Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Squeakiest Wheel Gets Oiled

The above was one of my grandmother's favorite sayings. One of my biggest flight attendant/pilot pet peeves is loud, squeaky roller board wheels. There's no reason to have inoperative wheels that are louder in the terminal than the ever annoying, constantly playing TSA announcement "unattended baggage will be removed immediately for inspection and may be damaged or destroyed".

And I was guilty of said wheels. They were loud. I've had my bag for three years and these are my second set of wheels; they used to roll beautifully. I have roller blade wheels and for about two and half years, they functioned perfectly. In the last few trips, I've noticed my bag being a bit harder to drag and noisy. At first, I didn't even know the sound was coming from my bag! When I got off my last trip (ps - I just worked two trips in a row, which is something I haven't done since September!) and my dad took a look at them. The bearings had rusted a bit, so he cleaned them up and WD-40 - ed it up! He claims they're now all ready to go. I'm hoping to get another year or two out of my roller but I'm ready for a new tote. Tote #3.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To the Couch... And Beyond!

Guess who got assigned yet ANOTHER round of airport alert??? That's right - I had alert on Tuesday at 2:30 in the afternoon. Woot. I got called around 4 to go to Stockholm, which was exciting! Well, except that it's still winter in Sweden and I failed to bring my coat. All the other line holding - I know where I'm going - flight attendants had their coats. I was forced to be a bad stew and wear my sweater - in the terminal!

The trip over was an easy 7 hours 15 minutes. We all had breakfast together; it was one of the nicest breakfast spreads I've seen at a crew hotel (for free) in a long time. Stockholm is like the big kid Dublin with its hot breakfast and fancy gym. I slept from 9 to 4, and at 5 went downstairs to the gym. Two of the flight attendants and I signed up for two classes offered at the health club - body pump and power yoga. Then we sat in the sauna for 15 minutes. Back up to the room for a light dinner of a luke warm lean cuisine heated in the sink with boiling water and asleep by 10:30 for a wake up call at 5. Buns on the van at 6, and another 8 hours and 40 minutes home.

I wasn't sad that I didn't go outside and see the city. Sometimes trips are work. But if work means hanging out with a pleasant, friendly crew and working out at a beautiful gym, I'd take that over your cubicle any day. From the window in the crew van, Stockholm is definitely a beautiful city. There was still snow on the ground, though most of it was grey and dirty; the waterways throughout the city were mostly frozen or had chunks of ice floating around. I'm excited to go back and hopefully will get a chance to go in the summer!

AND I'm good for another three days.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fines for NJ Transit?

For those of you who live in the northeast, you're aware that we've been pounded by your standard issue nor'easter storm. It's similar to a hurricane, it has no name, and this particular storm at tornado force winds. As a result, a New Jersey Transit commuter train on the northeast corridor (NYC to PHL) was trapped, powerless, between stations for five hours and more details can be read here. In the aviation industry, that would result in a hefty FAA fine; so much so that Continental Airlines has announced that it would just cancel flights instead - that can be read here. So does that mean that NJ Transit has to pay up? Its the same people, lacking the same amenities in circumstances that are beyond their control and they're at the mercy of ATC, the airline, mass transit organization, Amtrak, and as always Mother Nature. Are the same rules and fines applicable to Greyhound or MegaBus or Bolt? I don't think its unreasonable to fine these public transportation operators should they fail to provide adequate emergency service, just as long as all mass transit operations are included.

As for you, fellow travelers, what's the deal with not bringing your own food? I always have at least a Special K bar in my purse and that's just when I go to the mall. Its either awfully brave or quite foolish of you to assume that an airline or train company can provide for all your needs, especially in the event of an emergency. So next time you head out there, pack a lunch, read the safety information card, and remember that you only have control over your actions and reactions.

Basketball and Ketchup

As lent proceeds forth, I have to stop and take a look around my life and take some stock in who I am today. I've dated my fair share of men in my short 25 years here and in their own ways, each of them opened my eyes and heart to their worlds, interests, and even families. I have taken a piece of them with me and I would be lying if I said it hasn't changed me. Its because of you I listen to the music that I do, or put too much ketchup on everything, and now, its because of you that I made a bracket for this year's NCAA men's basketball championship. Even though you and I more than likely won't get a chance to discuss the merit of my bracket (and let me tell you, its one bad ass bracket), I enjoyed making it and am actually looking forward to seeing how good of a guesser I am. Will I actually watch the games? Meh, they might be on mute in the background while I study German or blog about my totally awesome job. But will I keep checking my ESPN app and pay attention? Absolutely. I stole your hobby, and I'm okay with that. As I'm sure Mr. Up Next will be too :)

And for those of you who are interested here are my Final Four picks: Kansas, Kansas St, Temple and Duke. I know, I sort of played safe plus I hate THE Ohio State and almost anything from Texas, especially those Long Horns. I would like to see Gonzaga beat Kansas St, but I don't think it will really happen; moreover, I don't think the Spartans have it in them to make it to the Elite 8. I'd rather Montana than Temple. I read that article in the USA Today about the married couple who plays for Montana and I really liked that story, but that most certainly does not parlay itself into skills on the court. Then again, this is college basketball where anything can happen.

PS - My dad totally just made his bracket too. Its on!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Turned and Hosed


Thursday night, post airport alert, I opted not to go down the shore to my best friend's house. I was afraid scheduling would shaft me. When I logged in at nine, there was nothing on my line. Scheduling did, however, call me at 3:53 am for a St Thomas turn that checks in at 6:35. In the morning. Oh high time turns, how I loathe thee. I quickly got changed, packed a lunch, and started to drive. One thing that I had forgotten was how cool the crews are on these trips. Its usually a group of people who live in, and more often than not are from, New Jersey. They're crazy senior, like 25+ years and are just worldly and knowledgeable on matters of life.

As a flight attendant, you definitely work harder on these trips. Going down flight time was 3 hours 15 minutes and coming back it was over 4. In block time (meaning how much the trip was worth from doors close to open again) the turn was worth well over 8 hours; had it been a consecutive 8, then we would have been entitled to crew rest. But no. We did get crew meals coming back which was nice, as it is considered to be international complete with international override (read: I get paid an extra dollar an hour as with all international trips). It wasn't all bad, I was just exhausted and didn't get to do anything that I had planned with my friends this past week or beginning of the weekend.

PS - I FINALLY got some sleep. Last night, I went to bed at 8:30 and slept til 5:30 and took a two hour nap between 7 and 9. So I'm feeling okay but will most certainly need another 10 hours tonight. I'm hoping to make it til 9:30 tonight!


Dear Department Stores and Panty Hose Manufacturers:

Hello, my name is Alyssa, I'm a flight attendant; I am a whopping 5 ft 4 inches (okay okay, on a tall day, maybe) and 120 lbs. Poor circulation runs in my family and with the added stress of constantly being on my feet and the extra g forces with flying, I'm in need of some serious support hose. So where are they? Hanes Alive? You're okay but you stretch out quickly, rarely can I find you in jet black in my size, and in all honesty they're almost too big to begin with. Why are you the only brand available? Where's market competition? I shouldn't have to buy a new pair every trip but I do - of the cheap stuff. I suppose its better than nothing but more options, that fit correctly!, should be out there. Especially in the winter when people actually wear hose. Little people need support too. Thank you.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Double Jeopardy???

So last night I didn't crawl into bed until 11:30. I thought I was good to go, I planned out my day at home for Thursday: wake up around 8 or 9, enjoy breakfast, work out, study German, make dinner. Instead, I got the scheduling wake up call promptly at 4:30 in the morning, for domestic alert a 8 am. I wallowed in bed for a solid 15 minutes and then got up, showered, hit Wawa, and back to terminal C's crew dungeon for another 4 hours of flying the couch. I commiserated with the other reserves, took a mini nap, watched a movie and then a bunch of my friends showed up for their own bout with alert. I heard some horror stories involving high time turns, minimum crew rest and more alert. One of my friends got called out for a super delayed Orlando turn - like that's a fun crowd to be delayed with!

And I'm still good for tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arrested at 10:10

I'm still in need of some serious sleep.

After I finished blogging my last post, I logged onto my company's crew communication system to see if I had been assigned anything. And indeed I had: airport alert at 10:10 am. I ran around the house packing a bag fit for Honolulu and Asia, which is what those four hours cover. I was in bed by 10, up before 6:45, out the door an hour later, in the parking lot with 25 minutes to spare and downstairs meditating (read: sleeping) before my alert time even began. Four uneventful hours later, I was on my way home again. Instead of napping, I took advantage of the beautiful weather we're having in Jersey and went for a walk.

Is 8 pm too early to go to bed? I hope I can make it til 9!

AND I'm good for two more days.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Weekend of Crazy

I spent a few days on call, running around Jersey. I was down the shore, up to Bridgewater hanging out with my friends at the end of last week. Saturday morning, my dad and I woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to the Poconos for a morning of skiing. We hit the slopes for three hours in pure sunshine, conditions were perfect; and by the time noon rolled around the mountain was crowded and slushy. I came home, power napped, and then it was off to Restaurant Week in Atlantic City. J and I ended up at Arturo's in the Trop. Delicious. Then I lost $5 in penny slots. I spent the night at J's house, we went to church in Sunday morning and had a lovely breakfast. I took my sweet time getting ready for my Dublin trip that night. Off to Dublin Sunday night, hung out with the crew Monday and ate Indian, then back at home in my house Tuesday by 1 pm.

Yo quiero sleep.

And I'm good for another three days.