flightmum











{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… 

 

 

 

Advertisements


{June 6, 2013}   THE PHONE CALL

Last week,  I was at home, minding my own business and trying to keep busy (yes, it is extremely  difficult  to keep busy with three young  kids!). 

I was on the phone with my bank when lo and behold,  my other line rang. I asked the nice banking woman to hold on a minute while I answered call waiting:

Hello?

Hi. This is your son’s teacher.  Do you have a minute?

Yes, hang on. I’ll just get off the other line.

I swiftly hung up on the banking person. My mind was racing with different scenarios of why my younger son’s teacher was calling me during the school day.  What did he do this time? I started sweating and hyperventilating a little.  I was forming apologies in my head to extend to the teacher or the latest victim. I was crafting firm punishments to force upon my son as soon as he walked through the front door. I imagined saying in a Ricky Ricardo voice: Lucy, you have some ‘splainin to do.

I took a few deep breathes and a couple of swigs of booze (conveniently kept close for JUST these occasions) and used up all my courage to breathe:

Hello? I’m back.

Yes. I am just calling about something that happened today at school.  I tested all the children’s reading levels today and your son scored a 28 out of 30. Even though he is in grade two, his reading level is two thirds through grade three.

Wow! That was not the phone call I expected to get.

Well, I thought it would be nice to get a feel good phone call for a change.

Thanks!  I really appreciate it!

Both your son’s are great readers. You are very lucky that they enjoy reading. In fact,  I think your middle son might even be a higher achiever reader than your oldest son was at the same age.

Thank you but I think I had something to do with their love of reading!

Oh yes. Of course.

Thanks for the phone call.  Bye.

And that was that. I worried for nothing. I drank in the middle of the day (gasp. BEFORE noon) and all by my lonesome for no good or valid reason. Something to think about, indeed.

When my son came home from school, I gave him a great big hug and told him how proud I was of him.

When my husband got home, I told him that our son got a call from his teacher today.

Instantly, he started sweating and shaking with anticipation of the news from today’s PHONE CALL.

I silently chuckled and sat back to enjoy the show.



{May 24, 2013}   Turbulent Times.

Nobody actually likes turbulence when they fly. It’s downright annoying. Uncomfortable, yes. Dangerous, no. An airplane does not just fall out of the sky due to the Harlem shakes. Aircrafts are designed to withstand bumps with their ingenious flexible wings that ‘flap’ in the wind.

Even though I have flown in hundreds of hours of turbulence,  I do not pretend to be an expert in that topic. I still don’t REALLY get it.  But, I’ll give it a shot and explain what causes turbulence to the best of my abilities.

Turbulence in the air is like driving on a bumpy pot-holed road. When you are flying in the sky and you hit ‘an air pocket’, you are experiencing irregular fluctuations in the air. Technically speaking,  air flows like a horizontal snaking river that is referred to as a jet stream. When the edge of the jet stream interacts with slower moving air, you get turbulence.  Hey, presto.

Even though pilots can’t see turbulence, they can avoid it by relying on ride reports from other pilots that flew the same path moments before. It is always rush hour up in the sky, so there is a lot of information to share amongst pilots and air traffic control!

Pilots are trained to handle turbulence and any other mishap thrown their way, so don’t worry.  Keep your seatbelt fastened and you’ll be fine. I trust the pilots. You should too.

I have had many fearful passengers over the years. Some drink  alcohol or take ‘something’. Others just cower and suffer through it.

I used to be able to take scared flyers into the flight deck so that they could see the pilots in action and ask them a ton of questions.  That used to help. But, after 9/11, that practice stopped.

I had a woman so frightened once, she wouldn’t let go of my hand. Fortunately, I had a deadheading pilot in uniform that was nice enough to talk to her and calm her down a little.

Then, there was the woman that looked me straight in the eyes when we were flying through turbulence and shrieked: What’s going on?There is something you’re not telling me! 

Fear of flying, is an irrational fear, just like fear of spiders (unless you live in a country like Australia, where they have the most deadliest arachnids). So, you can’t reason with these types of passegers because they are so frightened and cannot think logically about the situation.

The most fearful flyers appear to be female, unless the men are better at hiding it. The fear of flying crowd tend to have controlling ‘type A’ personalities. They probably would not be afraid if THEY were licensed to fly the aircraft. At least they’d be in charge. But, I do sympathize with them.

Of course, it goes without saying that, statistically speaking, it is safer to fly in an airplane than  drive your car to work. 

Like I said, irrational fear.



{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 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. 



{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.

 



{May 14, 2013}   Love You Forever

When I was pregnant for the first time, I received a Robert Munsch book at my baby shower from my aunt.  It was called ‘Love You Forever’. My aunt wrote a lovely message in it which included: Once you are a parent,  you will truly understand the words and meaning. 

I heard through others that the book was a real tearjerker. That night, I decided to test it out. With my baby boy tucked safely in my womb, I read the book from cover to cover. Hmm. Nothing. No tears. Ha! I knew I was tough.

In the book, the mum sings a specific song to her son from the day he was born until he becomes a new dad himself.

 

I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.Image

 

After my son was born, I read him the Robert Munsch book and couldn’t get through it without choking up. I chalked up the tears to baby hormones.  

Ten years later,  I have read the book many times over to my three children and I still can’t get through it without waterfalls. No baby hormones to blame.

Last night,  I tried reading the book to my daughter using silly voices to stave off the tears.  We laughed. My method worked…almost. I guess I am soft after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 



{May 12, 2013}   Mum appreciation day

I remember when I was a kid, I’d ponder out loud why there couldn’t be a kid’s day. I mean,  there’s a mother’s day and father’s day,  so it made perfect sense that there should be a day dedicated to kids, right? My mum explained that every day is kid’s day. How right she was!

I had a really good mother’s day today, I have to say. I am lucky enough to get breakfast in bed every year on the big day, where my sons take my meal and drink order and deliver it to my bed. Delivery with a smile. Then they salivate while I devour my eggs. After that,  my special day is pretty much over. It’s back to making lunch and wiping bums.

But, this year, my day kept on givin’. I got the customary yummy sunny side up. Then, I got to go back to sleep! (hooray). Afterwards, I got in the car and was told to keep my eyes closed. That’s really hard to do when you’re driving. But I managed to keep them closed the whole time.  Did I mention that my husband was driving? After parking, I put my life in my kids hands as they blindly led me to our next adventure.  To my surprise,  we were to have lunch at our favourite Irish pub. Irish coffee, anyone? As you can imagine, with three young children,  we rarely go out to restaurants as we have been banned by most of them in a ten mile radius. 

Then home for  a quick four hour game of Monopoly where nobody cried or fought or whined. It was a magical day after all. 

Bbq for dinner rounded out the perfect day. Didn’t cook one meal or wash one dish all day long. ( I did wipe one bum). Still…BEST MOTHER’S DAY EVER!

 



My four year old daughter loves wearing dresses.  She also loves when her and I dress alike. She’s insisting that we wear dresses everyday.  Except there’s only one problem with that. She looks way cuter in her outfits than me. She weighs about thirty pounds. I weight at least 100 pounds more than that (and then some). 
I need to lose some weigh. At least 10 pounds. Okay. Maybe fifteen.

Already, my darling daughter is competing with me. She asked her father, “Who looks prettier in their dress? Mummy or me? That was a tricky one to answer diplomatically. My husband said: Mummy, because she’s my wife. My daughter’s lower lip trembled. My husband said both of us were the prettiest. She was okay with that answer.
The truth is: She is beautiful. And I’m okay with that.



{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?



et cetera