Category Archives: Flight Attendant

Starbucks closing 600 stores…

I guess I should stop apologizing for admitting to thinking certain things. That’s kind of the point of my blog, right? I’m neurotic. Who isn’t, though? I think sometimes that people try too hard to appear like they aren’t neurotic. I say, embrace your neuroses!

OK. So, now that I have the formalities out of the way, I’d like to go on the record and state that I actually downloaded the PDF file of the list of 600 Starbucks stores that are closing. Not only did I download it, but I also went through the list to see which ones would affect me. I was relieved to see that only 2 were in San Francisco and both were downtown. Only 1 have I ever visited. I had my moment of mourning, observed a moment of silence, and am now trying to move forward in these difficult and trying times. I would like to thank you in advance for your condolences.

I couldn’t help but feel sad as I looked through the list and noticed that the good people of Hickville, NY, would be losing their beloved Broadway Mall Starbucks. They will now have to get their Starbucks’ coffee from the store that probably sits in the parking lot of the Broadway Mall. Or, possibly the one that is on the way to the Broadway Mall. These are trying times indeed.

It’s not that I love Starbucks. I actually prefer to get my coffee from H Cafe, which sits approximately 20 yards from my front doorstep. It’s a privately owned and operated coffee house/café with a lot of character(s), depending on how you look at it. But I travel for a living, and Starbucks at least provides me with a consistent cup of coffee while I’m on the road.

My home flight attendant base is at the Oakland International Airport. Up until about a year ago, there wasn’t even a Seattle’s Best or a Peet’s Coffee. Now out of nowhere, there are 4 Starbucks! 2 are open and 2 are soon to be open. This might not be a lot for say, LAX or Chicago O’Hare, but Oakland only has approximately 30 gates. Not that I’m complaining, it’s nice not to have to walk more than 50 yards to get to the closest Starbucks. And business seems to be pretty good for my OAK Starbucks, too. The other day the closest one to me had a line of about 30 people.

It’s nice to see that when God closes one Starbucks’ doors, He opens another.

p.s.- I kept the list…so if you are curious to see if one of your Starbucks is closing, just ask… 😉

The white guy.

I’m a white guy. More specifically, I’m of Scotch Irish descent, with just a scoop of German and Dutch. But, basically I’m a white guy. I know that even using the term ‘white guy’ will conjure up images of bad dancing and poor social skills–perhaps pocket protectors and thick eyeglasses. The term ‘vanilla’ may come to mind, too. Several dictionaries have described ‘vanilla’ as meaning regular, ordinary, with no special features. But, no matter what stereotype you throw at me, one fact remains: I am a white guy. My skin is so white, in fact, that I have occasionally been labeled ‘albino,’ or even called ‘powder’ (from the movie Powder; about an albino, of course). I’m not sure why people have found it necessary to point out my whiteness to me, as if I’ve never owned a mirror. But, today I am here to clear the air. I’m white, and I know it.

I burn really fast, too. It’s a problem, always having to avoid the sun. But, I’ve been this way all my life. As a child, I had white blond hair to go with my abnormally pale hue. My best friend growing up was a dark-haired Italian kid named Danny. He was as dark as I was light. More than one person made note of our ebony and ivory-like pairing. Many summer days we would spend an afternoon at the pool, only to come out darker (Danny) and redder (Moi), sort of like a strawberry and chocolate concoction.

In high school, I decided to take the universal advice I had received (and still do) from so many people: you just need more sun. Right, as if spending hours and hours in the sun without sunscreen would make me look like Danny–never mind the risk of skin cancer. But, nonetheless, I decided that’s exactly what I needed. So one very hot and very sunny day, Danny and I, with no sunscreen, went to a water park. This is when I discovered a very hard and necessary truth…

Sun + Tyler = >:-(

I had second-degree burns all over my back, shoulders, and chest. Despite having to sleep sitting up for a week, and blistering several times, when all was said and done, I was just as white as before. And, that was almost the last time I would try to tan.

I did have several other minor run-ins with a tanning bed and self-tanning lotion. But, for the most part, I realized I was going to have to be happy with the way I was. This didn’t mean, however, that people would leave me alone about my skin color. Just recently, I was sitting on the jump-seat with a co-worker who happened to be Mexican and very tan. He looked at me and then at himself and started laughing. Then he said, “Dude, you are so white.” Followed by, “Seriously, you need to get some sun.” Then, “Are you an albino?” He used just about every line I had ever heard in my life in the space of about two minutes.

Now, I’ve learned that the best way for me to deal this was just to ignore it and redirect the conversation. But, it wasn’t working. For two days he picked apart every part of my whiteness. And when he was done with my skin color, he decided to start dissecting why white people have no personality, no flavor… It was all way too much. This type of joking would have torn me apart in high school. I would have ended up in a corner rocking myself back and forth.* Luckily, it was just a two day trip. It would all end soon enough.

Later, I was talking to my friend Donna, who I was also working with, and decided to pull up my pant leg to show her just how white I was. And here is how Donna made my day: “Oh my God, boy, you have some serious calves. Can I touch them? I’ve wanted calves like that my whole life!” Of course, I immediately forgot how white my calves were and focused on their nice muscular shape. Then, I just simply hiked my pant leg up further to give her a better view. I replied, “…you like?”

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*On a side note, there was one topic that did distract him for a short while–gay sex–I’m not sure why, since he is a straight man, but that seemed to captivate his attention. Actually, I have found that many ‘straight’ guys are rather interested in various matters of gay life.
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Oh yeah, and here’s a little treat (or proof) for of all you who think white guys can’t dance…

Me on a delay.

I just love delays. I’m at the airport with my friend Donna and we’re just kickin’ back waiting for our flight. I thought I’d just share our happy delay faces! Donna has the best one liners, including my favorite: I’ve got a scoop of class, a scoop of sass, and a double scoop of ass! (cue the ass smacking) And then there’s: I have one of these so that I can get one of those! (point to crotch, then point to whatever it is that you want, i.e.-a man, a car, a hamburger…)

Toilet flier

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. 😉

That Ain’t Right – #2

I was just about to give up on this series this week. As soon as I came up with the idea, nothing happened. Literally. No one misbehaved. It truly rocked my world. I thought, “What is wrong with humanity? Come on people, give me the good stuff!” And then, I had one the worst trips that I’ve had in a long time. The trip started out bad enough. We had seriously delayed and canceled flights, but the passengers were totally understanding and actually…nice. There was a major snow storm in Chicago and it completely shut the airport down. Damn those Midwesterners, they can be nice even while sleeping on the airport floor. Nothing to write about.

Then, day 2 arrived. The gray skies cleared up and we were off to Long Island. I was exhausted from the first day, though, and my defenses were down. About halfway through our day, the shit hit the fan. We were in Tampa with a broken plane full mostly of retired Floridians. Nice. Those flights are fun on a normal day. No one can complain like a retired Floridian. And, when I say Floridian, I actually mean New Yorker. We were supposed to be going to West Palm Beach, which is about a 25 minute flight away from Tampa. We were delayed over 3 hours for a 25 minute flight. Nice.

Anyway, people (especially New Yorkers) are inherently mistrusting of airlines. Even if there is a hurricane bearing down on you, they think that you are canceling the flight for some other reason that you aren’t sharing. So, it should have come as no surprise when this little beefy red-faced New Yorker came huffing up the aisle only about 30 minutes into the delay.

“Can’t you put us on a different plane?”

Even though I have no control over anything, I responded, “Well, the only option would be the next flight which is in about 4 hours, you could take that one.” (I said it in a positive tone and with a smile, New Yorkers evidently don’t care for sarcasm.)

“I see a plane sitting over there at that gate, why can’t we take that one?”

With less of a smile, I said, “That plane is already in use. Maintenance is trying to fix this one.”

“I know you have planes sitting around for this type of thing, why aren’t you using them? If I would have known that this was going to happen I would have taken my men and found another flight!”

This guy was being a prick, so, too quickly I answered, “Ok, well if you go, be sure to take all your things.” I was testing the theory that New Yorkers like honesty. They want you to give it them straight. Today was not the day to test out theories.

“Nice attitude.”

Now, I had unleashed a monster. I knew that nothing I said would make him or his “men” happy. So, I just continued with the truth, “I have no control over what planes we use or where they go. This plane is being fixed and for now, we are still going to take this one. That may change, but, for the time being that’s what’s going on.”

“Well, you need to figure out what’s going on and get this thing going.”

I love this type of guy. It’s a lost cause. People treat me like I don’t know anything, but, ask me questions like I know everything.

Well, fast forward about 4 hours. We are finally in West Palm Beach and everyone is finally getting off the plane. This guy has been such a jackass that other New Yorkers are actually apologizing for him. I gave up on even trying to please him. He had yelled at me, at the captain, and at our customer service agents. He was just trying to cause a scene. I may not have had the best attitude, but for that day, it was all I could do. This jerk just needed to get off the plane. Upon leaving the plane his wife approaches me and asks for my name and badge number. I give her my name and inform her that we do not give out any other personal informational.

I say, “You only need my first name and the flight number for your letter.”

She snaps back, “Why are you assuming that I am going to write a negative letter?”

“Well typically if someone who is clearly upset asks me for that information it isn’t for writing a good letter.”

“How do you know I am upset?”

“Are you serious? Everyone on the plane knows that you are upset.”

She snaps back again, “You’re a negative person and shouldn’t be doing this job.”

With all the restraint I could muster I say, “Thank you so much for your support. Have a great day!”

Momma said there’d be days like this.

Amongst the Masses–part two

Alright, so I have to be fair. Several weeks ago, I wrote part one of the article Amongst the Masses. Actually, I never intended for there to be a part two. But, I wrote it before the holiday rush. And, as usual, the holiday rush kicked my ass. I truly believe that people are at their truest and worst behavior during the holidays.

You see, I still think that the airport is a real hassle for everyone. And, I understand why it is frustrating. The whole experience is a royal pain in the derrière. I get it. But, one can only observe so much bad behavior before you start to think that some of these people just need to get over it. There are much more horrendous atrocities in the world than your flight being delayed 30 minutes. The interesting thing to me is that the worst behavior doesn’t usually come from the business traveler. They fly enough to understand how the system works. So they tend to have more reasonable expectations. It comes from the family of 10 who never travels.

They are the ones who blame me personally for not having a place to change their baby’s diaper–as if I have anything to do with airplane design. They are the ones who leave that poop-filled diaper in the seat back pocket. (Not to mention the crushed cheerios, gummy worms, chips, skittles, and ripped-up magazines on the floor.) They are the same ones who get upset when their 18 month old–whom they purposefully chose not to buy a seat for–has to actually sit in their lap. Oh boy, could I go on. But, I tend not to enjoy blog rants. So, I better move on quickly.

I can handle children. I don’t have any of my own, which is wonderful; but, I can handle them. It’s their parents that are the real problem. When I look at the rotten behavior of the parents, I can’t help but wonder how these kids are going to be when they are adults. Probably, worse.

As much as I want to provide good service, it is really difficult when people’s expectations are so completely out of whack. Seriously. So, this is my own counterpoint to the first article. All you have to do is go to one of the many airline discussion boards online. I read them from time to time just for kicks. People really have no idea. They are paying less for their tickets than ever in airline history and are expecting more than ever. But, I guess that really is the American way. Get more, pay less. What exactly did you expect when you bought your tickets for $150 each way to go coast to coast. The person next to you probably paid $600 for the same flight.

Personally, my favorite complaint is when someone shakes their itinerary at me and says, “We were supposed to go from Norfolk, Virginia to El Paso, Texas, NON-STOP. We just found out that we have to stop 3 times before we get to El Paso.”

So I say, “May I see your itinerary, please? Thanks…oh, I’m sorry, do you see here were it says ‘stops’?”

“Yes.”

“And, under that it says ‘3’?”

“Oh.”

“And, it says ‘total travel time=13 hours 41 minutes’? That means that today you fly from Norfolk to El Paso, you have 4 flights/3 stops, and it will take you 13 hours and 41 minutes.”

“Oh.”(followed by silence and a seriously nasty look)

Really? People do not read. From Norfolk, Virginia, they could have flown all the way to Hawaii in that amount of time on a NONSTOP. Sorry, I said that I wasn’t going to rant. Well, I promise my next post will not be a rant. I just had to get it out of my system. Happy travels! ;-p

That Ain’t Right! ~ #1 **Grand Opening**

Hello, dear friends, and welcome to the GRAND OPENING of my new blog series That Ain’t Right! I’ve been running this idea through my head for quite awhile. I’ve been wanting to post more frequently with smaller “non-pillar” articles. Frankly, I need posts that don’t take quite as long to compose. So, I decided I should work with what I know. Naturally, living in SF and working as a flight attendant provides me with an unending series of encounters with some really weird people and their accompanying odd behavior. And, I shall affectionately refer to them as “the crazies.” You know, people that ain’t right. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, I would like to share with you the first of many crazies to come.

(all names have been changed to protect the crazy)

I have a theory about the way people treat the airplane. If they do it on the plane, they do it at home.

I think that there are millions of people who must pee all over the floor, leave it, and then walk through it in their bare feet. I also know for a fact that many people must leave their crap behind for someone else to clean up. My first crazy is Rufus the Dufus. He was a nester. A nester is someone who, on the airplane, literally builds a nest in their seat with all of their trash. They love to leave their nests (made of newspapers, diapers, cups, food, junk mail they brought from home, etc.) behind for me to clean up.

Well, I shouldn’t build this up any further, lest you be disappointed. Rufus’ odd behavior (other than his nest) was that he was wearing 3 pairs of reading glasses…all at the same time. He totally looked like a dufus. That ain’t right.