Secret Insights: 5 observations Flight Attendants make When You Board an Airplane.

Secret Insights: 5 observations Flight Attendants make When You Board an Airplane.

As passengers step onto an airplane, they often have a mental checklist of what to expect during their flight. From comfortable seats to in-flight entertainment or where they may be seated are probably on their list. However, have you ever wondered what flight attendants look for when you board the aircraft? In this blog post, I share the hidden aspects that flight attendants assess as passengers enter the plane. Flight attendants are trained to make observations during the boarding process. Their observations ensure the safety, security, and comfort of all passengers on the aircraft. Their keen observations and proactive approach contribute to a smooth and secure flying experience for everyone on board. This post is a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their world.

Boarding Pass Verification:

As you enter the aircraft, the flight attendants will typically check your boarding pass to ensure you’re seated in the correct cabin and have a valid seat assignment. This attention to detail helps maintain order during boarding and ensures everyone is in their designated areas. It also gives the flight attendant an opportunity to observe if you may be a problem passenger, under the influence, or can be of help in the case of an emergency.

Luggage and Personal Items:

Flight attendants keep a watchful eye on passengers’ carry-on luggage and personal items. They look for oversized bags, items blocking aisles, and passengers attempting to stow luggage in overhead bins that may be designated for other rows. Although overhead bin space is shared space, passengers with priority seating or first/business class may have designated overhead bin space. Boarding time is limited, and flight attendants can gauge if they have reached a point where there is no longer any space for onboard luggage. Often, there is communication between the flight attendant with a forward view at the back of the airplane and the flight attendant at the boarding door, noting carry-on luggage.

Behavior and Disposition:

Attentive flight attendants are skilled at reading the overall demeanor of passengers. They look for signs of nervousness, discomfort, or passengers who may require extra assistance during the flight. Interaction with the flight attendant is important, especially before the airplane door closes. Flight attendants watch for any signs of disruptive behavior. Passengers who may be unruly or under the influence can pose safety risks. Flight attendants are trained to address such situations promptly and professionally. Though you may have boarded the airplane, the flight crew is the final determination as to whether you can fly or not. Disruptive behavior or a negative disposition can make for closer observation and possible removal from the airplane.

Passengers with support needs:

Flight attendants are keen to identify passengers who may need extra support. Passengers such as unaccompanied minors, passengers with disabilities, or those who may need assistance with medical conditions are noted. They discreetly communicate this information to other crewmembers, ensuring these passengers receive proper care. This identification is also important because a flight attendant’s primary role is safety. Knowing who has support needs helps them plan for any emergency.

Language Proficiency:

In international flights, flight attendants assess the language proficiency of passengers, especially when multiple languages are possible while on board. Knowing this helps in effective communication during the flight. Often, if the flight is going to a foreign destination with passengers who speak another language, the airline tries to have a language proficient crewmember on board. Knowing language proficient or deficient passengers helps them to plan for any eventualities during flight.

So, keep note of these insights the next time you step onto an airplane. Remember that the flight attendants diligently work behind the scenes to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for all. Their silent observations, attention to detail, and commitment to passenger safety make flying a smoother and more secure experience. So, as you settle into your seat, rest assured that you’re in good hands. Your flight attendants are prepared to take care of your needs throughout the journey. But also remember that the flight attendant may have the final decision of whether you stay on board the airplane. Safe travels!

Business or Pleasure? Why Immigration Cares About Your Travel Intentions.

Business or Pleasure? Why Immigration Cares About Your Travel Intentions.

Picture this: You’re standing at the immigration counter, passport in hand, and the immigration officer asks, “Is your travel for business or pleasure?” It’s a common question asked at borders around the world, but have you ever wondered why immigration officials are so interested in the purpose of your trip?  I’m officially retired and consider myself a travel blogger.  At present, blogging is a pleasure and love.  I want to make a financial gain, but I’ve not monetized my business enough to call it a business in the true sense of the word.  I travel a lot, so this question comes to mind.  Is my travel for business, EbonyTravelers, or is it for pleasure, Donna?  In this blog post, I share the reasons why immigration cares about your travel intentions and why it matters for both you and the host country.

1.  Visa Requirements and Eligibility:

One of the primary reasons immigration officers inquire about your travel intentions is to determine whether you meet the visa requirements for your destination.  Most countries offer different visa types based on your visit’s purpose.  For instance, tourist, business, student, and more visas exist.  By understanding your travel purpose, immigration can ensure you’re eligible for the specific visa you’re applying for.

2.  Duration of Stay:

The purpose of your trip often dictates how long you’re allowed to stay in a foreign country.  Tourist visas typically have shorter durations compared to business or work visas.  Immigration officers must know your travel intentions to grant you the appropriate length of stay, ensuring you don’t overstay your welcome.

3.  Compliance with Laws:

Knowing your travel intentions helps immigration officials ensure that travelers comply with the laws and regulations of their destination country.  For instance, business travelers may need to adhere to specific tax or employment laws, while tourists must follow local customs and rules.

4.  National Security:

Immigration officers play a crucial role in safeguarding national security.  Understanding why you’re visiting their country allows them to assess potential risks associated with travelers.  Safety is critical in today’s global landscape, where security concerns are paramount.

5.  Planning and Resource Allocation:

Immigration authorities use data on travelers’ intentions to plan for the influx of tourists or business visitors.  This information helps them allocate resources efficiently at airports, such as customs and immigration staff and facilities.

6.  Economic Impact:

Tourism and business travel significantly contribute to a country’s economy.  Immigration authorities track these numbers to understand the economic impact of various types of travel and tailor their policies accordingly. So when you answer business or pleasure? It matters.

7.  Documentation and Record-Keeping:

Immigration officials keep detailed records of who enters and exits their country.  Knowing the purpose of your trip helps them maintain accurate records, which can be crucial for various administrative purposes.

In conclusion, the question “Is your travel for business or pleasure?” asked by immigration officers is not just a formality; it serves critical purposes for travelers and the host country.  By understanding your travel intentions, immigration can ensure you have the proper documentation, comply with laws, and contribute positively to the country’s economy and security.  So, the next time you’re asked this question, remember that it’s not just about your answer; it’s about ensuring a smooth and lawful travel experience for everyone involved.  Safe travels, and keep these thoughts in mind whether traveling for business or pleasure!  It might matter.

What your flight attendants may know about you when you board an airplane?

What your flight attendants may know about you when you board an airplane?

 In my years as a flight attendant, I have had passengers try to claim premium seats, embellish their airline status, and even claim to have paid more for their ticket than they did.  Passengers do not realize that the flight crew is provided a passenger information list (PIL) or passenger manifest list before the plane leaves the gate.  That PIL has a wealth of information on passengers.  Here are a few things your flight attendants may know about you when you board the airplane.


You must provide identification before boarding an airplane.  Before that airplane leaves the gate, a passenger list is provided to the flight crew listing everyone on board by name.  This information is often utilized in premium cabins to personalize the flight experience, but it is available for everyone on the airplane.  Immigration also uses this information to prescreen arriving and departing passengers.

Seat assignment.

Recently a flight had to be returned to the gate because passengers refused to leave premium cabin seating.  Although there may be empty seats on the airplane, they are not for the taking.  Seat assignments are allotted by ticket pricing, airline status, and other factors.  Flight attendants do not assign seating, the gate agents do, but flight attendants have some leverage in reassigning seats while on board.  Often passengers are asked to accommodate other passengers traveling together.  However, once you are assigned a seat, you do not have to give up that seat assignment unless requested by a flight crew for a specified reason.

Airline status.

Depending on your airline status, you may be entitled to certain perks onboard the airline.  Many were the days when I had passengers declare themselves to be “million” milers, platinum passengers, or VIPs demanding a particular service.  That information is available on the passenger manifest, so claiming a status you are not is often a waste of breath.

Flight itinerary.

One of the initial reasons for the passenger information list was to assist passengers with connecting flights while onboard.  Before landing, the flight crews are provided with connecting gate information.  When traveling in a premium cabin, passengers are often individually given connecting gate information before the list is relayed to main cabin passengers.  This list also helps flight attendants request other passengers’ patience to allow connecting passengers to deplane first.  In some cases, if seats are available, the flight crews can move passengers closer to the front of the airplane for faster deplaning.

Travel status.

With the many security matters that have arisen since 9/11, flight crews now can know if you are traveling alone or with a group, if you have or need medical assistance while onboard the aircraft, or even if you have been a problem passenger on a previous flight.  If a problem arises and authorities meet the flight, they will already have your information when the flight lands.

I hope you realize that you are far from anonymous when you board an airplane or travel in general.  The flight attendant can note your behavior, bad or good, in your flight itinerary.  It’s not all to your detriment however, I remember wishing passengers a happy birthday, congratulating couples on their wedding or anniversary, even upgrading passengers for special milestones, or assisting grieving passengers.  Were you aware of how much your information is shared?  Please comment below and let me know.

What’s in an airplane seat?

What’s in an airplane seat?

Consideration should be made in choosing your seat on an airplane, especially over long distances.  Frequent travelers usually have a preference noted in their flight record and know to get to the airport early to request a change if their choice is not available.  Here are a few ideas on seat preference so you can make a more educated choice the next time you fly.

Middle seat

The middle seat is usually considered the worst seat.  Inevitably, there is a struggle for an available armrest, and you are stuck tucking your elbows close for the entire flight.  However, there are some benefits to the middle seat.  If you have a close connection, choosing a middle seat closer to the front of the aircraft allows you to deplane faster than another choice further back on the airplane.  Additionally, choosing a middle seat makes it more likely that someone else will choose another row rather than be next to you.  In many cases, you might end up with the entire row to yourself or at least have a seat next to you open. There’s no guarantee, but if you have no choice.

Bulkhead seat

The bulkhead seat is the seat directly behind a divider partition on an airplane.  If you’re tall, this is one of the best options for seating as it has somewhat of built-in legroom.  The caveat is that not all airplane designs are the same, so checking out the airplane diagram before deciding is recommended.  The negative of a bulkhead seat is that it is also the desired space for parents traveling with babies or lap children.   Many airlines provide bassinets that can be attached to the wall for babies to sleep on long-haul flights.  Additionally, all items must go overhead as there is no under-seat storage. Considering the length of your flight will help you better decide on this choice.

Aisle seat

The aisle seat is also a preferred seat for those that are taller.  With this option, you can stretch your leg into the aisle instead of having your knees bent for the entire trip.  However, you must be careful as flight attendants cannot see over the serving carts, so you’re also more prone to get hit by a service cart if you’re not careful.  Additionally, you will have to get up to allow your seatmates to leave their seats.


Window seats

Window seats are great if you do not want to be bothered by anyone, and they are great if you’re going to sleep as they can also double as a headrest when sleeping.  However, getting out inflight to leave your seat can be a hassle as you must ask your seatmates to get up or somehow try to climb over them to get out.  If you have a small or weak bladder, I do not recommend this seat.

Exit row seats

These are the seats that have removable windows or doors used to exit the aircraft in an emergency.  One nice feature of an exit row seat is that it usually has more legroom.  Therefore, it is another excellent choice for taller people.  One drawback is that it has an age restriction and disability restriction, so travelers with disabilities or families with young children cannot be seated here.  Another disadvantage is that some exit row seats do not recline or have limited recline ability. Additionally, exit row seats tend to be colder as you are seated next to a door or window with seals.  Make sure you dress accordingly for these seats.

People often ask my preference in seating, and it varies for me.  If it’s a short flight, I use the bathroom before and choose a window seat.  For longer flights, I prefer the aisle.  I try not to get bulkhead seats as small children are usually nearby, but I like them if my other options are unavailable as I have more legroom. I’d choose a middle seat over another if it’s closer to the front of the airplane.  I avoid exit row seats because I find it colder. What’s your preference? I’d like to know

Behind the scenes- Airline agents

Behind the scenes- Airline agents

My last blog post tried to prepare travelers for the reality of Covid restrictions and holiday travel.  I want to focus on holiday travel and travelers’ role in the overall experience in this post.  We have all heard the horror stories of unruly passengers and the obnoxious behavior that affects many others.  Here are a few behind-the-scenes realities of airline agents I’d like you to be aware of next time you travel.  I hope your knowledge will make you a kinder traveler.

Airline ticketing agent.

This person is probably your first point of contact at the airport.  The ticketing agent checks your bag or handles any airline-related issue before you are even through security.  Ticket agents are responsible for ticketing, baggage, complaints, cancellations, lost luggage, weather delays, and other traveler problems.  They enforce rules made by the company, and they don’t personally make up rules just for you.  And yes, they can be fired for not following the rules.  So, when it comes to their livelihood or your demand, guess which takes priority?

Here are a few things I think they would like to tell you but can’t.
  • No, we can’t just give a free upgrade, it’s a computerized system, and big brother is watching.
  • Don’t be late and take responsibility for your poor planning and actions.
  • Saying no is not being rude. We are following the rules made by the company, not by us.
  • You get more with honey than vinegar. Treat me right, and I will do the best I can.
  • If you’re rude and yelling, do you think I want to help you?

Gate agents.

The gate agent is the person who, as the name suggests, works your departure gate.  If you have traveled recently, you may have noted that there is usually only one or two gate agents at the departure gate.  Due to airline cost-cutting, gate agents often work alone.  They must meet the inbound flight, coordinate unaccompanied minors and wheelchairs, answer passengers’ questions, clear the standby list, process upgrades, and board the plane.  If this seems like a lot of work, that’s because it is! Additionally, gate agents are also required to get the airplane out on time. This means getting every passenger onboard and seated before the airplane doors can be closed for departure.

Here are a few things I think they would like to tell you but can’t.
  • We can see everything about your ticket, including how much you paid, when and where you paid. Lying about how expensive your ticket was or that it was a first-class ticket is pointless.
  • On an oversold flight, we do have the discretion to move passengers to first class. However, the choice is usually automated and based on fare price or elite status. In rare cases, your behavior or the way you are dressed helps inform my decision.
  • My boarding time decision depends on plenty of factors. Is the airplane clean? Does it have enough crew members? Does air traffic control have a hold on the boarding process? There are many other reasons, and staring at me or crowding the boarding area will not make the decision faster.
  • We are accountable for getting the flight out on time except in the cases of weather or a mechanical delay.
  • The computer system shows how many people are connecting and their chances of making the flight. Delaying the flight for just a few passengers is often not an option as the airplane must be at its destination at the designated time.

I know that traveling is stressful for passengers, but it is also stressful for the agents who work with hundreds of passengers daily. The airport is fast-paced and hectic, and there is rarely time for bathroom breaks.  Give grace and practice kindness to your agents next time you travel.

If this has made you think differently about your previous airport experience, let me know.

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