I’m Not Your Biggest Fan

I suppose I’m entirely too young to remember, but from everything I hear and read people once wore their Sunday best when flying.  Now it’s so cheap that everyone is doing it, and so as a flight attendant and the person who must interact with the flying public more than any other work group I’ve got to be able to handle several different personalities.  There are so many that I can’t even begin to name and describe them; it would simply take too much time, and I’m definitely entirely too lazy to even entertain that idea.

I can’t say that I have a favorite type of passenger.  I like the ones who talk to me and ask questions about my job, but also find myself irritated by the ones who talk to me and ask questions that I can’t or even should know the answer to.  I also like the passengers who sit down and keep a low profile.  I definitely love the ones who kindly make requests and say “please” and “thank you” rather than bark orders at me like I’m the hired help (I perform a service, but I am no servant).  I’m sad to say that this last group is a refreshing change and a departure from what is normal.

I can, however, say that I have a least favorite type of passenger.  I hate the ones who are rude and inconsiderate, the ones who won’t even  acknowledge my existence for the two hours I have with them, and the ones who won’t do what I tell them to do, but the one type of passenger I dislike more than any other is the student-athlete.  This is not to say I don’t like college students because I do.  I would love to still be a college student, and college ladies sure are fun to look at.  But when you put 20 punk kids on an airplane in their little uniforms with their coaches it seems all hell breaks loose.

I recently had the displeasure of taking the Marshall Thundering Herd Men’s Basketball team from Birmingham to Charlotte.  I initially felt sorry for these guys – they were all 20 feet tall stuck on a little regional jet with no headroom when standing and no leg room when sitting – but that sentiment quickly passed as they settled into their seats.  Before we even closed the aircraft door there were legs and knees in the aisles, tray tables down, seatbacks reclined, and head phones on.  So now with 20 kids who think their crap don’t stink on board my flying partner and I go about securing the cabin and doing our compliance checks.  In hindsight I realize it was all a bit Sisyphean trying to restore order to the plane as these players would never fully comply with what we asked of them.  As we walked through the cabin telling them to turn their phones off and bring their seatbacks up they just claimed the phone was already off or would recline the seatback as soon as we walked past.  I remember telling one in particular to turn his phone off and remarking that Airplane Mode is not off and one of his teams piped up with, “It should have been off a long time ago.”  On the surface it would appear he was giving his buddy a hard time, but what he was really doing was making fun of the job I had to do.  Not that I mind his making fun of me, I just mind when people act like idiots.

Take a small group of young people and they’re not so bad.  It’s when you get a large group of them together that they start to joke around and feed off each other.  The immaturity just grows and grows like a weed making my job much much harder than it ever should be.  But what really gets me is the attitude of the coaches.  You’d think they’d be all over their players like stains on a mattress making sure they represent themselves, their team, and their school in the best light possible, but some of them are just as bad as their players.  If they’re not just sitting in the seat trying to ignore the brats they’ve been charged with then they take their seatbelts off or won’t turn their phones off and then lie to my face about whatever it is I “chastise” them about.  I want to point out to them that they expect their athletes to do what they say the first time on the court or on the field and that I expect the same on my airplane; perhaps next time I will do just that.  And if you think that my ire shouldn’t be directed to all student-athletes I will just say that I’ve also had the UT Volunteers Girl’s Volleyball team, USC Gamecocks Track & Field team, some small college basketball team, and probably a few others on my plane.  They’re all pretty much the same . . . aggravating.  I wish the school would just charter a plane so I wouldn’t have to put up with their stupidity.

One Response to “I’m Not Your Biggest Fan”

  1. J. Fancher Says:

    Totally agree. Student/athletic teams are some of the rudest passengers. I sigh when I see a group of them seated in the boarding area ready to board my aircraft. Didn’t their parents teach them any manners? AND the coaches are just as bad sometimes.

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