flightmum











{September 27, 2013}   No Fighting in the car!

It all started one weekend  this summer when we were invited to join another family at their cottage. How was I going to entertain three children on a three hour drive?  Since we don’t believe in dvds and Ipads in the car, I had to come up with a back up plan.  There’s only so much window gazing and I-Spy games we could partake in before we all get a little stir crazy.

I remember almost 5 years ago,  I jumped in the car for a five hour drive to visit my family with my then 5 month old, and 4 and 6 year olds. I borrowed from the library countless annoying Robert Munsch audio books to keep my older two entertained. Halfway through the drive, we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch and to let off much needed  steam in the play area for my boys, while I fed my baby daughter. We all survived that trip.

So, cottage bound,  we stopped at the library and armed ourselves with as many audio books as we could manage. The three hour car ride literally flew by. It was so quiet in the car as all four of us were mesmerized by the characters’ voices. We enjoyed a mystery story plus some classics by Roald Dahl including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and James and the Giant Peach. These stories captivated the almost 5 year old all the way up to the 39 year old. Now that’s impressive!  

I loved listening to these books. I don’t get a chance to read ‘kids’ books anymore.  My older two read on their own and I read smaller books to my youngest. 

Anyways, we got hooked!  Now, where ever we go, whether it is a 5 minute drive or 1 hour journey, we listen to our stories. We have read everything from ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’ by Roald Dahl, to ‘Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One’ by Judy Blume, to R.L. Stine’s Rotten School series (The Big Blueberry Barf Off…how can you go wrong with a title like that) and ‘Henry and the Clubhouse’ by Beverly Cleary.

The kids are enjoying authors that I read when I was a kid. I borrowed some more audio and regular books from those classic novelists. My 8 year is enthralled with those characters and is reading books that he used to be intimidated by. I couldn’t be happier. 

One book in particular,  Henry and the Clubhouse’ was written in 1962. Cleary’s writing was true to her era and I envy the freedom that her characters enjoyed in their every day life. Eleven year old Henry gets a job as a paperboy delivering newspapers and builds himself a backyard club house in his spare time. He is responsible and respectful to the adults in his life.  In one scene, the mother exclaims that she was starting to get worried about Henry one Saturday after he was out playing in the neighborhood for the last eight hours. Not once does Henry ask to play the Wii or IPad. Sigh.

There is another character,  Ramona, Henry’s pesky five year old neighbour who follows Henry around on his paper route. At one point, Henry tells Ramona to go home and she does as she is allowed to walk on her own as long as she doesn’t cross any busy streets.  My almost 5 year old is not even allowed to play in our front yard unsupervised! 

I think the kids ‘back then’ has a more fun childhood. More freedom=more fun.

This summer, when my kids were complaining that they were bored playing outside, I told my eldest that when I was his age, I would have been so happy to be able to play outside all day. He retorted: Ya Mum, but you didn’t know any better. You didn’t have computers or anything better to do.

He has a point, but…

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{September 23, 2013}   Coffee, Tea or Fuck you?

How would you  describe the typical flight attendant?  Do you picture her as the petite young woman with a tight hair bun and a neat appearance?  Or perhaps he is an extravagant over the top gay man with a lisp? Maybe she is a slightly overweight older woman who has eaten one too many crew meals and reminds you of your grandma. Well, the truth is, there is no right answer. We come in all shapes, sizes and sexual orientation.  But one thing we all have in common is the love for our job in customer service and safety. Well, most of us, anyway.

I’ve flown with some real crabby pants over the years. They joke: This would be the perfect job if it wasn’t for the passengers. But, they are not joking.

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some big time potty mouths. Some of these girls go into the airplane galley, shut the (flimsy materialed) curtain, and curse like a sailor visiting a brothel. F-this and F-that. One time, I had to shhh the cussing  flight attendant as there was a little girl sitting in earshot of the galley. Seriously!  What was she thinking? 

Another time, I had a sweet young flight attendant announce to me that “She’s a fucking slut!”, when I told her that a passenger complained that her announcements were too fast. Well…that was unexpected! 

I guess the days of the ‘Pan Am stewardess’ are long over.

Moral of the story? Don’t piss off your flight attendant…just in case. 



{May 23, 2013}   Check, please.

Sometimes I imagine a scenario where the passenger arrives at the airport two hours before departure and waits in line to check in for their flight. When it is finally his turn, he steps up to the passenger agent and they have the following exchange:

How may I help you?

I’d like to check in for my flight.

How many bags are you checking?

Two.

Would you like to check your manners and common sense too?

Yes, please.

Have a nice flight.

 

And then they come on my flight with just their carry-on bags, since they checked everything else.

They shove their rollerbag in an overhead bin with half of it sticking out, fully knowing that the bin will never close. Then they quickly take their seat and don’t speak up when the flight attendants ask if ‘anybody knows who’s bag this is’. Then these grown men watch as two 90 pound female flight attendants struggle to take the imposing bag out of the bin and start playing Tetris with the remaining pieces of luggage. They see us struggling putting THEIR bag up and away. In real life, chivalry would kick in and they would do their own heavy lifting. Or you would hope so, anyway.

The other day, I had a frequent flyer sitting in the first row of the aircraft. He was a good boy and put his bag in the overhead bin as he knew bags aren’t permitted at the bulkhead. During the flight, he took his bulky briefcase down to do some work. Once it was time to prepare the cabin for landing, he tried to ‘hide’ his bag behind his legs. He wasn’t fooling anyone!

I reminded him that his bags have to be stowed for landing and asked where his bag had been for take-off. He pointed to an overhead bin but made no move to get up. As I struggled to put his bag up, he said,” Sorry…it’s heavy”. Damn straight it was! I said, “Good thing I am going to the chiropractor tomorrow!”. He laughed. I didn’t.

 

 



{May 16, 2013}   Lord of the Feet

I had two interesting ‘characters’ on my flight the other day. Both interesting but for completely different reasons. Sitting in business class was one Lord Conrad Black.  For those of you not familiar with him, he is a Canadian-born former newspaper publisher and for a time, he headed the third largest newspaper group in the world. Oh yeah.  And he is also a convicted felon for fraud and obstruction of justice. 

From what I observed, Lord Conrad Black still appears to be a powerful and busy man. During the flight, he was polite enough, but he kept busy with paperwork and correspondences. You would never guess that he had just spent three and a half years in jail.

My other entertaining passenger was a top tiered frequent flyer.  During the safety demonstration,  I notice he was playing with and picking his toes for the duration of the video. He wouldn’t leave his bare foot alone…to the disgust of the frequent flying woman sitting right next to him and said foot.

Later I was chit chatting with her and somehow it got on to the subject of gross things passengers do on planes. I told her that I could tell her some stories. She said: I bet you can!

When she came up to use the lavatory, we talked about the foot fetish her seat-mate seemed to have. She said that she kept having to inch away from him while he was going to town on his foot because he was getting dangerously close.

When dinner was served, he dropped the foot and enjoyed the succulent servings.  Alas no, he did not wash his hands before eating. But, he did use the lav later… in barefeet! Who DOES that? There are so many germs on the lavatory floor. I mean, men STILL use the lav during turbulence and the miss the bowl…often.

Hope our friend washes his hands AND his feet before he decides to play foot hockey again.

 



{March 6, 2013}   What did you say?

Sometimes, we flight attendants think that passengers check their brains and their manners before they enter the aircraft.

Here is one of the reasons why. Fortunately,  we have a great in-flight entertainment system onboard the aircraft with a multitude of hours of viewing pleasure. The beauty of our system is that you can pause, rewind or fast forward your selection at any time.  So, there is no reason why you should miss a word of your programming when I, the flight attendant, talks to you and asks you what you want to eat or drink, etc. All you have to do is attempt to pause your movie.  I will wait while you do it before I speak. Really, I will.

But, so many times, the passengers don’t take off their headsets and either loud talk,  or try to guess what I am saying. Usually, they get it wrong, and then scramble to pause the movie so they can use their manners and actually listen to me. They usually appear annoyed that they couldn’t mind read my message.

But, ever the professional, I never show that I am annoyed with their lack of manners. Personally, when am a passenger, I pause my movie well in advance of you coming to my row because let’s face it. It’s not like the flight attendants randomly go from passenger to passenger scattered around the airplane. We go in order so it is easy for you to predict who we will serve next. Oh yeah…I also put down my tray table before you give me my refreshment and NOT when the flight attendant is ‘patiently’ waiting to give you your drink while you fumble with your table. Just saying.



et cetera