Archive for November, 2009

They Say Memory’s the First to Go…I Don’t Recall the Second

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 30 November, 2009 by Thomas

I'm warm in my coat.

I don’t think I was going to post anything, but after arriving in HSV I figured I should would.  It’s that time of year when things start to get a bit cold so I’ve broken out the ol’ winter coat.  It’s a nice coat, a very nicecoat.  I first wore this black, wool, calf-length overcoat in February of ’08 when I went to Chicago to interview for a certain legacy carrier.  This coat does bang-up job of keeping me warm when I can see my breath, and though it is neither company-issue nor compliant with our uniform standards I wear it to work (Company, give me a coat that 1) keeps me warm and 2) looks good and I will wear it).

In addition to having this great coat, I have something else – namely a tendency to forget things that I’ve just remembered and told myself that I won’t forget again.  As we’re deplaning in HSV I remember that I have I my have coat hanging in our coat closet on the plane.  I think that I should probably take it out and put it on the crew bags that I’ve just gotten out, but then decide that I’ll remember it because I have to remember to get my food off ice.  I do remember the food (you see where my priorities lie), but not the coat.  My flying partner reminds me of my coat as we’re going down the escalator to the hotel.

People are on board cleaning the plane, and I’m banging on the door trying to get down the jetbridge to retrieve my prized? coat.  No one comes.  I find the phone list and call the station manager; he’s apparently gone home (of course he has; it’s 10:30pm).  I call the ticket counter, and the lady tells me she’ll be there in a bit after she finishes with a baggage issue.  A few minutes later, instead of an airline employee coming to get my coat I’m assisted by the airport policeman.  Thankfully, he actually does his job and thought it suspicious that someone would sit behind a gate counter and play on his phone when there were no flights going out.  He gets on the radio, moves, shakes, and 15 minutes later I have my coat.  I’ve pissed away almost an hour of a 13-hour layover, but luckily we stay in the airport hotel . . . in the airport.  Whatever . . . I got my coat back and didn’t have to wake up at 6:30 to try and convince the crew that it was actually on the plane.

Oh, and I meant for this to be a lot shorter.

Dear Flight Attendant

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 28 November, 2009 by Thomas

Dear Hardworking Flight Attendant, I know we have instructions on how to cater the planes, but I’m not sure those instructions have been thought through to the end.  Instead of ordering the amount of catering we’re told to, I’m going to order more.  More cans of tonic water, seltzer, apple juice, and coke zero. I won’t order as much cranberry juice, water, or ice, though; you should do fine with one of each.  Also, I

Why so many serviettes and cups?

think those two white bags that we use to collect trash inflight should be enough to get you to Little Rock and back, so I won’t order any more of those, but you can never have enough trash can liners, so I’ll make sure you have enough to last through the Apocalypse…napkins, too. You can never have enough napkins so make sure the caterer brings you all eight packs of napkins.  There’s only 50 in a pack; how do they expect us to perform a beverage service with so few?  I mean, really.  Look, I know the galley diagram says we only need to have 20 beers on board, but that’s just wrong. We must have at least 22; what if we sell out during the flight?

Why? Why would you do this to me?

Oh, and I know I’m deadheading on your flight and it’s a courtesy I would expect you to extend to me, but I can’t help you cross seatbelts after the flight.  I’m kind of in a hurry to get in to the terminal and see if there’s someone I barely know who I might want to talk to.  Besides, you have another flight attendant to help you do that.  We don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen do we?  With love and respect,

A Lazy Flight Attendant

Dear Lazy Flight Attendant, I have received the plane that you so kindly catered for me.  I just have one suggestion, though.  Next time, just order what you’re supposed to.  We don’t have room on the plane for all the extra crap you request.  This job’s not hard, and I know you know how to count because you have to tally up the number of passengers you “serve” before the plane leaves the gate.  The Apocalypse is not close at hand; we don’t need 400 napkins or 18 trash bags for two flights lasting a combined three hours.  Don’t make my job harder because you’re a lazy wretch and don’t want to think.

Also, it’s quite all right that you didn’t help cross seatbelts.  Yes, it’s something you should do to help out a fellow flight attendant, but those 30 seconds you would have lost can go to much better use like smoking illegally on the ramp or waiting on your rollaboard in the jetbridge.  You do your job correctly, and I’ll do my job correctly.  Don’t make me do both; they don’t pay me enough.  With disdain and acrimony,

A Hardworking Flight Attendant.

I Buy Gold

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23 November, 2009 by Thomas

Now that most major carriers charge to check a bag, passengers are carrying on a lot more than they have in the past, and on mainline this is causing all sorts of problems, from delaying boarding to running out of overhead space for all the flying passengers.  One problem that we at the regional level have is people who try to bring bags on that don’t fit who then soil themselves when we tell them they can’t carry it on.

Since we fly RJs our overhead space is smaller, and bags that will fit on a B737 will not fit on our planes.  Gate agents make an announcement detailing as much, but people don’t listen, and when I tell someone his rollaboard cannot come on he comes up with all sorts of excuses, the most common being, “It fit on my last plane,” not realizing that this is a different plane flown by a different airline with different policies.  Leave it in the jetbridge, Tex.

A lot of people play the I’m-kind-of-a-big-deal card and tell me they have important papers, a computer, and expensive who-gives-a-craps in their bags like theirs are more important, but in my and the company’s eyes, all bags are of the same importance regardless of the contents.  If you’re worried about your stuff, take it out; I don’t care if you have to repack.  I said leave it, Tex.

One of the last two guys to give me trouble about his bag was going to XNA.  I stopped him before he stepped on the plane and asked him to leave his rollaboard in the jetbridge.  He said he would have to repack it, and it would take so long, and he was a gold buyer carrying $100,000 in cash.  He then asked me what I would do if I were carrying that much money, and I told him I wouldn’t be because I’m not stupid.  Already having a bad day and not wanting to get into it with a pompous blowhard, I let him try his bag in the overhead; unfortunately it fit.  My flying partner gave me a hard time because I let him walk over me and get his way when I should have just stood up to him and told him how it was going to be.  She was bang on the money, and I vowed that the next time I faced this predicament I would not bend.

Well that day has come and gone.  I was in PHL, and the guy comes on with his big ol’ bag.  I tell him it won’t fit, to leave it in the jetbridge, and he says he’ll have to repack.  I say OK that’s fine, and he keeps walking down the aisle.  I grab the handle and tell him again that it can’t come on, and he tries to tell me that he’s going to repack on the plane, probably sticking his old, wrinkly hind parts in the aisle completely stopping the boarding process.  No, sir, you aren’t going to repack on here.  What you’re going to do is take it off the plane and repack outside so we can board and leave on time. I’m not trying to be a jerk to the guy; I’m honestly trying to keep the boarding process moving so we can leave on time.  We were running a little behind, and if someone is standing in the aisle trying to repack his bag, then we’re not going anywhere.  If we had departed late, then I would have gotten a call from a manager asking why, and I would have had to tell them because a guy was holding up boarding trying to repack a bag.  I would have then had to explain why he was repacking and then why I let him on with it.  It rolls downhill, y’all.

He gets back on sans bag, and I apologize for making him feel like I’ve purposely caused him undue stress.  Apparently, though, he didn’t “want to hear it.”  Too bad, Scooter; you heard every word I just said, so get over yourself.  You may be a big deal at your local Elks Lodge, but not on my plane.

p.s. Dear Reader, please know that I’m really not a jerk.  I try my hardest to make my flights a pleasant experience for the passengers…just don’t cop an attitude with me.

Breaking Down Barriers…or Doors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 20 November, 2009 by Thomas

Because of a delayed inbound flight, you get a new post. Huzzah!

A few nights ago I was boarding a plane to TLH. It appeared to me that we had a good group of passengers on board. We weren’t full, we were on time, and 75% of the crew was pretty rockin’. As I’m closing the main cabin door a ramper comes scampering up waving his hand to get me to stop. The door is roughly halfway closed, but I release the Door Assist button, dropping the 200 pound door back to the ground. As soon as I release the button, though, I see that the aforementioned ramper is standing under the door . . . kind of like an idiot would do. Not wanting to hit him in the head I quickly press the Door Assist button so he can move himself out of harm’s way before letting the door drop again. He tells me that the captain needs to add three more checked bags into the fancy computer. We do that, the captain tells me we are once again clear to close the door, and I hit the button for the third time.

Only this time nothing happens. The door just sits there on the ground like a jerk. After a few minutes maintenance comes out to the plane and diagnoses the problem as a faulty motor. We are given the option to swap aircraft or have them repair it. Thankfully, our large-nostriled captain wants to just repair the motor and that’s what happens. It would have been a royal pain in the butt to find a plane, deplane everyone, transfer bags, cater the plane, do our checks, and board them up again. Plus, when passengers have to get off a plane before it even leaves its originating point they seem to get a lot crankier. Crisis averted. Thanks, Cap!

While we’re waiting for the maintenance guys to finish some brainiac in the back asks the other flight attendant if our planes have safety inspections. Obviously she tells him they do, and he proceeds to tell her that this particular plane has failed, like he knows anything about aircraft maintenance or safety. No way. No way! I wonder what he says and how he feels when he has to fill his gas tank or change a tire on his ’94 Ford Escort. What a jabroney!

We get the thing fixed and make it to TLH only about 30 minutes late because, yeah, we’re that good. Most of the passengers were fine and didn’t mind the slight delay.

And as it turns out I had to do a line check on someone down to TLH a few days later, and one of the same guys was on the plane going back to CLT. Thankfully, it wasn’t Mr. Aircraft-Door-Safety-Man. Getting to the point – this whole thing could have been avoided if the ramper had thought to himself that it might not be such a bright idea to stand under a rather large aircraft door as it falls open, or maybe even just tell the flight crew over the radio to add more checked bags. But at least he wasn’t hurt and I didn’t get in trouble for “breaking” the motor.

Visiting Friends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 19 November, 2009 by Thomas

I’m writing this stupid post for the third damn time because the hotel in the richest county in America thinks it’s appropriate to charge $12.95 to use their lame Internet, but that’s another post entirely.  They can suck it, though.   I tried twice (unsuccessfully) to write this post from my phone, but now I’m down in the lobby slumming it like a poor person.  I figured since WordPress had an iPhone app to update your blog that it would also function.  Needless to say, I was quite angry when I finally published the bloody thing and the version I thought was deleted was the one that got put up, not the version I actually liked.  Technology…what can we do but bend over for it?  Here we go…

Check out my yummies.

I’ve finished day one of a four-day trip, and I’m working on the two hundo so I give that two very strong thumbs down.  I’ve not been on a trip longer than two days in quite some time, and packing the food to last me through it all took rather a lot of effort.  I got it done though.  One of those containers is empty, and the penne with meat sauce was quite tasty.  Tomorrow I’m in JAN, which brings me to the point of tonight’s post.

One of the great perks of this job is getting paid to visit friends I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like.  This time tomorrow I’ll probably be drinking my second beer with my great and wonderful friend Kristen whom I’ve not seen since the beginning of time.  I met her in 2003 on a study abroad in Spain.  Even though I don’t get to see or talk to her nearly as often as I’d like, when I do it’s like we pick up right where we left off – for me anyway – so I’m very much looking forward to some quality time with a quality girl and some quality brews.

Now if only we could score some overnights in ATL…that’d be pretty boss.

A Captain’s Take…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 16 November, 2009 by Thomas

Short but sweet, I very much like Captain Dave’s opinion on this topic.  I would say something on it, but then I’d be like a small child who wanders in to the middle of a movie; I’d have no frame of reference.

Where to Begin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16 November, 2009 by Thomas

Hello there, how ya doin’?  I’ve got all these thoughts just floatin’ through my brain.  They bump, and they collide and cause a flurry of confusion, and it’s gettin’ on my nerves.

–Motion City Soundtrack – “Where I Belong”

I don’t even know where to start with all this.  I guess I’ll just start here…

Last night I got a call from a union rep about my blog.  It was only a CYA call because she didn’t want to have to represent me in a meeting with management should I find myself in hot water due to my semi-coherent babblings.  She recommended that I keep my blog 100% anonymous, and after we hung up I did just that because I got just bit worried that I could get a good friend in trouble because of an earlier post should someone with the power to fire me read it.

Part VIII of our Information & Technology Policy states:

Prohibition on Presenting Yourself as an Employee of the Company on the Internet – Company employees are prohibited from identifying themselves as Company employees when posting comments on the Internet or on other on-line services.  This rule applies even if a statement is included that clearly states that the user is expressing his or her own ideas and not necessarily those of the Company. This rule also applies where such posting is done from the user’s personal equipment. Internet traffic sent via Company resources is identifiable as being from an employee with the Company.  Therefore, participation in Internet newsgroups and the like via Company facilities is prohibited.

So after rereading that section and deleting the potentially problematic post (I do like my alliteration) I decided that I was comfortable having identifying markers on my blog.  Maybe that’s a bad idea, but I was in a funk all day because of the changes I made.  Now I’m in a better mood with my name and what not back up.  Let me know if you think that’s a dreadful idea.

This is Chávez, not the passenger.

Tonight I had a passenger on the way to HSV who looked like Hugo Chavez, only 20 years younger.  I’m talking spittin’ image of the despot.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of the guy, but how do you ask someone, “Can I take your picture?  You look exactly like a douchey dictator.”  He seemed like a quiet and reserved guy, but for all I know he was Chavez’s nephew going to HSV to investigate our great and powerful space program, and if I had asked he would have had to straight regulate on me.  That’s no way to end a pleasant evening, being regulated on.Gross Drain

This is how I found my galley drain tonight.  I think the FO did it when he was being an asshat.  I could be wrong, though.  Yeah, that’s fat and grease and grossness that dried that I had to clean up.  The only reason I think it was the FO is because I saw him drain his Marie Callender’s steamy something or other in the drain right after he asked me if it was functional.  It was and remained so despite his best efforts.

Finally, after seeing 101 Goals in 1001 Days, I’ve decided to start my own little list of goals.  I’ve only got about 20 so far – it’s much harder than you might think to come up with 101 goals you want to accomplish – but when I get them all I’ll add a new page on here so you can keep up with them if you want.  As you can probably imagine they will be as epic as I am so 1001 days might not be nearly enough time.  In the meantime I’ll also be thinking of some snazzy new title for it to keep the symmetry in tact.

Working with Kids

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 14 November, 2009 by Thomas

One of my greatest passenger pet peeves is not following simple rules.  After reading a post on Heather’s blog I decided to go ahead and write my own piece instead of waiting until a more opportune moment.

Honestly, folks.  It’s like working with schoolchildren these days.  And not advanced reading class schoolchildren, either, but the short bus, head start, helmet-wearing, I-pull-my-pants-all-the-way-down-to-go-to-the-bathroom schoolchildren.

As a flight attendant there are certain things I’m required to do and say over the course of a flight, from boarding to deplaning.  Some of these things – like saying “hello” and standing at the main cabin door during boarding – are directions from the company.  Some of these things – like ensuring seat belts are fastened and tray tables are stowed – come from a higher authority (FAA).  I’m not telling you to do all the things I tell you to be a jerk or to hear my own voice, because frankly, I can think of much more satisfying ways to be a jerk, and I hate the sound of my voice.  The only things flight attendants want to say to you are, “Hello,” “Anything to drink,” and “Bye, now.”  You want to be left the hell alone, and we will leave you the hell alone if you do what the hell we tell you to.

Most of you do what we ask the first time, however, there is always at least one guy that wants to be stubborn.  Even if there are only 11 people on the flight he’s going to keep playing on his phone or iPod, regardless of how many times he’s asked to turn it off.  Don’t be that guy.  We hate that guy.  We will say bad things about that guy.  We will not be nice to that guy.  We, when presented with the opportunity, will make life just a bit more difficult for that guy.  We give to you what we imagine to be simple instructions, but apparently a Mensa membership should be required to fly commercially with all the people having trouble following them.

If you decide that you’d like to be that guy, don’t be so obvious about it.  When flying at night when the lights are off, don’t think I can’t see the light from your cell phone or iPod.  Remember, I’m on a little RJ, and I can see most everything.  I will get out of my seat, walk all the way to the back of the plane, and tell you to turn it off in front of everyone.  Here’s a tip: Try turning on your reading light so I can’t that you have it on.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  And just because you’re an off duty or deadheading crew member that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from following the rules.

To reiterate: Don’t be that guy…or this guy.

Hot Coffee

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 12 November, 2009 by Thomas

Yesterday I was working the two hundo (CRJ-200), which I hate because I’m so incredibly lazy and don’t enjoy working by myself.  It had been a while since I’d had to work by myself for a complete 12 hours (I know, I’m needy), and I guess I left my A-game at security so it’s a good thing that I perform at such a consistently high level that my B-game leaves nothing to be desired.

When we do our beverage service we put a drawer on top of the drink cart; this drawer holds the coffee, water, cups, and just about everything else needed for the service that isn’t in can or cube form.  This drawer goes on top of a little dinky sliding shelf to give us room to pour drinks and perform the service efficiently.  So I’m at the first row and I notice that the shelf is not pushed completely out denying me all the space I need to work.  To remedy this I push the shelf out more, not thinking I have a freshly brewed, piping hot pot of coffee sitting on top.

As soon as the shelf moves to its farthest point, the coffee comes sloshing up out of the pot and gets all over the cart, the cream, the sugar, the cups, the water, the napkins, and . . .

The passengers.  Aww, shucks!  Don’t I feel like a schmuck.  Thankfully, most of the damage was limited to the cart, with 1C and 2C sustaining only a sprinkling of Joe.  1C was wearing a fancy North Face waterproof jacket so he was OK, and  2C was wearing shorts (Really?  It’s November, and you’re an adult.  Shorts?  Get real.) and a short sleeve shirt.  When I asked if I got any on him, he responds with, “Whatever it was, it was hot.”  I couldn’t laugh since I had just made a rookie mistake (I’m a check flight attendant, folks.  I’m better than that), so instead I apologized profusely to them both.  As I’m serving 1A his ginger ale, 1C comes back for more and leans forward.  My hand brushes the top of his head causing me to nearly spill another beverage on him.  Thankfully he was bald so my hand glided smoothly over the top; had his noggin not been so silky smooth (seriously, like a baby’s behind) it would have been a disaster of epic proportions.

I guess I’m pretty lucky that these guys didn’t flip since most passengers are batshit crazy these days.  It was of course an honest mistake on my part, and had it happened to me it would be a complete non-issue.  Thankfully, that’s how it was with these guys.  1C didn’t even expect me to comp his Pringles when he asked for them.  Maybe I’m just cynical, but I honestly expect the worst from passengers when something goes slightly wrong.  Maybe one day I will have to regulate on some bustas.

New Service

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10 November, 2009 by Thomas

Hip, hip, hooray!  We’re picking up new service to two new destinations early next year.  Yesterday the Check Flight Attendant group (of which I am a part because I’m a big deal) received an email that on 11 January we’ll start back service to FPO.  My airline has performed this service in the past but discontinued it before I started.  We were told a few weeks ago that “we may have an opportunity to perform  international operations beginning first quarter 2010,” and obviously there was speculation as to where we’d go.  We all figured it was either Canada or the Bahamas.  Personally, I was hoping for Canada because we would overnight there while Bahamas would just be a turn, and we all know I’m here for the stamps in my passport, not to end up in XNA.  Either way, I’m pretty pumped about the once daily service, even if CLT crews get to work the flights.  Anyway, at least we’ll be doing the turn on the 700 (CRJ-700) so if I do get to do it I won’t be stuck all by my lonesome.  Perhaps in the coming months we will start back service to Canada.  A boy can hope, right?

Also, while waiting out a flow control program into CLT I got on my fancy iPhone and saw that we’ll also be starting service to Florida’s Space Coast on 11 February, going to MLB after a 12-year hiatus.  This we’ll be doing three times a day, seven days a week on the 700 as well.  This is an overnight so maybe I can score this one and hit up the Space Center; I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut.  In fact, should NASA contact me today about going to the moon I’d leave my job and be there most Rikki-Tik.

So we’re getting new service, but here’s the rub: just because we serve new destinations doesn’t mean we’re growing.  It doesn’t mean we’re not, though.  A lot of times when one carrier starts service to a new city, they also lose service to an existing destination to another affiliate carrier.  My hope is that, at the very least, a non-wholly owned carrier doesn’t pick up some service that we gave up; we are a small airline after all and I’d rather grow than shrink to some jabroneys with an SA5P boarding priority.  I guess we’ll see what happens in the coming months.