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Flight attendant reveals why cabin crew greets you as you board a plane: ‘We are actually looking you up and down’

A flight attendant has revealed the reason that cabin crew “look you up and down” when they greet you as you board a flight.

Kat Kamalani, who goes by the username @katkamalani on TikTok, often uses the platform to share insights into her career, such as the biggest benefit and the free perks she gets, with her more than 585,000 followers.

However, in a TikTok uploaded this week, the flight attendant from Salt Lake City, Utah, shared one of the passenger-focused secrets of her job, with Kamalani explaining that the reason the cabin crew greets you when you walk onto the plane is because they are looking for the passengers who can help in case of an emergency.

According to Kamalani, the process, which is also what is occurring when you see a flight attendant walking up and down the aisle before the plane takes off, is to find the flight’s ABPs, or “able-bodied people”.

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“Have you ever walked on a plane and saw the flight attendant standing right here greeting you?” Kamalani asks in the TikTok as she points to a photo of the cabin crew near the entrance of the plane. “Or the flight attendants walking up and down the aisle?

“Well I’m about to tell you what we’re really doing.”

In the clip, Kamalani then continues: “So when you’re walking on the airplane and you see our happy smiling face, we’re actually looking you up and down and we are trying to find our ABPs.”

According to Kamalani, ABPs are people who are “going to help us in an emergency,” with the flight attendant explaining that this often refers to passengers such as military personnel, pilots, firefighters, police officers, doctors or nurses, who can help the cabin crew if there is a medical emergency, or a security breach.

In addition to identifying those who can be of assistance in case of an emergency, Kamalani also revealed that the initial scanning allows the flight crew to look for things that “don’t belong on the plane” and for human trafficking, which she said “happens a lot in the industry”.

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“Our passengers’ safety is our number one priority, so we’re just looking for things that look off,” Kamalani concluded.

The informative clip, which has been viewed more than 1.9m times, has been met with surprised reactions, with many admitting that they didn’t know the reason behind the greeting.

“I caught one looking me up and down and thought she disapproved of my Adidas bottoms and comfy top for flying,” one person commented, while another joked: “Them looking at me like… ‘ok useless.’”

Others were curious how the cabin crew is able to distinguish passengers by their professions, with Kamalani explaining that those who work in the medical field often share the information when they board the flight.

“Some say: ‘Hey I’m a doctor in seat 34A just in case,’ which we appreciate,” she said in the comments, while another person pointed out that military personnel are often asked to board the plane first.

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