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The life of a flight attendant is somewhat mysterious — and so intriguing. They’re the people who make sure we get from destination A to destination B without any incident. There are so many questions most travelers have for FAs that are unknown, and when, really, while in-flight do they have a chance to answer all of those burning questions? Thankfully, an insider’s perspective isn’t so out of reach.

United Airlines’ latest video series gives viewers an inside look at the daily operations of the carrier. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of the airline — from the network operations to in-flight dining, baggage operations and flight attendants. Ultimately, the videos provide a pretty neat look inside daily operations at United. You can visit the “Big Metal Bird” website to view each episode, as well as some shorter clips and notes that the full episode doesn’t cover, such as a look at the crew’s sleeping quarters and what happens to your bag when you check it in.

In the air with United’s FAs.

In this episode, we get to experience a flight through the lens of a flight attendant — everything from the FA lingo to in-flight processes. In all, it’s a pretty interesting episode, and the average flyer can learn a thing or two about the people who make a flight smooth, safe and enjoyable.

Here are some FA terms you might not have known. But the next time you fly, you’ll be sure to know exactly what those talking over the loudspeaker are talking about:


Next time you hear someone say “cross check” while you’re getting ready to depart, you’ll know it’s a quite literal phrase. It’s the process of going through and double-checking the workflow of a colleague — all in the name of safety.


“Flight attendants, prepare for all call.” It’s a phrase we’ve heard many a times over, but might not have ever really understood. In fact, it means that all FAs have one big group discussion to discuss their cross checks and double (and triple) check to make sure everything is ready to go for departure.


One of the last steps in the boarding process for the FA is to sit down in their jump seat. This one is pretty obvious, but it’s still nice to know the exact term to use if you’re talking to someone in the industry or if you hear it being used in flight.

This series is an interesting way for travelers — not only United flyers — to get a glimpse of the in-flight life of a flight attendant. At the end of the day, each FA is responsible for so much more than serving passengers soft drinks and responding to the call button. They are partially responsible for thousands of safe flights every day thanks to extensive training and the ability to provide superior customer service, leaving customers happy when they deplane — at least in theory.

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