What Flight Attendants First Notice When They Greet You At The Door

Your manners aren’t the only thing that flight crew members are observing when they meet you at the door. They’re also profiling passengers for a good reason.

Jay Robert, flight attendant and founder of aviation blog Fly Guy, tells HuffPost that what looks like a simple greeting is really an elaborate elimination of threats that could cause any flight delays.

They take note if travelers seem able-bodied and are capable of assisting them when an emergency crops up, explains Shreyas P on Quora, who claims to have worked for five leading airlines. The show of strength is more apparent when passengers are lifting their own luggage.

Flight crew member Zac Ford seconds this observation, adding that the passengers they often take note of are solo travelers of average build who are dressed in street clothes, or passengers who are known emergency service personnel.

They also notice the kind of reading material you carry with you. “If you are reading a medical journal… we know who to approach for First Aid,” Shreyas P says.

Aside from remembering passengers who might be a resource for later, crew members observe the party for anyone who’s drunk, if a passenger is kind to others or if they avoid eye contact. Those who don’t make eye contact “make me investigate,” Stephanie Mikel from Southwest Airlines divulges.

Their non-verbal language indicates to her that they might be afraid of flying, are feeling uncomfortable or are dealing with a personal issue. Mikel pays closer attention to these passengers, as, “a facet of my job is making sure everyone is having a comfortable flying experience.”

So, truly, you had them at hello.