Why does CO think I work for them?

I don’t fly Continental very often, but twice this year I was asked if  I worked for the airline after boarding.

The first time was on CO Express.  I asked for a margarita.  The FA asked me if I worked for CO.  I (honestly) said no mostly because I was afraid they had some policy about alcohol.  She replied “oh, you look like a flight attendant.  I would have given it to you for free if you said yes.”

Then yesterday I was seated in the exit row and thought it was interesting that I hadn’t been briefed yet (my side only had me, the other side only had FAs in uniform).  The FA working the flight passed by and asked “Are you a flight attendant?”  I said “no.”  He said “Oh, have you been briefed about the exit row?” and then he proceeded to do the briefing.  I know my exit row responsibilities and don’t need the spiel, but I also don’t want to be the reason for someone to get reprimanded for not briefing me.

I’m not sure why they think I work for them.  Both times I was wearing a wrinkly blue shirt which isn’t the right color and I’d be in trouble for the wrinkles if I did work for them.  I also wear Dansko clogs, but I started that because everyone working in hospitals wears Danskos.  They aren’t very common among flight crew, but I’ve seen a few over the years.

I also see many business men wearing blue button-up shirts and black pants.  Surely I’m not the only lady who travels in such attire.

…Maybe next time I’ll pretend and see what happens.


  1. I remember on a CO flight once the gate agent asked me if I was a test passenger? 🙂 I think eg I arrived at the last minute and had to change my flight and maybe I used some internal jargon tlaking to them. SOmething like that, anyway.

    1. I’ve had many passengers ask if I’m an FA after I answer some random question about flying (like what the awful noise is on an airbus when the engines start or stop). I can understand that since I explained something that many travelers don’t know. I also get asked if I’m an FA when I meet someone and they find out I travel a lot.
      I don’t get why CO FAs think I’m an FA just by appearance.

  2. Your clothing has nothing to do with it. FA will deadhead home after a flight if they do not live in the hub city. Deadheading FAs do not fly in uniform. I think there is a good chance they assume you are an employee because you show that you are an experienced flyer. You may also have a similar luggage bag to the ones issued to the FAs.

    1. I have a bright red rollaboard and I always stow a laptop bag under the seat in front of me. Neither are characteristics of any FAs I’ve ever seen deadheading.

  3. Also, if you do pretend, they might ask for your badge or your employee number. If by some chance you had one, then you would probably get free first class upgrades (assuming there is a seat) or discounted drinks. But don’t expect to be able to fool them, frequently employees will notify the staff that they work there before boarding.

    1. First class was already full. I was already on the upgrade list due to my status and also due to my status I had prereserved the exit row window seat with no seat in front of it…one of the better seats in economy on that plane type IMHO.

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