Archive for new hire

First Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31 March, 2010 by Thomas

It’s the start of a four day trip that’s already been cut short by two days because of my last three day trip that had me working eight days in a row (which is illegal – I can only work a maximum of six days).  This is no normal trip for me.  As a check flight attendant I’m responsible for training newly graduated flight attendants, and today is not only this new hire’s first day but also my first day training.  Neither of us has any idea what to expect.  All I know is that she was the “valedictorian” of her class, and because my trip has been cut short I only have four legs with this girl before she moves on to another check flight attendant to finish out her training on the CRJ-200.

I looked at the passenger loads last night to see how difficult her first day may or may not be, and thankfully they were pretty light.  This first leg to LGA she is just shadowing me, watching me during boarding and during the service.  I’m asking her questions to test her job knowledge and explaining everything I’m doing (or trying to anyway).  We only have 25 people on board and it’s early so most people are asleep and the service is over before we know it as is the flight.

With only 26 minutes on the ground in New York boarding for the second leg is almost immediate.  For this flight we only have 17 passengers so the main cabin door closes pretty quickly and we get ready to do the safety demo.  It’s the new hire’s turn to do the safety dance, and she does it very well if a bit theatrically.  We secure the cabin and notify the flight deck that we’re ready to go.  Because of an incredibly long line behind us it takes us 45 minutes to even push back from the gate.  We’re finally in the air, and she makes her announcements with great style and aplomb.

We start the beverage service, I’m following behind her, watching her take orders and serve drinks.  We’re in the middle of the cabin when the flight deck calls back.  I go to the front to answer, and the first officer tells me we’re diverting to Philadelphia, to put the cart away, and prepare for landing.  He doesn’t tell me what’s wrong, and in effort to get everything put away as quickly as possible I don’t ask.  I just know that he’s not asked me to prepare the passengers for an emergency.  We get everything put away, and I make an announcement telling the passengers that we’re diverting and going to be landing soon.  I tell them there’s nothing to worry about and that this will be a normal landing.  Everyone seems to be doing OK so I sit down in my jumpseat.  A few minutes go by and I can hear that the guys up front are wearing their oxygen masks.  I know we haven’t lost pressurization because the masks in the back have not dropped, but I’m still wondering what’s happening.  Finally, the first officer calls back and tell me the windshield has cracked and they have the masks on just in case they need them.

I make another announcement telling the passengers why we’re diverting, and this time I walk through the cabin to check on people and make sure everyone is still in good shape.  One passenger stops me and asks if it is raining in Dayton (where we’re going).  I tell him it is not, and he asks if it is raining in Philadelphia (where we’re diverting).  I tell him it is, and he asks why don’t we continue on to Dayton where’s it’s not raining instead of going to Philadelphia where it is raining.  I wonder if this guy thinks airlines usually tell people they’re going to be flown to one location only to change their mind and instead take them somewhere else.  I remind him that the windshield is cracked and the captain is not going to fly all the way to Dayton with a cracked windshield.  His response is one that would indicate that he didn’t listen to the announcement I just made saying as much.  I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were a passenger and the flight attendant made an announcement saying we were diverting to another airport shortly after taking off and without reason I would then listen to everything that was said from that point on.  Apparently, though, this guy couldn’t be concerned with details.

Twenty minutes go by and we finally land and pull up to the gate.  The flight deck door is opened and boy is that windshield cracked.  One of the supervisors tells me that the flight is most likely going to cancel and to ask the passengers to remain in the gate area after deplaning.  Everyone gets off the plane, and it’s just the four of us on there for the next hour and a half.  After the initial glance at the windshield by the police and a maintenance guy, no one else comes out to look at the plane.  Scheduling finally calls us and sends us all to different places.  My new hire deadheads down to Washington, DC to meet up with another crew and the pilots go to Charlotte to spend rest of the afternoon in a hotel.  I, however, get to hop on a plane back to Dayton where my day finally ends around 7pm.  A four day trip has turned into a one day trip.  I don’t mind this at all because I still get paid for all four days.  One of the benefits of being a fancy lineholder is cancellation pay.  Since all those flights were part of my original schedule I get paid for the them even though I don’t work them.  I just scored three paid days off.