What it means if flight attendants say Tom Cruise on a plane – and it ISN'T about the Hollywood star

NEXT time you hear a flight attendant say Tom Cruise onboard, don't get too excited.

The phrase said by cabin crew is often used before a flight, but is nothing to do with the celebrity himself.

Ben McFarlane, a flying doctor and author, explained to the Mail Online that it means something else entirely – and nothing glamorous at all.

He said: "It's cabin crew code to work out which of the identical pots on the trolley contains coffee and which contains tea.

If 'Tom Cruise is on board' then crew are following T&C positions that day. Tea, Tom, is in the pot on the left of the cart.

"Coffee, Cruise, is in the identical pot on the right. Simples."

So if you hear the celeb being yelled on a plane, don't expect to see the actor for yourself.

Here are some of the other words you may hear, and how they secretly mean something else.


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."


This a rude one, used by cabin crew. "Cropdusting is a disgusting, albeit very common, method of retribution," says flight attendant 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."

Hot coffee

 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.”


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