Investigation Flower

The culprit

The culprit

People remind me everyday just how lucky I am to have such an amazing job. And I must say, they are quite accurate. However, what many fail to take into account is not the job itself, but the hundreds of co-workers we must tolerate, no matter how good, bad, or ugly they may be.

Now, I know what you’re thinking! Well, I work with people who I dislike too! And you’re absolutely right! But now I want you to take that person, and stick them in a tube with you for four days. (Okay…so if you are a business person or in a profession that does a lot of traveling, this may have happened for you.) But what if that person was adjacent to you in this tube with wings, and you relied on them in an emergency situation to help save lives, and possibly your own? This “dream job” isn’t looking so “dreamy” now is it? Well, all of this leads me to my next story that happened a little over a year ago.

Going into work that morning, I knew it was going to be a long day, but it couldn’t be that bad. I was flying with my best friend, and a very nice older older woman. We were going to beautiful Costa Rica! Glamorous right? Well, just to get you up to airline speed, the plane we were flying on that day was the Airbus 320 aircraft that requires 4 working flight attendants…the 4th flight attendant is known as the “chaser” because they are usually on their own, and have a schedule separate from the original three crew members. Now, in my mind and my experiences, the “chasers” tend to be unfriendly loners. This is not always the case, but based on my experiences, I have found this to be true. They like to be on their own because they don’t play nice with others, as my mom would say.

That morning our chaser was an older woman who we will call Slavia to maintain her identity. Usually we are meeting our co workers for the first time since there are so many of us. I usually start by saying “is anyone going to Costa Rica? Hi, I’m Melissa.” Unfortunately, on this day, Slavia came in, looked me up and down and said “your hair is out of compliance, your jacket is out of compliance, and your shoes are out of compliance.” Mind you this was all before uniforms were one hundred percent finalized. We all had different jackets, most people were lucky to brush their hair in the mornings, (I had a navy flower in the side of my bun), and shoes were immediately taken off and replaced by flats once onboard the aircraft anyway. I replied by saying “I appreciate your criticism, but would also appreciate it if you would worry about yourself, and I’ll take care of myself.” Immediately following my statement, Slavia raced around our supervisor’s cubicle like her pants were on fire, and shall we say tattle taled? Now what happened next, upon her return I admit, was immature,but boy did I love seeing her facial expression as I belted out the song “Oh happy day!” Right. In. Her. Face.

Sure enough, as soon as we finished our day and landed back in Florida, I had about 5 missed calls from supervisors saying you need to come see us as soon as you get off the plane. Immediately, I called the front of the plane and asked Slavia if she “tattle taled” that morning. Salvias response? “I don’t need to tell you nothing!” Click.

After the passengers deplaned, I marched up to the front of the aircraft, and announced to my crew members as she was packing her bags, that I had to go see a supervisor because SOMEONE (and I pointed to Slavia) acted like a baby this morning and tattle taled because I had a flower in my hair. (They all rolled their eyes looking at her in disgust as she kept her head down). I then continued by saying “I can’t believe someone so elderly can act so immature.” She said nothing but looked proud as a peacock.

2 weeks later as I’m finishing a trip, my dad calls me saying the Fed-ex man delivered a package that he had to sign for. It was a letter stating that I had received a notice of investigation for uniform compliance and crew conflict while onboard the aircraft. So, on my day off, living two hours away, I had to go defend myself from a co-worker who hated me simply by looking at me. Never even knew my name.

At the end of the story, “investigation flower” had been dropped, and Slavia had gotten a few more girls written up. You wanna know the best part? Slavia got punched in the face by New York passengers one day while working. Now, physical abuse is not something I condone, but I do believe I’m karma, and that’s all I’m saying about that!

About a week ago I saw Slavia again in the crew room. She made it a point to yell across the crew room “hi, how are you,” in a sarcastic tone. I made it a point to say good, how are you, and proudly walked out, showing her that a year later I was still around.

Now this is only one occurrence of a problematic co worker. Trust me when I tell you that I have had more in these past two years than I have had in my lifetime. So yes, the job is great! But things are not always as glamorous as they appear to be on the outside.


SHOCKING or just another day?

People always ask me – “So what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on the plane?” I always look at them a little crooked when they ask me this, because the question should really be – What is the most normal thing you’ve ever seen on the plane? The truth is, everyday, with 145-218 passengers on board, there is always at least one special soul who wants to yell, shock, touch, be the center of attention, or do something that you never thought possible. That is, until you do your next flight of the day, and realize that anything and everything is possible when you’re in a flying tube with wings. On this particular day, that special soul who made the impossible possible, belonged to a young gentleman who was in his early thirties… (Please note: it was important for me to state the approximate age of the passenger due to the nature of the incident).

Visualize this! It was a completely full flight that day with 145 passengers onboard our smallest aircraft, the Airbus 319. My position that particular trip was in the aft galley, which is also where my jumpseat was located (lucky me). This gentleman was seated in one of the last few rows of the plane in the same general area as my eyeballs.

As we were beginning our final descent, this “gentleman” requested a trash bag, which usually means one thing – puke. (Yep! One of the three “P words”). So, putting on my janitor hat, I grabbed a trashbag out of the top galley compartment, tied the two bottom corners (learned this on day 1 when garbage juice seeped into my new Crocs), and passed it in front of the two well dressed ladies he had been sitting next to. (He had the window seat). Awaiting their request for a seat change, I quickly scampered back to my jumpseat, strapped myself in, and prepared for brace. Before I had time to do my usual in and out sigh of relief that we are almost on the ground, this “gentleman” took his…shall we say….”winky?”…out of his pants and began urinating into the garbage bag until the wheels had touched down on the runway. Best part? Upon deplaning, he tried handing me his pee bag so that I would throw it in the garbage for him! Maybe I forgot to remove the “janitor hat” I had on earlier that flight.  SHOCKING…or just another day?

The Dreaded Diversion Flight

Twas a beautiful night for flying.

If you are, or have ever been a part of the airline industry, then you know that the simplest days have a tendency to turn into the most complex. It is our golden rule to never discuss or talk about what looks to be an easy day. That night, my lips were sealed as I entered the crew room, because my pairing was a one leg day from FLL—>DCA. (Ft. Lauderdale to Washington D.C.). All I had to do was survive a couple hours of “My seat is dirty!” “Her chair is reclined too far,” “Would you please tell those parents to shut that kid up?” I could do this.

My flying position that trip had been the Lead Flight Attendant on a Airbus 320 aircraft that holds 178 passengers. For this aircraft, we have four flight attendants – two in the front and two in the back. Lead is probably one of my least favorable positions, because if anything should happen onboard the plane, the lead is the one who has to make the decisions and take the wrath of the end result. With that said, I was still reminiding myself that in a few hours I would be in my hotel room, swallowed up by those luxurious, oversized feather comforters all hotels seem to have.

“Boarding is complete!” I made the final announcement, and we were on our way to join the stars in the sky. Soon into the middle of the flight, we began to experience turbulence. Not your typical kind that rocks you back and forth to sleep, but the kind that can toss a child to the ceiling if their parents neglected to notice the seat belt sign had been illuminated. This was probably the first flight I ever had where everyone remained seated without even trying to get up. Usually, that conversation goes a little something like this – “Sir, the seat belt sign is on. As you can tell we are experiencing severe turbulence and it is not safe to be up and about the cabin.” “Well, I really gotta go to the bathroom!” (*pout *pout *pout) “It is my job to let you know the seat belt sign is illuminated because the Captain does not feel it is safe for anyone to be up yet.” “So…does that mean I can go?” Fear has a tendency to force people to use their brains and make better decisions. That flight, everyone strapped themselves in a little tighter, so luckily, I never had to have this conversation of pure stupidity.

*High-low chime* The Captain had been calling and ordered all Flight Attendants to take their jumpseats and strap themselves in. Service was suspended due to the severity of the turbulence. Unlike most, I was hiding my smile, because I live for the excitement, and love the unpredictableness of what the airplane is going to do! The only thing I was not excited about was leading an evacuation if necessary. *High-low chime* The Captain called back to say we were not able to land at the DCA airport because the visibility was less than 1 mile which is not proper landing conditions. We were going to be diversted to Atlantic City. Unfortunately, we were running low on fuel, and by the time we arrived near the ACY airport, conditions were the same as they had been upon trying to land in Washington D.C. We had no choice but to land, because low fuel meant low chance of diverting elsewhere.

Passengers looked terrified, one of the flight attendants in the back had been crying, and we were coming in for a landing whether we liked it or not. In my brace position, I had been going over all of my evacuation commands, and replaying everything from training that I would need in this particular situation. Looking out my window, I could see the runway, but all I could feel was how we were still being thrown back and forth from side to side. At this point, I wasn’t sure if we were going to land on one of the wings, or touch down and skid sideways. Typically the closer you get to the runway you tend to level out…but not this time. Anticipation was getting the best of me until BOOM! We had touched down hard. Eventually, we came to a stop and everyone on board began clapping!

The cockpit door opened and the pilots came out looking pale as ghosts, sopping wet with sweat. I’ll never forget the Captain telling me out of all his years flying planes, this had been the scariest moment for him by far. He said you probably don’t realize just how close we were to really “having a problem.”

Later that night after refueling, we were going to continue on to Washington D.C. and make it to our final destination. Passengers had a chance to get up and use the lavatory. This was probably one of the only times in my career thus far, where every single passenger said “thank-you!” Out of 178 passengers, we probably lost about eight who decided they were just going to rent a car and drive the rest of the way. Those poor souls will probably never fly again.

A couple weeks ago I ran into that same Captain who flew with me during this flight. I said “I flew with you before!” He looked at me like he couldn’t exactly pinpoint when we flew together. I reminded him by saying “I was the one on that diversion flight to D.C!” Immediately he knew exactly what I was talking about! We just looked at each other and smiled, knowing that what we had been through together, was something none of our current crewmembers could fully understand. So, like I said, sometimes the simplest of days can turn out to be the most complex. I believe this is true for most all job professions, but in the airline world this is what we call the “norm.”

Flight Attendant Facts

1.We are required to wear makeup and heels while in the dress uniform.Flats are only to be worn while onboard the aircraft.

2. Yes – marry a Flight Attendant, because what they say is true! We can fly for free to just about anywhere in the world.

3. When the seat belt sign is on, we are forced to tell each individual “The seat belt sign is on.” If we don’t? We can get fired and fined. Guess what? So can you! Thousands of dollars by the FAA.

4. Coffee is our savior when it comes to odors onboard the aircraft. This includes but is not limited to – poop, pee, and puke. (The 3 P’s). Bath and Body works spray doesn’t hurt either!

5. We can fly up to 16 hours in a day before we “time out.”

6. About 90% of the time we have never met our fellow crew members until we arrive at the airport.

7. It is possible to have 17 or more days off in a month and still make the same money as someone who has only 12 days off.

8. FACT! People really don’t know how to work the lavatory door. PUSH actually means stare at door.

9. Passengers don’t know how to work their air vents, arm rests, or reading lights, but they got the Flight Attendant call button down pat!

10. Training is 1 month of multiple tests a day (written & oral), all of which have to be passed with a 90%. Score anything less and you are dismissed permanently.

F/A training – not everyone will survive.

Fabulous Life of a Flight Attendant

Yes, makeup is mandatory.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. If you’re up and around your house, please pull up a chair, if you are already seated, please remain seated for the duration of the blog until you have finished reading!”

Welcome Aboard and welcome to my blog! Please, step into my office and  enjoy the endless views, priceless clients, and plentiful odors! As many of you know, the airline industry can be chaotic, stressful, dangerous, and pretty much land a time slot on any major t.v. network. If you watch TLC’s  “On the Fly,” then you know exactly what I’m talking about! For a short year and 8 months now I have been a doctor, nurse, paramedic, mom, babysitter, fireman, policeman…I mean Flight Attendant! So, I decided to create this blog to capture all the *face-palm, face-palm, face-palm* moments that I can hold in no longer. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! “Come fly with me!”