Monday, December 21, 2009

On The Road Again

My grandmother has been ill for the past two months. I have spent a grand total of four nights at home in my own bed; otherwise I have been at her house on Long Island. I'm currently procrastinating packing for my four day Dublin that leaves tomorrow night and avoiding packing a second bag so when I arrive in Newark Thursday (aka Christmas Eve) I can head straight to Long Island (Grandmother's house... which is over the river but no longer through woods). I'll be back home in my bed Sunday night. The only things I really want with me are all my comfort clothes like old jeans and long sleeve tees; not exactly the fashion statement for such a festive holiday. I keep telling my mother that we should all just wear our night gowns on Christmas like my Grandmother so she won't feel left out. It certainly would make packing easier!



Please keep her in your prayers - she has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and is on the long road to recovery.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Twas’ the nights before Christmas and all through the plane,
not a passenger was stirring, so I could explain.

The passengers all nestled, snug in their seats,
with visions of rush hour they had just beat.

Luggage all stowed and belts fastened tight,
just sit back and enjoy a smooth American flight.

To fasten your seatbelt, there’s no need to fiddle.
Just slip in the fitting, pull end tight ‘round your middle.

To unfasten your seatbelt, lift the top of the buckle,
and then you’ll feel free free, to roam ‘round and chuckle.

There’s no smoking this flight, then sign never goes off.
And please keep your belts fastened, until we’re aloft.

And in your seat pocket there’s another surprise,
An illustrated card should emergencies arise.

There are emergency exits all over this ‘craft.
Two in the front and two in the aft.

Along with those exits, there’s window exits too.
Be sure to note which one’s closest to you.

The window exits are on either side.
They are over the wings, which help us to glide.

If the power goes out, there no need to fret,
First white lights, then red lights, to all exits direct.

There is one more thing you’ll want to take note.
Your seat cushions used if you had to float.

Please remove it, don’t set it aside,
place your arms through the straps on the underside.

The oxygen masks, please do take heed,
right above your head in case you should need.

Now watch the FAs so you know what to do,
in case this gold cup drops in front of you.

Stop what you’re doing and pull it down firm,
but don’t stop now there’s still more to learn.

Keep breathing with the base donned over your face,
put yours on first then your child’s face.

The oxygen mask does not inflate,
but the oxygen is flowing, so breathe your normal rate.

No smoking this flight, the sign never goes off.
please keep your belts fastened until we’re aloft.

And don’t be naughty, please do be nice,
don’t tamper with smoke detectors, or we’ll call the Vice.

With your electronics off and your luggage in place,
tray tables stowed and a smile on your face.

So on Dancer, on Prancer, on Donner and Blitzen,
right after takeoff, your drinks we’ll be fixin’.

Now that we’re through with our safety demo of flight,
we wish you all Happy Holiday’s and to all a good flight.



Written by: Nanci Yager, American Airlines Flight Attendant

And a special thanks to Pop Slinger for his original post!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Um... Hello???

To all my aviation readers out there: Why didn't anyone tell me that PVG is NOT Beijing??? Beijing's airport code is PEK; PVG is Shanghai. I didn't figure this out until 11 minutes before I had to be at the gate!

Shanghai was awesome. The air is super dirty and smoggy and irritated my lungs. I went shopping, ate, slept, ate, slept, ate, shopped, napped, showered, ate, and then it was time to get back on the plane.

30 hour three day trips are not my favorite and reek havoc on my body. Three days later and all I want to do is sleep and eat. My next trip is Shannon on the 11th, so I have a few days to recover :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Honolulu Part Duex

Below is the view of Waikiki Beach from the top of Diamond Head.


Diamond Head entrance sign


This job sharing stuff is unparallel to anything else I've experienced on the job thus far. I had a Honolulu on my line for the month of November and it is by far the coolest trip in the system. I'm glad that I had been there before and had a good idea of what I wanted to accomplish on my 24 hour layover. I wanted to go to daily mass and climb Diamond Head; and I did.

We got in about an hour late; I was up in my room by 9:30 or so and sound asleep within an hour. I slept through the night and woke up suddenly at 6:55 and rushed out the door to make it to mass at 7. St. Augustine's By the Sea in Waikiki is one of the most beautiful church's I've ever seen and well worth looking like the walk of shame to be there. I went back to the hotel, had some frosted flakes while getting ready for my trek up the crater and was out the door by 8. My mom had asked me not to go alone but none of the other crew members were interested.

The hike up was daunting but if you're remotely in shape (as in are able to walk) I think almost anyone can do it. There are a lot of stairs but I saw three year olds managing just fine. Across the street from the park is a community college and they were having a farmer's market so I stopped for lunch. I walked back down the mountain and was back in my room by 11:30, at the pool ten minutes later til 2. Nap, and then back on the plane to come home. It was amazing. Breath-takingly beautiful.

This is what the top of Diamond Head looks like, built by none other than the US Army Corps of Enginerds
NEERS.... I mean Engineers
760 ft above sea level


Being that we're crew, and therefore special, we have a flower guy that comes to our hotel just before we get on the van and the crew can purchase leis and arrangements. I brought this home for my mom for Thanksgiving. Not only was it a beautiful centerpiece, but I could see my sister on the other side of the table.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Best Friend Loves Me!

Just look at what J brought me home from Italia. I'm putting these two guys away for a rainy take away sushi night. And no, I'm not sharing so don't ask.

Who's excited??? I AM!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Swine

When swine flu first broke out, I was oblivious and didn't really care nor did I think it would personally impact me. I got the flu shot last year and didn't even get sick; I come into contact with the most disgusting things, both on the plane and in school, and continue to live to tell the tale. I suppose a part of it are those left over feelings of being invincible from my (seemingly endless) adolescence. I have recently learned that a dear friend of mine is deathly ill due to the swine. You can read more about Courtney here and as for you, Mary and Jerry, yous guys are most certainly in my prayers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

HNL for a PVG???

I am currently sharing someone else's line. A co-worker of mine, Lori, has so graciously given me half of her trips both this month and last. Without her, I'd still be on reserve and for her generosity, I am grateful. When it comes to what we fly, I really don't care: any destination, any position, as long as it's a real trip, it doesn't matter to me. I also want to make this as easy as possible for her. It's unfortunate, however, that I have a bad habit of making plans and commitments before I see what trips are on my line. October worked out great because Lori was willing to take the one trip I didn't want because I had a prior engagement. As for November, I had a general idea of things that I would like to do in the month; my challenge was I've never trip traded nor would I be home on trip trade day, and I have no high time trip connections. I had these two Honolulu's and both were not the ideal dates I wanted to fly; both three day trips, one left on a Monday and the other Tuesday, the last day of the bid month. I figured I could sacrifice the one weekend and just make sure I was home Sunday night and ask around to see if I could just move my other Honolulu to depart a day earlier. Easy enough considering I had a month to move it.

So J and I were on the elevator going down to the crew room about two weeks ago, we were leaving for Rome, and I was eavesdropping on the conversations around me. There was this guy going on and on about how he had this Honolulu line and I asked him if he had the trip that left the 30th, I was trying to trade mine which left on the 1st. (The look he gave me was priceless because you need as many years with the company as I am old to hold the trip). He snootily replied that he only knew it was whatever line number and didn't know what days his trips were. BUT the senior mama he was talking to was looking for a Honolulu. She had a Beijing line.

I turned my Tuesday Honolulu into a Monday Beijing.

My schedule for this month: Honolulu on the 16th, Beijing on the 30th.

Still in shock.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: I was there. You were not.










I went to Tel Aviv. I walked where Jesus walked. In the course of 56 hours, I ate two shwarmas and had three Fantas. Those two shots are of the view out of my hotel window. It was a rainy, miserable day in Tel Aviv, but not in Jerusalem!

I picked up this particular trip because my fellow cohort in crime's father was the captain and I knew he loved the city and had been going for many years. We got in late afternoon on Sunday, and just Mark and I went to dinner at this bar next to the American embassy. I'm slightly
embarrassed to say we went to a place called Mikes, ate pizza and
wings, drank Sam Adams, and watched the Eagles game. However, it was one the best played games this season by my birds and everyone else in the bar was an Eagles fan too.

The next morning we woke up at 7, had breakfast at 7:30, and left the hotel by 8. We took a taxi to the central bus station and took the bus to Jerusalem, an hour away. The bus ride was 19 shekels, or less than $5. Got to the bus station and took another cab to the Damascus gate of the Old City. Across from the gate is the Garden Tomb, which is what Jesus' tomb might have looked like. The property is owned by British ex-pats and the grounds are well kept in such a manner that its almost as if it doesn't belong.

Then we walked through the Damascus Gate; you could see where the streets had been built up. I don't know what I was expecting when I entered the city, but there were street vendors selling everything everywhere. It was like an ancient open air Canal Street almost. We walked down the Via Dolorosa (Latin for way of grief or suffering) to the spot where Christ was condemned and beaten and then followed the stations to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There were a lot of different tour groups walking along with us; there was an Eastern European group (they were so fabulously well dressed!), a southern Baptist American group of true tourists that were not dressed climatically appropriate, and a group being led by a priest who were praying the stations. Everyone kept talking about how on every Friday at 3 the Franciscans do the stations in their entirety, and what a zoo the city is during Christmas and Easter. What really took away from the experience for me were all the Islamic and Armenian street vendors desperately trying to get you into their stores. However, as we were charging through the streets on our way to the next station, an ancient man selling cloth offered the captain 6 donkeys and a camel for me. Captain shot back with two camels, it was declined. It was nice to know that I do catch a nice dowry.

THEN WE HAD LUNCH: SHAWARMA, FALAFEL, AND FANTA. IT WAS DELICIOUS.

After lunch we wondered down to the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to go and pray. I saw a bar mitzvah; the men were on their side and the women were standing on chairs leaning over the dividing wall throwing candy. It was such a celebration, the smiles that this family were wearing were so joyous; it was beautiful. I stood before the Wailing Wall in awe, watching these women deep in prayer, writing their prayers and sticking them between the ancient stones, reading books of Hebrew; some wept. I felt like a warrior praying silently the Our Father, the words Jesus taught us, amongst God's chosen people. Glorious.

By then it was after 12, and I found myself standing on top of the Mount of Olives looking down
onto Jesus' Jerusalem... plus two thousand years. The golden temple is the Dome of the Rock; it is where the second Jewish temple originally stood, as in the one that was destroyed in 70 AD.
It is the oldest standing Islamic building. In the right hand corner of this particular shot you can see a gate that's been sealed shut, and before it are hundreds of graves. This is the Beautiful Gate where Jesus entered the city on Palm Sunday, and where the Messiah shall enter when he comes again.

From where this shot is taken, is the Mount of Olives, and on the mountain face are buried Jews and the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus sweat drops of blood and was betrayed by a kiss. It's also closed between 12-2 each day.

We were back in Tel Aviv by 2:30, took a big nap, and then back on the plane for the 12 hour ride back to Newark. (I had the second shawarma in the airport, with a Fanta). We landed at 5:15 in the morning and to say I felt like I had been hit by a bus is no exaggeration. Well worth it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ode to Laura Geller

This is Laura Geller, she is a leading pioneer in the make up industry with her baked line. I was first introduced to Laura's products from my mother, who's a big QVC fan. When I first started flying, I needed a light foundation that would last all day and instead of investing in my own make up, I commandeered whatever I could find from my mom's collection. Laura Geller's Balance N Brighten, is the only powder foundation I will put on my face. It gives me flawless coverage, lasts all day and all night until I get to Europe and I would recommend this product to anyone.

In my crazy October non-reving month of fun, somewhere in my travels, I lost my make up bag, containing my Laura Geller Balance N Brighten. I was so distraught, I just replaced a few pieces from my local pharmacy including a powder foundation not made by Laura. These other products are awful compared to the weightlessness and perfect color match to my natural skin tone, regardless of how tan I am. After my last trip, I came home and ordered another Balance N Brighten and am patiently waiting for it to arrive.

It should get to my house by the time I get home from Tel Aviv.

Monday, October 26, 2009

FCO, TLV, HNL

Two weeks ago I worked my first real trip as a line holder (like that stinky turn counts!). Rome, b-zone galley, meaning I was responsible for feeding ten people and the flight deck. We got into our hotel rooms by 10, I was out sight seeing by 3 and spent two hours crying in St. Peters. Lucky for me, my best friend, J, who speak-a di Italiano is coming with me for my second Rome trip tomorrow. I know for sure she won't let me wonder around the Vatican crying all day. There should at least be some pictures this time. This trip is also going to be different than any other because I'm leaving her there for the next six weeks while she studies the language. I more than likely won't see her again till December.

Up next on the AMC trip list is a Tel Aviv departing October 31 with a few friends of mine. I'm looking forward to seeing where Jesus carried the cross, the Wailing Wall, AND EATING EVERYTHING. I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE FOOD.

For the month of November, my job share partner bid Honolulu. I have two on my line and they conflict with my original plans for the month but as my parents have ingrained in me - work comes first. I'll just HAVE to go to Honolulu instead. Life's so hard, right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turnin and Burnin

Sunday, I had the pleasure of working the EWR-IAH-EWR turn on the fancy Boeing 777. We are all well aware of my true feelings towards turns - I have an extreme distaste for them. I picked this particular trip up for a few reasons:

1. I had to get my line value as close to 55 hours as possible; I had 9 hours to play with and open time was not looking good.
2. I would be working first class aisle
3. Sunday, quiet morning crowd, back by 4 then off to Mo's for dinner/sleep over.

In the end, I'm not sure if it was worth it.

When I arrived at the gate, a prompt 10 minutes early, there was no aircraft to be found. It had to be towed in from the ballpark, and arrived about 20 minutes late. The entire Texas Southern football team was going home on my flight; they had just lost to Rutgers (for their homecoming game!) 0-42. I did my best to behave, especially because the dean and athletic coach were seated in my cabin. I was so upset that I didn't have my Rutgers pin on my apron. Its on there now.

We arrived in IAH 45 minutes late, quickly were cleaned and boarded. Once we finished boarding, they announced that there was a problem with one of the cargo doors and we were now indefinitely delayed. I was mildly concerned because I didn't pack anything; I just had my manual. No clean underpants, no pjs, no nothing. Instead of worrying, I ate, took a nap and before I knew it, it was time to board again. The flight going back was smooth, and we arrived in EWR two hours late. I ended up going right back home and won't see Mo til Thursday.

It's days like this that make me thankful to be internationally based and I will most definitely be avoiding turns. They're just not worth it. I left my house at 4:15 am and got home 16 hours later. While the turn was worth more than a day of substituting, the 4th grade was just as well behaved and is 8 minutes from my house. When my best friend J told me she was thinking about quiting if she didn't get the leave, I wasn't really sure why. I felt her pain on Sunday. I am so thankful to be in the international base, a fancy line holder, but most importantly, to be going to ROME tonight!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kudos to Teachers

Now that I'm a FANCY LINE HOLDER, I have a fair amount of free time and to keep myself occupied I substitute teach. I did it a few times last school year and this was my first week back. I did AP Spanish at the high school in my town, 4th grade at a Catholic school, and multiple people in the elementary school in my neighborhood.

AP Spanish was cake, the students were all rocket surgeons. Being in Catholic school brought back some suppressed memories of my own experiences in the 6th grade, but the kids were good and I had three prep periods. These past two days in public school have opened my eyes to the beauty and grace and extreme disciple that Catholic education provides their students, and it was not because they were any smarter or that the students weren't dealing with the same learning or emotional disabilities or handicaps. They were expected to behave and perform; and they did. I can't put my finger on what makes the difference - maybe Jesus makes all the difference! But it's there, its real, and I'm a firm believer in Catholic education.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

THE MAGICAL LAND OF HOLDING A LINE!!!

Recently, I became a member of the cool line holders club. This means that for the month of October, at the very least, I'm a fancy line holder. I've been talking about the reserve v. line holder schedule since the beginning of my flying career and the day has finally come. In fact, we're days into the bid month and I've slept with my phone off. I've turned my phone off during the day. This unending sense of panic and stress of "oh no! I'm having a good day... scheduling might call!" is gone. The feeling of freedom is unparallel. They're so desperate for flight attendants to reduce their schedules, take leaves, etc that as long as my partner wants to share I'm golden. More importantly, I'm thankful. So thankful to have a real schedule all month. It feels GLORIOUS and yes, you reserves out there hold on and be patient because just like puberty, it will happen to you too. (I'm pretty sure that's more of a girl issue, but inevitable none the less).

What trips are on my fancy line? TWO ROMES AND A TEL AVIV. Pictures to come. I have a IAH turn first up to make sure I maximize my hours. Moreover, my last trip was September 11; I went to Shannon. I don't go back to flying until the 11 (the turn). Rome on the 13th.

Why, Alyssa, that's a lot of free time you may be saying. And it is - a whole month! I hung out in Philly a few nights, I went to Orlando, I was on retreat last week and if there's anyone out there interested in John Paul II's teaching on the what Catholics believe please email me and I'll point you in the right direction. As for this week coming up, I'm substitute teaching starting with HS Spanish tomorrow. I didn't go to HS Spanish when I took it a decade ago let alone be remotely qualified to instruct. Tuesday, I'm off to the fourth grade at JPII (divine, right?), followed by a two day stint at the elementary school in my neighborhood.

And Friday I shall rest.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And Don't Forget Your Deodorant!

I frequently make fun of my best friend Mo for the absurd amounts of deodorant that she slathers practically all over her side, from elbow to waist. I will be the first to admit that she never smells of BO and I'm glad that I have friends who aren't European in their daily hygiene.

Earlier this week, I was in Orlando visiting the Mouse. As we all know from my constant lamentations, Jersey did not have a typical summer and I don't even remember being constantly uncomfortable for days on end. I was, however, constantly uncomfortable in Orlando. It was outrageously hot and humid there and I sweated up a storm. Day one we went to Typhoon Lagoon, where everyone smells so you don't really notice it over the stench of chlorine. Day two we went to Hollywood Studios and whilst standing in line for Rockin Rollercoaster, I noticed some body odor. Not horrifying, just unclean and in need of some pit stick. I started sniffing around to make sure it wasn't too close by when it dawned on me. THE SMELL WAS COMING FROM ME. THE LIFESPAN OF MY DEODORANT HAD MET ITS UNTIMELY DEMISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. AND I WAS HORRIFIED. At the end of the day, we made a Publix stop and I invested in a new kind. I'm convinced you have to change brands every two sticks. The next day at Magic Kingdom I noticed a change in coverage - like there actually was some - but by the end of the day with that much constant sweating... it's just gross. In climatic situations such as Florida's, there really isn't anything else you can do but deal. I now, however, vow to never make fun of Mo again because putting on that much deodorant is simply being nice to others. Go hygiene!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

5 Words

Recently, in one of the blogs I follow, someone had given the blogger five words and she had to expand on them. I too wanted to join the fun and thought it would be a cool way to get to know more about me. Here goes it:

Security: SECURITY??!!! SEH-CUR-ITY!!!! When we first started flying LHR's, the reserve bus as I like to call it, there was this MadTV skit that we would perform over and over: Bon Qui Qui. She works at the King Burger and has an attitude like no other. And also provides endless hours of fun when deliriously tired.

Cousin: Cousin Larry! Perfect Strangers! TV used to be so much better in the 1990's.

Reality: This one threw me for a loop; when is this word not paired with TV? Reality... My reality? My reality is that next month I won't be sitting reserve and will get to experience what my life will be like. My biggest (best?) character flaw is I fail to see people for who they really are as opposed to all their greatest qualities and people they're striving to be... when in reality, they're not.

Generous: Me, when I tip. I tip too much. I'm generous with my time; just ask Mo how many times she's been to my house. I'm generous with my love and have been known to give it away too freely. I suppose that's just a part of being young too.

Sleep: My favorite past time. Sophomore year of college, it was lights out at 11 every night. I don't know anyone who got as much sleep as Colleen and me that year. It was glorious. Coming off trips, I've been known to pass out for 12-14 hours. I love naps, like a two hour nap every now and then... yum! I learned to nap freshman year and it is an important skill to have. I'm still working on my sleeping on the plane skills, but usually during crew rest I can catch a few zzz's.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Full Time V. Part Time

Full time aviators work an average of 80 flight hours a month. That's what normal people do in two weeks. Part time at my airline, with full benefits, vacation and sick time accrual is only 40 flight hours. Which is what the working stiffs do in ONE WEEK. Thus far in my flight attendant career, I have been a full fledged reserve with average line values of 80 hours. For the next bid month of October, I have been awarded a job share with a senior flight attendant. Who holds Honolulu. For those of you in the industry, you know how exciting this is. For those of you who aren't, I guess the best way to describe my new work life is part time and with a real schedule. I'm going to know exactly where and when I'm going and I'm most likely only going to do three trips max. I'm only going to go to work for (at most) nine days in October and will more than likely be the happiest person on the plane for those very few trips. I have no idea what we're bidding, but you can bet your bottoms that I'll keep you posted! The fact that I will not be sitting reserve in October blows my mind, and I feel freedom in a way I haven't since I was in college.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Week

Thursday: So glad my faux dinner plans didn't materialize. I slept for 12 hours instead.

Friday: Airport alert at 3, called for SNN at 6:32. Got paid two hours to sit in the crew room, and the value of the trip. At least it was a beautiful day in Ireland.

Sunday: Landed at 11, in my car by 11:35, and at church with my friends in Bridgewater in time for the Gospel. It doesn't count if you miss the Gospel.

Monday: SURFING. Successfully. Three times.

Tuesday: Deutsch. Ja.

Wednesday: Its raining. Again.

Tomorrow: I go on call for the next three days. Then on Sunday, I'm off to Florida!

Is it October yet? I'm ready.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Olde To Jet Lag

So I picked up a Heathrow for Tuesday, even though I do try my hardest to boycott the airport hotel. This was my first trip back to work in almost a week, and we got in super early. I was in my room, in the bed by 8 am local time. I did not get out of aforementioned bed until 4:30 pm! I never sleep that late! When I realized what I had done, I jumped out of bed and headed down to the gym for my 45 minutes on the treadmill and had dinner with the crew at 6. I was back in my room before 9, and asleep again til 1:30. I watched some tv, then tossed and turned til 5 when I really started to nod off again. Promptly at 6:15, the person in the room next door started to blow out her hair. Did I mention we had the door to create adjoining rooms? Awesome. At least I only had to work B zone aisle home and flight time was a mere 7 hours and 5 minutes. I also took one of those water soluble vitamins chock full of B-12 and was rip roaring and ready to go for the last service, passing out of the documentation, and my excessive drive home. I was running at full steam til about five and now my eyes lids are flying at half mass. Earlier this week, I had briefly contemplated dinner plans for this evening. I don't know what makes me think I'm okay to do something social after trips. Could I have powered through it? Yes, and I've done it before. But there's no way I could have driven more than 15 minutes or had any sort of adult beverage of fun. I'm still coming to terms with the crap that is reserve and trying to negotiate the fact that there are always going to be things (the Labor Day festivities) and events (my Grandmother's birthday) that I'm going to miss. And still adjusting to the constant brain fog of jet lag.




Oh, and that movie quote???

Totally Sister Act.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

View From the Top

I see your movie quote madness Flying Pinto, and I raise you! However, there's no prize for guessing the right answer... just the satisfaction that you indeed are correct.



"I guess I've always been upbeat, optimistic, perky. My mother used to say that girl is pure sunshine. She'll either grow up to be a nun, or a stewardess. Coffee?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"I Love Peanut Butter Sandwiches" said Kyle and Dan

Recently, I was on a date and was forced to divulge a little known fact about myself: I don't like peanut butter. There's something about the smell that makes me yick, the consistency is not like a party in my mouth, and though most would consider the combination of peanut butter and chocolate to be divine, I'm just not one of them. He went on to describe his love for peanut butter, either chunky or smooth, the various ways to enjoy peanut butter, when it is most appropriate to consume peanut butter. He then said, as have almost all of my friends, that he must call into question our friendship. Therefore, my latest quest in life is to find someone else in this world that hates peanut butter too. Sans allergy! It doesn't count if it can kill you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scheduling Roulette

I had Sunday off; the weather was horrible. It wasn't really sunny, nor was it actually cloudy. Warm, yet breezy and just not a beach day which is exactly where I was in Ocean City. Around trip pick up time, we were messing around on the computer and Jo said log in and see what's in open time. There was a Belfast, I clicked and like magic it appeared on my line. We went out for Jersey Mex (eat that Texas!); that night we had a few beers and made an appearance out at the bar. Definitely made the beers more enjoyable - knowing what I was doing the next day.

Monday morning rolls around and the dirty surfer kids hit the waves at 5:30, and came to get me at 8:45 for breakfast. Usually on days off I'm rebellious with my phone and do things like turn it off or leave it at home, which I managed to do this particular morning. So over coffee at a classy Jersey diner, I checked my line and the trip was gone. Bumped. I immediately called scheduling, gave them Jo's number as mine for the next two hours, you know, just in case. We went bike riding and roller skating, and finally at one I decided I should be clean and pretty... just in case. I sat clean and pretty til 5 when dirty surfer boys showed up and demanded wave time. Even if I did surf, I couldn't go in the water... just in case. So I called to get released, which they did, but for a whole two hours. We came back from the beach, had some dinner, and hung out a bit, in bed by midnight. I heard the surfers go out at o'dark thirty, and then I get the scheduling wake up call at 8:35 to be in EWR at 11. Less than 2 1/2 hours to drive 110 miles, all for an airport alert. It took me 7 minutes to get dressed and in the car.

By the grace of the Lord, I made it on time and without a ticket.

I sat my four hours, went home, roller skated around the Twp park, now I'm doing laundry, and tomorrow I personal dropped... just in case. Another one of those days living the dream, as they say.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Every Place Around the World... We're Coming to America!

I was off on Thursday; I had an opportunity to pick up a trip to fly Friday but was unsuccessful. I sat as number one on the call out list for hours - nothing. I briefly considered putting myself request airport alert (blasphemous! I know) for Saturday because I was trying to go down the shore for Sunday. Saturday rolls around, and I was on page two of the list thinking that I was sitting pretty, number 5 on the personal drop list for Sunday and I was going to be good to go! WRONG. I got the call at 3 as my mom and I were leaving the mall to report to the airport at 1745 for DUB. I ran into the department store, got changed in the fitting room, dropped my mother off at my sister's place of employment and scurried off to EWR devising ways to get off of this trip.

I opted not to take the NJ TPK, as summer traffic is HORRIFYING, and took 295 - rt. 1 - TPK instead. I stopped in one of the Brunswicks along the way to get a Subway sandwich and an iced coffee from Dunks. I've been to this particular Dunks a number of times, usually its a man behind the counter. Today, it was a lady who's eyes lit up when she saw my uniform. She wanted to know where I worked; I told her my airline. "You cannot be married" she simply stated. It was in that moment I realized how I should stop bitching about scheduling, my pathetic dating life, my current living situation because, as I went on to explain to her, this is America. There's no age discrimination at my place of employment - at ANY place of employment. I can and I WILL GET MARRIED SOMEDAY. I'll still be a flight attendant too. One of my friends is out on maternity leave. Talking to her made me take a step back and realize all the things that I do have, the opportunities I've been given are such blessings and so amazingly wonderful I'm thankful to have been given this life. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Current, Recurrent, and Postcurrent

Currently, I announced that it was my POA (plan of attack!) to attempt to move out of the nest. The apartment I saw this week has made me rethink this option, want to fly my ass off and save real money for a down payment on a condo of my own. My cool roommates Mom&Dad aren't so bad afterall.

Recurrent, as in recurrent training. I'm eligible to fly for another year. Yay! However, next year, I do recurrent and THEN fly an international trip. Most definitely NOT the other way around, as I've been doing it for the past three years. Sleep deprivation is not cute nor productive.

Postcurrent... is that even a word?... I found an interesting jumpseat read: Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I learned that I should not give out my number, that I should take his and if I so choose and deem you worthy then maybe I'll call. I was impressed with myself for dressing appropriately/conservatively and not like sex, as Mr. Harvey says, and that I do indeed send myself home at a reasonable hour (anywhere from midnight to one in the morning). I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to say exactly what I think, and finding I prefer to keep my mouth shut as to appear to give consensus when that's not always the truth. I'd rather have the appearance of fitting in than let it be known otherwise, thereby forcing those around me to accept me for who I am. Blame it on my childhood, the job, the fact that I'm only 25 and there are still social situations when I want to be liked. Stirring softly is the the beat to my own drum and someday I'll be better at pacing myself, listening to it, doing what is best for me as well as the ultimate being true to myself. I'm pretty sure that's what's know as being THIRTY.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Being A Big Kid

When we were still in college, I used to refer to everything in the adult world, such as employment, as a big kid job. Now that I've been out of school for three years, it is about time I got myself started on this big kid-ness.

Big Kid Life Step #1: Move out of the nest.

I'm going to look at an apartment down the shore on Tuesday, potential move in date is October 1.

Big Kid Life Step #2: Debit Control

I called and consolidated my credit cards to one card, 0% interest with no foreign transaction fees. I owe less than 2G's, but I don't want to owe anyone anything. Car loans and student loans are reasonable... $150 in eye cream? Not so much. I also got together last year's tax return to have it adjusted by an aviation specialized for the per diem.

Big Kid Life Step #3: He's Just Not That Into You

He didn't call. And its not because I did something wrong; there are no should have/could have/would haves. He's not into me and that's okay. Because someone else somewhere out there is and just as I don't want to settle, I don't want to be settled for.

(Begrudgingly) Big Kid Life Step #4: Clean Your Room... And Car

I live in the car, the room is back up support for my transient lifestyle. Unfortunately for me, I have to keep them tidy. I can do it. I can.


It is time to pick up and move on with my life as a single, 25 year old woman in this day and age. I've been waiting so long for something or someone to happen to me that I forgot how to take charge and be responsible for me. I'm what's happening, I'm making it happen, and then, I know in my heart there is a good, wholesome man out there waiting to stumble upon me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

Last summer and the beginning of September, we were frightfully understaffed in the international base. It worked out well for me because I had my first trip to Paris! International, First Class, Paris, might I add. However, due to the short staffing, there were a lot of domestic reserves on the juniority trips - it's how I met my BFF JWebs. On one of the many LHRs I did that month there was another EWR reserve by the name of Anna who's a super sweet Southern girl; she was assigned BusinessFirst aisle and had never even been on a Boeing 777! I was working in another cabin and was unaware of her performance, or the fact that no one she was working with was willing to help her. When Anna spilt water on some nasty passenger, he along with her co-workers proceeded to rip her a new one. My memory fails, but when I saw her in the crew room just before my MAN, she said that because of me she didn't spend the whole trip crying in the lav, that I was so kind and sweet to her. And I don't even remember! To me, it just goes to show how utterly important it is to be nice and sweet and caring to the strangers you meet because you know not the cross they bear - plus I must be doing something right!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's a girt bar?

Who doesn't love the crew scheduling wake up call at 2 am to report to the airport in three hours?

For what reason, you ask?

Fly to LaGuardia, work to Houston, and deadhead back to EWR. The other two flight attendants were also international reserves who had less sleep than I. I had a whole three hours! I got to sit in the flight deck for the ten minute ride to LGA and had an awesome view of the new Yankee stadium. There's something about watching the sun rise over NYC that amazes me every time. I worked first class down to Houston and was quite lost with no three tiered carts, silver coffee and tea set, or bake on board cookies. Domestic is like another airline! As for the deadhead back to EWR, I tried my hardest to pretend that it was just like crew rest for three hours and was rather unsuccessful. At least during crew rest I'm not in a middle seat, I can hide behind a curtain and foreign children are better behaved than Americans. I made it back to the house in time for dinner and the Bachelorette, in bed by 10 and up at 8 this morning... who gets up this early??? I go back on call at one, and am patiently waiting to find out whether or not they'll grant me an extra day off tomorrow. I desperately need some beach time!

Friday, July 17, 2009

RIP Nikon

I read somewhere that in order to make my blog more exciting, I needed more photographs and snapshots. Good advice, bad outcome.


After my fabulous Glasgow for the 4th, and kilo of cherries in Frankfurt, I decided that finally in Belfast, I did indeed need more shots of the cool things I do on layovers. I picked the trip up because it was the only position I was willing to work and I knew if I didn't pick up the chance of working was not good. There were these two cool senior mamas on the trip who picked it up to hang out and invited me along to take the tour of the city.


Belfast is a mildly depressing and sad place. There's a lot of British/Irish turmoil and we toured the murals and spent time on Bombay Street. And that's where it happened. I dropped my camera. Here are the last shots I got:







And the next trip I got? Paris, for Bastille Day. Sans camera. So the great debate ensues: fix it for $80 (it needs a new LCD screen) or wait for Santa to bring me a new one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

International, First Class, PARIS

Update: I did indeed get a trip. Late Paris. Here now.

Did you know it's Bastille Day???

Eff yeah.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wishing, and Hoping, and Thinking and Praying

Right now, at this very moment as I type this, I'm on call. I originally bid the 1-9 pm call out line; that means scheduling can only contact me during those eight hours, and as always I'm subject to reassignment. I was reassigned a different call out line for today, 11-7. I've been sitting around for the past four waiting for the phone to ring and another four to go. I just keep wishing/hoping/thinking/praying for a good trip tonight. I'm next on the list which means only one more trip has to pop into open time and its mine! I'll keep yous guys posted - just keep those positive 'you're going to get a trip' vibes coming my way!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Congratulations!

Three of my friends are getting married this year: my BFF from 8th grade to her college sweetheart, my best friend from Rutgers who has loved her Marine for the past five years, and a fellow reserve friend who's expecting. Moreover, my best flight attendant friend got engaged last night.

I'm destined to be an old maid.

I have conflicting feelings about all this - I'm excited for each one of them and I truly wish them the best! It's just that we're all at this awkward in between age of still living at home (bride #2 will be living at home until her wedding night, that makes me feel better) and not quite yet started our "real lives". But the more I look around, the more I realize that this is pretty much it. And to keep track of this in between-ness time and to celebrate my pity party, I invested in my very own Skagen two faced mother of pearl bling watch. I figured it was slightly more positive than the Burger King that I desperately wanted to gorge myself on. Did I mention I got a good deal on it? Mazel tov!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

AM's Best Week Ever!

This past week at work has been one of my best weeks ever. Started off celebrating the 4th in Glasgow. Dropped 30 pounds at Primark, my favorite British store, and then had a free burger and beer to celebrate our Independence from Britain, which is a big deal to the Scots. It was one of the first times the entire crew, all six flight attendants, two pilots, and the captain's wife, hung out and socialized for an extended period of time. I got to work with one of my favorite fellow juniority reserves up in first class, always a treat! And then when I got home from that fabulous trip, I was assigned Frankfurt (Frankfurt, First Class, International... haha!) with another reserve buddy of mine. This Frankfurt was even better than the last - this crew was so much fun! We had a great relaxing layover full of shopping and find German dining with those world class German beers! The running joke of the evening was how badly the captain was trying to set me up with his 26 yr old son - regional pilot, smoker, who lives in Austin... and has a girlfriend. I guess he likes me better...? As we were deplaning he said let me know when you lower your standards and I'll give you his number! It's just so refreshing to work in an environment where everyone is on the same page, trying to accomplish the same goals (feed everyone and get to and fro safely), with easy-going, positive, can-do kind of attitudes.

This week has just made me very thankful not only for a job in general, but one as fabulously amazing as mine. I most certainly am one lucky and blessed woman!



OH! And as for my grand eating tour of the country, I had my schnitzel and cherries for breakfast before even leaving the hotel, a chocolate croissant in the airport, and I also bought a sandwich to enjoy en route to EWR. Every last bite was so tasty and delicious, each calorie so worth the workout I have planned for myself tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

EWR2FRA

I spent today doing the grand eating tour of Frankfurt. I bought a kilo (by accident, I wanted a half) of cherries. These are the sweetest, softest cherries I've ever had in my life! So amazing, I know I won't be able to have any more at home for the rest of the season. A bunch of us went out to dinner and had a fabulous dinner of J├Ągerschnitzel and beers, with a gelatto cone for dessert. It's unfortunate that on these amazing non-UK layovers, the only thing I really want to do is eat. Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Marrying Up

Its official: I have to marry a doctor, and definitely the medical kind.

A few months ago, I was chopping an onion for my special Lent vegetable soup when I missed and took a chunk out of my middle finger. My father came home from work to find me with my left hand wrapped in paper towels, on the phone with my doctor's office asking how to determine whether or not I needed stitches. I didn't, but had a nasty wound for days. Not cute when working first class aisle.

Today, we had decided on tacos for dinner and I was to make the guacamole. Three avocados were $4.95 at the Super Wal-Mart; my mother was less than pleased. So about a half hour prior to dinner, I started chopping the ingredients. A tomato, a bit of onion, small piece of garlic, and then it was time to half the avocado. I cut into the first one, and when I went to remove the pit with the knife I somehow managed to take a chunk out of my ring finger on my left hand. This cut was far more painful than the first; my first instinct was to cover the wound, apply pressure, and hold it above my head. It was one of those flap kind of cuts, and being that I have no real medical knowledge, I didn't want to head to the hospital right away and embarrass myself. So I made my mother take me across the street to the neighbor's house, who's a nurse, to assess my situation. Due to the "flap" nature, they usually don't stitch that type of flesh wound. From these experiences I have deduced two things: I clearly should not be allowed to use a knife and most definitely need to marry a doctor to take care of me and the subsequent children of the union because we all know how well I handle medical emergencies.

And my hand still hurts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bed Bath and Bunyons

I recently read this statistic:

If a 150 lb woman wears 4 inch heels, that's 300 lbs of pressure on her toes in each step.

No wonder why I have issues with my toes! So today when I was wondering around Bed Bath and Beyond, I found Pampered Toes Spa Therapy and let me tell you - they're amazing! For every hour I'm forced to cram my precious toes into heels, I plan on wearing my new Pampered Toes. Just like your teeth, you only get one set of feet!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Danger Will Robinson!


State of Affairs circa 1700's

With everything crazy going on in this world, I find it amazing at how prolific are the writings of our Founding Fathers. I recently friended a HS/RU buddy of mine on the MyFace; we used to ride the same bus. This was the quote on his profile/information page and it made me think:

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dating Pilots: Yay or Nay

My parents are huge Bachelor/Bachelorette fans. I admit to watching the first season when Helene won (what ever happened to that Jersey girl?) and the season with Andrew Firestone and I vaguely recall that Bob guy who dumped his show honey for a bunny. This is the first Monday I've been home in a while and Jillian is this season's Bachelorette; one of her suitors is Jake, a commercial pilot from Texas. I fly with lots of commercial pilots from Texas, none of which are as nice and sweet as him. Jake, pilot from Texas, I sure as hell hope you're EWR based on the 75/76 and would love to have the pleasure of flying with you!

And if Jillian so sillily doesn't give you the rose you deserve, I hope you become the next Bachelor!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dog Looks Like A Lady

Many moons ago, when I was domestic, I flew with a woman named Shaney. She was black with a kicking fro and the thing I remembered most about her was this story that she shared while discussing reserve life. One morning she got called in for airport alert and wasn't feeling very well and said, "Lord, if I go anywhere, please let it be Honolulu." And it was. This story is every reserves dream; who doesn't want HNL? I always have such great hope and anticipation for airport alert, and more often than not end up back at home. An hour and a half away.
Last Wednesday, I got the scheduling wake up call at 7:28 am to be at the airport at 10:10 for the beloved airport appreciation. I had come in from Glasgow the day before and was already packed, but it still left me with a mere 30 minutes to shower, get dressed, grab food, and get out the door. Made it to the airport with time to stop at Starbucks for a soy latte (iced! yum!), and downstairs to have a lovely conversation with Candido the Scheduler. I told him he could send me anywhere - wave my legalities, roll my days, I didn't care as long as it got me out of EWR via airplane. Within the first hour my favorite fellow cheering flight attendant showed up; he helps make the time fly. Then things really started getting exciting in the crew room. First, the duty desk paged for any pursers in the room. Even though I am not one, I've done the job before and offered my services. To Beijing. Denied. Then, we were keeping an eye on open time and two Hong Kongs and a Honolulu popped in. Phone rings; its for me.

"Flight Attendant Alyssa?"

"Yes, Scheduler Candido?"
"I'm going to need you to head up to gate C-121. You're going to Honolulu."

"GET OFF THE PLANE!" (its my favorite expression, I find it far more humorous than the traditional shut the f up, shut the front door, stop it, etc... especially when actually on the plane)

That may have been a slight exaggeration, but I was a bit over excited. So of course I just go running up to the gate, without printing a pairing, checking in at the duty desk, nothing. I was so early at the gate I had time to digest, call the duty desk to clue them in, grab some food, mentally prepare. I ended up working first class aisle which is always a nice relaxing position after having been aft galley on my last trip. I also managed to score a lei from one of the other flight attendants, highly festive and very kind of her to share.


So we board, check equipment, brief, get ready for the passengers. They begin to board and I start running pre-departure beverages. And of course every time I have a second in the galley I'm jumping up and down chanting "HONOLULU HONOLULU HONOLULU!!!" (you can ask David and Ben, it was almost embarrassing). I get to row 4 and see what appears to be two tanned blond women and I say in my excited-we're-going-to-Honolulu voice, "Hello ladies, can I get you something to drink?" So the blond in the aisle says to her husband, DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER, "Did she just call us ladies?"


Mortified. I was absolutely mortified. As was the deadheading pilot behind her, for me.


I went with the sorry I saw hair excuse and asked again if they'd like a drink. They did not. And then 10 hours later when all the passengers deplaned, somebody left this behind:




(B.B. 2009)



As for my layover in HNL, I did everything I wanted to do: have beers and fish tacos at Dukes, learn how to surf and eat sushi. I did manage to catch some waves and I'm still sore. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I can't wait to go back! Just think, in 23 years that'll be my line!



Thursday, May 28, 2009

May: Past, Present, Vacation and Sleep

This May was not nearly as exciting as the past two flying Mays have been. My first May as a flight attendant I was in the domestic base, but they used me for four international trips - two LGW (oh Gatwick! how I heart thee!), a Manchester, and Copenhagen. I told everyone I just got home from Copenhagen for months after that; phenomenal. May 2008 was Glasgow, two Heathrows, a COLOGNE, Dublin and Manchester, for a grand total of 92 flight hours. Even at my measly $20/hour I still made bank. This May? I had vacation, so I ended up with 16 days off. Even with so many days off I had room for 4 1/2 trips (the last one goes into the next bid month). I currently have three - Glasgow, Heathrow, and Dublin at 65 flight hours, 21 of which are vacation. Bitches.

In my two weeks at home, I managed to substitute teach four times. It is not my favorite. I'm there for what feels like hours on end and when the day's over, I'm still in Twp... I feel like I should be in Europe! Its not a difficult job and actually, many people are trying to talk me into it but I don't have the passion nor desire to be trapped in school all day. I already went to school and have the degrees to prove it. School also starts really early; I have to be up at 5:30 to get to school on time and that's just too early. My international sleep schedule says sleep at one, up at ten (this past week I've been hitting 11! Hoarding sleep like whoa). The conflicting time on my body is rough. I have today off but the district in my town didn't call, nor did I find anything cool on the computer. And now that I've been getting up at 11 this past week the idea of forcing myself up early tomorrow to babysit small children, well, its not a priority. I've started working out (walking, crunches, push ups), cooking (baked fried chicken, chili), and I even did some laundry. All the while, I wish I was flying.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

High School

Today, I went to high school and was the sub for freshmen English. While the job itself was easy, it made me long for LHR! I was fortunate to be in a really nice school that fosters a great sense of community and commitment to education; it just made me appreciate my career that much more. I'm trying to find another assignment for tomorrow but I have yet to find anything exciting. I guess I'm hoping to sub these next two days and a few next week...

Oh to live in the magical land of holding a line!

Monday, May 11, 2009

International Flying V. East Coast Time

I haven't flown too much this year; in a good month, I'm lucky to do four trips. I just got all of my substitute teaching things together to assist with the current poverty condition but here's the problem: school's during the day.

I came in from LHR on Sunday and took a two and half hour nap. I got up at 7 and picked at whatever it was we had for dinner and went to bed around one (had I forgone aforementioned nap, I would have been in bed by 8 or 9). This morning I was up at 9:30, and lived in a state of fog til the late afternoon. Finally at 5 the fog lifts and I'm ready to go! Right now its 10:30 and I'm wide awake and slightly hungry even though I hit my three squares a day today. I'll be up til one again and it will be the same fog tomorrow. I guess I'm going to have to work harder to combat it and find new coping mechanisms... Like coming home JJ gave me a Crystal Light energy powder to add to my water! It was way better than Red Bull, it did not give me wings, and no vodka necessary. A vitamin B regiment is in my future, for sure. Perhaps if I try harder to work out and exercise that will assist in getting synapses firing and waking up without creating the dreaded caffeine addiction. Its almost easier to fly all the time and not worry about living life on east coast time. But now I have these next two weeks off, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself. My original goal was to sub both weeks... I'll keep you posted in this battle between flying and normal people time.

Someday, in the magical land of holding a line, I can just go to work like a normal person (100 hours! mainland Europe! back galley! first class aisle! piggy back trips!) and do my job and have a real life that doesn't revolve around someone calling me into the office. Someday, when I'm on fifth year pay making real money, I won't need a second job during the winter months. Someday when I meet Fictitious, and I'll get to fly because I want to and not because I have to. These somedays aren't wishes for better times to indicate a distaste for today, just hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow. Well, except for that one about Fictitious - you got me.

And as for tomorrow, I'll be five squared!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Most Embarassing Moment... To Date

I haven't been to work since that alert last Sunday. That's what I get for throwing caution to the wind and leaving the heavy decision making to the scheduling gods. A lot happened that night, I'm still digesting it and here's how it went down. I got to the terminal, went to the loo, and proceeded to security check point C-3; C-2 that's closest to the loo was closed. I was ushered to the front of the line, as it was time for me to make the donuts, placed my belongings on the conveyor belt, had them blasted with an x-ray machine, walked threw the metal detector and proceeded to reclaim my things. As I was putting myself back together again, when one of the TSA agents came over to me, very hush hush and began with "Ma'am, I have to tell you this. Your skirt is unzipped in the back." Lo and behold, my bright ass green tank, black hose with matching green underwear was on display for all to see. But for how long??? And why hadn't anyone told me??? Is that why the black girls going through the other side were laughing? At me and my unfortunate wardrobe malfunction? And what was my skirt doing undone? How could my mother let me leave the house like this??? So many questions, so embarrassing and if this is the most horrifying thing to happen to me to date, I'll take it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Said Ooo LaLa, Said Ooo... Beat the Bears!

As I'm sure you're well aware, I meet some rather strange people in my line of work. Passengers, pilots, fellow cabin crew - its a mixed bag of folks from around the world and you never quite know what you're going to get. A few nights ago I had to sit airport alert until 12:45 am! What I like about alert is every now and then you come across people you haven't seen in months, domestic kiddies that you haven't seen in years, and there's always a friend of a friend who's sitting alert and conversation ensues.

So a bunch of couch flyers were at a table near the phone (which was not ringing... it never rings when I sit alert) and I'm talking to this guy. He's from Dallas, his dad's a pilot here... and he used to be a NCA cheer camp instructor! Before I know it, we're busting out choreography that's a solid 10 years old, dancing about the crew room! We started watching all the cheer-related things we could get our hands on youtube... he's old teams, teams in the northeast. We were looking in particular for the Bombs over Baghdad advanced dance from NCA 2001 camp; our search was futile considering that we danced and cheered many moons ago, before there was such thing as YouTube. Hopefully next time we fly together it'll be on the 777 and we can dance all the way to LHR in the aft galley! That alert was amazing and the fastest one I've ever sat through. He is by far the coolest person I've met on the job yet!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Guess There Really Is a Crew Line EVERYWHERE!

Thanks to the economy, airfares around the country and world have dramatically reduced themselves. For the first week in June: NYC to Dublin? Less than $500. Dubai instead? $900. Same for Sydney, both of which are on the other side of the planet! With this rise in discount fares comes the rise in discount passengers... I may not be able to afford teeth and consistently prove every single stereo type but by golly we're going to the other side of the world to a land that hates Americans, only to wonder why the flight attendants roll their eyes at us, the locals were mean, and got pick pocketed daily. Oh the horrors! Suddenly there are choruses of "Well, on Southwest..." in the cabin all summer long, the whole way to Europe. I'm excited for these people that they get to experience these things; please bring your common sense along. I will do my best to be patient but there's no cure for stupid. A lovely flight attendant friend sent me this, and as the summer travel season is upon us, I found it rather fitting:



Last night as I lay sleeping
I died .. or so it seemed,
Then I went to heaven
But only in my dream

Up there St Peter met me
Standing at the pearly gates,
He said, 'I must check your record...
Please stand here and wait.'

He turned and said 'Your record
Is covered with terrible flaws,
On earth I see you rallied
For every losing cause.'

I see that you drank alcohol
And smoked and partied too,
Fact is, you've done everything
A good person should never do.

We can't have people like you up here...
Your life was full of sin,
Then he read the last of my record,
Took my hand and said, 'Come in.'

He led me up to the Chief of Heaven ...
'Take her in and treat her well',
She used to work in the Airline Industry ...
She's done her time in hell.'

Friday, April 17, 2009

Perfect Fifths

Perfect Fifths is the fifth installment of the Jessica Darling series written by Megan McCafferty; the openning scene takes place in none other than EWR, at gate 88 right next to the Garden State Diner. Reading it gave me the warm fuzzies in my heart, not only because I love these characters but I've been there and I've seen things like this happen. I've seen family reunions in the terminal, watched the lovers reunite. Airports are amazing places - there's also a scene in Jennifer Weiner's Good In Bed that takes place in EWR. Holler. Newark is a magical place and "mad props" to all you authors out there who know it.

As for my own personal favorite airport story... it hasn't happened yet. Every trip when I clear customs I dream about Fictitious standing there waiting with flowers and princess parking (that means having parked in short term parking 100 ft away, not the employee lot an albino Rutgers bus ride away). I keep saying every morning when we clear customs in foreign cities that one of these trips I'm just going to pick some random person and go running for them and say ridiculous things like "OMG you're here! You remembered! I missed you! How's mom???" and pretend like they're there for me. I'm almost 97.5% sure if I did that, I'd be suspended from duty so for now I'll refrain... that is unless Fictitious just happens to show up in Dublin, Frankfurt, Birmingham. But not Heathrow, we miss that whole Love Actually scene because the bus picks us up at the aircraft. It makes me sad because that's my favorite part.

I'm a sucker for a kiss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why I Fly International

This is stolen from Peach; she's a domestic flight attendant. These truly are the people they deal with on a daily basis. You Americans are the worst!


I must say the economy has sent people overboard. Working in the airline industry is a very different lifestyle all together. We meet tons of people daily, traveling all over the world, and hear tons of crazy stories. However yesterday drove me to the brink... I was working a flight from Chicago to Newark. We had pulled away from the gate and got word from Air Traffic that we were still delayed for 1hr 15mins on the runway. Of course the passengers were driving us nuts asking for a movie, water, refunds etc. After the 1hr 5min delay, we took off. Luckily, it wasn't a longer delay due to the fact that Chicago O'Hare and Newark are known for AT LEAST a few hours delay. Soon we were airborne. While getting the beverage cart ready, someone rang their flight attendant call button. I said "Okay lets get that bell when we move to the top of the aisle." A few seconds later we began our service. As Terence (the other guy working with me, he is new..it was his 3rd week working for us) was pulling the cart forward a man approached him yelling, "It is sooo hot, I need food, are you going to do something about it? this is pathetic." Terence, being new shook his head and said "Okay sir, have a seat, be with you shortly." Then I stepped in saying "Sir, do you have a problem?" Well..that sent things over the edge. "Yes, I do. I have a problem with you all not taking care of the situation." He then stood and began screaming at me. Well, I screamed back. "SIT DOWN. SIT IN YOUR CHAIR RIGHT NOW. NO ONE EVER RECEIVED ANYTHING BY BEING RUDE." He says "I will show you rude, your rude. This is pathetic. How many more minutes do I have to spend on this airplane?" so I keep yelling, "Sir, minutes are irrelevant compared to your behavior at this time, sit down. I have had it with you. You are acting like a child." So he didn't give up. He got in my face pointing at me screaming while his wife yelled "Shut up and sit down Tom!" Well I didn't give up either. I am sick of people thinking they can run over us. Needless to say, TOM (a 62 year old man that needed to be put in his place) wanted to keep standing his ground. I served him a sandwich as nicely as possible, thinking he would not say a word. Then he yells again "I need all your employee information. You are pathetic." My reply "Oh okay, so now your being mature and calling me names. Trust me honey, you will have all my information by the time we land and the NJ police* meet this flight." He kept yelling... and called me a few names from his seat. When we landed, cops met the plane. TOM began yelling at them as well. I then stepped into the jetway with Tom, the police, the captain and the rest of the crew. Tom then yells "I should hit you, you are pathetic" directed towards me. So, here I go again "I wish you would...I could take you old man...I would have a knee to your spine in a second and you would be biting the curb." Then the Captain said "Hit her..I WISH YOU WOULD." The NJ police let me say whatever I wanted. SO I told him how he is a ridiculous grown man that has no respect for women. Needless to say, he got so irate that they threw him face down and handcuffed him. Then TOM was on his merry way.

I can't believe this..I really can't. I am still in shock. The economy had completely driven people to this point, and I am not dealing with it on a metal tube at 35,000ft. I am really burnt out at this point. I need a vacation. Everyone thinks my job is just "peachy". However, times have changed. People are hateful towards others... such a sad, sad situation. Not sure how much longer I can take this job... just needed to vent. Then to top it all off... our turbulence was severe enough to almost bring me to tears. I landed in ATL this morning in 200+ mph winds and we nearly "bit the bullet" is what the captain said. I have never been so scared during a landing...I cannot believe we keep landing in these conditions...



*NY/NJ Port Authority Police handle any sort of aircraft situation at EWR, LGA, and JFK as well as the bridges, tunnels, rails, and ferries in NYC and Northern Jersey. Rent a cop they are not!



Domestic flying was burning me out because of how poorly scheduling treated me, multiple legs a day with minimum rest in between, and horrid horrid passengers that made me want to move to the prairie land and live in isolation. International passengers know the drill, know how to behave (and if they don't, they're American), and are followers of the golden rule. European nations have this societal believe of taking care of one another; not us and it shows.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!

I went to high school with this kid. There are articles all over the place in the Courier Post and Inquirer about him; its pretty exciting.



On a slightly less positive note, there's this TSA screener in EWR that lived next door to me in the freshman dorms at Rutgers. He used to play his "urban" tunes quite loudly and make the hallway reek of weed; I'm shocked no one ever caught on to his shenanigans (disclaimer - I will admit that this is technically hearsay, and you do have to pass a drug test to work for the feds). But he still checks your suitcases for liquids and explosives...

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm Writing You From London

I have now started to refer to our hotel here in Londontown as my flat. It feels like home; so much so when we walked in the door this morning, it was all hugs and kisses from the leaving late crew because I knew everyone. You know, like when you show up late for festive holiday dinner (Italian style, not WASP). My day consisted of the usual four hour nap, went across the street to buy some munchies - Jaffa cakes - and we met up for dinner at 5. This was a truly inspiring experience because I actually took the tube over to Embankment and had dinner on the other side of the Thames with a few friends. We walked over Westminster bridge and took snapshots in St. James Park, hiked over Trafalgar Square and down past SoHo. Speaking of which there were a few lovely used book shoppes I want to hit next time I'm here. I wasn't too thrilled to be on this trip yesterday; it wasn't the one I wanted and sometimes I just get sick of coming here! But at the end of the day, I'm still 3,500 miles from home ;)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

International, First Class, London Heathrow (up)

As of next week, I will have been coming to the Heathrow-up for a year. I'm sure if you looked at a record of all my trips, this is by far the place I've been to the most, with Dublin or Manchester shortly behind. I have been to the Tate Modern, seen Wicked at the Apollo, a drag queen perform at the coolest night club with my boys (S&C I love yous guys), G-A-Y and G-A-Y Late, all the mushy peas and Nando's you could eat. I have indulged my love of beer, refined my awesome style in Primark, M&S, and Debenhams. I've met some of the most amazing people both here and good old Gatwick that have changed my life and the way I choose to look at the world. I know the big fancy line holders refuse to come here (well right now I wish they did), but this hotel and city has been my home away from home for a year. As for now, this is my life and its what my juniority can hold and I have chosen to embrace this is city of fog and love it...



My current career goal is to learn German, be a speaker, and hold Frankfurt.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Geneva! Frustrations and Praises

I'm sitting in Switzerland at the moment, and would like to take this opportunity to express frustrations at the meteorologists and foreign carrier that used to stay at this hotel. First of all, it is not raining. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I packed my ugly layover clothes. Awesome. And as for you, you foreign carrier who was kicked out of this hotel, thanks for doing whatever it is that you do to have our microwave privileges revoked. Swiss francs are just about one to one to the dollar, and a club soda at the bar is 6 of them. I took the time to bring dinner with me and now I'm going to have to imagine-er a way to heat it up in my room using a high ball glass, two tea cups, and a Euro kettle. Score.

However, I must admit that I'm rather excited not to be in LHR! Last night I had alert till 11:30, and there was a late LHR that I was eligible to pick up. I got bumped at 2:30; scheduling interrupted my crew rest to let me know but I ignored them like a good reserve. They called again at 10:30 am to tell me I was indeed bumped and at that moment, a Geneva had popped into open time. I would like to give a shout out to the scheduler who let me have it! I won't be sending you a key chain as you had requested, due to the fact that I can't afford it, but I appreciate what you did for me. I won't even grieve the rest interruption :)
*Update* - After I posted the above, I went outside for a walk and just as I stepped out of the door, big slushy rain flakes began to fall from the sky. Just my luck. I ended up at the grocery store, and then it was back to my room. The only thing missing was my sweat pants!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nice Try

Dear Ex-Boyfriend(s),

Now I'm not sure which one of you, but I'm missing a few of my classic cds such as Finch, The Starting Line, GUK, Pink Floyd, etc. There is no way that I can possibly know what it is to burn, or continue to have east coast envy with out them. Please return them to me; I still live in the same white house with black shutters. I may still have a few things of yours like a teddy bear or two, but you took back all the other good stuff.

I'm guessing this means that I'm just out a few cds and will have to fly an extra LHR to purchase them back...

Worth a shot, right?

Always (just not forever),
Alyssa

PS - Tonight, I have airport alert from 1930 to 2330.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Catering to Crew Members

I think that someone should provide oil changes and other car related services for crew members while they are on their trips. I am in dire need of an oil change and firmly believe that I should be able to pay someone to take care of this while I'm flying. I'll be gone for 48 hours; that's plenty of time. I could go to work, park my car, drop my keys off, and when I get back - BAM! Fresh oil for another 3,000 miles. How exciting would that be??? It would almost be as cool as as crew line in the supermarket...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Well... Part Zwei

Saturday, I did a Dominican Republic turn; there was this guy sitting in first class with his father reading a Vonnegut book. I stopped to chat and of course as it would turn out, he too majored in geography and loves to read. Surprisingly enough, he slipped me his number disguised as a Vonnegut reading list. No, he wasn't my type and no I will not be calling him. Perhaps if I keep passing out my number, karma will keep slipping me others and eventually we'll both get this aeronautical love equation right ;)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Well...

I finally did it. I gave my phone number to the hottie sitting in 16J. I slipped it to him on a napkin. I highly doubt he'll call, but hey. You never know.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Southwest and S.I.

Riddle me this Batman:

If Southwest Airlines was the carrier that denied boarding to a woman dressed in a white mini skirt, claiming her outfit was lewd and inappropriate, why are they putting a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on one of their aircrafts???

If they want to be known as a modest and family-friendly airline, that goes for everyone in and on the plane... will they be airbrushing her a cover up?

I think not.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And that airport is...

NEWARK LIBERTY!

C'mon now people. What other airport, aside from LHR, do I ever really talk about???

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Name That Airport!

I'll give you a hint: this is one of my favorite airports. Clearly, it is not SNA due to the SNOW; moreover, the only reason why that's one of my favorites is because I can fit my roller and tote in the bathroom stall. Anywho... name that airport!



Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things

Currently on the MyFace, there's this note/bulletin thing running around where you're supposed to post 16 (now its up to 25 and that's just absurd) random factoids about yourself. Well, here's mine to share with all of you:

1. I am finally learning German and while its difficult, I love it!

2. I heart beer, and am a complete beer snob.

3. I party in Europe, and refuse to do so state side. In Europe they dance like its 1985, and you can't beat that.

4. Yes, I'm spoiled and like Euro things better - because they are! Except the men...

5. Men from California/the west are my weakness. The more times you can work the word "dude" into a sentence, the slower and clearer your English is, the more laid back you are, the better! And it gets me into trouble every time...

6. My job is more of a lifestyle, and it suits me well.

7. My goal in life is to be the First Lady.

8. My favorite band is still The Get Up Kids. Some things never change.

9. I have a cat named Rowdy, and that's the best adjective to describe her.

10. The best vacation I ever went on was Greece with Maureen. I make you lamb!

11. Buzz... your girlfriend... woof!

12. Someday, I'd like to be a Dr and teach college kiddies about places, cities, food policy, suburbs, and all those other geographic things.

13. I really like school... how blasphemous is that???

14. My favorite place to be in the world is on the plane. I've fallen in (and out) of love on one, I work on them, and they always take me to where I want to be.

15. Home is a feeling, and the only geographic location to ever inspire that in me is my Grandmother's house.

16. The best I have ever felt, the most amazing day I've ever had, was a sunny weekday in April 2006(Thursday maybe?) when I handed in my finished senior thesis. It was so gratifying and fulfilling, and to this day, it is one of my defining accomplishments.

17. Though I do love beer, my drink of choice is Jack and ginger; I've learned to have a drink like a lady and not the whole bottle like a whore.

18. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd like to extend a big thank you to the super sluts who put out on the first date, are non-discriminatory serial daters, and have single-handedly destroyed any modicum of decency, morality, romance, and chivalry that used to be known as courting... way to lower those standards!

19. My favorite color is green. You're so totally surprised, you can't even deal. I know.

20. I love strange B class movies like Mystery Men, Mystery Alaska, Heartbreakers, Just Friends. Those movies that maybe you once saw a commercial for, or they play it at ten in the morning when no one's really watching tv anyway.

21. I must love you a lot if we chat via text. If you have something important to say (for example, I'd like to see you, or I would not like to see you) then you really should call. Moreover, texting does not allow for proper punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, or my sub par attempts at humor.

22. I firmly believe that the Boeing 757 is the worst smelling of all the aircrafts. Trust me.

23. New Jersey shore.

24. OMG I AM 24. I have an entire lifetime still ahead of me and I'm not in a rush anymore.

25. My sister is effing awesome. She's way cooler than anyone else I know and I love her dearly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

auf Wiedersehen you Ass!

As we all know, I'm a hopeless romantic and far more hopeless than anything else. I'm a sucker for a good story, especially my own. I recently invested in the book "Why Men Love Bitches" and I'm the girl that the author explicitly tells you NOT to be. I suppose it's just one of those character flaws that I'm working on, along with keeping the top of my dresser tidy. So here's the latest, and how I have finally prevailed... sort of.

I had been talking to some guy for a few months. He would do the normal boy thing and arrange to see me and then break our plans in such a lovely way that would keep me hanging on. To get to the point swiftly, he called the night prior to make plans to hang out for the weekend - which involved me flying there and a trip to the zoo! (We all know how I feel about the zoo! Actung! Elefanten!). I called my flight attendant bff to gush and plan the wardrobe. About an hour later, I get a text, no less, explaining that he had to rain check our plans because he was going to Vegas with the boys instead. I was floored. I mean, at least grow a pair and call me! This was followed up with a series of I owe you a visit, text me to let me know you got this, so sorry, etc. I ignored them and changed my MyFace status to "going to the zoo!".

In the morning, I set my alarm for departure time to send a text stating that "I just barely made it on the plane and got the last seat! See you at said time, said gate, and flight number!" all while never leaving the comforts of my own bed! I proceeded to turn off my phone to simulate the plane ride. The level of excitement to turn my phone back on was almost too much; and it was far more gratifying than I ever could have expected. Homeslice blew that shit up with something along the lines of... "did u not get my texts??? how could you not check your text messages??? god how many more times could i have told you not to come! i'm so pissed... fuck. this is a shitshow now" and two hours later, followed up with an "sorry for this morning i was just frustrated... trying to work it out". I laughed for over an hour, reveling in the fact that I indeed made him squirm all day.

And here's the part that makes me, well me, and a door mat. My conscience, complete with that utterly annoying Catholic guilt, got the best of me. A bit after arrival time I admitted to having never left the state. But why? Why should I remotely feel any guilt? I shouldn't! The only conclusion that I can draw is that I can't believe I did it. This is not how I roll, and it is not how I like to be treated. The best (the worst?) part is I weaseled my way out of owning up the fact that I'm done. I didn't say the words please leave me alone, lose my number, I'm just not that into you, oh no its definitely you and not me. Perhaps I had owned up to what I was really thinking this time, and so many others, I'd feel better about it. But that would require confrontation, which to me is a fate worse than death! Arg! Damn those little nuns and years of learning what it means to sin and treating people how you'd like to be treated. Blast and dammit!