Flying isn’t as fun as it used to be. That is for sure. Working for an airline isn’t as glamorous as it used to be. That’s for damn sure. Now granted, I am too young to remember the “glamour” days. But, sometimes when I’m walking through the airport I like to pretend that people are staring and pointing, saying things like, “Oooo…look over there, it’s a stewardess. I wonder what kind of exciting places he’s going to.” I look over and give my best stewardess smile and a small nod, as if to say, “That’s right, I’m off to Paris…First Class.” Yeah right, my ass.
You all must know by now that I tend to have these delusional moments. It’s what gets me through the day. I actually do know what they are really thinking, and it’s something like, “Oooo…look over there, that flight attendant’s fly is down. And, he has a really dumb look on his face. What an ass, he’s probably working our flight to Reno.”
I’ve blogged plenty on both sides of the flying issue. There are two truths: 1) Airlines are messed up. 2) Passengers are messed up. It’s not exactly a win-win situation. But, I was reading an online news article that made me laugh and want to scream at the same time. Here’s the synopsis, just in case you don’t want to read the whole thing.
A full flight from San Diego to New York had a non-working flight attendant sitting on the extra jump-seat. It’s called non-reving, or jump-seating, or flying standby in airline lingo. Airline employees typically fly for free on their own airline, although sometimes they have to sit in the tiny, uncomfortable seats that the flight attendants use for take-off and landing (jump-seats). Some airlines even offer as a bonus to their employees extra “buddy passes.” These are free tickets they can give to whomever they choose. There was a passenger traveling, using a buddy pass on this particular flight. He is only allowed to sit in a passenger seat, if there is one available.
Well, evidently the non-working flight attendant who was sitting in the extra jump-seat complained after take-off that the jump-seat was uncomfortable. (surprise, surprise) The captain–who was probably dating the flight attendant–decided to have the non-employee passenger–who was traveling using the buddy pass–give up his passenger seat for the flight attendant. Nice. And then, since non-employees are not allowed to sit on jump-seats, he had the guy sit in the toilet for an hour and a half, since it was the only available seat left. The guy is now suing for two million dollars. Toilets do not have seat belts and the captain forced him to sit in a seat without a seat belt, therefore endangering him any time the seat-belt sign was on. Not to mention that airplane lavatories are on the same cleanliness level as porta potties. Eventually, he got his regular seat back. Wow.
This story disturbed me on several levels. In the airline world everything, and I do mean everything has a certain predestined order to it. The employee seniority lists, the standby passenger lists, the lines of aircraft waiting for take-off. Everything. This captain obviously decided that the employee should have a better seat than the non-employee. They both were flying for free. But, it really wasn’t his decision to make. Captains tend to think that they are in still charge of everything all the way down to who deserves a free drink. The days when captains would come out of the cockpit to deal with an unruly passenger went away with the term “stewardess.” Some refuse to let the old days go.
The fact that the captain made this poor guy give up his seat and provided the toilet as the only option is worth the two million dollars, in my opinion. If he wins I think that the captain should personally pay it, too. I guess I’m revealing my dislike of pilots, huh? Evidently, he or she was upset that the guy was reluctant to give up his seat for the flight attendant. I would be, too, especially if my only other option was to sit in an airplane lavatory. It doesn’t matter that he was traveling on a free pass. He is still a person.
Now, I have to admit that I do like some pilots. The ones I like don’t treat me differently or ignore me because I don’t have boobs. I could launch into a whole thesis on this topic, but, I probably have taken this far enough. After all I have to go to work today and my bad attitude doesn’t need any help. It’s time to put on my stewardess face. 😉
Christ, aren’t you scared that some pilot at “your airline” is going to see this?