Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LADIES & GENTLEMEN, THE CAPTAIN HAS TURNED ON THE FASTEN SEATBELT SIGN...

Sorry, I just couldn't let the big news about the Jetblue flight attendant who quit his job the other day after cussing everyone out, blowing the emergency slide and jumping out (beer in hand) go by without a comment. Did you hear about it? He did this after a female passenger stood up, got into the overhead bin while the plane was still taxiing, told him to *f* off when he asked her to sit down and then hit him in the head. Most of you know this already, but for those who don't: I'm a flight attendant myself, for a major airline, and have been for over twenty years. There is not one of us, NOT ONE, who hasn't dreamed of what outrageous thing they would love to do or say on their very last day. Any flight attendant who says they haven't is telling you a big, fat lie.

You see, like many professions where you deal with the public, we spend the majority of our time smiling and nodding. You really don't want to know what we are thinking. Luckily, most passengers are perfectly nice, reasonable people. And I enjoy them, I really do. You're probably one of them and I'm always glad to see you on one of my flights. For you, my smile will be totally sincere. But unfortunately there is at least one bad apple in every single bunch. These are the folks that think the rules, for some reason, DO NOT APPLY TO THEM! They are SPECIAL, of course they are. Why should they have to remain seated while taxiing?? So what if the plane comes to a sudden stop and they are thrown to the floor or onto some other poor, rule abiding, seated passenger? So what if the ridiculously heavy stuff in the overhead bin then falls out and hits someone on the head? What do they care?

I'm afraid that is just the problem, they don't care. Not about me, you or anyone else that is not THEMSELVES. A lack of manners and thought for others is widespread and one of the things I like least about dealing with the public. Is asking someone to use basic manners, be polite and follow the rules just too much to ask? The rules are there for the safety and protection of everyone, crew included. That is why we follow them and ask you all to follow them too. Yes, you paid for that seat, but when you did so you agreed to the Federal Aviation Administration rules set for airline travel and you are required to abide by them.

I am constantly amazed by the total disregard for the seat belt sign. If it is turned on it is because it is not safe for passengers to be out of their seats. Often it is not even safe for crew to be out of their seats. I can't tell you how many times I am sitting in my jumpseat, strapped in, we are bouncing all over the place in the midst of turbulence and some idiot pops up and starts digging around in the overhead bin or heads for the bathroom. When I tell them they have to be seated there is almost always an argument. For some reason they think I am deliberately and arbitrarily infringing on their personal rights. Happens all the time.

I am honestly not complaining, I'm sure every profession has its issues, but the job I do is not easy. These days the hours are very long, rest very short, since 9-11 any glamour that ever existed has gone for good. We all have a breaking point and obviously that Jetblue flight attendant reached his. He could probably have handled the situation better. But I tell you what: he did something we all wish we could do and that is why he is receiving such widespread attention.

I know this problem is not confined to the airline industry, I see poor manners and people being selfish and unkind all over the place. If we could all just be polite to each other, the world would be a much nicer place!

The photo above is the latest from Donkey Tees , they have lots of silly, cute, funny shirts on their website. Even one for booklovers like us!


Thanks for listening to my rant! I could go on, but that is definitely enough for one day. It is not often that I let my real job seep into my blogging, but sometimes the temptation is just too great! If you missed my post about airplane bathrooms from a little over a year ago, you can find it here.

12 comments:

bermudaonion said...

You're so right - manners and common decency seem to have flown out the window these days. Working with the public has never been easy, but it seems to be getting more and more difficult.

Laura @ I'm Booking It said...

I think most of us have had a minute or so like that-- whether with a job, or family, or just dealing with people in general.

I don't know if I would have believed it in fiction, that's why I celebrate it happening in real life :-).

Megan said...

It's hard to believe how awful and inconsiderate people can be. Anybody who's had any job working with the public recently can probably relate. Unfortunately, in your situation, you've got to spend a few hours with self-serving lunatics instead of just a few minutes. Yuck!

Chris said...

When I heard about that guy, I thought "good for him!" People can be awful and the patience required to deal with them would give Ghandi the need for a stiff drink.

Mystica said...

I just returned on Sunday night on a very short one hour flight. The behaviour of passengers is appalling. Do they think the airline is going to carry them over to the next destination (like a high speed train) and not allow them to disembark with their goods. I have never been able to understand that with boarding announcements also everyone will rush to board without waiting for their section to be announced. Makes such a mess for everyone.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

LOL - I LOVE THIS POST! My dear, you have the toughest job in the industry. I did it for ten years before making the move up to the cockpit and frankly, I don't know how I remained sane during that time. For ten years I was yelled at, insulted, even once spit on....and the trauma of being a flight attendant still lingers. To this day, I cannot stand crowds...do my grocery shopping in the middle of the night, never go into a shopping mall, etc. I don't even go into crowded restaurants or movies. Too much reminder of a over-crowded airplane.

So hats off to you for being able to stay sane all these years. Most people don't even realize how important you are. Drinks are an extra....every day you protect that cockpit door and save all of our lives. And for that, I sincerely thank you.

Even though I can block out the bullsh*t by closing the cockpit door on it all, I've still got your back....just say the word and Captain RR will kick their sorry butts off the plane! :)

BTW, I've already ordered my "Team Slater" sticker for my flight bag.

Lenore said...

Funny! I actually thought of you when I heard this story. And I love that t-shirt.

You can be glad that at least you don't work for Ryanair. Everytime I've flown with them, people STAND UP during TAKE OFF!! I'm like WTF?! These people have never flown before and have no common sense. There are no seat assignments, so it is every man for himself. If you get up to go the bathroom during the flight, you might come back to see that someone has thrown your stuff into the aisles and has taken your seat. If it is that bad for the passengers, I can only imagine the hell it is for the flight attendents.

The Tome Traveller said...

You guys are all the best!!

Michele- wish we could fly together!! ROTFL about your crowd issue...that's how I am too! Don't ever go in Walmart anymore and only shop elsewhere early morning when fewer people are out, NEVER on weekends!

Lenore- OMG, I had heard stories about Ryanair but that is the worst one yet! Did the f/a's yell at them when they get up during takeoff?? I heard that they wanted to charge people to use the bathroom? Maybe a bathroom fee WOULD keep people in their seats!! ;)

Zibilee said...

My husband shared this story with me a few days ago, and we applauded him too. It's a shame that so many in the service industry are treated so poorly. I agree that the world would be a much nicer place if everyone just treated each other with some basic respect.Sorry to hear that you have to deal with such jerks sometimes!

Patty said...

I know exactly what you mean...people do not know how to behave nicely to each other...or say please and thank you...I always go overboard with kindness because of this...

Molly said...

I have been on a couple of flights where I wish the flight attendants could tell off a passenger or two! While I thought perhaps there was a better way to handle the situation, I totally understood where the young man was coming from ---- enough is enough.

Kudos to you for doing the job over twenty years. I'm not sure I could survive twenty minutes (and to think I seriously contemplated becoming an international stewardess when I graduated from college)

Amy said...

I didn't realize you were a flight attendant, Carey. God Bless ya! I don't fly much because of my bone disese & health problems but anytime I have, the Flight Attendants have gone out of their way to make me comfortable. I never feel like a "freak" or an inconvenience etc.. But I've often wondered how you all manage to smile throughout the entire plane ride (even if it's just 1 hour!) and how you maintain your patience. People can be so rude & obnoxious. And there always seems to be at least 2 or 3 PITAs (pains in the a**!) per ride, not just 1. Even with the situation at airports being a little difficult/trying these days, there's no reason for the way some of the public behave on planes. It's embarassing to admit we are part of the same species as they are.

Good for your colleague at JetBlue. I hope he blew off some steam for all of you. Flight Attendants deserve an enormous amount of credit for the job you all do & almost always with a smile :o)

Thank you, Carey!
~ Amy

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Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.