If you’ve watched the news in the past twenty-four hours, you know Steven Slater. If not, let me introduce you to him:
This man is going down in history for one of the best “I Quit” stories EVER. I’ll let the San Francisco Chronicle tell the tale:
Steve Slater got into an argument with a passenger over an overhead bag that fell out of the bin hit him on the head. After the passenger called him names, he fired back with some of his own, then got on the PA system and said he had enough, went into the galley and got a beer, then activated the emergency chute, slid down it, went home…
My rockin’ mom has been a flight attendant for over six years. While she loves many parts of her job, there are some days that make her want to take similar actions as Mr. Slater. I asked her to share a typical day in her career so each and every Poise in Parma reader can really appreciate what the lovely men and women of the skies put up with on a regular basis. That said, I present to you:
A REAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FLIGHT ATTENDANT
3:45AM: Alarm goes off to start the day in Cleveland. Stumble out of the hotel bed and try to remember where I am and where in the room that bathroom ended up. I’ve overslept so that means no coffee for me this morning. Since I knew the early wake up was on the agenda, I was in bed before 9PM – no Top Chef for me. Luckily, after this one early morning flight, I have the entire day to sightsee and enjoy the city of Boston.
5:00AM: Meet the van shuttle to get a ride to the airport. It’s a quick ride since no one is on the road.
5:25AM: Arrive at airport for my “show” time. I meet the pilot and first officer in the crew room. They spent the night at the nice Hyatt in downtown. Much swankier than my Holiday Inn accommodations next to the airport, where there is absolutely nothing to do. By the way, I’m not on the clock yet.
5:35AM: Safety checks complete, boarding begins. Fifty groggy travelers can barely open their eyes let alone smile or say hello as I greet them.
5:45AM: I have to inform about 20 customers that their carry-on baggage need to be gate check, which does not go over well. Last customer to board has a carry on bag the size of a Great Dane. After he tried to cram the bag up in the bin, they concede.
5:50AM: Finish my last minute checks and try to get the pilots a cup of coffee, which they haven’t had yet either.
6:00AM: Door finally closes. I’m finally on the clock.
6:05AM: I start my announcements. As the travelers don’t pay attention to the important safety regulations, I mentally take bets with myself on which business men would be the first to cry in a real emergency.
6:10AM: I do my final walk down the aisle before we take off. I only manage to bang my legs twice, but they will still leave some bruises at the end of the day.
6:15AM: Flight takes off and more FAA required announcements are made.
6:25AM: We reach a safe altitude, so I start brewing coffee and preparing the breakfast beverage service. Most travelers sleep through my first pass through the cabin and only ask for coffee when service is completed.
7:25AM: Captain makes announcement in preparation for landing. Five people get up to use the one lavatory in the back of the plane.
7:45AM: Rest of the flight goes without much hassle and the flight lands in Boston on schedule. The seat bell sign goes off and all fifty guests are already out of their seats grabbing their belongings without anywhere to go. Instead of patiently waiting in their seats, they pack themselves like sardines in my galley. Where are they going – the jet bridge hasn’t even moved yet!
7:50AM: Plane door opens. I’m off the clock. With plenty of work to still do.
8:00AM: Plane is empty. I complete more required safety checks and clean the cabin. It’s my responsibility to prepare the plane for its next leg. Considering they were asleep for most of the flight, this was one messy group. It takes longer than normal to pick up the trash, cross the seatbelts and gather the leftover newspapers for recycling – without any help from anyone.
8:15AM: I walk down the jet bridge, ready to start my excursion in Beantown, when the gate agent tells the captain our schedule has changed. We’re now taking this plane to Newark, then continuing on for three more legs that include a three hour sit between each flight. Our final destination: the exciting metropolis of Wilks Barre/Scranton, PA. I won’t see my hotel room until at least dinnertime.
It’s just another day in the life of a flight attendant.