Here’s The Reason Why Flight Attendant Can Be The Best Teacher for UX Designers

I thought there were some similarities between me (as UX designer) and those two flight attendants


Traveling between countries seems to be fun, right?

But is it really? Truth is, the reality is not always the same as you expected. Since I joined one of the most popular startups in Indonesia, my life has changed drastically. While sitting alone in the airport lounge waiting for the plane to depart, my mind often wanders. Thinking of many things that has not yet come true. As far as I am concerned, my head is full of future plans. Today should be maximized, tomorrow should be better. My mind drifts indefinitely, imagining so many things at once.


Once, while waiting for the plane to board, I saw two flight attendants. Beside them, there was another officer. From their uniforms, I assumed that the officer was an airport security. At a glance, their attitude and behavior were different. All of them were working in the same field, aviation, but their attitudes seemed contradictory. Have you ever seen a security officer who’s friendly and all smiles? Or a flight attendant who looks grumpy and standoffish? Of course not. The flight attendants looked so friendly and they didn’t hesitate to throw a smile at every passenger who came closer to her. While with the security officer, it was certainly not the case.

After observing them, I thought there were some similarities between me (as UX designer) and those two flight attendants, for example:

They Communicate and Interact with People

Flight attendants are trained for months to talk and behave well in front of passengers. They learn how to interact directly with people. Not by phone, email, or even video calls. It means that their attitude and language are very essential for the business.

Language is one of the first things we learn. And a little mistake can be fatal.

Similarly for a UX designer, you are required to talk to the user directly through your design. However, a UX designer does not need to dress up like flight attendants. You just need to sit down, look at the screen, and move your fingers to process colors and shapes. But most importantly, don’t wear mini skirt like flight attendants.

A UX designer speaks through its own hand-crafted design. Each design the designer made should humanize humans. At least, your design has the ability to speak like a human. To fulfill that requirement, UX designers need to do some research about people’s character and personality. The output of that research is then arranged to make some kind of user profile, or as we call it, personas.

The goal of your design is an illustration, graphic, experience, or whatever it is to make your product have a human feelings (empathy, sympathy, care, and other aspects of affection). Your design should be able to display those kind of emotions.

Provide Crystal Clear Instructions

Go ask the flight attendants about your flight, and they will give you clear explanations and instructions about it immediately, wouldn’t they? Maybe you often meet them in the beginning of your flight as they demonstrate about safety procedures in case the accident occur, but actually they are always available every time whenever you need assistance.

Everything is explained and exemplified as clearly as possible. So every passenger can easily understand and practice it directly on their own.

A UX design should not confuse the user. Users should understand what they have to do after seeing your design. Do not let user only stunned by the beauty of the design only to be confused about what to do next. Your design is not a work of art that need to be admired, auctioned off, and on display in a museum. Remember that.

Your design should be able to guide users to achieve their goals. Provide clear instructions and guidances, step by step. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Delightful Experience

Ah, just by looking at the flight attendants make you feel great, right? Many hours on the clouds seemed to pass very quickly. Moreover, most of the passengers still want to be on the plane even though they have arrived at their destination. Maybe, that’s because of flight attendant’s hairstyle, makeup, close-fitting uniform, the way they walk on the aisle, their well-shape posture, and their beautiful smile. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pervert. But I do appreciate beauty.

Each airline has its own ways to form their flight attendants. To be honest, their smile and patience make you fall in love, isn’t it?

All those flight attendants attitude on board are aimed to create delightful experience for passengers. If passengers feel satisfied and comfortable with that specific airline, sure they will choose the same airline on their next journey.


Being communicative and a problem solver is not enough. This applies to UX designers too.

An impressive experience will deliver dopamine to the user’s brain. As a result, they’ll be very happy and time will seem so pass quickly. After finding something they’re happy with, people would not hesitate to come back again and again. Isn’t it the goal of your apps that you’re working on right now? And it starts inside a UX designer’s mind.

Yes, it starts with you.

Every page should make users feel enchanted. Intrigued. First impression is everything, so make sure that your first page could lead users to enter their own imagination. Next, the second page should stimulate users’ happiness and curiosity. And then, that feeling of joy will keep continue from page after page they browse. But most importantly, this results should be the same for all users. All the designs spur dopamine hormones to fill users’ brain. Keep your users happy and they’ll keep swapping and staring at your apps all day long.

Put a pinch of humor into your design. Pay attentions to every details. Polish back every not-so-shiny parts in your design to make sure that user will be comfortable using your product.

Let’s go there now!

To be a great UX designer, you need to start from the root. Start by defining your user problem. Then after you figure it out, immerse your mind into design, development, quality assurance, and everything. It’s not only about drawing or designing. You also need to conduct a user research, read data, talk to users, and discuss with developer.

A true UX designers is always prioritizing interests of the users.

All apps and website developments start from UX designer. Although no one knows about you and what you did, keep on believe that your decision today affects the experience that product need to deliver to users. Will they remain to drown in trouble or will you give them a life vest + a ship + a compass so they can get back to the mainland?