31 December 2010

Overheard in Business Class

Overheard in Business Class-
Me: Would you care for a US or German newspaper sir?
Passenger: Which ones are the German ones?
Me: The ones in German......

29 December 2010

Beary Scary...

Today I flew with "the Bear". The Bear is a stuffed animal that its owner takes everywhere with them. He has several outfits and even changes into pajamas in the evening. Did I forget to mention that the bears owner is a 46 year old woman , and was my purser?

I first met the bear when its owner ( handler? caretaker? mommy?) was a passenger on my flight, sitting in First Class on her way to Frankfurt, she had just transferred there. I initially thought is was a school project as crew members are always given various Flat Stanleys or stuffed bears whose travels we have to document. Oh if only.

The Captain was wandering around First Class and started talking to her when she introduced him to the bear. Frankly he could not have backed away quickly enough when he realized she was serious. she extended his paw for a handshake. I had to run into the galley to hide the laughter..

When she put his pajamas on for bed, I was beside myself. The crew members who knew her from past flying said she brings the bear into the crew rest area with her.

I spent the trip today looking for a bear sighting. I suspect she has heard her mental health is in question so keeps him in her suitcase during the trip. How seriously can you take someone who carries a stuffed animal everywhere at the age of 46? (Though dammit, her Asian features make her look 23, and her helium voice makes her sound about 12). Good grief, this was bigger than Tipper!! I had to wonder if she brought the bear on dates, as shockingly she was single.

Midtrip, I started to feel a little bad about painting her as a lunatic, she was a hard worker and very sweet. We sort of bonded over a shared love of knitting and she even gifted me a Beijing shoe bag. Maybe we are all slightly crazy, some just keep theirs closer to the surface.

28 December 2010

Dear Melissa

I recently has a reader ring the call button and ask me a really thought provoking question. Melissa wanted to know if I would do this job over again if given the chance... Talk about a toughie!!

Melissa, I would have to say for ME the answer would be yes. Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment but I think if I saw that ad for a cattle call again as a 21 year old, I would like to think I would go to that interview again in spite of some of the crap that would be in my future.

When I applied for this job I had no real idea of what a flight attendants life would be like. My mother did the job in the glam era of the job, so her nostalgia painted a pretty picture of the job I will admit. (Mom, the crew desk no longer gives you wake up calls when you have an early trip, but supervisors do not check to make sure you are wearing a girdle.)

If I had a strong need to sleep in my bed every night, or even know what day of the week it is, I would not reapply. If I would burst into tears at the thought of spending 24 hours alone on a layover, in a foreign country where I did not speak the language, I would not reapply.

This job has taken me to over 20 countries on layovers , and over 60 on personal travel that I could only dream of with my reduced rate travel on other airlines. I have also had to share apartments and even rooms for far longer in life that most of the people I went to school with, for this jobs pay is not one if its strong points relative to the cities I have been based in.

I have worked charter flights to the Olympics and met more celebrities and even royalty ( admittedly minor royals or shamed ones...yes you Fergie). I have also has people expect me to clean up after their vomit or throw trash at their feet and expect me to clean it up.

The job has given me layovers between 10 hours and 5 days, in hotels ranging in quality from 5 star (Swisshotel Seoul and Steigenberger Frankfurt, I miss you) and so dumpy as to be listed in a Korean hostel guidebook ( yes you dumpy Furama).

If I felt a strong need to be home every weekend, or could not entertain myself when I am awake with jetlag at 4am and the only thing on the TV is CNN International because I am overseas, I would not go to that interview again.

Melissa, this job is nothing that cannot be undone, it is not enlisting in the service. If you are thinking about it and are open enough in life to be able to deal with not knowing where you are sleeping that night as you are on standby, and can bounce back from things like spending a Saturday night watching Bravo because no one fun to go play with is on your crew, then go for it.

This job ended up to be not much like I imagined it, sometimes I am so tired I spend the whole day in my pajamas recovering from a gruesome trip, yet for me the benefits outweigh the negatives. Hell for me most anything beats getting up early five days a week.

If you have any more specific questions please write back.

25 December 2010

A Tale of Two Notes

Sometimes at the end of the flight you are handed various notes or trinkets from passengers. Sometimes it is candy, a treat from the duty free cart or a note from an admirer. 2 crew members on a recent flight got such notes, though of a very different kind.

'Sam' the steward, who is quite the handsome treat for the eye got a 2 page love note on a returned snack tray from a besotted gentleman. This man offered to show him the sights of Washington DC by moonlight, which he reckoned were really spectacular with freshly fallen snow and the Christmas tree on display. It was quite a sweet note that would have touched anyone who was single and interested in the writer of the note. ('Sam' was neither, pity).

'Susie' the stewardess got handed a business card, without a word or a wonk, merely the name of the passengers hotel scribbled on the back. 'Susie' was made to feel like a hooker.

Dear reader, it is very possible for a passenger to make a date with a member of the crew ( ask my dad how he met my mom) but make sure they are interested first, and don't make them feel like they should tell you their hourly rate..

Note to the reader Melissa, I will answer your letter tomorrow, I have been giving it lots of thought and apologize for the delay.

02 December 2010

Overheard in First Class

Passenger: Do you have freshly squeezed juice?
Me: Not remotely.

Side note- Yes she did want her fleece sweatshirt hung in the closet.

01 December 2010

FrankfurtMain after the snow...aka the last flight out of Saigon

Brrr, baby it was cold outside. Frankfurt has a snowstorm the other day, which made for a beautiful day off enjoying the Christmas markets, but a nightmare for those trying to fly. Most inter-European flights in/out of central Germany were cancelled the day before I flew, which made the airport resemble Saigon as the airport closed. Well, minus the snow...

So many passengers never made it to Frankfurt that our flight to the states was freakishly light in First and Business class. The snow made it a bear for other crew to get home. Those that lived in Amsterdam and Paris did not have a proverbial snowballs chance in hell of getting on a flight , so they bought train tickets. Others were begging for trips, to avoid trying to find a hotel room in a situation like this.
This crap weather is expected to continue through the week... there goes my trip to Vienna :-(...

17 November 2010

Could There Be a Happier Sight in an Airport?

A welcome pit stop ( off duty of course!) at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport.

13 October 2010

Bedoin...who knew??

I recently returned from a trip to France with the Boy Who Flies. When he invited me to travel to Bedoin, France to visit him, I will admit I had to google where in the heck it was ( Vaucluse) , and how to get there. He is an avid cyclist and Bedoin sits at the foot of Mt. Ventoux, which is one of the Tour de France climbs and as such , is a bit of a religious ride for him. Having seen him in his bike shorts, I would have been a fool not to go.

We stayed in a tiny hotel , La Garance , which is right across the street from a fantastic restaurant and a tiny vineyard. This hotel is the sort where your croissant is served with fresh jam from the neighbors fruit.

Few things are an enjoyable as an evening eating food on a patio overlooking grape vines as the sun sets. For a boy who is not too romantic, he certainly picked a great setting for our dinners. The temperamental female chef made it a game to see if the restaurant would open in the evening. Apparently it is hard enough to keep a chef in a small town, they put up with divas.

Bedoin is built upon a hill side, crazy steep car free streets that make you feel like a 1950s film star walking through town in the evening. Nice to visit, but the fact you can hear your neighbors each and every movement made me glad not to live there. Note to self, wear flats next year..

We happened to stumble upon market day there, as we were leaving, and he gamely let me wander for an hour or two. After I restrained myself from buying up everything with a price tag, I was able to get some snaps with my phone, as my beloved camera is being repaired.

I was longing for a kitchen and a set of pots and pans after spying the food, herbs and spices. It is only a farmers market where you can wax over a bag of herbes de Provence and how best to use them, or which meat is best served with which spices and vinegar marinade. You could ( and I did) make a meal of the samples they were offering.

The bottles above are infused vinegars, which were all available to taste with bread, and has papers detailing what best to prepare with them.

While not food, soap is one of my fail safe, nearly unbreakable gifts for friends.

I could have easily bought about a dozen of these baskets, but the Barbie doll sized car we rented kept my shopping aspirations pint sized. Next year I will know to bring an empty suitcase with me.

We also stopped in Vaison-la-Romain, which has to be one of my favorite villages in France. As soon as I can pry the photos Boy Who Flies took of the place, they will be posted, along with some of Mt Ventoux.

05 October 2010

Logjam Cleared

I have been suffering from a bit of creative block lately, and the beloved camera broke. The boy who flies is repairing the camera, but I think I have successfully repaired the creative block.

Really it wasn't me, it was the lady in 3F. The older woman who was watching a video on her computer and smiling. Sitting in a rather unladylike position with a blanket on. Watching porn on her laptop. It has been a while since I have had an "I've never seen that" moment on the plane, but 3F you brought me back. Thank you honey!!!

28 July 2010

Knock Knock

Ding goes the flight attendant call button!
Me: Hello, Are you alright? Do you need anything?

Passenger: Yeah, can I get a coke??

The passenger had rung the call button in the TOILET.

Me: When you leave the toilet and go back to your seat.....

Coming soon- the stories of 2 colleagues, one with fake fingers and one with fake fruit.

25 June 2010

The Caped Crusader...or Reason #8 Why Ambien and Liquor Do Not Mix

Quite some time ago I wrote a post about the pant flusher who until that point, was the most ridiculous example of why Ambien and liquor do not mix. The caped crusader has topped him in oh so many ways.

The caped crusader was sitting behind the crew rest area on the flight, which on this particular aircraft is a block of 6 economy seats curtained off. His seat, and the one next to it are some of the most desired in economy, tons of legroom, quiet in front of you, really an area where you should nicely be able to get a nights sleep .

This man decided to help himself to the land of Nod by taking Ambien and washing it down with a cocktail or two. ( Crew members everywhere know this is not going to end well...)

Sometime mid flight he decided he needed to relieve himself. He tried to enter the crew rest area, thinking in his drug and drink haze it was a toilet. Mercifully for everyone, he did not urinate there. If he had, this blog post would have been written from prison as I surely would have killed him.

He somehow peed in his pants at that point, THEN stumbled back to the bathroom. This was the time he decided naked was better than clothed, and took off all his clothes and put them in the trash can. He walked back to his seat in the state he was born in.

A crew member who discovered his naturalist state gave him a blanket to cover himself up in. He decided than that the most logical way to wear it was as a cape. I would have opted for a sarong, covering his man bits would have been a better choice, but who am I to judge...

09 June 2010

Oh Marge....

Oh Marge, what a kick in the pants you were to work with. More of a smack on the ass really, since you kept doing that to me on the flight.

In briefing before the flight, I should have been suspicious when no one opted to work in first class with you. Silly me, I chose to work first class galley anyway, thinking it the least hateful spot of the 747.

Often when you work with senior crew members, you can see flashes of their junior selves, the girl in them that got them hired. A giggle, wink, trim figure or sweet southern accent will tell you how they got the job in their youth. Not so with Marge. Her smokers voice made you feel like you were working with one of Marge Simpsons sisters come to life. She was wearing the sensible shoes and trouser/sweater combo that screamed "Don't mess with with me honey."

She threw her bags in the first class closet, and took the time to croak that the hated people, all before the predeparture champagne had been uncorked. During boarding ,when a woman with a toddler sat in first class, that was the time to share with me she hated 'blighters' ( kids). She doesn't working upper deck because she hated pilots, so really at this point I wondered if it might be easier for her to tell me what she didn't hate.

She moved as slow as a snail, and had a complete disinterest in giving our passengers anything remotely resembling a first class service. Champagne glasses? "Naw, I use these wine glasses, they hold more so I don't have to refill them as often" she winked as she told me. It was at that point I started to feel ill....

Every time she entered the galley, there was an ass smack followed by a "whatcha doin girlfriend?" or "Hey girlie girl! " Marge, I am working, you might want to try it sometime, I thought. But of course just winced and carried on.

When the service was mercifully complete, she took the time to share that airplane food gave her "the shits" then proceeded to eat 3 crew meals. I thought I could get something positive out of her by asking if she liked flying to the new destinations her base had, like Brussels. Whats not to like, a sweet layover hotel, nice chocolate, how can you not like a Brussels trip I thought? She proceeded to share that, since " those Africans in economy smell like a herd of cattle" she did not like working that flight. I was afraid to ask what she thought of flights to China, and walked away.

Marge, you weren't mean but good God really you need to be working in a diner, Waffle House or Bob's Big Boy, not an airplane.

04 June 2010

Something to Cleanse the Palate

After reading about the teen Lolita and her creepy suitor, maybe we could all use something fresh and light to cleanse our palates.. I recently had a layover in London, which was incredibly strange after having lived there for so long. It was familiar, so much so I started walking towards a place I no longer lived at, forgetting my home that evening was a hotel.

My boy who flies is thinking of writing a book on the Mews of London. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a mews it is a tiny row of houses, usually behind garden squares, where the Victorians kept their animals. They were originally for falcons who were molting ( see, boy pilot is doing his research) but quickly changed to the area where the horses were stabled. Those stables are now little bijoux sized homes in the city, with prices to make your eyes water.

My homework on this layover was to photograph certain news to see if they were attractive enough for boy pilot to go back and photograph professionally. In case you are wondering, he is equally as good running down books I want on his layovers, bless him.

The above Courtfield Mews, which I lived across from for several years and tragically never really noticed. That is part of the charm of the mews, they are sort of invisible, generally traffic free and so quiet you could often swear you are in the countryside if your eyes are closed.

The two lovelies above and below are Kynance Mews, which have always been my favorite .Not all the mews have so much greenery in them, it is a real treat to see so much . Mews home owners do not have a back yard, or any windows along the back so the front area is their yard and view. The owners here really make the most of it.

03 June 2010

Jailbait , or the Russian Lolita

Last week there was an unaccompanied minor on the flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt. There are children traveling alone who are escorted from parent to gate to the person meeting them, to keep them safe and from getting lost. Usually they are under 10 but internationally they maybe up to 16 years old .

This UM was a Russian girl, living in the states but going back to Russia for the summer. She was 15 but dressed in her stilettos and jeans cut so low you could see what she had eaten for lunch.. She looked easily in her 20s ...Of course a girl like that would find the UM red and white striped button clashed with her fashion choices, so she removed it when she sat down..

Sometime during the 10 hour flight " Lolita " befriended a man in his fifties. Shortly thereafter the new couple began making out and groping, the sort that should really be done in the backseat of a car at the end of a date. The crew had a meltdown and separated the two lovebirds for the rest of the flight, and had customer service supervisors meet the flight.

The male passenger was held aside, I am sure the customer service reps were quaking in fear, imagining a lawsuit from the panicked parents of the teen. She got on the phone with her mother and began jabbering heatedly in Russian. The authorities decided as she spoke to her parents first, they could not take what Lolita would have claimed at face value, as she might have been coached. In any case, the mother was not bothered by the events on the flights.

I am not sure if that was the more or less disturbing than the fact the mans SON was also on the flight, and more age appropriate for the girl, as he was 17. The man was released and Lolita was escorted to her connecting flight. We are fairly sure she and the creepy man are now Facebook friends...

30 May 2010

You Don't Have To Be Blind...

to love this wine... I found it incredibly to be serving a french red wine with a label that also had braille on it. What a fantastic thing!! The winery was Belleruche.

Crime and Punishment

Above looks like an innocent cart break, but truly, the more I work in the galley, they are becoming the bane of my right shoes existence...
These poor inflights are less than two months old and already the right shoe looks like I drag it behind me as I walk. If someone could invent some sort of clear toe cover for the brake foot, I would be mighty appreciative...

We used to have carts which moved by pushing the top of the cart, crews called them knucklebusters..At least the knucklebusters didn't lighten my wallet so...Polishing them after every trip and still they look like this... *le sigh*...

03 May 2010

Merges and Messes and Meals

Merge ahead... wow. I think this is a good thing and am actually excited and hopeful about the future of our combined companies. Heck, as long as I get a new uniform and the paychecks still clear, what is not to be happy about??

The photo above is the remnants of the messiest passenger I have ever seen on an aircraft, bar none. The photo makes the pile appear far smaller than it was, which was close to 9 inches high. Medicine containers, used Kleenex, torn newspaper contributed to this archaeological dig. Curiously, in person he was quite polite and rather tidy. I can only wonder what his home looks like.
This is the level of 'fanciness' of my usual crew meal. Eaten quickly, usually while standing with a can of caffeine nearby. (No, I am not really sure what I was eating either...)
Behold the table my French colleague Stephane sets up every flight. He fills the wine glass with water and makes every meal special. I would not have expected this from a former shepherd. ( I asked , and no, they are not issued a crook to herd the sheep, nor do they wear a fancy hat).

29 April 2010

A Very Random Flight

A typical day in the life...working a flight to Washington DC from Frankfurt...

After the crew briefing, where we see who we are flying with, how full the flight is ( a face in every window and an a** in every seat) we pick our proverbial poison and decide where to work. Business class galley for me please.

Head to security, where a beep as I pass through the metal detector gets me more groping from the female security staffer than I allow men to get on a date. Usually people buy me dinner before that sort of thing.

Lug bags down to bus, which takes to aircraft. Lug bags up airstairs, cursing my decision to pack hardcover books in my tote bag.

Do safety checks, get galley ready for flight, catch up on miscellaneous gossip with crew over tea and coffee, board passengers.

Passenger asks if it alright if he swaps seats with another passenger. I explain, if they do not mind, it is fine with us. (Please remember this for later, it comes into play).

Walk up to first class where a boarding passenger tries to tear me a new one for the fact he has to walk up stairs.. I want to ask him if Singapore girls carry him up the stairs on their backs, but I bite my tongue..

Flight proceeds smoothly, until a passenger comes into the galley and faints in my arms. Well, he was heavy so admittedly he was only in my arms for a second before he hit the floor. After half an hour of TLC, he was alright to return to his seat.

Crew rest, where I use a galley bin, a hot water bottle and and eye mask in a futile effort to rest for 90 minutes next to a twitching colleague. Wake feeling like I have been pulled behind a train for 20 miles.

Notice mother with a sickly toddler had been in toilet for a very long time, while the child is making the sounds of a caged animal. They come out and she explains the child had a virus and was sick all over the toilet. To her credit , she tried to clean it, but ......

Time to glove up and get out my can of Lysol... ugh, not a pretty 15 minutes but the lav is soon clean enough...

Start the second meal service and practice my acting and persuasion skills selling the less popular meal choice to passengers ... The Oscar goes to ...

Getting ready for landing, a woman NOW decides to tell us how unhappy she was that a family made her change seats without asking.. This was the man I spoke to during boarding, apparently he decided he really didn't need to ask them at all...

Flight ends, get into immigration and see the Saudia and Iberia crews in front of us, waiting to be processed. Time to pull out the book, as it will be a long wait ( Note to self, research Global Entry program..)

Make way through horde in customs hall, wedge self onto tiny crew bus, where we are packed tighter than economy ( sitting next to the tiny crew members is always a good choice ).

Get change for 5 dollars as at this point it is 2 am for my body clock, and the vending machine in the basement of the hotel is more appealing than getting changed and going to the grocery store or out to dinner...( One bag of skittles and one of Doritos is my sad meal tonight).

Collapse in a heap in my bed.

Glamor....not there today...

07 April 2010

No I Have Not Died

Sorry for the silence. New base ( sort of), commuting from one country to the other, exercising my somewhat rusty German and dating a certain aviator that lives in Miami have kept me distracted.

Luckily I have had more than my share of crazies on the plane, both in the form of passengers and crew. Sometimes they converge on the same flight. On a recent all night flight we had crazies both in the front and back end of the plane. The economy crazy, I could have watched forever, but preferably with some sort of one way mirror between us.

The first clue to his mental state was when he boarded and asked if he had to bring his passport with him on the plane. Yes sir, if you want to enter a foreign country, that is your proverbial ticket in. So, he asked, I can't leave it on the jetway, I have to bring it on the plane? Yes....

He kept his Elmer Fudd hat on, askew so only one eye was visible. Busy he was, asking for 5 cans of Coke at a time. They were his "family" he told me. Hell , everyone's family has its share of kooks....

The family was busy watching him type his memoirs ( yes you know I had to ask what he was typing) in the air, fingers flying. You know maybe his crazy was not so much, for he managed to clear out a row for himself, on a mostly full flight. Maybe he was crazy like a fox....

The front end crazy was only a fiscal fool. He rapidly got drunk and told us how he was one of the richest expats living in Moscow. He took a shine to the black gal working first class aisle and told her she could buy herself a little prezzie out of the duty free cart. One 400.00 purse later, he cracked out another card and told her the whole crew could get something, that he would spend 1000 Euros on us. Our crew proceeded to melt the plastic rapidly. He bought one guy a watch, another a Montblanc pen. Somehow those of us that were on break got the shaft, the purser was mum that this whole giftapalooza had gone on. The rest of the crew busted her, somehow out 'gifts' were in her bag. She dug them out, and we ended up having to share coffrets of perfume. Curiously all the brands she wore. I swear if nothing had been said, we 3 would have got squat. Its not enough I have to work with her, now I have to smell like her...

05 January 2010

My Dear Readers

I love comments, all bloggers do. But comments in Chinese, Japanese, Russian ( yes I can read Russian and NO I will not publish THAT comment) , Portuguese and poor English advertising websites for Viagra, cheap electronics and naked women will not be published. These perpetual attempts at using my blog as a link to your crap site have made me avoid Blogger recently. Game over jerks!!