I have logged 20+ years as a retail manager, mostly as a GM or Store Manager.
About 20 years ago, my now ex-husband was transferred from New England to the Phoenix, AZ area. I had to give up my store manager position at a family-owned boutique in Metro Boston to move out west, and had to try to quickly find employment within my skill set. In 2006, airlines were dying for retail managers to become flight attendants. I had no connections in the area, but due to my experience as a fast food manager as a teenager, plus my experience as a GM in retail, I was very quickly hired as a flight attendant. I did this for three years, then reluctantly moved back to New England, and found work again as a retail GM.
Performing this job called upon my retail skills (selling headsets and pushing the airline credit card), as well as my time management skills I'd learned in fast food, as I had to prep and cook meals for my First Class customers. I also had to pick up trash for everyone, which is where this story plays out. M=me; C=customer. I hope that those of you in retail get a kick out of this one.
M: (Walking down the aisle) Anything I can take? Any trash? Any trash?
C: (yanking on my sleeve...Yes, this happened ALL THE TIME) Excuse me, miss? What time is it?
Now we were flying from the west coast to the east coast, or vice-versa. I don't remember. Let's pretend we're flying from LA to NYC. We're an hour and a half into the flight.
M: Well, on LA time, it's (X o'clock). In NYC, it's (Y o'clock). I like to set my watch to the time zone in my arrival city, so I'm all ready when I get there. You might want to set your watch to (Y o'clock), which is Eastern Standard Time. We'll be landing at (time) in New York, Eastern Standard Time (Smile).
C: Wait, no! But what time is it NOW?
M: Well, right now in Los Angeles, where we departed from, it's (X o'clock). In New York, it's (Y o'clock), Eastern Time. You might want to set your watch to Eastern Time now.
M: I'm not sure; it might still be Pacific Time, or it might be Mountain Time. It doesn't really matter, though. Just set your watch to Eastern Standard Time.
C: No! I need to know what time it is. You have to tell me when the time zone changes.
M: I'm sorry, but I won't know when we change time zones.
C: Well, can't you look out the window?
M: (baffled) Yes, I can, and I do. But it's not as if there's a big red line drawn across the country when we pass to another time zone.
C: Well, maybe there should be! Just ask the pilot. He can tell when we change the time. He can announce it every time I have to change my watch.
M: I'm sorry, but no. He's busy flying the plane, and making sure we're safe. Just change your watch to Eastern Standard time, and relax until we land. (Moving on), Can I take your trash? Any trash?
C: (Still grabbing my sleeve) But I have to know what time it is! Why can't anyone tell me what time it is?!?
M: Trash? Any trash?
From The Daily Mail:
From vomiting passengers to mile-high call girls, there are very few things that flight attendants haven’t seen while flying around the world.
In a new thread on Reddit, anonymous cabin crew and other airline employees have revealed their most shocking experiences on the job.
Their tales of amusing and obscene incidents should put to rest any misconception that flight attendants are merely waitresses or waiters in the sky.
One flight attendant, who uses the Reddit username transatlantique, said there was one revolting incident in particular that left her absolutely speechless.
It happened while cabin crew were serving drinks not long into the flight.
She wrote: ‘Parked my cart, asked a guy what he wanted to drink. He started to answer, then held up a finger, puked into a plastic grocery bag and then went on to ask me for a ginger ale.’
She gave the man the whole can.
Another user, zaderatsky, said she was a flight attendant for a major US airline in the 1970s and caught people sneaking into the loo to join the mile high club.
A few occasions involved prostitutes on the airline’s New York-San Juan, Puerto Rico, route.
She wrote: ‘On a couple of occasions, hookers would saunter around the plane, hitting on guys who looked as if they were travelling alone.
‘I’d see them occasionally sneaking into a lav with a john. Some of them did enough business to pay their fare.
‘The all-nighters were a perfect place to pull this off because after meal service, we’d dim the lights and most people would be sleeping for a couple of hours.’
She added: ‘It was easy to spot them in the winter because they’d board the plane in hot pants, tube tops and platform shoes when it was [cold] outside.’
User WVAviator works as a crew scheduling supervisor and has heard plenty of tales from his or her employees.
One cabin crew member was shocked to find a passenger masturbating in his seat, they wrote.
Another user, EmpennageThis, works as a gate agent and has had to call the police for help on a number of occasions due to unruly passengers.
It happened one time as angry passengers in first class boarded following a 12-hour flight delay, which they spent in the airport bar.
He said two male passengers were kicked off the plane after they got into a fight because one of the men’s wives ‘kept talking’.
It caused a further delay for travellers, who had already been stranded for half a day.
User mits06, who worked security at an airport, said a first class passenger caused a plane to be grounded after creating a chaotic scene in first class.
The passenger apparently went into the lavatory, smoked PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, and came out naked and started freaking out.
Naturally, passengers and flight attendants’ relatives recounted their own experiences or tales they’ve heard over the years.
User little_mermarx said their mum is a flight attendant and one story in particular has always haunted her.
She wrote: ‘It was a transatlantic flight and halfway through the flight near the back of the plane, the overhead bin started raining maggots on the passengers in one row – just pouring through.
‘One of the other flight attendants investigated and discovered that a passenger had flown in from Africa and was travelling to the US via Europe and had a whole dead fish filled with maggots wrapped inside a newspaper.
The suitcase was moved to a lavatory, where it was kept until the plane landed.
User thearcheress said a family member is a flight attendant and once found a baby in the overhead bin after noticing the child was missing during a head count.
The user wrote: 'When she asked them where their baby was, they pointed to the overhead bin.
'Apparently this was their first flight ever and they thought the overhead bin was some kind of baby carrier.
'My cousin had to rescue the baby and very sternly ask his parents to keep him on their lap.
read more on The Daily Mail
A United Airlines employee has been removed from duties after airline officials said she pulled the emergency slide on a plane.
Flight 1246 from Sacramento landed at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston just before noon. Shortly after the aircraft arrived at the gate, the flight attendant reportedly activated the emergency slide and jumped onto it to exit the plane Monday morning.
It's not clear why this was done, but airline officials said they believe the attendant did it intentionally.
There were 159 passengers on board, and a crew of six, including the flight attendant in question. No one was hurt during the incident, officials said.
The plane was taken out of service to be inspected again to meet safety standards. A new slide was installed and then placed back into service once it was cleared.
United Airlines issued the following statement: "We hold all of our employees to the highest standard. The unsafe behavior is unacceptable and does not represent the more than 20,000 flight attendants who ensure the safety of our customers. United is reviewing the matter and they have removed the employee from her flying duties."
I went home to America from France last summer for my Dad's funeral. I had bought the ticket online for a [USA Airline] flight through a third party vendor the night before the trip (it's a funeral. Of course it's last-minute). I had very little money and it was the only way I could afford to go on such short notice.
When I got to the CDG airport, [USA Airline] told me they didn't have a ticket for me. We called up the third-party vendor who said that online ticket orders had a three-day waiting period. Fantastic. That's our fault, though, but it definitely left me stressed, as my flight was in two hours and I was afraid of missing it with having to go through security, etc.
I cancelled the third-party ticket over the phone and tried to buy a ticket at the counter. The first guy who helped me was very kind and tried to find a ticket for me. He found one at around 1050 euros, which I could just afford (by completely depleting my bank account).
For some reason, he was instructed to take a family whose lap-infant didn't have a ticket, while I was moved over to another desk where the employee couldn't find the same ticket. The only ticket she could find was 1400 euros. The only way I could afford that was by depleting my American bank account (which had just enough) and incurring several fees for using it on a transaction outside the USA (conversion rate fees, etc.)
So I'm standing there, crying my eyes out because my Dad's dead and I'm stressed, and I'm being charged 1.5 times what I was originally quoted. I'm going broke just trying to go to his funeral (literally $15 was left in my account afterward).
On the way home, all of my flights were delayed, and my poor sister and her husband had to wait around about three hours at the airport for me to show up.
On the way back to France after the funeral and everything, the airline lost my luggage. They sent it on a plane to Philadelphia instead of Charlotte, where my connecting flight was. I got to Paris and didn't have my luggage.
I filled out the forms and such and headed home on the 2-hour train ride.
I kept calling throughout the week to find out where my luggage was, but they said they hadn't found it yet, or that it was in transit, but they couldn't specify where.
My family was scheduled to come to France the next week and ended up making the trip (as a means of kind of clearing our heads after Daddy's passing). They came, I went off without my contacts and without a good number of my summer clothes.
I kept calling [USA Airline] and Paris CDG throughout my week-long trip to find out where my luggage was. A week after getting back from the trip in France (so about three weeks after my Dad's funeral), I was fed up and told them to stay on the phone with me until the bag was found.
They located the third-party shipping company that dealt with my bag. They said it had been left at a relais, which is a store that can receive and sign for packages for you if you aren't home. I had not been informed that it was at a relais, that they were attempting to deliver it to one, or that it had been delivered. I was furious.
I went to the relais to get my bag, and the handle had been snapped off. There was nothing I could sign stating the condition in which I found the bag.
I contacted the transport company but have not yet received a response. [USA Airline] claimed it was the transport company's problem. My husband (whose French is better than mine) called the airline's France office and the transport company himself to find out what had happened. They claimed they had tried to deliver it twice to the house but that we weren't home.
For one, my husband and his mother had never left the house during my trip because they knew the bag was coming. No one ever stopped.
Second, if the company actually did try to deliver it and we weren't home, they were required to leave documentation to that effect, but none was ever left in the mailbox or at the door.
I contacted [USA Airline] several times to find out 1) why I was given two different employees, 2) why I was quoted two different prices, 3) why I hadn't been contacted about my luggage being delivered at a relais, 4) why my bag was broken, and 5) what they intended to do about it.
This was in July 2014. I still haven't gotten an answer from them, aside from "We're looking into it."
I know that I was under the influence of some pretty serious stress and sadness, but that doesn't mean you can throw me to the side like I don't matter.
I flew an airline a couple years ago in Canada that has our country's name in its name. I was scheduled to fly Gander-Toronto-Calgary. This was in September of the year that the flight attendants threatened to strike.
I was in remote parts of Newfoundland all week leading up to the day before I was to fly. I was supposed to work the day after I flew. I paid close attention to the news on the car radio to figure out if the strike was going to happen or not - if it was, I had to figure out some other way home. Tuesday afternoon as I neared Gander, I heard that a deal had been made and the FAs weren't going to strike.
I booked into my hotel room in Gander and checked the company's website, and the flight at 6:30 the next morning was still scheduled to fly. So I got up the next morning and went to the airport, dropping off my rental car, and went to the check-in counter, which at 5:45 was dark and empty.
About 10 minutes later a
surly bitch gate attendant came from the back of the counter (behind the wall, as if there's a back room back there) and snapped at me, demanding to know what I wanted. I told her I was here to check in for the 6:30 flight to Toronto.
"That flight was cancelled!!" she screeched at me. "Because of the strike!!"
I looked at the TV screen nearby showing the flights, and it was still showing on there. It didn't end up displaying 'cancelled' until after our conversation ended.
I said "But you didn't strike."
"That doesn't matter!! We had to start cancelling flights just in case!!!11!!1one!!!!"
I swear, I thought she was the woman from the Nicorette commercial (which is apparently called NicoDerm in the US, according to the video). I still to this day think that Nicorette deliberately intended for that woman to be dressed like and behave like this particular airline's FAs.
She told me "Come back tomorrow, you've been rebooked on tomorrow's flight."
"That's no good, I have a connection in Toronto this afternoon and I work tomorrow," I said.
I phoned around and tried some other options, without success, and finally had to resign myself to flying the next day. Since the car rental agency wasn't open, I couldn't un-turn-in my rental car, so I had to cab it back to the hotel I had just checked out of, where they let me extend my stay a day (just gave me the same room back). Giving my boss the bad news that I was going to have to take an unpaid day, arranging for pickup at the airport at the other end, etc.
So the next morning I got to the airport and the flight took off without problem, with me on it. We got to Toronto at, I'm gonna say 1:40pm, and it was one of those situations where the plane ends up at one terminal and the connection is in another terminal. So I busted my ass to hurry from whereever they dropped me to the gate for my connection, and there was a company check-in counter in between the two. I got told at 1:50, for a flight that was beginning boarding at 2pm, that I had missed my connecting flight.
"How does that work?" I asked. "I can make it to that gate by 2pm." (it was only about a 4 minute walk down the concourse from that point)
"Just take these standby passes," I was told, and handed boarding passes marked 'standby' for two other flights, at 4:30 and 7:00.
I went into the concourse and watched my original flight, that I'd "missed", board and leave without me. I had a bite to eat and sat down in the gate area to try to get some shut-eye, but I was so livid I couldn't rest.
4:30 came around and I was told I wasn't even on the standby list for that plane, and it was full anyway. I confirmed with them that I was on the standby list for the 7:00 flight, and it didn't look like it was full, so there was a good chance I'd be on it.
I did board the 7:00 flight, and sat there.. and sat.. and sat. Eventually the crew came on the intercom to inform us that we'd be delaying our departure by about 20 minutes because some passengers that had just come from (some Caribbean destination I forget) were connecting on this flight, and we had to wait for them.
We got into Calgary close to midnight, and I got to my home outside Calgary about 1:30, and had to be up at 4:30 to go to work the next day.
I contacted the airline several times over the next few days and the only response I got was along the lines of "Sucks to be you, we got you home eventually".
Given an offer of compensation? Not only did I not get that, my expenditures on a hotel room for another night, meals for two more days (the day I was originally supposed to travel, and the day I did travel), plus missing out on a day's pay, left me over $1000 in the hole. And all they have ever said to me about it is essentially, "Fuck you."
For a while, I took every opportunity lambaste them all across every media site I could find for that piss-poor behavior on their part. I still make a point of letting people know how they treated me, if their company or air travel grief comes up in conversation.