flightmum











{April 28, 2013}   Spy mum

My children  love all the Spy Kids movies. So do I. I mean, hello Antonio Banderas!

My son, in all seriousness asked me the other day, “Mum, if you were a spy, would you tell me?” I answered,  “Of course! Or would I….”

Sometimes, when I am at work, I feel like I AM a spy. I can open locked doors using only my fingerprint.  Just. Like. That. True story. Or I  can also unlock a passageway with an eye scan. If that doesn’t scream out spy world, I don’t know what does!

When I first got hired at my airline,  I had to get a security clearance to allow me assess to all needed areas of the airport. Basically, they did a background check of me and my entire family, down to what colour underwear we prefer wearing (black). Somehow, I passed.

Now, when I need to open locked doors, I tap my security pass with the special microchip onto an electronic  pad. Then I either press my fingerprint onto the pad or do an iris scan. Hey presto! Open sesame. Then, I change into my spy clothes and fly in the sky. Or something like that. I can’t divulge any more spy secrets or I may have to kill you. I’ve already said too much…

 

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{April 14, 2013}   I’m famous!

I have flown many celebrities to/from their destinations. Unfortunately, I have to stay professional and can’t gawk at them or fawn over them. To be quite honest,  I barely talk to these celebs, or sometimes not at all. But, for whatever reason,  it is still exciting. 

I think my first celeb was Jason Priestley. Mr. Beverly Hills 90210. I heard he was on the plane, but he was in first class and it was a short flight so I didn’t so much as set eyes on him. 

The best route to spot celebrities, of course, is the Los Angeles run. I’ve had the actor, Ed Harris.  I remember thinking that he looked really old in real life.

I’ve seen David Spade onboard.  I remember wondering why he was sitting in cattle class and who was the little girl he was with?I didn’t have the guts to ask him directly, so I asked the 6 year old girl instead when he was in the loo. She said that he knew her mummy. I excitedly asked who her mummy was, but she just shrugged.

I’ve had Jennifer Tilley on a flight. Not remarkable in any way.

There was quite the buzz when we had the Trailer Park Boys on our flight. Let’s just say ‘Bubbles’ does not look anything like his character without those big coke bottle glasses. 

Big names. I had Selena Gomez a few years back. She was in town hosting some event and visiting her boyfriend, Justin Bieber. Alas, she slept the whole flight so no words were exchanged. But, her assistants were bitching about how long it took to go through customs and declared that they were never coming back to Canada. I’m pretty sure they will.

 

A few years back, I also had Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame and more recently, The Voice. He was with his entire band and entourage. They took up the entire cabin of business class. Like an idiot, I couldn’t remember the name of even one song they recorded. This particular morning flight was delayed and like any good rock star, he asked if we had any eyeshades onboard so he could sleep. I told him that that the airline didn’t provide any but I had my own personal pair he could have if he wanted. He wanted! I was excitedly about to retrieve them while thinking that I can’t believe Adam Levine will be wearing MY eyeshades when the captain interrupted and called me into the flight deck. He told me that the flight was canceled and everyone should deplane. I made an announcement, and lost my chance to interact with him again.

I’ve had musicians. Jann Arden sat in coach under an alias. Or perhaps her stage name was an alias. I had Chantal Kreviazuk on my flight. She was sitting in business class with her young son and a lap-held baby. She asked me to heat up a baby bottle and was just a cool and down to earth Canadian mum. She didn’t act like some big music star. I think we could have been friends.

I had the pleasure of taking Anne Murray to Florida. A few people noticed her and whispered to me, I wonder if she would sing ‘Snowbird’. When she came to the front to use the lavatory, I casually said, “Not very original, I know, but a few people asked me if I thought you’d sing Snowbird on the plane” I was hoping she would pick up the p.a. and belt out a few lines. But, she said, “No, not very original” and went back to her seat.

Then, there was Randy Bachman of The Guess Who fame. He was very nice but just looked like an old hippy.

I’ve seen a few athletes on my flights including Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky’s dad, Walter. I blurted out to Bobby Orr, “Your name was the answer to my crossword puzzle I did yesterday!” Then, I retreated back to my jumpseat with embarrassment. I have had a few other athletes but they weren’t famous enough for me to remember their names.

I’ve seen my fair share of politicians: Kim Campbell and Paul Martin AFTER they were no longer our prime ministers. I have had Justin Trudeau on a flight (sitting in the back) and when we landed in Montreal, I said, “Welcome to Pierre Elliott Trudeau international airport” (Usually I just say ‘welcome to Montreal’).When he deplaned, I said to him that I made that special welcome announcement just for him. He looked at me funny and continued walking. I had Mila Mulrooney (Brian’s better half) on a flight. She was so sweet and youthful looking. She said,”I am so cold. Feel my hands” and then clasped mine. I wished she could have been her my mother-in-law or my aunt.

I’ve had a few newscaster like Lloyd Roberts and Peter Mansbridge. I’ve played the news on board while Mr. Mansbridge watched himself on the big screen saying ‘I’m Peter Mansbridge’.

I’ve had a few soap stars. Sorry, I don’t know their names.

Rick Hansen, the ‘Man of Motion was an interesting passenger and SO nice. It was an honour to have him onboard.

Lastly, I had Brett Wilson a few times on my flights. He chatted with me and the pilot in the front galley just after he got ‘kicked off’ Dragon’s Den. He was very vocal about what had happened. The second time I had him on my flight, he winked at me and said he remembered me. My husband refers to him as ‘my boyfriend’.

Those are all the shoulders I’ve rub.

My friend had Rob Lowe on her flight once and had a picture of her and Rob Lowe as her Facebook profile pic for a while. Lucky her!

Maybe Brad Pitt will be on my next flight. You never know!



{April 8, 2013}   Freedom Flight

As a mum, it goes without saying that my kids (especially when they were young), preferred me to do things for them or sit next to them. As opposed to their father.  My younger kids constantly fought over who got to sit next to mum at dinner time. When they woke up in the morning, they’d crowd me in bed while my husband had half the bed to himself. I’d tend to have two children sandwiched around me and one child with the coveted position of lying ON me. Their dad is a good sport about all this. He knows the kids love him immensely.

I don’t know if the kids gravitate towards me because of the mother/child bond OR because of the irregular hours I work. They never know when I will be available to kiss them good morning or tuck them in at night. Their dad always had more regular hours.

Anyway, no complaints.  I am very lucky. 

Many years ago,  my husband and I and our two boys were trying to fly home on standby. (Our daughter was just a figment of our imagination). The passenger agents called our name but said she only had 2 seats available and did we want to take them? We only needed 3 seats as our youngest was 18 months and would have been lap held. I asked if I could sit in the flight deck and she replied with an affirmative. My husband and I discussed the different options.  Basically,  we could pass on the seats and wait half the day in the airport for the next flight.  Or, I could sit in the flight deck while my sweetie sat with our 3 year old and a laptop held 18 month old for a five hour flight. It was a no-brainer. Ha ha.

We decided to go for it and boarded the aircraft. There were some tears as I headed left towards the cockpit and the kids and husband went right towards their seats. My husband gave me a brave smile and off they went.

I strapped myself into the jumpseat and waited for take-off. Once airborne,  I explained to the pilots that my husband and young sons were stuck in the back, while I got to have adult conversation.  We all had a good chuckle. All of a sudden,  I had a drink and a newspaper in my hands. It was a very relaxing and carefree flight…one I wouldn’t have had in the back of the aircraft with two little boys vying for my attention. It was a shame about being separated…but that is the sacrifice I made for my family that day. You’re welcome.



{April 7, 2013}   Fight Club

What happens at flight club, stays at flight club. 

I worked a turn around flight to the Dominican Republic the other day and boy, was that one a doozy!

I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I will anyway.  The cheap all-inclusive price tag attracts the low class passengers.  (i.e. trailer park) 

Wow! So much happened on that flight, I don’t even know where to begin. 

During boarding,  we packed in over 130 passengers into their sardine-like seats. There wasn’t an empty seat to be had. There was a mix of people: couples,  families,  locals and also a wedding party consisting of around 30 or so guests.

After take-off, we went through the aisle with food and drinks.  As expected,  the service took longer than usual as people were drinking heavily. About half way through the cabin, we experienced some minor turbulence. A woman grabbed me and asked me what’s going on. I explained that it was simply normal bumps and it was nothing to worry about. She looked at me suspiciously and said: You know something! And you are not telling me. What do you know? 

I tried to assure her that she was safe but I don’t think she was buying it. We managed to finish the service before the really bad turbulence started and the pilots asked the flight attendants to sit down.  As I headed to my jumpseat,  I saw a look of terror on that poor woman’s face.  Later, another passenger offered her a prescription pill (perhaps Valium), and she was quite alright for the rest of the flight. Passengers were requesting more drinks as I was bouncing around the cabin heading towards the safety of my seat. I told them all that I’d be back. 

After about 20 minutes, the turbulence subsided and off I went, trying to find my passengers with their drink orders. Of course, on these  kind of flights,  it’s impossible to venture into the cabin without getting even more drink orders. So, there I was racing around the aircraft like a chicken with its head cut off. A passenger asked me for two cups filled with ice, which always makes me suspicious of them. Are they drinking their own alcohol?

I casualty mentioned that it is against aviation law to drink your own alcohol onboard and he could get arrested upon arrival. I then asked him if he still wanted two glasses of ice. He replied with a simple, “No”.

As I was mixing yet another Caesar, a passenger in the first row shouted to me to come. “What seems to be the problem?” I inquired. The passengers that summoned my attention, were a couple sitting in the window and middle seats who were unlike any of the other peeps onboard. They were well dressed and she was wearing pearls, for goodness sake! The woman gestured to the man sitting in the aisle seat and said, “That man is being extremely rude!”. Rude man answered,”I simply asked them to close the window shade as the sun is shining right in my eyes.” It went on and on about the way it was asked and why didn’t you, rude man,switch seats with your wife, etc, with me trying to play mediator. I suggested the window passenger close the shade and use the reading light instead. He replied with, “I need natural light to read by” Obviously, I wasn’t going to get a solution satisfactory to both parties, and I couldn’t exactly give them a time out, although I was really tempted! I used my best patient mother voice and said,” I have no empty seats to move you. We have two hours left in the flight to get along. Do you think we can all just get along for two more hours?” They nodded slowly like little kids that just got in trouble. Disaster averted…

I had to make announcements asking passengers to please keep the aisles free and refrain from asking for drinks as we would be out in the cabin for a second service. Otherwise, it would have been never ending.

As promised, we were out once again to offer drinks and food. But nobody was interested in food this time. We had to hussle because we had less than an hour left in the flight. One of the flight attendants came upon two men sitting one row apart, ready to duke it out. Apparently, the guy sitting in the seat in front of the other guy was by then sick of the BIG guy in back of him knocking into his seat the whole time. There was a lot of,”What’s your problem?”. Followed by the BIG guy replying with, “I have my baby on my lap. What’s wrong with YOU?” Of course, this argument was fueled by many a drinks consumed. The flight attendant was pretty sure fists were about to fly. She switched the seats of the passenger who had been drinking his own alcohol with the ‘What’s your problem’ passenger. Once again, everyone scathed unharmed.

Nobody was more happy to land then the flight attendants even though we were not laying over. Back in the day, passengers used to clap when we landed. You never see that anymore except Clap Clap. They clapped. Figures.

Upon deplaning, my snooty couple were still bickering with the sun in eyes passenger. “Excuse me! Can you move? I am TRYING to get my bag!”

Finally, everyone was off except the ‘What’s your problem?’ passenger and the couple with the baby. It looked like he was waiting for them to continue where it had left off. The flight attendant and I looked at each other and sprung into action. “Where are your carry-on bags, sir?” We got them for him and ushered him off the plane.

I promised the crew, that the next flight wouldn’t be as challenging as the last, especially since we had ran out of beer and vodka. Passengers would be tired from a weeks worth of drinking and sun worshipping.

Halfway through, the first service for these new passengers, I heard a woman shout to the woman right in front of her,”Excuse me. Could you NOT recline your seat?!” Oh oh, I thought. Here we go again! But, the other woman replied softly,” I have the right to recline my seat”, but then put her seat back to the normal upright position. Ah, no drunken testosterone to deal with. Phew!



Sunday morning, the kids woke up and excitedly ran downstairs to search high and low for the eggs that the Easter bunny hid for them. They couldn’t find even one! Dad then  told them that he had gone  outside to put the recycling out and stumbled upon an egg. A herd of three children scrambled upstairs and outside to search and rescue 21 hidden eggs. They successfully completed their mission within minutes. Satisfied, they headed back inside and proceeded to sort their candy and started the all important task of trading their goods with each other.  The rest of the day for them consisted of sneaking off and eating lollies without mum or dad seeing. (ya right! I was on to them!)

Lucky for me, I had some important egg hunting to do as well. Why should the kids have all the fun? My oldest son had complained the night before that his head was itchy. I got out my super duper deluxe lice kit, and went to work. Crap! The Easter bunny hid many eggs (nits) on my son’s head too. But they weren’t filled with candy and chocolate and there were more than 21 of them. So, I spent several hours scouring his head looking for eggs and pesky lice. One of my least favourite jobs! 

My poor son…he catches EVERYTHING.  This is his fourth encounter with lice that he (probably) caught at school. Boy…does he have clean hair, or what! He’s had pink eye, the  stomach flu numerous times and he gets unexplained hives every year. I

Back to the Easter weekend lice-athon,  we spent the rest of it shunned by the outside world and held in isolation. My daughter also caught the critter special. Boy oh boy. More egg hunting for me even though Easter is almost over. Can’t wait to see what is in store next year!

 



et cetera