10 surprising things you didn’t know about Cabin Crew


They’re taking notes as you board

When you’re being greeted as you walk onboard your flight, it’s not just about good customer service, what the crew are doing is taking mental note of each individual. Who might be problematic or intoxicated, who might be in need of extra assistance and who might be a reliable source to be called upon for assistance in the event of an emergency i.e. if you’re travelling alone and look fit, strong, and capable, often referred to as ABP (able-bodied person).

There’s a reason why they dim the cabin lights

If you’re travelling during dawn, dusk or during the night you might have noticed that the cabin lights get dimmed on take-off and landing. These phases of flight, are considered the most critical stages for when accidents or incidents are likely to occur. This is to ensure everyone’s eyes can adjust to the light in the event of an emergency and means you’ll need less time to orient yourself and can spring into action quickly if required. 

They have the authority to restrain you

Flight attendants under the permission from the Captain, have the authority to restrain you and arrange for your arrest if a passenger becomes unruly and repeatably fails to follow important instructions. Handcuffs and zip ties are available for the crew to restrain passengers, choosing an area of the plane where they can’t be disruptive. A call is then made to the police to arrange an arrest once the plane has landed, the passenger is then escorted off. Trust us, you don’t want to be that person!

They communicate in code

Cabin Crew often communicate in code things they don’t want the passengers to understand, either so you don’t freak out or because they’re talking about you! BOB means best on board, used to communicate who is the best looking on board i.e. check out BOB at E15.

A ‘deadhead’ refers to a member of the airline crew who is repositioning to another base as part of an on-duty requirement.

Adhering to Cabin Crews instructions are a legal requirement

Instructions from flight crew are protected by law such as stowing tray tables, ensuring seats are upright, window shades lifted and devices switched to airplane mode for take-off and landing are all part of the legal requirements. And no-one is above the law as we’ve seen with incidents with celebrities such as Will-I-Am and The Veronicas. Aviation law is a serious business.

They deal with medical emergencies  

Each aircraft carries a number of first aid kits and some international flights have a physician kit. In the event of an emergency, if there’s no doctor on board, cabin crew call a special doctor hotline who can tell you what to do until the ambulance meets you on the ground. Cabin crew are required to have their up to date First Aid Training which is part of our cabin crew courses.

They’ll tell you no if they need to

One of the great perks of international travel is free alcohol. Most people enjoy a couple of drinks while watching a movie then have a snooze but there are always those individuals that push the boundaries and see how far they can take things.

Did you know that it’s actually illegal for flight attendants to allow passengers to get drunk on a flight, as well as it being illegal to be drunk on a flight? All cabin crew are required to have their Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate which is included in our training courses.

HOT TIP: To avoid confrontation with a passenger that is becoming intoxicated, you can rim the glass with alcohol to create the effect without adding to their intoxication. They fall for it every time!

Their safety is more important than yours

In the event of an emergency when the oxygen masks are deployed, it will allow around 12 – 15 minutes of oxygen before it runs out. At that time, the pilot will be working to get the aircraft to a safe altitude (approx. 10,000 ft) where you will be able to breathe without them.

Meanwhile, the flight crew have different oxygen masks that supply a couple of hours’ worth of oxygen. This is because the flight crew are the ones who will be most helpful in an emergency evacuation. Cabin crew undergo survival training and know-how to create a shelter, gather food, find safe drinking water and attract help in different environments. You’ll want them around when the situation is dire!

They don’t tell you to do things without good reason

You’ve seen and heard about the brace position in the safety procedures. You might wonder how this position is helpful, studies have confirmed that the brace position compacts the body and protects the vital organs from injury.

In the event of a water landing where you’re required to use the slides, those wearing high heels will be told to remove them, so they don’t puncture the slide. You wouldn’t want to be wearing stockings as the friction from the slide can burn your skin! Long pants are best.

You’re often asked not to make any calls until you’re back in the terminal, this is because it can interfere with the planes electrical navigation systems. All in all, just listen to the crew, they’re not saying things for the sake of it!

They sometimes have to deal with criminals

This doesn’t occur all that often, but there are procedures that the crew needs to adhere to. Firstly, the crew are informed at sign on that they are carrying a Person in Lawful Custody (PILC). We are not made aware of offence/s or alleged offence/s of the PILC and some may be required to wear a form of restraint.

The PILC must never be restrained to any part of the aircraft and they will be brought on board by an escort/s. PILC’s are generally boarded first and disembarked last to avoid other passengers knowing that one is being carried. In most cases, the PILC is assigned a seat next to a window with escorts seated next to them.