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.
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.
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.
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 :-(...
I am a flight attendant who lives mostly out of my suitcase between my base in Germany and the USA. Oh the glamour....stop laughing!! Whenever I get 2 spare coins, I try to travel as well on my days off , hopefully collecting more passport stamps.