{August 8, 2013}   Wake up Sleepy Head

Certain destinations I fly to are known for their ‘drinkers’. They drink a lot of booze but it’s fine because they can hold their liquor.  So, the flight proceeds without any incidents.  Sometimes we run out of their preferred drink.  But, no worries! These passengers are very accommodating.  They just drink something else. 

I worked one of those boozy flights recently and didn’t think anything about one of my business class passengers downing his gin and tonics. I love gin and tonics too! Cheers!

The passenger was chatting me up, mentioning that he is buddies with our CEO ( ya, right! ) and that he was going to send him an email the next day about how great of a flight attendant I am (Thank you but was that you or the gin and tonic talking?)

After the fourth drink, he assured me that he was not driving when we landed.  And, again after the sixth drink, he told me he was taking a cab upon arrival.  He spoke in a clear and coherent manner.  He wasn’t slurring his words or getting loud and obnoxious.  He seemed fine. 

Finally,  towards the end of this four hour flight,  he asked me for his seventh and final drink.  I obliged. Shortly after,  he was in his seat,  sleeping like a baby. 

When it was time to prepare the cabin for landing,  I noticed that his seat was still reclined. So, I pressed the recessed button and pulled his seat all the way upright.  Usually this action wakes  up the passenger, but not Mr. Gin and Tonic.

It was around 10 PM when we landed.  I made my boring announcements over the p.a. that nobody listens to, especially Mr. G & T. 

He was sitting in the second row of the airplane.  All the passengers were deplaning and staring at his sleeping figure as they passed him by. Some passengers laughed and others gave him a funny look.

Finally,  it was just the crew and Mr. Sleeping Beauty left on the plane. After a long day, we were anxious to get home.  He, apparently,  was not.

I shook his shoulder more forcefully and talked to him in a louder voice. No dice.  The Captain also tried to wake him up. Nope. Nothing.  Nada. What were we going to do? I saw his chest rising up and down.  He was breathing,  so that was good.

Finally,  I called our operations and explained the situation.  They suggested pouring water on him and then reneged.  Perhaps they were thinking ‘law suit’.

After a few minutes later, the passenger miraculously woke up. He got his belongings and staggered very unsteadily up the bridgeway. He kept on banging into the wall.  I don’t know who got more bruises : him or the wall.

What Mr Business Class passenger did not factor in is that an alcoholic beverage in the air affects us differently than on the ground.  Inflight, your tolerance is lowered due to being in a pressurized environment and less oxygen flow.  One drink in the air affects you like 3 on the ground. Yikes! That’s some serious drinking.!

Poor Chap! I guess he got home okay because I did not hear anything more about this situation from my airline. 




{June 10, 2013}   Twins

A passenger boards the aircraft and asks when will we be landing because he has a tight connection.  I reply that we should be on time. He starts explaining how he HAS TO make his connecting flight. Meanwhile,  as he is explaining his predicament,  he is holding up the boarding process; risking delaying the flight!

After we finish boarding,  I seek out this passenger and he tells me that his connecting flight leaves exactly five minutes after we land. I give him a ‘You gotta be kidding!’ look. He tells me that he is a police officer and he was supposed to be on the earlier flight that would have given him plenty of time to make his connecting flight. Normally he could check-in his service revolver at the check-in counter, but this time, they made him go to the special services counter which made him miss his flight.  I sympathized with him and told him I’d look into his next flight after take-off…perhaps it was delayed.

I asked the pilots about the guy’s  flight and then I went to inform the passenger that unfortunately, his flight was on time and he would misconnect.  Also, since it was eleven o’clock at night, there wouldn’t be any more flights tonight and he’d have to overnight.  He asked me what I would do in his shoes. He said that his wife had called and told him she was in labour with their twins and on the way to the hospital. He NEEDS to get home as soon as possible. I told him that that changed everything and I’d go speak to the pilots again. 

I called the guys up front and said,” Do you want to be a hero tonight?”. I quickly explained them the story and they told me that they would do everything in their power to try and hold the other flight to wait for that passenger.

I envisioned being in the newspaper in the feel good section. Perhaps the passenger would name his son Jett. Boy, do I LOVE a happy ending!

I have to admit that the thought did cross my mind that the passenger was full of shit and making up the ‘pregnant wife’ story to better his chance of making the flight. I mean, why did he wait until our third interaction to bring it up? But, I decided that I’d believe him for now.

I moved his seat to the front of the aircraft so he could be the first person to deplane…just in case it all worked out.

After we landed and while we were taxiing, the captain called me to tell me that unfortunately the other aircraft pushed from the gate five minutes early. Since, it was not us, but our feeder airline, there was nothing they could do. 

I reluctantly gave my passenger the bad news while trying to suss out if he was telling the truth or not. I asked him a few pertinent questions about his situation. He seemed to say the right things.  He said that he was going to rent a car, drive the four hours and hope for the best. At least he didn’t have to worry about getting a speeding ticket, chuckled Mr. Police Officer.

I’ll never know what happened or whether he was telling the truth. I’d like to think that he made it to the birthing room in the nick of time… 




{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?


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 7, 2013}   Alumni

I was boarding the aircraft when I spotted a young man sporting a sweatshirt with my alma mater on it. The good old university days…

I excitedly asked him if he went to my old university.  He told me: Yes. In fact, he still does. Just going home after finishing his exams. I felt like we had a bond. A connection. We both went to the same small school. I figured we would talk during the flight about our amazing school. We would reminisce and compare notes. We would talk about the teachers still there. We would laugh about all the old hang-outs and pubs we frequented. We would sing our old school song. What did you study, he’d ask.

Well, in flight,  he did not seek me out. He wanted nothing to do with me. And then, it hit me. He looked at me and saw an old lady.  He can’t related. I graduated over 15 years ago. I’m as old as some of his teachers.  Sigh. How can that be when I still feel 22?

After my flight, I came home and declared to my husband that I have to burn my favourite beige and white sweater.  He didn’t seem too concerned. Or surprised.  Apparently, he didn’t even like that sweater. 

See, what happened was that on my Florida flight that day, a woman in her 70’s walked onto the airplane wearing MY sweater.  And, it even looked good on her as she paired it with a white blouse underneath it. Up until that moment,  it was my go to sweater that I wore often because it was SO comfortable. And I thought it looked good, too. But, after seeing the granny in it, the love affair with my cotton /polyester blend garment  was over. I can’t, in good conscious, ever wear it again. Sigh.

In my defense,  I did buy it at The Gap. I am not going to lie and tell you that it was at the cutting edge of fashion. But, I also didn’t think that it was the ‘it’ sweater to have at the retirement village. Sigh.

I used to be dress relatively trendy back in the day bk (before kids). I wasn’t a trendsetter, per se, but I did follow trends pretty carefully.  And then, I got married,  had babies, and forgot how to put an outfit together.  Sorry,  apparently I know how to put an outfit together for a grandmother. Hmm… I have been looking for a side business.  Perhaps I can call it “Outfits for hip Grannies”.

I remember when I was a teenager, my beloved grandma who was about 6 inches shorter than me and 30 pounds lighter than me, would offer me the clothes off her back. To be nice, I’d say,”Grandma, you look nice today. I like your shirt” She would reply, “Here. You can have it.” I’d remind her that I like it on HER and besides, it would never fit me!  Perhaps even then, she saw the grandma dressing style in me. Sigh.

She used to ride the city bus and try to give me fashion advice. She would say about a certain style, it’s what ‘all the young ladies are wearing these days’. I wish my grandmother was still alive today. I desperately need her fashion savyness. Sigh.

{February 22, 2013}   Stroke THIS.

I love old people. I find them interesting and at times hilarious.  I have been working a lot of flights to Florida, bringing the Snowbirds back and forth. So, there are senior citizens everywhere!  It’s not unusual to have a dozen wheelchair requests on those flights. 

Some grannies give me advice by telling me not to get old as it is NO fun getting old.

Stereotypical, some oldies complain about EVERYTHING.  The seat is too far back in the airplane.  It’s too close to the washrooms.  They need an aisle seat. It’s too cold, etc.

Then, there are the seniors who are so funny without even trying. I helped an elderly couple onboard yesterday.  They needed wheelchair assistance to and from the plane but had to hold onto seats and my arm to get to their seats. For real,their seats WERE really far back. They took their time and finally got to their seats huffing and puffing.  The old man took the windows seat. He asked me how many were in our crew. I told him 3 flight attendants and two pilots.  He reached into his bag and then pulled out 5 Chapa Chups lollipops and instructed me to hand them out to the crew.  He acted like he was the most generous man in the world.  Then he took out one more lollipop and handed it to ‘the young man’ who was sitting in the aisle seat. He said: Here. You look like a nice man!

Finally, the old man’s wife was making her way to the seat. Except, she seemed to know a lot of the other passengers onboard. She stopped every few rows to catch up with those people’s news. I heard her say things like: How’s your mother’s hip replacement going? And, how many grandchildren do you have now? Etc. Meanwhile, since she walked as quickly as a snail, there were about 20 passengers behind her and she was oblivious to this!

She finally sat down and saw the sucker in her young seatmate’s hand. (young man was probably around 40 or so). The old lady turned to the guy and said in her best Estelle Costanza voice (Seinfeld-George’s mum): Oh, you got a lollipop too, I see. You big baby! The passenger and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. 

Another time, I had an older couple onboard in business class.  The wife walked in and sat down first. Then the husband got wheeled to the aircraft door and walked to his seat. But,he walked really lopsided. His speech was slurred and he drooled slightly. This couple was probably only in their late 60’s. I figured the man probably had suffered a stroke. I felt really bad for him because of the way he walked and talked,  he appeared mentally challenged.  

At first, I thought his wife was a bit rude because she was very aloof and she didn’t help him do simple tasks that were difficult for him to carry out,  like put on his seatbelt. But, then, I realized that she loved him enough to try to give him his independence.  I am sure when he first became ill, she probably didn’t know how to help him. Perhaps he was stubborn and didn’t want to receive help. The only thing she said to me about him, was to not fill up his coffee too much.

One of the flight attendants noticed that he was wearing an ‘olympics’ ring that they only give to the athletes. Kinda crazy, that, in his youth, he could have been a strong celebrated athlete. And now, in his twilight years, strangers pity him and think of him as an inferior human. It must also be hard for his wife too. Her life, as she knows it, is changed forever too. Can you still love the drooling man the same way you had?

As a nice treat, I had that couple on my flight a week later and brought them home. I would have loved to have had a conversation with the man, but it was too difficult to understand him. But, it was obvious that his wife understood him, in more ways than one.


{February 13, 2013}   Deja Vu

In my line of work, it’s rare to fly with the same flight attendants and pilots all the time. You can imagine that it is even more rare to see the same passengers.  It’s pretty cool to recognize one and for them to remember you too.

I had an uber rich couple onboard who were nice enough. The flight attendant I was working with was too curious and wanted to know if they were ‘somebodies’ so she googled them. Sure enough,  they were indeed known around town (the area with money). About a month later, the woman was on my flight again.  I recognized her right away.  It was hard not to. She is tall, bottle blond, perfect body, big (fake) boobs, botox and oozing with bling. She also does not eat airplane food (smart woman). I mentioned to her that I remembered her and she said she remembered me too! Hooray!

No kidding. Three days later, I was flying the same route and I noticed a teenager with the same last name as my woman passenger.  Sure enough,  it was her son! What are the odds! How fun! Seriously, I have seen this family more than I have seen my own lately!  


et cetera