Envision yourself embarking on the trip of a lifetime and board your plane, where you are warmly welcomed by an attentive flight attendant. Where do their arms stand? Picture this moment and tell us what you see!
It may seem like an odd inquiry, but have you ever noticed something peculiar with the cabin crew when on flights? While many people tend to focus on their faces or food/drinks they serve during your journey, it can be worthwhile to pay attention to other aspects too. If you take a closer look at their arms and hands during the safety demonstration (as we all should!), then odds are that they’re held behind them – which might spark curiosity! Why is this? Well, one of many reasons could simply be convenience due to working in tight spaces.
Not only do they practice this regimental approach while boarding, but cabin crew will also frequently walk up and down the aisles with their arms firmly behind them as soon as takeoff commences. This peculiarity raised many questions – why would anyone choose such an awkward stance when traversing an aircraft?
Not all flight attendants stand or walk with their hands behind their backs, which further adds to the mystery. After all, if you think of your past boarding experiences, there were undoubtedly plenty of crew members moving around using their hands and helping passengers on board without having them put away. This implies that the practice has nothing to do with politeness, germaphobia, or even friendliness – so what could it be?
Thus, is our musing an unnecessary drama? No way! The flight attendant who stands at the entrance or strolls up and down the aisle with their hands behind them isn’t just doing it for show— they are performing a certain task that’s extremely important: counting.
Counting is an integral part of air travel; the flight attendant must tally all passengers boarding and ensure that their amount matches what is indicated in the plane’s paperwork. To do this, they typically carry a clicker counter, which can range from as low as 100 on regional flights to over 600 for Airbus carriers. This way, any discrepancies between recorded amounts can be immediately identified and corrected prior to take-off.
After all passengers have found their seats, the cabin crew performs a double-check of everyone on board. This is done to confirm that the number of people who made it through the gate with a boarding pass matches the exact count onboard. Walking up and down each aisle allows for an accurate assessment.
Not only does counting passengers on a plane help determine the weight, but it can also be used to ensure flight safety and redistribute cargo. Moreover, when flights are overbooked, this method is put into action by prioritizing those off of the stand-by list in order for them to board safely.
Why do flight attendants count passengers with their hands behind their backs then? Generally speaking, crew members appear to prefer doing this in a way that does not call too much attention to themselves or the task at hand. From airline to airline and even between attendants, approaches vary; however keeping arms tucked away hides what they are doing so as not be disruptive to fellow travelers on board.
Let us know if you have ever noticed this behavior in the past. Are you aware of why it’s done? Have you been employed by a company that used this system?