Flights always start with passengers being welcomed on board the plane by at least one member of the cabin crew. As any flier knows, these flight attendants greet the traveller, check their boarding pass and possibly indicate where they’ll find their seat. However, when you board the plane, the cabin crew are also on the lookout for something else. The flight attendants are in fact looking at your physical build – and the reason why is alarming.
A former crew remember revealed there’s one code word, in particular, they’ll use when assessing passengers.
Carrie Bradley, who worked as a flight attendant on an international airline for 12 years, told The Sun they keep an eye out for someone who is an “ABP.”
She said: “When passengers are boarding, you’re assessing them and seeing if they are an ABP.”
The acronym stands for “Able-Bodied Passenger.” In short, well-built passengers could be very useful in an emergency.
Crew will identify these fit and healthy people as they walk in the door and then note where they are sitting in the aircraft.
Janice Bridger, who claimed to have been a flight attendant for 27 years, explained the importance of a powerfully-built person boarding the aircraft.
“If I see someone who is muscular, powerful, strong, physically fit, I memorise his/her face and make a mental note of where they are sitting,” said Bridger on US knowledge-sharing site Quora.
Should an emergency occur, crew may well call on these travellers to help them out.
“I consider this person a resource for me. In the event of an attack on the flight or on me, these are my ‘go-to’ people,” Bridger explained.
“If a situation looks like it could develop, I’ll privately and discreetly ask one of these people if they would be willing to help us if necessary.
“Help might involve subduing or restraining an unruly passenger. We hope it never happens, but we will prepare just in case it does.”
Bradley added that she would speak to these fliers during the flight to see if she can glean any pertinent information.
“During the flight, it is easier to continue assessing through chats during the service,” she told The Sun.
“It may come out they are fireman, in the army, an off duty pilot or cabin crew or a doctor, which is all useful information.”
Cabin crew do still manage to make their own fun while working and do sometimes use a certain code word if they spot someone on board they fancy.
Flight attendant Emily Witkop told the New York Post the term “hot coffee” means cabin crew like the look of you.
“I recall for a few years there was a ‘hot coffee’ code among flight attendants,” she said.
“You would say, ‘I’ve got hot coffee in 3B!’ Which meant there was an extremely attractive passenger in that particular seat who the other flight attendants should check out.”