flightmum











{August 6, 2013}   Are you a Belieber?

Guess who was on my flight to Los Angeles?  You’re never going to believe it. C’mon, guess! Do you give it? It was none other than Patricia Mallette. What? You never heard of her? Really?  Are you sure? She’s about 5 feet tall and she wrote a book.  I think it was on the New York Times best seller list. It’s an autobiography. It’s about her and her son named Justin Bieber.  Yes! That’s right!  I had the Biebs’ mum onboard.  She was quite lovely,  actually.  Very down to earth. You’d never know from her demeanor that her son made 55 million dollars last year.

You’ll never guess which passenger she was sitting next to.  No, not THE Biebs himself,  but close. It was a stranger,  actually.  They didn’t know each other prior to the flight.  His name was Mr. Beaver. Seriously! No joke. That’s what was written on his boarding card. Mr. M. Beaver. What’s the chances?

When Mr. Beaver came up front to use the lavatory,  one of the flight attendants asked him if he knew who he was sitting next to. The man replied that he eventually figured it out. When they were chatting,  Mr. Beaver asked Mrs. Bieber what brought her to L.A. Was she in the ‘industry’? Mrs. Bieber replied to Mr. Beaver that her son is a musician and she was going to visit him in the Valley. Mr. Beaver told us that he knew that Justin Bieber lives in the Valley and put two and two together. After they chatted, Mr. Beaver went to sleep and Mrs. Bieber had a beer.  

Then the cat in the hat declared that he could not, would not in a house. Not in a box. Not with a mouse. He did not like green eggs and ham.

And then, along with Mrs. Bieber and Mr. Beaver, we landed.

 

 

The end.

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{July 26, 2013}   A Crappy flight

Morning flights are actually quite easy for us flight attendants to work because there are a lot of sleepers and only a handful of awake passengers to serve. Once we get past the initial shock of waking up at the cracks of dawn, we are ready to start our work day. Oh yeah. Coffee helps. A lot.

Bleary eyed passengers shuffle on board the aircraft and settle into their seats with their pillows and blankies looking to continue their shut eye. Most passengers are fast asleep before we hit cruising altitude.

For those passengers who brave to stay awake, we feed them some eggs and keep the coffee coming and coming. About 20 minutes later, the real trouble begins.

I am not sure if it’s the crappy food we serve onboard or the effects of the strong coffee we brew, but the line-ups for the lav are ferocious. One by one, they pile into the tiny washroom and have their morning constitution.  Sometimes I wonder how certain sized people fit into that tiny room. They must have the skills of a contortionous artist.

Every now and then, I hold my breath, spray some heavy duty air freshener into the toilet area and then retreat back to my jumpseat, which, incidentally is located right next to that stinky loo. Generally,  I am put off my yoghurt and granola after two bites.

Passengers after passenger files out of the lav, making sure they don’t make any eye contact so as not to betray the fact that they just had the biggest crap of their life. It’s the walk of shame back to their seats. Because really, who wants to poop on a plane? I think most of us would prefer to do our business in the comfort of our own home.

The worst is when you are next in line and you hear the double flush. Because let’s face it. We can hear everything going on in the airplane’s toilet. After the second flush, the passengers in line and I exchange nervous looks, knowing that whatever happened ‘in there’, was so big (or messy) that it wouldn’t go down the first flush. Yikes!

The door swings open, and the next passenger gulps,  gives me a nervous look and goes in there to face whatever they may find. Hoping that it’s not THAT bad.

I swear,  everyone on that plane has a shit during the morning.  I mean, I am glad that they eat their fibre and are regular. But, come on! There’s only so much one flight attendant can take before they gag.

Perhaps I should stick to afternoon flights after all.



{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 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.

 



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 19, 2013}   V.I.P.

Lately I have had a few self proclaimed VIPs onboard, which, of course stands for Very Impatient Passengers and NOT Very Important People as they would like to believe. 

There are 3 types of VIPs. First, is the passenger who feels like he should be your number one priority and HIS needs come before anyone else’s. He flies often and knows what to expect, but he wants his newspaper BEFORE  you offer it and he wants his first cocktail BEFORE you get to his row. He’s like an excited 3 year old boy in the body of a business traveller. So, you give him what he wants and hope the other passengers don’t mind that he is monopolizing your time and that he is getting things out of turn.

The second VIP is the newly  pregnant woman who can’t put her luggage in the overhead bins because she is expecting. Throughout the flight, she keeps reminding you that she is with child. For example, when she gets up to use the lavatory for the 5th time… It’s because she is pregnant.  I don’t mind this type of  VIP. It’s kind of cute. But, I chuckle in the galley with the other flight attendants and tell them that when I was pregnant with my second child, I’d be carrying my toddler, my groceries AND the diaper bag up two flight of stairs.  But anyway…I try not to judge because you never know her story. Perhaps she has had a miscarriage in the past or has been trying to get pregnant for 2 years…you never know.

The final  VIP type is the family with the new baby. They bring everything but the kitchen sink onto the plane and make a big fuss and act like they are the first people EVER to travel with a baby. It’s quite hilarious to watch them in action. Both the mum and dad go into the tiny lav to change juniors diaper. So cute! 

The truth is, all these people  don’t have to make a big fuss to become my very important passengers as ALL my passengers are important to me. Especially the ones that bring me chocolates and money. Just kidding…sort of.



{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!



et cetera