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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{March 24, 2013}   Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum

I flew to the Caribbeans yesterday. After we landed, we had time to go into the terminal and do some shopping before turning around and flying back home. I am not a big shopper,  so normally I don’t bother browsing the stores. But, yesterday,  I did.  
There was a lot of touristy things to buy. I bypassed those shops and headed straight to the alcohol store.  Good choice. I bought a bottle of Cruzan coconut rum for $9. And that is with my 10% off employee discount. Gotta love getting an airline discount on liquor sales! I was on a high the whole flight home due to my bargain find. Which got me thinking about how overpriced booze is at home. I can buy the same bottle at my local store for about $25. That’s more than double. Why is it marked up so much? Is it the duty, local taxes, greed? It certainly does not cost $25 to make and bottle rum. Somebody is making a tidy little profit, and it’s not me.  I will definitely be browsing the shops of far away lands from now on. 

I always declare my purchases to the customs officer when I land. It’s not worth losing my job over lying about a bottle of rum. Fortunately,  the agents are pretty lenient with crew when we buy alcohol  even when we are not entitled to duty free purchases as we were not out of the country for a long enough duration. They might raise an eyebrow, of course, if you buy too many bottles of drink. Like the time I flew to Santiago and brought home 8 bottles of wine. I had to pay extra taxes upon arrival but it was so worth it.

I wasn’t the only one of my crew to pick up bargains at the airport. Two other flight attendants bought a bottle and the first officer bought a huge wheel of Gouda cheese for $60. Normally,  at home,  it would cost double that. He too imported his cheese into the country without a visit to secondary customs. 

It’s like Christmas with all these great finds. Ho ho ho.



{February 28, 2013}   Buh-bye, ciao, au revoir, adios

The most tedious part of my job is at the end of the flight when passengers are deplaning and I have to stand at the boarding door and say good bye to everyone.  I try to send authentic and caring.  I alternate between saying “bye-bye”, “thank-you”,”take care”,”see you later”, and “have a good day”. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

It’s definitely a nice touch when the captain stands next to me and greets the passengers adieu as well. The only time it gets interesting  saying goodbye to the gang is when we play the ‘glasses’ game. One of us only says goodbye to passengers wearing glasses and the other one only says ‘ciao’ to non-glasses wearers. We usually mess up and end up giggling. It’s fun! You should try it sometime.

Unless they are on their phones, passengers usually like to say their goodbyes as well. They like to tell us good bye or that they had a nice flight. Sometimes,  they turn into amateur pilots. They tell the flight crew, “Great landing!”…Everyone’s an expert!   Usually,  more times than not, the pilot replies, “I just get lucky sometimes” and then chuckles as I roll my eyes. Once, a pilot replied with a simple ‘thank-you’. I told him I appreciate him not saying the same stupid joke! 

 Buh-Bye!

 



{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!



{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