Monday, February 1, 2016

Sing Song

I do not have a sing song voice.  I wish I had, mostly because I think it is what people expect of those in the customer service industry.  A perpetual smile and a sing song voice.  My speaking style is direct as is my gaze.  I’m not sure if I started out this way or I just adapted to my work environment over time as a sort of coping mechanism.   My voice does not have a lot of inflection for the negative nor the positive until it is of the utmost necessity.  

For example, when I am reminding you to fasten your seatbelt….  I am not the one giggling, scrunching up my shoulders and cute little nose while speaking in baby talk to get you to comply.  Especially if it is something that you know you should have already done.  You know the voice, the one reserved solely for small children, cute animals and supposedly the flying public.  

I usually state things in a matter of fact nature.  I’m not judging.  Well, to be honest, at first I’m not judging.  Then depending on your reaction to my request or question… I judge.  I become Judgey McJudgerson!  Oh!  You’re a frequent flyer, how fantastic.  Then you know by the pitch of the aircraft and the drop of the landing gear that your laptop should have already been off and put away about 2000 feet ago.   Odd how each one of the crew has had to remind you.  This is said dead pan while making constant eye contact.  I get results, eye rolls and heavy sighs, but results nonetheless.

I know what you want is for me to excuse your little indiscretion with a wink and a smile but that would suck the life out of what little soul I have left.  So, no.  

"If you could just put your little baggy waggy all the way under the seaty wheaty, that would make your tired and slightly homicidal flight attendant oh so happy wappy……"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

To ring or not to ring… THAT is the question.

It has come to my attention that people are confused as to when to push the flight attendant call button.  The wrong people are doing it and the right people aren’t.  So I’ve devised some useful questions to ask yourself:

Am I breathing?  If the answer is NO, then push it.  Repeatedly.

Do I have a low tolerance for trash on my tray? If the answer is YES, do NOT ring your call button.  Sit, wallow and wait for 4.5 minutes until the next flight attendant to comes by.  Next time maybe think about how you feel right now and just don’t order so many things.  Easy right?

Am I bleeding?  If the answer is YES, then ask yourself “Can I control it without getting it on anyone or anything else?” (think bloody hangnail, bit lip, picked scab).  If the answer is NO, then ring your flight attendant call button.  Repeatedly.

Did I fall asleep during drink service?  If you’re not sure, then look around first.  Does anyone else have a drink?  Is it fresh?  Is the flight attendant anywhere close?  If not, be patient or if that is not part of your skill set, ring the call button ONCE and when they come ASK NICELY.  Never ever ever ever start off with something like “You forgot me…… “ lest you want to be shown what real forgotten is like for the remainder of the flight. 

Is a piece of the plane about to fly off?  Is the engine on fire?  Is some freak next to you trying to light his underwear/shoes on fire?  Do you believe we are in imminent danger? If the answer is YES, ring it repeatedly

Is the person seated behind/beside/in front of me annoying?  If the answer is YES, do NOT ring your call button.  Deal with it yourself.  We are all adults here.  Again, be cordial or your life is about to get worse.

You look out the window and see circles in the ground or what looks like a city or a lake or a mountain range and you are curious… Do you ring your call button?  The answer is NO, NEVER.  Look at your inflight magazine, chances are there is a route map in it somewhere.  Find the two cities you are flying between, trace a line with your finger then think back to geography class.  Think really hard.  If you still don’t know, ask the person next to you.  Do not, under any circumstance, ring your call button for this.  Unless of course, you like it when we roll our eyes and speak to you with an air of disdain. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Simple Rules for Passing People in the Aisle

I have an abnormally strong aversion to passing people in the aisle.  I DESTEST it.  I don’t care who it is; passengers, other flight attendants, pilots or assist horses.  It doesn’t matter how big or even how little you are.  I hate it!  I will go to great lengths to not pass anyone.  When I say “great lengths”, we both know I have very few options.  However, If I see you coming down the aisle, I will “about-face”  and just go right back to the galley (my safe zone). If there is an empty aisle seat or a spacious over-wing exit row, it’s mine!  I’m ducking in.  You also have to know how to time service or clean up with the other crew members.  There is nothing like someone passing you in the aisle during trash pick up and holding a bag of trash precariously over another person’s head.  Even though I consider myself a bit of an aisle ninja…. sometimes in life you must do the inevitable.  

So in this case, here are five very simple rules to follow:

First off, let me just start by quoting the immortal words of Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club, 

Now a question of etiquette; as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch…?

Rule #1. Definitely the ass.  Never the crotch. Two asses passing.  Otherwise it is just dirty and may lead to rule #2. 

Rule #2. Never ever ever never ever never touch me as you pass. Not with one hand, definitely NOT with two hands.  Do not grasp my shoulders nor my waist.  (There is a Dr. Seuss rhyme here, I can taste it.)

Rule #3. Do not lean over and say anything into my ear.  Like my sister would say to her husband “Just do it quickly and get it over with!”  Don’t tell me why you feel compelled to pass, don’t ask me for a drink and definitely do not whisper any compliments into my ear.  ICK.

Rule #4.  Turn your damn body.  Chances are, you are thinner when turned sideways.  If you’re not, no worries, I have already left the aisle because I could see you coming a mile away!

Rule #5.  Turn into the void, not the seat back.  You are going to lean into the area between the seat backs.  Yes, this is someone’s personal space but that is the price they pay for sitting on the aisle.

That’s it, just five easy rules to remember.  Your guide to correct airplane aisle passage.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do Not Feed The Animals

When you work with the public for two decades you start to notice patterns in how people do things.  Take doing something very small like handing something to a passenger on a plane, it sounds simple right?  Two hands reach out to a non verbalized but mutually agreed upon space and the transaction takes place.  Simple.  I have learned that some things are just not as simple as they seem.  

Take the passenger with tyrannosaurusrex arms - Their elbows apparently do not extend, they are permanently bent at their sides.  They may or may not have limp wrists at the end of their forearms which results in a look of confusion as to how they are going to grasp their colorfully packaged treat or tasty beverage from your perfectly outstretched arm.

The Tapper.  This person is ready, this person knows what he wants and he wants YOU to set HIS drink on HIS tray.  He figures, he's on the aisle, you are close enough.  Why bother with that whole handing it over hullabaloo?  He gives you the "Set it right here sweetie" look and taps his tray.

The perpetually surprised passenger.  This person is surprised by the question itself and/or surprised you are handing something to them even if it is something they JUST ordered.  This person almost always has their tray table loaded up with crap or is holding a book and has a hard time figuring out how to save their page AND grab the drink.  This part is secretly fun to watch because if it is a magazine and they haven't made the appropriate adjustment to their area, it inevitably falls to the floor where retrieving it is next to impossible with their "surprise" drink they ordered now on their tray.

The clueless passenger, cousin to the surprised passenger.  This passenger has witnessed you ask the other people in their row if they would like something to drink, sometimes multiple times but when it is time for their turn, they are clueless as to what you are trying to ask.  Blink blink. Stare.  Me:  "I wanted to know what the people next to you wanted to drink but you….. Tell me about yourself."  They also do not see their drink coming even though you've handed two drinks to the other people in their row first.  Sometimes they're actually engrossed in watching the other two people enjoy their refreshing beverage while you hold theirs precariously in front of them willing it to be turbulent.  Come on, just one good bump.

The fumbler.  When handing this person their drink, while reaching for it he hits it in such a way that it spills on his own damn self.  Which is invariably followed up by a glare.  Yes, it was my fault.  I'm sorry, (I'm sorry you a such a dufus).  Just to be clear, if I wanted to spill on any of you, at any time, I could.  Even if you didn't order anything.

The indecisive passenger.  When you ask if they would like something to drink, they ponder.  Their face scrunches up, they look up as if the answer is written on the top of the fuselage, they suck their teeth and then finally say "Well I don't know.  What do you have?"  In my mind I am screaming a myriad of things back "A MENU!  NOT A LOT OF PATIENCE!  ARE YOU EVEN THIRSTY??!!" but out loud I say "What do you normally drink on a daily basis and I will see if I have that?"  Then they say "I'll have water."  Really?  This is what you pondered on?  Water?  How long did it take you to get dressed this morning?  

And what is with Mr. Shakes-a-lot?  He never sits on the aisle.  Why Mr. Shakes-a-lot?  Why?  There are ways to avoid this, ask for it in the can with a straw, get a lid, ask for only half a glass, take a hint from The Tapper….  tap your tray table.

How about when someone asks for the can they ALWAYS have to mime the can part?!  What is this?  Charades?  Are we playing a game here because I have a few hand gestures I can give you too.

Even serving a snack can be challenging….

First you have the skeptical passenger.  The one who eyes the small shiny packages with a look of disdain mixed with concern.  What could these uniformed ambassadors of the sky possibly want to give me?  They cock their head, squint their eyes and try to read the package while it dangles in front of them, not quite committing to taking it.  Is it poison? is it acid?  Is it cat feces?  Yup.  It's cat feces.  You win,   NOW TAKE IT DAMN IT or don't, I could care less.

On the flip side, you have the comedian.  While handing out the snack he says (and it is always a he) "l ordered the steak".  Hahahahahaha chuckle chuckle.  Riiiiiight.  Up until this point, I don't believe I've actually made the mistake of rolling my eyes in front of these good-natured-but-socially-inept-jokesters.  However, I foresee the need to jam my fingers in my eyeballs to physically restrain the rolling one day.  

The pupa.  This passenger is completely cocooned in their blanket or backwards coat like a straitjacket.  When you come by, they have great difficulty finding and freeing their own arms to reach out.  They wiggle and squirm.  That is okay Houdini, I'll come back.

The waver.  This person gets what air travel is about…. TRANSPORTATION.  They have procured for themselves ahead of time a beverage, reading material and something to eat.  They don't care what you have to offer or that it is free.   They are strictly catching a ride from A to Z.  Just one more thing though…  Bless you, I think you are awesome but this isn't a movie theater…. take your newspaper, coffee cup and bagel wrapper with you when you leave or acknowledge one of the 42 times we go by you collecting trash.  Mmmmmmkay?! Thanks.

Side note:  speaking of trash… why must you grab the edge of the bag and slam dunk it in like it is the biggest feat you've accomplished today?  Seriously, why?

The favor.  This one is tricky.  This person doesn't want what you have to offer but it's free. So at first she says no but then instantaneously regrets her decision, rolls her eyes, clucks her tongue, does that weird circular wrist "give it to me" thing and sighs "fine".  FYI sister, you don't have to take it and save the drama for your mama.  You probably don't need the extra calories anyway.

Or how about the passenger so engrossed in the game/book/assignment/work related activity that they don't register your presence nor the 4 times you ask them if they want their colorfully packaged treat or tasty beverage until you have moved a row or two and then start waving frantically because you skipped them.  You purposely skipped them.

The catcher.  These people hold their hands out into a bowl formation hoping you will just drop them in, trick or treat style.  Maybe they don't want me touching them.  I am fine with that, I don't want to touch them.  I've seen what you do with your fingers when you think no one is watching. By the way, you are in public, someone is ALWAYS watching and…. ew.  For these people I like to challenge their catching skills by either dropping their treats from an unusually high height,  tossing the treats underhand, around the back or spiking it volleyball style … 2 points and the crowd goes w-i-l-d!

Finally, why is it the person with the least amount of abdominal control sits at the window seat?  This person wedges themselves in to the window seat so when you try to hand them something, their outstretched arm barely extends past the middle seat.  It takes all I have not to scream like one of those ridiculous infomercial trainers "USE YOUR CORE!  ENGAGE THOSE ABDOMINALS! You can do it……. REACH!"  

Monday, September 5, 2011


I would like to make this perfectly clear to the flying public... the aisle is mine.

I have 17 inches in which to sashay, shimmy, skip, stomp or moonwalk. It doesn't matter if the seat belt sign is on, if we're in some sort of climbing/descending attitude or if the plane is bucking like a bronco because of turbulence. The galleys and the aisle are my oyster, I can do what I want!

You, on the other hand, have rented your 18 inches of fire retardant real estate for the next hour or so and you need to stay within those confines. You did not pay for MY aisle. So get your feet, purse, elbows, linebacker-esque shoulders and fanned out newspaper out of it! You do not get to play scrabble across it, hold a business meeting or let your sugared up offspring run up and down it!
Am-SCRAY! I'm trying to work here. Do you see me coming into your cubicle and taking up space or impeding your progress in any way? That would be no.

So here is the deal.... I will say to you, with a smile on my face, to excuse me. What I'm really saying is excuse YOU. I will do this about 6 or 7 times (this varies for each flight attendant) after that, IT IS ON.

Underneath my perfectly coiffed hair, plastic smile and polished exterior rages a roller derby queen mentality and I fight dirty. You have now unleashed the Aisle Avenger and this has become your Flight of Fury! Next time you go to take a drink of that scalding hot cup o' joe, prepare to be hip-checked. OOPS, I'm sorry. Did I do that?

I will sidestep you no more, I am now your Kneecap Nemesis! We are no longer at cruising altitude... we are at bruising altitude. Go ahead, drop those magazine subscription postcards into the aisle and you will feel the Inflight Inflictor's wrath of PAAAAIIIINNNN!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I love my job!

If you ever have the opportunity to ask a flight attendant if they like their job, they ALWAYS emphatically answer yes! Then as if to convince you (and quite possibly themselves) they expound on all the areas they are in love with it.

For instance, the flexible work schedule, flight benefits, great pay, medical, dental, 401k, profit sharing, getting some peace and quiet away from your kids and/or husband to name a few. But wait a minute, that's not the job. Those are the benefits of working in this field true, but it's not the job.

How come no one ever says I really like reminding people fifteen times to turn off their cell phones or to be seated when the damn sign is on? Why don't I ever hear how much you just love to hand out snacks, pass out drinks or pick up trash? Or how much you like glancing at crotches to make sure their seat belts are fastened. Rearranging luggage in the overhead bin resulting in a smashed appendage is never on the list either. How come no one ever says using my first aid/emergency training in flight? What about equipment checks, briefings, manual revisions, turbulence, delays, intoxicated passengers and 14 hour duty days? No? Not your favorite part? Then what is?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mad Libs - Stew Style


"Is this (your name)?"
"This is Earlene from scheduling. We are going to have to (verb) you."
You think to yourself Oh (expletive)! but say "Really?"
"Yes, in fact we need you at the airport in (number) minutes. You will be working flight 1982 to (city). There you will sit for (number) hours and then return so you can meet up with your original trip. Got that? Have a (adjective) day!"
"(verb) it up your (noun) Earlene, I mean yes."

Upon arriving at the aircraft, you realize you are working with the (adjective)(adjective) crew. You forget your (noun) at the hotel, your (noun) feels like (expletive) because of the (number) of (plural noun) the night before!

You slam the OHB on your (body part), your (noun) isn't working and a passenger just (verb) you in the (noun).


The pilots show up. The captain is (adjective) with a (adjective)(noun). The first officer has a very (adjective) (noun). Strange you think, how does it fit in the cockpit?
(number) minutes into the flight, 17A starts (verb). Everyone around him starts (verb). You just stand there thinking of all the other jobs you could have done with your (adjective) (noun).

When you finally get to your room (number) hours later, your (body part) hurts, room service is (verb) and all you really want to do is (verb)!