Tag Archives: Flight Attendant

Stinky

I must have mentioned before that my least favorite part of my job is not dealing with difficult passengers.  It’s dealing with difficult flight attendants.  The passengers come and go, but when I work with someone that is difficult, I’m stuck with them for 3 days.

Usually the problem is laziness.  It’s like pulling teeth to get certain co-workers off their asses to do anything.  They just want to sit and read.  Or worse, stand in the galley and talk about themselves.  They’ll make sarcastic comments like, “Oooo, look at the super stew.” This is the response I get for answering a call button immediately instead of letting the passenger sit and wait and re-ring it several times.  To their credit, they are so tuned-out that they didn’t even hear the call button.  But, this wasn’t the problem with a male flight attendant who shall be known as Stinky.

Stinky falls into the category of flight attendants who have personal hygiene issues.  Stinky is a nice guy.  He really is.  I have flown with him before and enjoyed it.  Clearly, for Stinky, things have changed.  On my way to the gate, I saw Stinky and didn’t even recognize him.  His hair is grown out and rather unkempt.  He has a beard.  And the uniform…  Oy.  Ill-fitting and dirty.  He was wearing slip-on athletic shoes that his roommate left behind, “They looked fine to me, so I took ’em.  They did have an odd smell though…(chuckle, chuckle)”

And did they ever.  Stinky was wearing what I can only assume were decades-old, white socks.  I’m not sure if the smell was coming from the socks or the dirty brown shoes.  But, he was completely unfazed by them.  He insisted on crossing his leg with his foot pointing directed at me.  Despite my vigorous fanning with a safety information card, he never seemed to get the clue.  I like this guy, actually, and I just didn’t have the heart to practice my recent decision to be more direct.  I tried.  I just couldn’t tell him.  What can I say, I’m a work in progress.  That’s why I blog.

On top of the shoes, Stinky used an old-school brown hanky to blow his nose into and then stuff back into his pocket.  He did this several times a flight.  That is something my grandpa would do.  I thought it was gross then, and now it just seems downright unsanitary.  Although, considering that he picked his nose on the jump-seat and hocked loogies into the trash while he was pouring drinks, I don’t know why I didn’t expect him to also reuse the same hanky for three days.  I mean, it only makes sense.

I totally forgot the best part about stinky.  He cross-dresses.  Talk about an interesting mix.  He is an über-dude with a mountain-man beard, unkempt hair, poor hygiene, who likes to duct-tape his man-breasts together to make some cleavage and put on a fabulous pair of pumps.  eh-hem. Nobody puts baby in a corner…  or a box.  Stereotypes be damned!  Maybe this is why I like the guy.  He just is.  Take him or leave him.  Although, that doesn’t mean he has chosen an appropriate career path.

My airline is in the process of changing our uniforms a bit.  They are making the futile attempt of making the flight attendants look nicer.  One of the changes is that we can no longer wear brown dress shoes, only black.  Stinky informed me that he had a nice pair of combat boots at home that he probably was going to wear.  They were black after all.  Oh Stinky, he’s trying.

Entertaining the Masses

Many of you may have already seen this clip of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant rapping his opening PA.  Clearly entertaining and creative, David Holmes has generated some cyber-buzz.  Kudos to David!  He’s entertaining people and sharing important safety information all in one.  He’s not the first SWA flight attendant to sing or even to rap.  So I’m not sure why a local Dallas news station found this to be news. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that he enjoys his job and that he works for a company that embraces this sort of thing.  If I had been on that flight, I probably would have been stomping and clapping right along with everybody else.

My issue is this:  Why do people need to be entertained in order for them to listen to important safety information? In the news article someone is quoted as saying, “That’s the first time I’ve ever listened to the emergency instructions.”  What???? I’m not sure that I’d admit to that if I were you.  This is essential information about the airplane and crew to which you are trusting your life.  As a flight attendant, I’ve never understood why people, in general, don’t pay attention.  I guess I should clarify, they do pay attention, but only after they hear about an airplane crash.  It’s sad, but just plain true.

After 9/11 people paid very close attention for a few weeks.  After US Airways flight 1549 went down in the Hudson, they paid attention to the life vest portion of the announcement.  However, if there is anything that we should learn from that accident, it’s that people do survive crashes.  I hear people say all the time that if the plane goes down “we’re all dying anyway,” followed by some other bit of “wisdom.”  That attitude is biggest mistake anyone could make.  I’m providing a link here to a site providing airline crash statistics.  The key fact is that people survive.  So why wouldn’t you want to pay attention?

Again, kudos to David for finding a way to make crucial safety information a must-hear event.  And shame on those of you who had to rely on being entertained in order to pay attention.