Seriously, I am in dire need of a vacation. Half of you who may or may not read this assume flight attendants are only about pouring Cokes, picking up trash, hanging coats, and apparently putting your bags up for you (although I don’t know why a man at 6’2, 200+ lbs would need me to help him with his bag, but hey). The other half of you sort of, kind of understand that our jobs are more physically demanding than one may think! I would like to thank the second half and tell the first half to go to hell, thanks. I fly 100-125 hours every month, this means I get paid for 100-125 hours every month, but actually I’m on “duty” (working) for almost double that. Don’t ask me how that works, really, I don’t know any other job who says, “Hey, why don’t you go ahead and clock-in 1-1.5 hours early, get started, and I’ll wait to pay you until later on!”… Needless to say, though I’ve said it anyway, I need a freaking vacation!
I’ve just completed a five-day domestic trip with overnights in Washington, DC/Baltimore, Maryland/Memphis, TN/ and Las Vegas, NV. Are those even the correct city and state pairings? Or the correct two-letter abbreviation for the state? I really don’t know you guys, I only speak in airport codes! I’ve got to admit, I sort of misjudged my crew a little bit right off the bat. The reason for that is all I saw were two old hags who have been with the company for 24-36 years who are wrinkled and never smile and hardly speak to you. Once I realized they share the same enjoyment of swearing, all was well. It’s like we developed an instant common bond. Thank you, f-word, I love you.
This round, I am willing to share with you some of my discoveries (sure, I’ll call them that to temporarily sound semi-nice) over the past five days. I know how much you adore my lists (basically because A. I am terrible at composing any type of writing and lists tend to disguise that and B. Some people reading this may just be learning to read at age 32 and need something easy to go by, for that I feel as though I’m contributing something to society)…
1. DCA is incredibly easy to navigate, but a bitch to bear in the wind and cold. Kindly enough, my boyfriend was able to join me on my DCA layover because he wanted to see some of the monuments. Thanks to my company for allowing me to register him as my domestic partner. I’m thinking of referring to him as my “partner” altogether just to throw people off. “You know Rei (Ray) and Alex? Yeah, they’re partners.” Awesome. Anyway! The metro-rail is amazing in DC. Super easy, and if you’re seeing the monuments get off at Federal Triangle or Smithsonian and you’re gold! From the Mall’s point A to point B it takes about 30 minutes to walk.
Might I recommend eight cups of hot chocolate, three winter hats, two scarves, two jackets, long johns, and six sets of gloves plus maybe a ski mask to walk around DC in winter? Also, I suggest speaking very clearly when making an order at a Chinese restaurant for take-out or this happens (Gray? Rei?)…
But, then this happens, and it’s all okay…
2. Not so much a discovery, but I’ve made it a tradition to always visit the Edgar Allan Poe gravesite every time I go through Baltimore. He’s my favourite author, so I enjoy paying my respects. It’s extra fun when it’s dark outside and snowing. I like to pretend the snow are orbs when I take pictures, it makes it way cooler.
3. Don’t discuss the company’s lack of union representation with a 36-year flight attendant. Actually, it’s almost inevitable because even if you don’t bring anything up about it, they’ll work their way towards that conversation. Rei, “Man, I just banged my knee on the armrest really hard,” Senior FA, “You know, that wouldn’t have happened if we had a Union,” oh, okay!
4. Flight attendants, and probably any person working in some type of team operation (advertising collaboration, script writing, gang bangs…) have the tendency to misdescribe their work ethic. What I mean is instead of saying, “I’m easy-going,” they simply say, “I’m easy” and in the case of Rei vs Flight Attendant, I usually win. My typical response is, “That’s what’s I’ve heard,” or “I wouldn’t go around telling everyone that”.
5. Haven’t I mentioned not traveling with children before? I certainly have! The new addition to this “don’t” is don’t travel with a child unless you have proper provisions for them. No, I don’t have diapers stashed away for you. No, I don’t have baby food or formula in my bag. If you have babies or kids and you simply insist on traveling with them, bring the proper supplies with you. Never expect airlines to have the supplies you need. First of all, some of the requests you make are outrageous. Do you really think I have an extra breast pump lying around? Secondly, some supplies, such as milk, we typically have, but due to catering issues we may not have it onboard when we’re supposed to. Pack accordingly. Also, today, we had a gentleman and his wife board with their toddler who was asleep in the mother’s arms. The dad boarded (a fit guy, much taller than me) and immediately asked harshly, “Excuse me, can I get some help with these bags?” My colleague inquired whether he was disabled and required assistance to which the passenger replied, “I have a child” to which I said, “That’s not a disability”. Here’s the thing, if you can’t handle your luggage, then don’t bring it on, just check it. If you require a wheelchair, are pregnant, are too fucking old, or whatever makes you unable to lift your large bag into the overhead, please don’t bring it on board. The problem here is that we flight attendants don’t get paid until the plane pushes back from the gate which means that if we lift your bag for you without your assistance and we get injured, we aren’t covered by our health insurance because we’re not technically on company time. I may have mentioned this before, but I cannot stress it enough! If you pack it, you lift it or you check it. My bag is heavy as hell and I would never expect anyone else to lift it except me!
6. I forgot what I was saying. Where am I? Oh my god. What time is it? Oh, okay, hang on. So this lady boards today and immediately has an attitude. You’re messing with the wrong crew, lady. She wants to know why she was moved from the bulkhead seat of 1B to the window seat of 5A. Bitch, you’re still in first class, so I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You’re old and short, so you don’t need a bulkhead. You’re old and short, and the bulkhead seats require all items to be stowed in an overhead and as I mentioned before I am not putting your shit up for you, so actually, this is benefitting you! Yes, please sit in 5D because that’s the exact same thing as 5A, please confuse 5D when he arrives so he stops me from my duties to remedy the situation. I just got distracted from writing because my fat, Siamese cat wandered across the carpet and I thought it was a huge, Black Plague rat. My life was in danger for a moment. Anyway! Karma is a wonderful thing. It turns out this Second cranky and rude lady had about five inches of toilet paper sticking out of the back of her pants. She was lucky that my fellow coworker told her about it. Still, I couldn’t control my snickering. I debated asking her if she could spare a square, but knew she would write me a bad letter for amazing humour.
7. It’s amazing how many people travel without gum. Firstly, if you sleep, you wake up with “morning breath” and what better way to fix that nastiness than popping a piece of gum in your mouth! Who cares if you have TMJ? I have it and I chew gum all the time! Sometimes it’s for the best because it’ll lock my jaw shut from the muscle tightness so I can’t yell at you and everybody wins, well, except me because I really want to yell at you. Second of all, your ears tend to plug up and pop constantly due to the cabin pressurization and altitude change, many people like to chew gum on take-off and landing. Bring your own goddamn gum, don’t ask me for a piece. Remember when I mentioned airlines not having particular supplies onboard? Yeah. We don’t have gum. What you’re asking me for is to dip into my personal stash and if that’s the case, I’m going to charge you $5 for one piece of Trident gum. Sound unfair? Well, life isn’t fair, and I don’t feel like donating my personal supplies. Some guy asked me for a piece today because we were descending and his ears hurt. I feel for you, man, I really do, but if you’re flying, bring some with and be prepared. That’s one thing the TSA won’t take from you! He acted upset that I wouldn’t give him my own gum. Do you want to use my deodorant too? How about my Chapstick? Maybe a pantyliner?
8. Why is it that so many of you insist on pushing your roller bags up and down the aisle? Yes, pushing is better for your shoulders and back, but when it comes to boarding and deplaning, we need speed! When you pull your bag, you tend to have more control. Somehow, roller bags have minds of their own. When you push them, they wobble and stray to the side, smacking the armrests and taking you twice as long to get to your seat and off the plane. Just pull the damn bag behind you. Ever wonder why the flight attendants are always saying, “You know, it’s easier to pull your bag behind you…”? It’s frustrating day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year seeing so many of you making this mistake! It will benefit us all if you just pull your bag. Thank you!
9. Some flight attendants make cart set-up a lot more difficult than it has to be. I always tend to set up a beautiful, user-friendly cart when I am designated the “galley” position. One of two things happen, either the flight attendants remark on how nice the cart is and off they go to start service, or the flight attendants tear the cart apart, make it look ghetto, and take 30 minutes to redo what I just did because it’s “their way”. Bitches.
10. Men should never wear platform shoes, especially platform sandals. No one wants to see your talons. I don’t care if it helps you roll your dice in Las Vegas because you’re too short to reach over the table. It’s sincerely unacceptable.
Don’t set off fire alarms at hotels at 2:40AM.
Don’t smoke crack.
Over and out.