FOR the best part of a decade now I have served drinks, smiled and kept people safe while working as a flight attendant for a top UK airline.
Now, in a new weekly blog for Sun Online Travel, I'll be pulling back the curtain to the galley and showing you the secrets of life as a cabin crew member.
In this first article, I'll be explaining more about the secret language cabin crew use.
We do this mainly to keep passengers calm or simply because we're talking about something we shouldn't.
But if you're a frequent flyer and want to know if we're talking about you, it's worth learning the phonetic alphabet, because if we are discussing individual passengers, we'll use seat numbers to do so.
For example, if you're in seat 13D, we'll refer to you as "Delta 13".
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What we're saying about you might be slightly cryptic, especially if we're talking about you in the middle of the aisle, but if you listen closely, you'll be able to work out if it's good or not.
If you do hear your seat number mentioned in the same sentence as the word "Bob" then you've caught someone's eye, as crews use that abbreviation to mean "best on board".
There's another way we'll let other cabin crew know whether or not we like you and that's the "cheerio" method.
As you're getting off the plane, we say "goodbye" to every passenger, but if you get a "cheerio", that's a flight attendant letting you know they'd be happy to have you on board any time.
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However, if you're labelled a "Philip" then you've done something wrong and should probably expect to get bad service for the rest of the flight.
That name originated from the term PILP – Passenger I'd Like to Punch – but has changed over time to become slightly more subtle.
One of the ways you can avoid being labelled a Philip is to not ring your call bell constantly – a pet peeve of flight attendants.
You might hear the flight crew manager reminding us that each time the bell rings, we have to bear in mind our motto: "Coke or stroke".
That means that each time someone presses the button, it could be someone wanting a drink, but it could also be a medical emergency.
It's totally within your right as a passenger to expect service if you need it, but it's worth checking what we're up to and whether that's a good moment to press the button.
For instance, if we're in the middle of drinks or dinner service, the only time then you should be calling for us is in an emergency. If everything's fine, then be patient.
We're very quick to work out who the Philips are and we will serve you accordingly, so bear that in mind if you're a habitual button pusher.
There are also some flight codes that we would rather passengers did know, in case of an emergency.
In the worst case scenario and the plane is going down, there's a system we will need everyone to follow.
SBSE stands for secure, brace, seatbelts and exits. This means that we will need you to be secure in your seats, in the brace position, seatbelts done up and aware of where your nearest and most accessible exit is.
If we're heading down into water, we will need you to have your life jackets on ready to be inflated as well.
Once we've landed, we'll also be on the lookout for PABs – Passengers with Able Bodies.
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They will help us get the exit doors open and get the evacuation slides ready, so we can get everyone off the aircraft as safely as possible.
So next time you're flying, listen out for your seat number and try not to behave like a Philip. For now, Cheerio.
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