An hour before our flight from Miami to Raleigh-Durham was scheduled to depart on Thursday, my coworker a fairly new flight attendant yelled Mom! into her phone as she stood in the airport. She looked upset as I passed by with my rolling bag and continued on to the gate where an agent checked my crew ID, and then let me down the jet bridge and on to the plane. We were setting up the galley in first class when she told me her mother had asked if our pilots were sane.
Years ago, there was an air incident that had reporters talking about pilot fatigue. For the longest time after, passengers would come on board and ask us if the cockpit had gotten enough rest. They were genuinely concerned.
And now, with the Germanwings crash, the focus is back on our pilots. Rest assured everyone is going to be staring at the pilots, thinking about the pilots, asking questions about the mental state of our pilots.
Is it wrong to feel offended? To want to protect these people I know so well? The pilots are the very people who keep us safe, from point A to point B, on so many flights each and every day.
It doesn’t matter where an incident might happen, whether it’s Germany, Egypt or Asia. Those of us who work in the airline industry feel it just the same. Doesn’t matter which airline uniform we put on, there’s something about this job that brings us together in a way other jobs don’t.
Maybe because it’s more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle most people couldn’t handle, a job most people don’t understand. This job, this strange nomadic life we live, makes us family.
Doesn’t matter what we’re serving, bento box or a pasta salad, or the kind of airplane we’re serving it on, 737 or Airbus, or the logo on the tail, British Airways or Spirit — we all pretty much do the same thing. We share the same experiences.
Take the service for instance: 10 minutes after takeoff we begin setting up the carts for the service. An hour and a half into the flight we’re picking up discarded items. If we’re in coach it might be an empty soda cans and plastic cups. In business class we’re whisking away appetizer plates and salad bowls to make room for entrées. Very rarely does the timing of the service change.
Again, it’s hard to understand how one of us could do such a thing. So hard, in fact, there’s a little bit of distance, at least for me there is. It doesn’t seem real. That’s a good thing, I guess … It makes it easier to go back to work. Read more…