flightmum











{March 28, 2013}   Creepy Crawlies

As I was getting ready for work, I glanced at the names of the pilots and flight attendants that I’d be working with that day. The name of the captain caught my eye. Could it be him? Is that the creepy pilot I first met fifteen years ago?

Sure enough, when I walked onto the aircraft, we both recognized each other right away.  We exchanged pleasantries and that was it for the time being.

A bit of background: When I first started flying, I was in my early 20’s. I had moved cities for the job and I was missing my boyfriend tremendously as we were in a long distance relationship.

The day I met Captain Creepy, I was working a flight with him and was having fun flying with my roommate as well. The last flight leg of the day involved my roommate and me deadheading (traveling in a passenger seat) while the pilots flew the airplane. I got a seat in business class and decided to change out of my uniform and into my regular clothes so I can enjoy a glass of wine on the flight.

The captain had offered me the flight deck jumpseat for the flight as it’s a pretty cool experience and you can see some amazing views. Pilots generally invite new flight attendants to sit there for that reason (or perhaps to woo them and get into their pants. I don’t know). I didn’t want to be rude, so I took him up on his offer and sat there for take-off. But, really, I wanted to sit in my business class seat, watch a movie and have a glass of wine.

Once we were airborne, we chatted for a few minutes and then I excused myself and returned to my passenger seat, but not before he extended the invitation to sit in the cockpit for landing.

Towards the end of the flight, I returned to the flight deck and strapped myself in. Captain Creepy (who was probably 20 years older than me) told me that he and the first officer were going to a bar near the airport after we landed, and would myself and my roommate like to join them? I really didn’t, but being so young and shy, I didn’t know how to turn down the invitation.  So, I said that my roommate was driving me home and she had to go home right away for some reason that I made up and perhaps we would join them later…fully knowing that we wouldn’t.

We drove home, and exhaled a sigh of relief that we dodged that awkward bullet.  In hindsight, I now know that NOBODY EVER goes out for drinks after we land. Everybody rushes home to their real lives.

About a week later, Captain Creepy calls me at home. How did he get my number, I ask him.  He told me that he went to the flight attendant’s check-in area and looked in the book that was there that had all of our phone numbers in it. We used it in case a flight attendant wanted to call another flight attendant to request a flight switch.

He wanted to know why we did not show up. I started making up an excuse when he told me that he really had enjoyed talking to me the other day and I was easy to talk to, unlike his wife. He felt we had a connection and was hoping we could go out for coffee some time. I blurted out that I had a boyfriend that I was crazy about and it wouldn’t be right to get together.

He continued on trying to convince me to meet him and then gave me his cell phone number and asked me to think about it and call him back the next day.

The following day, I left him a quick voicemail letting him know that I would not be changing my mind. Case closed.

About a year later, I woke up in my hotel room on a layover and found a note slipped under my door. It was from Creepy. It basically said that he noticed that I was also laying over at the same hotel but he had an early departure and hoped I was well. To know I was there, he would have had to check the flight attendants’ hotel sign in sheet as the pilots have their own. Does that mean he has been ‘looking’ for my name for a whole year or was it a coincidence that he saw it. Regardless, it still freaked me out!

Five years later, I worked a flight with him but didn’t recognize him right away. He reminded me that we had worked together long ago. I said I remembered but I had thought that he had been the first officer back then and not the creepy pilot. So, I put my foot in my mouth and said to him,” Do you remember that captain we flew with? He got my phone number and like stalked me. It weirded me out.” He didn’t say much then but later said to me, that HE had been the captain on that flight and that he didn’t know that he had made me feel uncomfortable and that he was sorry. Well, that WAS awkward! But, afterward, I was happy that I had mistook who he was because I wouldn’t have had the courage to say those things to him otherwise.

Back to the present…ten years after the last incident, Creepy Captain asked me what I’ve been up to. I mentioned that I was happily married and have three kids. We talked about how it had been a LONG time since we had seen each other last. I asked him if I had aged well.. I wasn’t flirting. Perhaps, I was just fishing for a compliment. He said I was just as beautiful today as I was then. Thanks.

Maybe he is not so creepy after all. I mean, at least he has good taste in women. That’s gotta count for something, right?

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{February 20, 2013}   Evacuate! Evacuate!

You go through your entire career hoping that you never have to use your emergency training to face the unexpected on an aircraft. Even though we silently think about the inevitable before every take-off and every landing, as per our regulations, so as to mentally prepare ourselves for anything at all to come our way.

Annually,  we attend a flight attendant emergency prep refresher course and practice fighting fires, shouting out our commands and activating the emergency door slides and evacuating the aircraft in 90 seconds.

Some flight attendants fly for 30 plus years and never have anything more serious to deal with on the airplane more than a scraped knee. And that’s the way we like it.

After three years of flying,  I had a real live emergency on my aircraft. This is how it went down.  I was working a flight to Jamaica on a Boeing 767. Flight was full. My jumpseat was in the back of the aircraft. We took off without incident.  Ten minutes later,  the Captain comes over the p.a. and says the code words to let the flight attendants know that there is something wrong on the airplane. 

The in charge flight attendant went into the flight deck to find out what was going on. She got all the necessary information and called us to brief us on the situation.  The captain said that his flight deck indication showed that we had TOO much oil on the gauge and having too much oil on the plane is dangerous and a fire hazard.  We were going to return to the airport and have maintenance look at it.

Right away, we prepared the cabin for imminent landing. The captain said that is was going to be a high alert abnormal landing and NOT an emergency landing. We sat in our jumpseat and silently reviewed all of our emergency procedures ‘just in case’.

We held our breath as the plane landed. Thankfully,  it landed without incident.  The captain had mentioned to us and the passengers that we were going to park away from the airport and that there would be fire trucks and emergency vehicles to check out the airplane just to be on the safe side. 

A minute later, the captain said ‘evacuate, evacuate ‘ on the left side of the airplane. Oh no, that was MY side, I paused for a moment,  and then my training kicked in.  I started my shout out commands and opened my emergency door. I was mesmerized as the slide deployed. It jumped up and out towards the ground. All of a sudden, I was shouting to the passengers to come to my emergency exit and to go down the slide. I also asked them to leave all their luggage behind as it can damage the slide. It was pretty surreal.  My passengers were not rushing to the exit or anything but were casually coming over. Probably because they didn’t really know what the emergency was. Actually,  we didn’t even really know what the emergency was either.  Later, we found out that the fire department saw a fire in our right engine and that’s why we were evacuating. 

We continued evacuating the aircraft while simultaneously grabbing the passengers bags and throwing them in the galley.  One woman froze in fear at the top of the slide. We had to get her to slide down. Finally she did. 

Eventually,  everyone was off, we checked the cabin, grabbed a piece of emergency equipment (I took the megaphone) and we slid down to safety. For those of us wearing the uniform skirt, we found out that going down the fast slide allowed our skirts to pull up to our shoulders. Awkward! Fortunately, there were cute fire fighters at the bottom of the slide to catch us. 

After it was all over, we got debriefed and found out that aside from one woman who twisted her ankle going down the slide, everyone was okay. We got a couple of days off and went on with our careers.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. I am hoping that holds true since I already experienced an evacuation early on in my career that I will have no more ‘excitement’ in the years to come.   Fingers crossed. 



{January 18, 2013}   Good morning, Captain Jerk

I was on a short layover in the States and organized my wake-up call before I went to bed. The next morning,  I woke up to the phone ringing.  But,instead of informing me that it was time to wake up, I was told that my flight crew was downstairs waiting for the airport shuttle and was I on my way downstairs. Well, no, I wasn’t.  Thanks for asking. I never received my wake up call! I am still in my jammies! I informed him that the crew should go to the airport without me and I will meet them there. I had 30 minutes to get ready before the next shuttle bus. As flight crew, we have to be at the airport 1 hour before the flight, so, I still had some wiggle room and should stop be okay with time. I know I probably should have a backup alarm just in case, but you would  also think that a reputable hotel shouldn’t mess up something as important as one’s wake up call.

So, off I went to the airport 30 minutes late. Said hi to the flight attendants and introduced myself to the captain. Despite not being late on purpose, he was a real jerk…totally giving me attitude and wasn’t very nice. Well..isn’t my day just getting better and better! 

Quickly escaped the cockpit (no pun intended) and proceed to board the aircraft.  All the while fuming.  You better not ask me for coffee, Captain Jerk. You might just get a little unpleasant surprise in it this morning. 

(no actually pilot was harmed in the making of this blog)



et cetera