Flight secrets: Cabin crew share what secret words mean when onboard an aircraft

Flights are often a scary thought for many who find flying nerve-wracking. Even though it is considered to be one of the safest modes of transport, cabin crew have secret code words that they use when they don’t want customers to know what they are talking about, this is in case of an emergency or just flight attendant language.


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One flight attendant known as Amanda Pleva who is also author of the Crewed Talk column explained how code words are used by crew in order to maintain calm and order in the cabin.

She said: “We’re specially trained in emergency situations and panic that can cause us to lose control of a situation and end up in injury or death.”

Code words can either be used by flight attendants or pilots and are often said while in the air. However, a couple are also used between cabin crew staff and some are even to describe passengers.

Code Bravo

While codewords are generally used to avoid panicking the passengers, Code Bravo is used for the opposite reason.

Flight attendants will use this short phrase to distract passengers from actual danger so they can take care of a situation without interference from anyone.


This code word is less likely to be used on a plane and more so used between cabin crew members.

This refers to when a member of the flight staff goes to a hotel to rest between shifts.

Air pocket

Turbulence is one of the biggest reasons that people are scared of flying, even though it is harmless and essentially pockets of air.

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This is why this phrase is used instead of turbulence fairly often as it does not sound as aggressive and may help nervous fliers stay calm.

Cross check

A member of the cabin crew may use this word to indicate that the emergency doors have been deactivated.

It is also used by pilots and flight attendants as a generic term to refer to when someone has verified the task of another.


Former flight attendant called James revealed another secret phrase if a member of the cabin crew finds you attractive.


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They will include your seat number in a sentence and that will tell the other cabin crew that they find you attractive.

For example if you are sitting in the seat 7D on a flight, you might overhear the attendants quietly saying: “I might do seven days in Denmark next week?”

James explained that different airlines and different cabin crew will obviously all have their own words for recognising an attractive passenger but this is not uncommon.

They will usually include the number of your seat as the number of days in another country.

This will then be followed by a country beginning with the same letter of your seat.

Dead head

This refers to someone who is a flight attendant on the flight but isn’t working, so they’re just using a plane the same as any other passenger.

This word is used in case the off-duty cabin crew member is needed to help in an emergency.

The Sin Bin

The sin bin is a commonly used term amongst plane staff.

It refers to an area where a plane waits for take off when the runway is too busy to depart.

A British Airways pilot told MailOnline: “Typically, it occurs if a flight has a time restriction on its departure, either because its direction of flight is busier than that of other aircraft or because there’s inclement weather at its destination.”

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