirming babe, he or she may offer its parent a comfortable bassinet for the flight. A much sweeter alternative, if you ask us!

  6. Your age

    If you’re lucky enough to still get ID’d at bars, then your flight attendant may take a mental note of your estimated age while you board. This is done for two reasons: 1) to later confirm your age if you are seated in an exit row and 2) to keep an eye on you.

    As far as the first goes, only people over the age of 15 are allowed to be seated in the BEST row in coach (i.e. the emergency exit row). If an individual isn’t old enough to get a learner’s permit, then they will be relegated to a different spot. Now, the second reason is a bit of heartbreaking one…

    Recently, we told you the story of a 13-year-old unaccompanied minor who got sexually assaulted by her row -mate during a flight. Since then, flight attendants have been trained to pay close attention to young-looking individuals–whether they have the “unaccompanied” status or not— to ensure that they stay safe and unbothered. It’s a scary thought, but it’s good to know that flight attendants are being more vigilant these days.

  7. Your overall disposition

    And, speaking of vigilant, some flight attendants do their best to note a passenger’s general disposition or mood before they board. They do this to ensure that the person is stable enough to fly, but also to step in with further resources if needed.

    A perfect example of this happened in 2011 when an Alaskan Airlines flight attendant helped save an unkempt and upset young woman from her trafficker. Since then, organizations Airline Ambassadors and Customs Border Protection collaborated on a program to better educate flight attendants on tell-tale signs commonly associated with human trafficking. Making the world a better place? We love it!

Those hawk-eyed flight attendants really are our heroes! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this list. Are you a flight attendant? If so, do you have any other items that you would like to add to the list?