Has it ever seemed like a flight attendant has given you more than a lingering glance while you climbed on board?
Well, it turns out that they may well have been eyeing up their passengers, but not for the reason you might think.
Cabin crew have a plethora of secret gestures and codes to ensure smooth service while flying – with one ex-crew member even sharing a special code word his team used to indicate they fancied a passenger.
But now, speaking to the Joe Marler Show podcast, one flight attendant – referred to as Damien – has revealed a more serious reason why cabin crew might pay extra attention to those on board.
Arriving at the topic, English rugby player Joe remembered that he’d heard a story about why flight attendants line up to formally greet passengers when they board a plane.
He asked Damien to lift the lid on why he and his colleagues are often caught glancing at guests.
Damien explained that this was part of identifying “ABPs”, meaning “able bodied passengers”.
“That is someone that is travelling on their own, that speaks English – or the language that the airline operates in – and looks capable enough to assist you in the event of an emergency,” he explained.
But rather than entitling any fortunate passenger who falls within this category to a better seat, Damien suggested that it simply meant they would be referred to for assistance in the case of an emergency occurring.
“In an emergency you’ll stand in the cabin and you’ll give the passengers an emergency briefing,” he said.
“Then you find this person, and you would ask them, ‘are you travelling on your own? Do you speak English? And would you be willing to help me?’
“Basically you take them to your seat, you show them how your harness opens, how the door operates, what to expect when the door opens…”
On the same episode, Damien also addressed why flight crew push passengers to buy in-flight purchases.
“We want you to buy it because we get commission on it,” he admitted, before acknowledging that only the price of alcohol and cigarettes represent a reasonable offer while in the air.
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