Things Flight Attendants Notice About You When You Board A Plane

Things Flight Attendants Notice About You When You Board a Plane

There are many secrets to being a good flight attendant, including the ability to greet and scrutinize hundreds of passengers a day. Most passengers barely notice their flight crew as they try to fit their luggage into an empty overhead bin, but chances are the crew has already sized them up, and even figured out whether they like you or not.

Flight attendants do more than just serve food and beverages; they are trained first responders. They are there to keep you safe and stop threats from entering the cabin before the plane leaves the gate. Not only are they trained to notice your body language, eye contact or temperament, but they will also notice which passengers are fit or wearing military uniforms in case they need them to help evacuate or restrain an unruly passenger. You'd be amazed just what an airplane personnel can discern about you just from a glance as you board your flight.

Your Baggage

Not all airlines will check what you're bringing with you on the plane before you board, but the attendant will know at first glance. They have years of experience in politely convincing even the most stubborn that their luggage will not fit overhead. Keep in mind the size of carry-ons and under seat storage because this will effect boarding and leaving on time.

Your Health

If a passenger shows signs of being sick, the attendant will keep an eye on them while boarding. Air pressure and altitude can affect healthy passengers, let alone those who aren't. The crew wants to avoid a medical emergency at all cost, especially mid-flight, so once the door closes they will pay special attention to the passengers who look under the weather.

How Far Along You Are

With experience, attendants become adept to knowing what trimester pregnant travelers are in, even if you try and hide it with loose clothing.  Most women are required to have a doctor's certificate in order to fly, however every airline will have its own rules. They will notice your baby bump, so don't try to hide it, and definitely don't try to travel to places with a known presence of the Zika virus.

Whether You're Nice

Greeting a flight attendant with a smile and a simple hello can make a difference in their long day, as well as ensure that they won't hate you. Only they will know how uncivilized 35,000 feet up can get. And sometimes being nice with a simple thank you can pay off with an extra snack or drink on the house.


Flight attendants are vigilant about a passenger's general disposition or mood before they board. This is an attitude other than intoxication, but can be as dangerous. Unusual behavior may indicate a passenger who is highly agitated because he or she may not be used to flying. A panic attack in the air can be a difficult situation. The crews usually won't approach this passenger, but rather keep an eye out.

Eye Contact

The crew of a plane will take notice if you avoid eye contact while boarding or being asked a question from the attendant after being seated.

Whether You're a Fellow Airline Employee

All attendants fly a little more confidently if they know other employees are on their flight. They will be an invaluable resource if an emergency does arise. Fellow flight attendants will let the crew know who they are and what seat they will be in.


Of course, wheelchair-bound passengers will get extra attention and priority front cabin seating, but a broken arm could disqualify you from an exit row. You have to physically be able to lift a 60-pound hatch or in some cases, open a door that can be several hundred pounds.


Of course the elderly and young will get extra attention, but unaccompanied minors will be first priority. A flight attendant knows how to handle young children on a flight and will make sure they know all information about connecting flights and other contacts. Many times these kids may get extra perks to make them feel comfortable, like snacks and pilot wings.


An attendant notices this first, by sight and smell. This happens most often and puts the crew on high alert; they know the situation could get volatile at any point. Keep this in mind before you have that last drink at the bar; a flight attendant has every right to refuse entry to passengers who might be a danger.


Another reason a flight attendant may be looking at you from head to toe is your outfit. Flight crew will notice everything from your heels to your layers, as well as anything else that can impair a hasty emergency exit if needed. Keep in mind that many airlines do have dress codes and can refuse boarding to anyone breaking those rules.


As passengers board, you can be sure the crew is paying close attention to their build. Attendants pay close attention to a strong, muscular and physically fit physique. Often, crew will memorize the faces of these passengers and where they will be sitting in case they need to turn to them for assistance in an emergency.

Families with Children

The flight attendants will try to keep the children and parents as close together as possible. If need be, they will even ask other passengers to relocate to accommodate families with small children. Keeping the family together with the kids will make for a more pleasant flight for everyone.

Reading Material

The crew is always looking for additional help in the case of an emergency. So they will keep a sharp eye out for doctors, nurses and first responders who might be able to lend a hand if needed. Typically they won't announce their occupations upon boarding, so attendant will take clues from what they might be reading, such as medical journals or magazines.

Potential Smuggling

The crew pays close attention to people they might suspect of illegal behavior. That means keeping an eye out for people smuggling illegal contraband or even their pets in carry-ons, handbags or even purses. One of the most common schemes is people bringing their own bottles of liquor in briefcases. A growing trend is passengers vaping in bathrooms. Although smoking is prohibited, you are allowed to take e-cigarettes onto the plane as well as some other surprising items.