The secret code cabin crew use for hot passengers & other mystery phrases

FLIGHT attendants are smiley and chatty with everyone, it’s part of their job, so if you’re wondering if they fancy you, they probably don’t. 

Saying that, every now and again the cabin crew member you think is taking extra special care pouring your diet coke might actually be interested. 

Flight attendants have a special language they use to talk about passengers, including the ones they find attractive. 

According to the late cabin crew member Owen Beddall, who wrote the book Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant, his colleagues would use the word ‘Bob’ to refer to good-looking travellers. 

The term stands for ‘Best on board’ and staff use it to point out a passenger to others without alerting members of the public. 

There’s another secret word for when crew have a crush on passengers – you won't find out until it's pretty much too late though.

According to one senior member of cabin crew in Australia, the "cheerio game" is played when passengers are disembarking from the plane.

The crew member, who goes by the name LTN330 on the Cabin Crew forum said: "There's the cheerio game you can play when passengers disembark.

"When you're standing there going 'buh-bye, thank you, take care' etc when you see someone you fancy, you say 'cheerio'."

"You need to do it with a buddy and the challenge is to keep a straight face."

And if you hear a flight attendant referring to hot coffee in your aisle but don’t spot anyone drinking a hot beverage, chances are there’s a good-looking passenger nearby. 

In an interview with Yahoo, flight attendant Emily Witkop revealed:  “I recall for a few years there was a ‘hot coffee’ code among flight attendants.

“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.”

There are a number of other secret phrases used by pilots and cabin crew too, some serious and others less so.


This a rude one, used by cabin crew. "Cropdusting is a disgusting, albeit very common, method of retribution," says flight attendant and author of the Crewed Talk column on Amanda Pleva.

"If a passenger is being very rude and difficult, then it’s not unheard of for a flight attendant to break wind and 'cropdust' past the offender."

"Childish? Yes. Satisfying? Also yes."

Code Adam

This is used by airport staff to alert other staff of a missing child, in honour of Adam Walsh, a child who was abducted in a department store in 1981.


If a pilot "squawks 7500" it means the plane has been hijacked, or has a hijacking is a threat.


If you hear this phrase, usually made by senior cabin crew, it means that the emergency slides attached to each door have been deactivated.

Otherwise the slide will deploy automatically as soon as the door is opened.

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