{May 20, 2013}   Business and Pleasure

I love getting paid to visit friends and family. Well, I don’t exactly get paid to visit them, but I do get paid to fly down to their city and I get expense money to eat and a free hotel room to stay in.

I have visited people on layovers in Montreal, Ottawa,  Calgary, Victoria, Miami,  Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Glasgow. 

On layovers with loved ones, I have gone to pubs and for meals. I’ve gone for walks on the beach and have gone grocery shopping.  I’ve babysat their kids and helped them select and cut down the perfect Christmas tree. Really, I’ve done just about everything. 

When I went to Scotland,  I looked up my long lost relatives who I had never met, and they took me under their wing, so to speak. They picked me up at my hotel and took me out to dinner to meet 20 more family members.  They were so friendly and giving to me, a complete stranger,  linked only by distant blood. I couldn’t understand anything  they said due to their thick accent. But it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable layovers I’ve ever had.

Of course,  there are also the times that you find yourself in the same city as your family and mates and you make sure you don’t tell a soul where you are and don’t update your whereabouts on Facebook because you just want to chill and relax on your layover, but you don’t want to offend. You just want to catch up on your sleep. Hope you understand. 

{February 14, 2013}   Love is in the Air

Happy Valentine’s Day! I can smell it in the air!

I was working a flight recently to the most boring place in Canada.  And lucky for me as I had a layover there. On this particular flight, we were minus one Captain to operate the plane. But, not to worry as we had one on reserve who was going to rush over to our plane after he landed his plane. 

We boarded all the passengers in anticipation of his arrival. We made the obligatory announcements that as soon as the captain arrived, we’d be on our way. Twenty minutes later, he arrived.  Things were looking up.  He gave me a quick safety briefing and we were ready to go. We were about to close the aircraft door, when a flight attendant in uniform comes rushing on saying she has a last minute deadhead. Deadheading is when crew scheduling positions a crew member to operate another flight after this one. So, technically they are not working, so they take a passenger seat and do as they wish on the plane.

We proceeded to  take off and we were off to the most boring place in Canada. About an hour after take-off, the Captain comes out of the flight deck and we start chatting for a few minutes.  We exchange stories and he tells me about his wife and 3 kids.  Then he asks whether that flight attendant got on the flight.  I tell him yes and where she is sitting. He says that he will go and say hi. He walks to coach class, plops down next to her and chats away for 10 minutes.  It’s weird to see the captain of the airplane sitting in the back chatting to a passenger when the aircraft is in-flight. But, there he was. Not to worry…it really only takes one pilot to ‘fly’ the aircraft when it is in cruise.

He heads backs to the flight deck for the remainder of the flight. Meanwhile, the deadheading flight attendant comes to the front to use the lavatory.  I say to her: It’s weird.  Our passenger list shows that you are flying stand-by on a personal flight pass and not deadheading on company business. She smiles and says: I am a terrible liar…I am with the captain.

Note that he was in his early 40’s and she was a new flight attendant in her early 20’s. There was so much I wanted to say…but I said nothing.

She went back to her seat and I thought about the pilot’s poor wife at home looking after the 3 children while he invites ‘the flavour of the month’ on a layover to the most boring place in Canada. I doubt they were going to sightsee… I also thought she was an idiot for getting involved with a married man and if she thought that she was special, and that what they had was going to last, then she had a lot to learn!

Once we landed, she came on the crew bus to the hotel.  The captain’s cover story was that she lived in that city and was just catching a ride with us and then she was going to walk home. Not sure anybody bought it. We checked into our rooms while she scurried around the outside of the hotel. When she thought the coast was clear, she joined Captain Dickhead and off they went to their room.

I wasn’t flying with him the next morning, so I did not see him again until just a few days ago. He was commuting on my flight back home. He didn’t recognize me. I remembered him though because he was joined at the hip to a different young flight attendant whom he chatted up the whole flight. What a surprise! I wonder who he will be spending Valentines with tonight?  Decisions, decisions!

I am always hearing about flight attendants leaving personal items behind in hotel rooms.  Generally,  we are not in hotel rooms for very long.  Sometimes, we are there just long enough to sleep. Other times,  we have time to sight see or go out to dinner.

When it is time to check out of our room,  we have to pack quickly, as the shuttle bus or taxi is picking up the entire crew at a specific time and we can’t be late.

Ideally, it’s best to pack the night before, but sometimes it is not to be.  I am either too tired or lazy. But, I have never left behind anything at checkout.  Not a sock nor a lipstick.  Everything gets packed away. 

This how I do it. When, I am getting ready in the morning,  I work from the area furthest away from my hotel door and keep moving my things with me as I move about. For example,  when I wake up, I take my cell phone and charger and whatever else is on my night table with me and put it in another pile of my stuff that is that much closer to the door. 

Then, after my shower,  as I am getting dressed, I pack things and again, keep inching my belongings closer to the door. So, when I go to a new area in my room, I never have to look back, because I know I took everything with me. 

It works every time. Do you need to borrow my cell phone charger again?

I was on a layover, sitting at the desk in my room, looking for some writing paper. Usually there are a few sheets with the hotel’s logo lying around. I was looking through all the hotel binders. There has to be paper somewhere. Right?

I flipped to the last page of the hotel information binder and lo and behold, I found something. I did not find any writing paper but I DID find a sticker with a scantily clad woman on it that had Lesbian Angels written in big letters. Also written on it was: 24 hours, hotel visits available. Wow! That was unexpected! I wonder how long that sticker advertisement went unnoticed in a reputable hotel information book!

How many women (or men?) go to a hotels, order room service and then think: what should I do now? Rent a movie or dial 1-800-lesbian. If they chose the latter, it certainly would take the ‘layover’ to a new level!

So, what did I do with my lucky find? What do you think? I took the lesbian sticker off the hotel book and brought it to my flight the next day. I showed it to the flight attendants and pilots. I got lots of laughs and a few phone numbers…

et cetera