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 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 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 ;)