Flight Attendants ...


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    YOU KNOW YOU ARE A FLIGHT ATTENDANT WHEN..(compiled from web..)
    by Flight Attendants on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 4:52am ·

    1. You can eat a 4 course meal standing at the kitchen counter
    2. You search for a button to flush the toilet
    3. You look for the "crew line" at the grocery store.
    4. You can pack for a 2 week trip to Europe in 1 roll-aboard
    5. All of your pens have different hotel names on them
    6. You NEVER unpack
    7. You can recognize pilots by the backs of their heads-but not by their faces
    8. You can tell from 70 yards away if a piece of luggage will fit in the overhead bin
    9. You care about the local news in a city three states away
    10. You can tie a neck scarf 36 ways
    11. You know at least 25 uses for air sickness bags-none of which pertain to vomit
    12. You understand and actually use the 24-hour clock
    13. You own 2 sets of uniforms: fat and thin
    14. You don't think in "months"-you think in "bid packs"
    15. You always point with two fingers
    16. You get a little too excited by certain types of ice
    17. You stand at the front door and politely say "Buh-bye, thanks, have a nice day" when someone leaves your home
    18. You can make a sentence using all of the following phrases: "At this time," "For your safety," "Feel free," and "As a reminder"
    19. You know what's on the cover of the current issues of In Touch, Star, and People magazines
    20. You stop and inspect every fire extinguisher you pass, just to make sure the "gauge is in the green"
    21. Your thighs are covered in bruises from armrests and elbows
    22. You wake up and have to look at the hotel stationery to figure out where you are
    23. You refer to cities by their airport codes
    24. You actually understand every item on this list
    25. Everytime the door bell rings you look up at the ceiling.
    26. You change into you "galley shoes" to cook dinner at home!
    27. You open your bathroom doors at home slowly incase someone forgot to lock it.
    28. You only know 250 or 350 degrees on your home oven
    29. When you ask your spouse when they will be coming home from work you ask for their "ETA"
    30. You can spot out an airplane from the ground above and tell the other person what airline it is!
    31. You go through each room at your friends place looking for magazines to read!
    32. You bring home different grocery bags full of goodies that you can't get in your home town! and tell a story about it!
    33. You know better NOT to date a pilot!
    34. Your a fire fighter, a nurse, a security officer and a server all in one!
    35. Your a GREAT multi - tasker!
    36. You have mastered the art of walking very quickly down the aisle and not catching anyone's eye.
    37. Your at a friends party and you start wiping your hands on their curtains.
    38.You call for the car doors to be armed and cross checked before pulling away.
    39.you answer your phone by saying "Hi its ..... at "position"
    40. when you try and put the foot brake on your shopping cart.
    41.When releasing your seatbelt in the car, you try to 'lift the top portion of the buckle and pull apart" and are confused when you can't find it.
    42. When sitting in the backseat of your friends car, you check the seat pocket for garbage.
    43. when your friends or family ask what time it is, you ask in what time zone!
    44. When you're really tired and are staying in for the night, you tell you're friends you're 'slam-clicking'.
    45. you remember the hotel phone numbers better than your home phone number.
    46. You see rubbish dropped on the floor in your own home and instead of bending down to pick it up, you kick it under the sofa.
    47. You have 400 mobile numbers in your adress book of crew you still wanted to meet up with....but when you finally get the time and browes for numbers you cannot put their faces and names together!
    48. You locate all the exits when on public transport and learn the door operations.
    49. You are standing in an elevator in your hotel and cant remember what floor you're supposed to go to, or what your room number is.
    50. You can never make definite plans, otherwise you know you'll be delayed/called out, for sure!
    51. You can't help saying goodbye to friends or anyone without sounding patronising... "b'bye now.. bye!
    52. when you've finished your dinner you throw the dirty plate in the cupboard and kick the door shut.
    53. If you check your breast pocket for a pen when you are going to write a shopping list at home.
    54. You automatically uncross your legs, sit back, and fold your arms across your lap when you hear an engine rev up, whether you're a passenger on a flight that day or just in the car!
    55. Every time someone ask's a question your reply is ... 'Just bear with me, or standby...
    56. when ur going out from the hotel on a layover u smile and greet ppl u meet in the lifts... and ur not even in uniform! lol
    57. You take out one blanket from the overhead bin or closet....and you hide it behind your back, running fast so no one sees it so you can use it!!!!
    58. You know the water gague is showing empty and you grab a bottle of water and start washing your hands!
    59. You spin around in the aft galley and yell, i love my job, i love my job....
    60. You carry around ultra concentrated spray for the smells that come out of the lavoratory to protect you and your fellow co-workers!
    61. You carry around a sharpie marker!
    62. You work 18 hour days then go home and start cleaning up after someone else!
    63. You have soo much time off you have 2 jobs!
    64. Your dead heading on a flight and your sleeping and you wake up when they say "doors for departure and cross check" or when you hear the high low chimes in the cabin!
    65. You tell people to turn off their cellphones or ipods.
    66. If someone is smoking you show them the sign and remind them not to smoke!
    67. You are ready to shop when you get to your destination!
    68. You get so use to standing up while eating you don't even look for a chair anymore.
    69. You hate people that slam their doors and call them slam-clickers!
    70. You have soo many pictures, you don't know what album to start with and what pictures belong where anymore!
    71. You don't like long walks at the beach anymore, cause all you do is walk the ocean, but 36,000FT above!
    72. you stuff your cell phone in your bra while out clubbing in case you get a call from crew sked
    73. you have mastered the art of putting on makeup in the car/bus/subway
    74. you carry in your purse a stain-remover pencil at all times
    75. you apologize for everything
    76. you are no longer disgusted at stepping in dog poo: you've seen worse...trust me!
    77. you appreciate time at home more than anyone else
    78. when you ask someone a question, you stick your ear in their face and put your hand around it in order to hear better
    79. you've developed an interest for astrology, and constantly ask "what's your sign?"
    80. you're a pro of small talk and specialize in four categories: children, mortgages, divorces, and your in-laws
    81. you've got a bunch of old worthless coins from the pre-Euro era
    82. you bring your big suitcase on a one-day layover to get your groceries!
    83. you know how to create a gourmet fondue using jersey milk bars, stale crew fruit, plastic cutlery and china from the business class cabin.
    84. you bring home some passenger meal trays and wash them, then fill them with your own food and heat it up on board during your next flight!
    85. you're dead-heading and you offer to place other passengers' luggage in the overhead bins, or bring them blankets.
    86. you keep your crew tags visible when you are dead-heading, so that the flight attendants will know you are crew and offer you free food/booze.
    87. you keep all your creams/perfumes/cosmetics in small pots and bottles so that they pass security cause you know its has to be under 100ML
    88. You hear your cell phone ring even when it's not ringing
    89. you bid flights according to the hotel at a destination, and not necessarily the destination itself
    90. your fruits and veggies at home always go bad because you're always away

    (updated for crew members, written by you!)

    So you want to be a flight attendant?

    Go to a resale store and find an old, navy suit that an army sergeant might have worn. Add a white shirt and a tie. Wear that same outfit for three consecutive days.
    Go to an airport and watch airplanes take off for several hours. Pretend you are standing by for them and they are all full. Go home. Return to the airport the very next day and do the same thing again.
    Fill several large boxes with rocks. Lift them over your head and place them on the top shelf of a closet. Slam the door shut until the boxes fit. Do this until you feel a disc slip in your back.
    Turn on a radio. Be sure to set it between stations so there is plenty of static. Turn on the vacuum cleaner and garbage disposal. Run them all night.
    Remove the covers from several T.V entrees. Place them in a hot oven. Leave the food in the oven until it's completely dried out. Remove the hot trays with your bare hands. Serve to your family. Don't include anything for yourself. Serve your family a beverage one hour after they've received their meal. Make them remain in their seats during this time. Ask them to scream at you and complain about the service. Scrounge uneaten rolls off the plates for you to eat 6 hours later when you're really hungry. Place a straight-backed chair in a closet facing a blank wall. Use a belt to strap yourself into it. Eat the rolls you saved from your family's meal.
    Ask your family to use the bathroom as frequently as possible. Tell them to remove their shoes and socks before entering, and see who can make the most disgusting mess. Clean the bathroom every hour throughout the night.
    Make a narrow aisle between several dining room chairs and randomly scatter your husband's runners and loafers along the way. Turn off the lights and spend the night walking up and down the aisle while banging your shins against the chair legs and tripping over the shoes. Drink several cups of cold coffee to keep yourself awake.
    Gently wake your family in the morning and serve them a muffin in a package. Don't forget to smile and wish them a nice day when they leave for work and school.
    After the family leaves, take a suitcase and go out into the yard. If it's not raining, turn on the sprinkler system and stand in the cold for 30 minutes pretending like your waiting for the crew bus topick you up. Then go inside and wait by your bedroom door for another 30 minutes for an imaginary maid to make up your room.
    Change into street clothes and shop for 5 hours. Pick up carry-outfood from a local deli. Go back home. Sit on your bed and eat your meal. Set your alarm clock for 03:00 am so you'll be ready incase you don't get your wake up call. Repeat the above schedule for three days in a row and you'll be ready to work your first international flight
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    10 Shocking Secrets of Flight Attendants


    by Heather Poole

    Heather Poole has worked for a major carrier for more than 15 years and is the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet. We begged Poole to reveal 10 workplace secrets. (In return, we promised to buy her something nice from SkyMall!)


    You know all that preflight time where we’re cramming bags into overhead bins? None of that shows up in our paychecks. Flight attendants get paid for “flight hours only.” Translation: The clock doesn’t start until the craft pushes away from the gate. Flight delays, cancellations, and layovers affect us just as much as they do passengers—maybe even more.

    Airlines aren’t completely heartless, though. From the time we sign in at the airport until the plane slides back into the gate at our home base, we get an expense allowance of $1.50 an hour. It’s not much, but it helps pay the rent.


    Competition is fierce: When Delta announced 1,000 openings in 2010, it received over 100,000 applications. Even Harvard’s acceptance rate isn’t that low!

    All that competition means that most applicants who score interviews have college degrees—I know doctors and lawyers who’ve made the career switch.

    But you don’t need a law degree to get your foot in the jetway door. Being able to speak a second language greatly improves your chances. So does having customer service experience (especially in fine dining) or having worked for another airline, a sign that you can handle the lifestyle.

    The 4 percent who do get a callback interview really need to weigh the pros and cons of the job. As we like to say, flight attendants must be willing to cut their hair and go anywhere. And if you can’t survive on $18,000 a year, most new hires’ salary, don’t even think about applying.


    During Pan Am’s heyday in the 1960s, there were strict requirements for stewardesses: They had to be at least 5-foot-2, weigh no more than 130 pounds, and retire by age 32. They couldn’t be married or have children, either. As a result, most women averaged just 18 months on the job.

    In the 1970s, the organization Stewardesses for Women’s Rights forced airlines to change their ways. The mandatory retirement age was the first thing to go. By the 1980s, the marriage restriction was gone as well. These days, as long as flight attendants can do the job and pass a yearly training program, we can keep flying.

    As for weight restrictions, most of those disappeared in the 1990s. Today, the rules are about safety: Flight attendants who can’t sit in the jump seat without an extended seat belt or can’t fit through the emergency exit window cannot fly. The same goes for height requirements: We have to be tall enough to grab equipment from the overhead bins, but not so tall that we’re hitting our heads on the ceiling. Today, that typically means between 5-foot-3 and 6-foot-1, depending on the aircraft.


    Newly hired flight attendants are placed on strict probation for their first six months. I know one new hire who lost her job for wearing her uniform sweater tied around her waist. Another newbie got canned for pretending to be a full-fledged attendant so she could fly home for free. (Travel benefits don’t kick in until we’re off probation.) But the most surprising violation is flying while ill: If we call in sick, we aren’t allowed to fly, even as a passenger on another airline. It’s grounds for immediate dismissal.



    Of all the drinks we serve, Diet Coke takes the most time to pour—the fizz takes forever to settle at 35,000 feet. In the time it takes me to pour a single cup of Diet Coke, I can serve three passengers a different beverage. So even though giving cans to first-class passengers is a big no-no, you’ll occasionally spy 12 ounces of silver trimmed in red sitting up there.


    You may have heard the story of a Miami passenger who tried to board a flight with his dead mother inside a garment bag. Why would someone do such a thing? Because it’s expensive to transport human bodies! Prices vary by destination, but delivering a body on a flight can cost up to $5,000. Commercial carriers transport bodies across the country every day, and because the funeral directors who arrange these flights are offered air miles for their loyalty, they’re not always concerned about finding the lowest fare.

    Thankfully, I’ve never had someone sneak a deceased passenger on board, but my roommate did. She knew the man was dead the moment she saw him looking gray and slumped over in a wheelchair, even though his wife and daughter assured her he was just battling the flu. Midway through the flight, the plane had to make an unscheduled landing when it became apparent that no amount of Nyquil was going to revive him.

    No one officially dies in-flight unless there’s a doctor on board to make the pronouncement. On these very rare occasions, the crew will do everything possible to manage the situation with sensitivity and respect. Unfortunately, most flights are full, so it’s not always possible to move an “incapacitated” passenger to an empty row of seats. Singapore Airlines is the most prepared. Its planes feature a “corpse cupboard,” a compartment for storing a dead body if the situation arises.



    It’s usually the long line of people waiting to use the bathroom that gives you away, and nine times out of 10, it’s a passenger who asks the flight attendants to intervene. Strictly speaking, it’s not against the law to join the Mile High Club. But it is against the law to disobey crew member commands. If we ask you to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing, by all means, stop! Otherwise, you’re going to have a very awkward conversation when you meet your cell mate.


    When I started flying, I never dreamed I’d be working with the police, but it’s become an important part of the job. This new role started with Sandra Fiorini, an American Airlines flight attendant who testified to Congress about an 18-year-old male passenger carrying a newborn with its umbilical cord still attached. No mother in sight, just one bottle of milk and two diapers stuck in his pocket for the six-hour flight. When Fiorini reported her suspicions to the authorities, she got no response.

    In 2007, Fiorini met Deborah Sigmund, founder of the organization Innocents at Risk, and they began working together to train airline employees on what to spot and who to call. In 2011, this translated into hundreds of flight attendants from different airlines volunteering to help police at the Super Bowl, a hotbed for trafficking prostitutes.


    Our tenure on the job doesn’t just determine which routes we fly and which days we get to take off; it also affects the hierarchy in our crashpad, an apartment shared by as many as 20 flight attendants. Seniority is the difference between top or lower bunk, what floor your bed is on, and just how far away your room is from noisy areas such as doors or stairwells.

    Seniority even determines the length of our skirts—we can’t hem them above a certain length until we’re off probation. Afterward, it’s OK to shorten the hem and show a little leg. Some of the friskier pilots take advantage of the long hems; they know that new hires tend to be more flattered by their advances than senior flight attendants. (One senior flight attendant I know intentionally left her skirt long just to keep these guys interested!)


    More than 2 million people fly in the United States each day, and yet since 1980, only three people have died as a direct result of turbulence. Of those fatalities, two passengers weren’t wearing their safety belts. During that same time period, the Federal Aviation Administration recorded just over 300 serious injuries from turbulence, and more than two-thirds of the victims were flight attendants. What do these numbers mean? As long as your seat belt is on, you’re more likely to be injured by falling luggage than by choppy air.

    Interestingly, on some airlines, a flight attendant’s injuries in flight can’t be officially classified as an on-duty injury unless it happens during what’s known as “extreme turbulence”—where the captain loses control of the plane or the craft sustains structural damage. In both of those cases, the aircraft must be grounded and inspected. Because no one wants to ground a plane, captains are very hesitant to hand out the “extreme turbulence” label. A friend of mine who works closely with airline management said he’s never seen a pilot label rough air as “extreme turbulence.” So the next time you’re nervous about some mid-flight bumps, just take a deep breath and remind yourself, “This isn’t extreme!”

    This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine. Get a free issue!
    June 28, 2012 - 7:04am

    Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/31044/10-shocking-secrets-flight-attendants#ixzz2JonyFnHO
    --brought to you by mental_floss!
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    George Hobica
    17 Things Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You
    Posted: 12/28/2012 7:00 am

    Ever wonder what your flight attendant really thinks of you? What they'd tell you if they had the nerve? Or weren't afraid of being fired? What deep, dark secrets would they reveal about their jobs?

    I have a number of friends who work as flight attendants. One of them recently retired after 20 years flying for the most storied name in commercial aviation, while others work for less glamorous domestic U.S. airlines. I asked them what they'd tell their passengers if they could tell them anything at all, or what secrets they'd reveal only if granted complete anonymity. All I can say is that these people do not represent every single flight attendant in the skies, so if you're a flight attendant yourself, please hold your fire and don't shoot the messenger. But I didn't make this stuff up. What you read here may shock you, or make you laugh, I'm not sure which.

    1. You know that coffee you ordered? It's actually decaf even though you asked for regular. We'd rather that you sit back, relax and fall asleep so you don't bother us too much. Our airline sent around a memo wondering why the decaf supplies were going so fast, noting that decaf costs more than regular coffee.

    2. When we "arm" the doors on your aircraft, each flight attendant checks the work of his colleague at the opposite door. You've heard it a million times: "arm doors and cross check." Did you hear "crotch check?" It wasn't your imagination. We get silly sometimes. And yes, despite all the cross checking -- maybe because we're checking crotches instead -- once in a great while we screw up and we forget to arm the doors, which means the emergency slides won't automatically deploy if needed in an emergency. We can get fired for that.

    3. Our airline used to pay us when we showed up for duty at the airport. That was eons ago. Then we got paid our measly hourly wage when the cabin doors closed. Then it was when the plane's brakes were released. Now we get paid only when the wheels leave the ground ("wheels up" in airline parlance). We don't even get paid when we're taxiing! There can sometimes be hours of delay between the time we show up for work and when we're airborne. Different airlines have different policies, but it's a way for them to save money. So when we greet you at the door, we do that for free. When we serve you your pre-flight drink, we do that for free, too. No wonder our smiles are so fake.

    4. If a flight is late, the airline might have to pay us overtime. If the flight is going to be late anyway, we've been known to delay it even further in order make sure overtime kicks in, which on our airline means up to double the hourly pay. We might find some minor defect in the aircraft or use some other ruse to make up for the money we don't get paid waiting for take off.

    5. Yes, we can upgrade you to business class or first class after the airplane's doors close. No, we don't do it very often, partly because on some airlines we have to file a report explaining why we did it, partly because there has to be a meal for you and partly because the forward cabins are often full. Who do we upgrade? Not the slob who's dressed in a dirty tank top. It helps if you're extremely nice, well dressed, pregnant, very tall, good looking, one of our friends or all of the above.

    6. Please don't take your computer and a newspaper into the lav. It's gross and it means you're going to be occupying it longer than you should.

    7. Please don't ask me what we're flying over. I'm as clueless as you are. I am not flying the plane.

    8. Please don't do deep knee bends in my galley while I'm trying to work. You won't get deep vein thrombosis on a flight between Houston and Austin.

    9. Jiggling your glass of ice at me won't make me dash to the galley for a refill. In fact, it makes me want to scream.

    10. When I ask you what you'd like to drink and you ask me "Well, what do you have?" I want to answer "Not a lot of time." But you wouldn't like that.

    11. I want to yank your headphones off your head after I've asked you what you want to drink and you've responded "huh?" three times. After the fourth time I just move on or give you a Coke.

    12. Yes, we do ask the captain to leave the seatbelt on long after the turbulence has ended so we can serve in the aisles.

    13. On night flights, we sometimes hold off on meal service as long as we can so that you'll be asleep and we'll have less to do.

    14. All male flight attendants are not gay, even if they might look like they are.

    15. We really don't like children. Not just your children, children period. Why do you think we chose a career where we spend half our lives away from home?

    16. If you poke me, I'm going to poke you back. Harder!

    17. Don't ask me where you can shove your bag. I've been waiting 12 years to tell you where you can shove it.

    This story appears in Issue 31 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available January 11.


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    Flight Attendant Checks - http://new.checkadvantage.com/flight-attendant-checks

    How to impress an air hostess
    Last updated 05:00 15/03/2012

    Want to impress the flight attendant on your next trip? Make eye contact. Say "please" and "thank you". Remove your earphones when asked a question. Be nice to your fellow passengers.

    Want to alienate him or her instead? Borrow a pen and don't give it back. Complain that the passenger ahead of you has reclined his seat. Snatch newspapers off the top of her crew bag. Stand so closely behind her in the aisle as she serves beverages that when she bends over, her rear end rubs against you.

    Yes, they notice that stuff.

    Those are some of the lessons a reader learns from Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crash-pads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, a tell-all by veteran flight attendant Heather Poole.

    She has seen the good and the bad in a lot of passengers, from the elderly man who made origami birds for all the kids on the plane, to the guy who grabbed Poole's Egg McMuffin off the jump seat and ate it without apology.

    Poole loves her job, and her account of it here is fascinating. She writes about her training, in which the topics included not only balancing six wineglasses on a silver tray, but also recognising dozens of weapons and throwing hot coffee at lunging terrorists. We read about the perils of dating in that line of work, including guys who turn out to be a bit too interested in a flight attendant's uniform or in sharing her flight perks.

    A conscientious reader can pick up some tips for flying, like why you shouldn't recline your seat too quickly (it smashes laptops), why you should wait until after takeoff to take a sleeping pill, and why nervous flyers should sit toward the front of the plane (the rear tends to fishtail during turbulence).

    Cruising Attitude is a fun and breezy read. I'll remember it the next time I fly. Especially when I order a Diet Coke, which Poole calls "the most annoying beverage a flight attendant can pour for a passenger in flight". Why? It takes so long. It's unusually fizzy in the glass, and she has to keep pausing for the foam to subside so she can pour in some more.

    Thanks to her book, from now on I'll just ask for the can.
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    Flight attendants: There for your protection or your pleasure?
    Bert Archer
    Special to The Globe and Mail
    Published Tuesday, Aug. 24 2010, 5:31 PM EDT

    As flight attendant Steven Slater slips into a media lull between his dramatic exit and a rumoured reality show, those who fly frequently are talking about the effects attendants can have on a flight, both positive and negative, as they create and respond to circumstances at least nine kilometres up in the air.

    Occasionally, the reports are glowing. Take Bob.

    I heard about Bob when Sharon Collachi, a Fresno, Calif.-based mental-health business consultant, posted a comment online about this flight attendant on a US Airways flight between Tampa and Phoenix. Within a couple of days, several more commenters came forward with their stories about Bob Spinner, using words like "stellar" and "absolutely awesome" to describe their experiences.

    "Once the doors were closed, he stood at the first row and introduced himself, and told us what we could expect from him," Collachi wrote in her post. "On a four-plus hour flight, he intended to be on his feet the entire time (and he was), so no one should need to hit their call button." If anyone did, he said he would treat it as an emergency and drop everything and rush over.

    "He really made you feel special," Collachi told The Globe and Mail, "like you were flying on a private jet."

    Telecom salesman Juan Alvarez was not so lucky on one of his regular 2 a.m. flights from Sao Paolo to Lima.

    "There was a family in the row behind me, a mother, a kid and the father," he recalls. "The kid was just completely out of control, kicking the seats, throwing things. A bunch of us started complaining that it's a night flight, we were supposed to be sleeping. A stewardess came to tell them to be quiet. When she left, the mother rolled up a newspaper and started whacking those of us who complained. I had earplugs in and was trying to ignore it. Another guy in my row was sitting in front of the father and they started exchanging words."

    Words turned to shouts, and shouts turned to punches. "I went back to the bathroom and told the flight attendants there's an altercation, and they said, 'Yes, we know about it, we know about it.' " But they remained seated in the galley, chatting amongst themselves. He went back three more times, as did the other passenger in his row and some people behind the family. "I'm guessing six or seven people complained," Alvarez says. The fight eventually subsided on its own, but the sleep Alvarez, and any number of other passengers had counted on, was out of the question.

    Books by and about flight attendants over the years point to the evolution and ultimate confusion over their role. Titles like Coffee, Tea or Me, Sex Objects in the Sky and Around the World in a Bad Mood highlight the basic difference of opinion: Are flight attendants there for our pleasure or our protection?

    Some crews lean toward protection at the expense of pleasure and get snippy when passengers call them on it. "I have lots of friends in the service industry," says WestJet flight attendant and CUPE union rep Michael Reed, "but [unlike flight attendants]they don't have to qualify every year and pass exams to keep their jobs."

    The ideal seems to be a little bit of both. That's what 15-year Air Canada vet Katherine Thompson thinks. She's happy to be the high-flying cocktail waitress but as a flight attendant, and therefore one of the most frequent fliers in the world, she knows how often the more serious part of the job kicks in. "It's so often, you wouldn't believe," she says, recalling one incident several years ago when a passenger on a long-haul flight to Canada came to her in the galley. "She was holding her chest, and when she moved her hand, the front of her chest was covered in blood." She had just had breast cancer surgery and all her sutures had ruptured. Thompson found a doctor, re-arranged the seating to keep the woman and the doctor in her constant view in case the woman's condition worsened, and then continued serving drinks. When the plane landed, the woman was met by paramedics.

    "Flight attendants are the last line of security and safety on board the aircraft right now," she says. "We're the first responders, and if you look at the underwear bomber, and the shoe bomber, you'll see the role we played in those situations. We have to be situationally aware at all times.

    "But it's like I say to the pilots," she says: "I like the flights where I'm an air hostess and you're a bus driver."

    'Flight attendant saved my life'
    Last updated 05:00 29/11/2010


    ON-BOARD AID: Brian Delaney with flight attendant Zoe Moran who helped save him after his heart attack.

    Brian Delaney remembers nothing of the eight minutes that cabin crew and passengers spent trying to revive him after a heart attack, but he believes Zoe Moran saved his life.
    On the tarmac at Wellington Airport, the 26-year-old flight attendant used a defibrillator to resuscitate Mr Delaney when his heart stopped just before takeoff.
    Mr Delaney, 73, is recovering at Wellington Hospital, his journey from his Gisborne home to visit family in Dunedin on Thursday interrupted by his second heart attack in eight years.
    He had been talking to the passenger next to him when his head started spinning – and after that he remembers nothing of the commotion on the 50-seater Air Nelson Bombadier Q300 until he came around.

    "I looked up at five faces and thought, where the hell am I? It could be hospital, or in an an ambulance."

    Miss Moran said a passenger had run up to her to tell her a man was having a seizure, so she dashed to Mr Delaney.

    "He was sitting in his chair, his eyes were rolling back in his head and his teeth were moving. I said he's not having a seizure, he's having a heart attack."

    She ran to get a defibrillator. Although one is carried on every Air Nelson plane, it was the first time one had been used. She gave Mr Delaney a shock with the defibrillator, and another passenger started chest compressions.
    Miss Moran, who has worked for Air Nelson for 16 months, said her training kicked in and she went through the procedures she had learnt but never imagined she would use, while anxiously hoping the medics stationed at the airport would turn up.

    "It felt like a long time ... I was relieved when they got there, I had been starting to shake."

    Mr Delaney's daughter, Kaaren Dooher, had been waiting for him at Dunedin Airport.

    "When I saw the plane was delayed, I thought that better not be Dad. Then they paged me."

    Doctors will carry out further tests today to try to determine what caused Mr Delaney's attack.
    Yesterday, he had nothing but praise for the airport and hospital staff. And he was relieved his heart attack had not occurred minutes later. "If we had been in the air, I would not be here."
    Последнее редактирование:


    ORD watcher
    Sara Keagle
    Flight attendant & founder of TheFlyingPinto.com

    10 Gross Things Flight Attendants Have Seen On Airplanes
    Posted: 01/22/2013 7:00 am

    I thought a career as a flight attendant would be glamorous. I signed up for that glamour eighteen years ago, but I haven't seen it yet.

    I was on my second trip -- my uniform was crisp, my hair was pulled back in a perfect french twist -- when a passenger asked me if I would heat up a baby bottle. I knew just what to do. Now all I needed was a sick bag so I could fill it with hot water. I reached into a seat back pocket, grabbed a sick bag and pushed my hand inside to open it up. As I felt the warm, oatmeal consistency of its contents, the glamour ended. So much for my manicure.

    You've heard about the gross things people do on airplanes. There's classics like cutting toenails, walking barefoot around the plane, changing a baby diaper on the tray table...I could go on. I hate to admit it, but these are all behaviors I see or experience as a flight attendant every time I go to work.

    I recently asked some co-workers to share the grossest things they have seen throughout the years as well. Warning, the answers even shocked me! Fasten your seat belts for...

    The Top Ten Gross Things Flight Attendants Have Seen Passengers Do on Airplanes:

    10. Breast Pumping
    A lady decided that it was appropriate to use a breast pump during boarding. She fully exposed both breasts and with just a bottle (not with a baby) did the vacuum effect on her fully exposed boob. Let me remind you this was both breasts out in the air, on a full flight, during boarding, taxi, take-off and part of cruise.

    9. Breast Milk Drippage
    A few passengers notified me of something leaking from the overhead bins down onto their heads. The look on the men's faces was priceless when a woman stood up and said, "OMG....My breast milk! It's not frozen anymore and it's leaking what should I do?!"

    8. Blankets and Boogers
    A passenger in first class rang her call light. She handed me her blanket and asked if I could give her a new one. I was puzzled since everyone had started the flight with a fresh blanket. I looked down at the blanket and it was all wet and slimy with boogers. I felt so grossed out--like I was going to hurl--as I tossed it into a plastic bag.

    7. Impromptu Snacking
    A first class passenger picked something off his bare feet and ate it. I saw it myself.

    6. Jump Seat No-No

    A passenger sat down on the back galley flight attendant jump seat "waiting on the lavatory." A flight attendant told him he couldn't sit there. After I came out of the lav and sat down, we realized that he had urinated on the jump seat!

    5. Pedicures
    Lady using the "ped egg" on her feet. And then tried to dump her foot shavings in my trash.

    4. A Little Laundry
    A first class passenger took off his soggy socks and dried them by putting them over the air vent above his seat. Passengers all the way back in coach complained about the smell.

    3. Lost Panties
    I was helping clean the plane at one of our out-stations so we could turn the plane on time and found a pair of bloody panties in the seat pocket. This is why we wear gloves.

    2. Adult Diapers

    Someone shed their humongous Depends adult diapers on the toilet seat--yep, shed like a creature shedding its sea-shell, and they were left perfectly wide open and obviously used on top of the toilet lid, for the next passenger.

    1. Going No. 2
    A passenger used the tissue (out of the tissue box dispenser in the restroom) to clean up after their bowel movement. They then placed the used tissues back into the tissue box. A fellow flight attendant reached into the tissue dispenser for a tissue and...discovered the issue firsthand.

    Got any more stories of grossness in the skies? Share in the comments!

    Follow Sara Keagle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/theflyingpinto


    ORD watcher
    Meet The 83-Year-Old Flight Attendant Who Has Seen The Decline Of An Industry
    Matthew Kassel | Mar. 20, 2012


    Ron Akana, 83, has worked for 63 years as a flight attendant for United Airlines (now United -Continental), making him what many believe to be the longest-serving flight attendant in the United States, writes Michelle Higgins for The New York Times.

    Though Akana is considering retirement (the job has changed through the years, as safety has become more important than service) the work is not without its perks.

    At one point, Higgins writes, Akana was making $106,000 a year. He can choose his own schedule, which for him entails three trips a month from Colorado to Hawaii, where he sees friends or plays golf.

    Unlike stewardesses who were subjected to strict age restrictions in the 1960s, stewards like Akana were not as tightly regulated.

    He recalled the glory days for Higgins:

    Seats [on the Boeing Stratocruiser] were all first class, with four bunk beds up front and a private stateroom in the back with its own beds and bathroom. A circular staircase led to a lower-deck cocktail lounge, and flight attendants prepared hot meals for the 52 to 54 people on board.

    Passengers dressed up to fly. “All the men had suits and ties on. The ladies were always showcases of fashion,” Mr. Akana recalled. “There was no such thing as walking on a plane with slippers.”

    But of course, it wasn't all glorious. And Akana has seen the industry decline. Writes Higgins:

    In the early days, Mr. Akana recalls, cigarette smoke filled the cabin as passengers lighted up after takeoff. And between flights, the aircraft was sprayed with pesticide while flight attendants were still on board. He has lived through decades of deregulation and the turbulent industry economics, including bankruptcies and cuts that stripped flights of most services.
    American Airlines flight attendant Peggy Turley receives a congratulatory hug from her colleague, Danny Jacques. Turley's friends and colleagues celebrated the 50 years of her career as a flight attendant Tuesday before she departed Raleigh on a flight to London.

    US Airways Flight Attendants Carolyn Baker and Bette Nash receive their golden wings with pride for 50 years of service with the airline.

    Clelia Rodriguez Powers,73, who's been a airline stewardess for 50 years enjoys her most of her time in the air and at home. Clelia works for American Airlines.

    Flight attendant grounds herself after 54 years with American Airlines


    David Woo/Staff Photographer
    Carole DiSalvo, 75, sits in the engine of a new American Airlines Boeing 777-300 ER at American's maintenance facility at D/FW Airport.
    DiSalvo, who began work as a flight attendant at American in November 1958, retired last week after more than 54 years in the skies.

    Staff Writer
    [email protected]

    Published: 02 February 2013 05:03 PM

    When Carole DiSalvo began working as an American Airlines Inc. stewardess, she thought she might stay a couple of years. Maybe that long.

    “I was 20 when I went with American,” DiSalvo recalled. “And two years was truly the maximum. You couldn’t be married. Back then, people were getting married a lot younger than they are now. So two years was truly about the maximum that you would expect to fly. Never would you expect to go five years or 10 years.”

    More than 54 years later, DiSalvo, 75, has finally grounded herself.

    She worked her last assignments in mid-January, on a flight from Chicago to Shanghai, and then a flight back to Chicago. On Thursday, she ended a career that touched seven decades, 11 U.S. presidential administrations, numerous management changes, industry deregulation and the economic turbulence that has shaken the industry.
    She arrived at American a few months before its first jet, the Boeing 707, began service. She began work more than two years before American’s current chairman and chief executive, Tom Horton, was born.
    She retires as American’s most senior flight attendant on active duty. A woman hired a month before her in 1958 retired in December but had been on medical leave for some time and had not been flying.

    Final duties

    DiSalvo’s last official duties were Monday, when she spoke to American’s first class of new-hire flight attendants in 12 years, a group that gave her a standing ovation after her presentation. The following day, she talked to The Dallas Morning News about her career.

    “As a matter of fact, after today, it’s going to be all over — and it’s going to be one of the saddest days of my life,” she said as the interview neared its end, her voice cracking. But with a smile, she quickly instructed herself, “Stop it.”

    DiSalvo was working as a secretary at Continental Can Co. in 1958 when her boss suggested that she might like to work as an airline stewardess.
    The idea appealed to her; she didn’t like the daily commute to her downtown Chicago job, nor did she see herself as a 9-to-5 person. Still, she wonders whether her boss was subtly telling her to go get another job.
    Regardless, with her mother and sister along for moral support, she visited Trans World Airlines Inc., which was hiring.

    “It was jammed with people. It was a pretty intensive interview,” DiSalvo said. “But then they said, ‘You know, we like you, but come back when your nails are longer.’”

    She left the interview and told her mom that she wanted to go by American Airlines’ offices at Chicago’s Midway Airport. DiSalvo walked into a hangar and learned that a personnel person was on site.
    The man met with her, then said, “I’ll be right back,” DiSalvo remembered. “He came back and he had the overseas cap in his hand. He put it on my head, and he said, ‘You’ll do just fine. You’ll hear from us.’”

    A few weeks later, she got a call from American telling her she was hired. She began training Sept. 13, 1958, at American’s new training center in Fort Worth, one of 32 new stewardesses in that class.
    Upon graduation, most new flight attendants were assigned to New York and Los Angeles. However, it needed Spanish-speaking flight attendants based in Chicago and Dallas, and DiSalvo really wanted to be in Chicago to be near her boyfriend.

    She acknowledges today that she didn’t know Spanish. But with help from a roommate from El Paso, she learned the Spanish public announcements she needed to know and got her Chicago assignment.
    But what about the guy? “That boyfriend lasted about a week after I got to Chicago,” DiSalvo said.
    She moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and returned to Chicago in 1964 after her father suffered a major stroke. She was based there the rest of her career.

    The old rules

    When she joined American, the rules for flight attendants were spelled out at the outset: Nobody could work as a flight attendant after age 32. Nobody could be married and fly. Nobody could have children and fly.
    One by one, those rules changed, allowing DiSalvo to continue flying after she turned 32 in 1969 and after she got married in 1971. Over time, many of the colleagues she began flying with decided to leave. But not her, even though she never told herself that she would stay so long.

    “It’s amazing with this job how time just flies by. You have a different schedule each month. One month goes into the next month. I never even thought about it,” she said.

    Even after she and her husband, Joe, a patent attorney, adopted the first of two children more than 27 years ago, DiSalvo decided to keep flying, convinced she could handle children and a career.

    “In all sincerity, I never sat and thought, ‘Ah, jeez, when am I going to quit this?’ A couple of times when you have a rough trip or something, you’d think about it. But time flew by.”

    In 2003, as American was struggling financially, DiSalvo did decide to retire — a decision that lasted an hour and 45 minutes.
    A number of friends had decided to take American’s incentive payments to retire, and they encouraged her to do so as well. Finally, she called her supervisor’s office and asked that her resignation papers go in before the 5 p.m. deadline.
    But she felt so bad about the decision that she called back a few minutes after the deadline to see if she could change her mind. The secretary hadn’t faxed DiSalvo’s resignation to the airline’s Fort Worth headquarters yet, and tore it up.

    Some memories remain somber. On May 25, 1979, an American flight to Los Angeles crashed after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, killing all aboard, including the Los Angeles-based crew of flight attendants. “I remember the day as though it were yesterday. It was very, very tragic.”
    She also recalls the March 1, 1962, crash of American Airlines Flight 1 as it departed New York International Airport, popularly known then as Idlewild and now as John F. Kennedy International Airport.

    “I was at the airport in Los Angeles the day before the flight, and I ran into a friend of mine. I asked her where she was going. She said she was going to New York,” DiSalvo said.

    When the return flight the next day crashed, DiSalvo knew it was the one her friend was staffing and mourned for her lost friend. Then a week later, DiSalvo ran into her again at the Los Angeles operations offices.

    “You talk about really, really falling apart,” DiSalvo said. “She had been removed from the flight at the last minute. We just clung to each other for the longest time.”

    DiSalvo’s worst day was Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers took over four flights, two of them operated by American, and crashed them.

    “I thought I was doing OK. But then, about two weeks after that, I would just wake up and have anxiety attacks and have to get up out of bed and run downstairs. It was cold outside, and I would run up and down the street. I didn’t know what was wrong,” she said.

    Eventually, her doctor diagnosed her as suffering from depression.

    Lots of changes

    As airline veterans do, DiSalvo has noted changes in the industry and its customers since she began working. The suits and ties for male travelers and the dresses for women have been replaced by much more casual dress. Also, everyone flies today, rather than mostly businessmen, as it was when she started.
    The jet age at American began soon after DiSalvo started working there, with American’s first Boeing 707 making its maiden voyage with passengers in January 1959. That aircraft model, “very homey,” remains DiSalvo’s favorite of the many she’s worked on.

    “The Boeing 747 was exciting because of the upper deck and the staircase and we had three different galleys. But from a flight attendant viewpoint, it was very impersonal. Half the time, you never saw the other flight attendants in the middle and in the back,” she said.

    The 747, out of American’s fleet since 1983 except for a pair kept until 1992, had a spiral staircase leading to its upper deck, DiSalvo recalled.

    “We would put liquor out, actual fifths of liquor, and passengers would help themselves. We’d put out cheese and crackers. Very, very elegant. And sometimes, some of those passengers had difficulties coming down that staircase,” she said.

    On Monday, when the new flight attendants asked her to name the celebrities she had served, she paused to think.

    “Marlon Brando — very nice. Adlai Stevenson.” Richard Nixon saw her in an airport and asked her if she had worked his flight; she said no. “He came over and he kissed my hand.”

    Her favorite celebrity, though, was Neil Diamond. Other passengers had gotten off the airplane while he remained in his first-class seat for the next leg of the flight.
    DiSalvo, who had worked the coach section, stayed on board while the plane was on the ground. “I saw him and started to sing ‘Sweet Caroline.’” Diamond gestured for her to stop. And then, she smiled, “he sang ‘Sweet Caroline.’”

    If she were 20½ years old today, DiSalvo said, she would “absolutely, without hesitation” start a career as a flight attendant. So why retire? Part of the reason is that American offered veteran flight attendants a $40,000 payment to leave, but that probably moved up her departure by only a few months, she said.

    “There are a lot of changes going on with the airline, for one thing. Again, I don’t want to complain, but I have those little aches and pains. And like my dear friend said, ‘Carole, do you really want them to have to carry you off the airplane?’” she said.

    “I think 54 years is long enough. Don’t you think?”


    Carole DiSalvo, who started with American at age 20, recalls that at the time, “two years was truly about the maximum that you would expect to fly.”
    This photo was taken during her training in 1958.


    Carole DiSalvo, on the far right of the middle row, posed with her graduating class early in her career at American.
    She spoke last week to the carrier’s first class of new-hire flight attendants in 12 years.


    David Woo/Staff Photographer
    Carole DiSalvo began work as a flight attendant at American Airlines in 1958.
    At the time, rules stated no one could work as a flight attendant past age 32.
    Последнее редактирование:


    ORD watcher
    Eight ways to keep love alive when you work as cabin crew

    It’s well known that flight attendants jetting around the world often struggle to maintain long-term relationships with partners at home. Whatever your relationship status; whether you’re committed, single, or casually dating, everyone has preconceived ideas about what a relationship should be like, and how it should work.

    So what can help keep love alive? We posted this question on the The Fab♥lous Life of a Flight Atttendant Facebook page recently, asking you to give us your tips, so here’s the outcome - eight ways to manage your love life while jetting round the world!

    Take time to understand what you both want out of the relationship

    Unfortunately there is no rule book when it comes to having a successful relationship – every relationship will be different, and the two people involved are likely to have their own unique expectations of what being together means. Laura says: “Start by spending time together working out what is right for you and your partner. This will take some patience, but too many people give up at the first hurdle. So talk about what you both expect, and build the relationship from there.”

    Respect each others’ interests

    One misconception is that couples must have shared interests. In fact relationship experts say pursuing separate interests can often lead to a very healthy relationship. Yes of course you do need to have some things in common, but if you share all of your interests you could very quickly find that you’re in each other’s pockets all the time which isn’t healthy for anyone. “Remember that if you talk a lot about the amazing places you have visited as cabin crew, you should give equal time listening to details about what your non-cabin crew boyfriend or girlfriend has seen or done recently,” suggests Yolanda.

    Don’t dwell on your work problems

    “Don’t bring the flight home, and don’t bring home to the flight,” says Marco. This is s valid point, as no matter what your professional life throws at you, it’s not fair to discuss issues endlessly at home. Moaning about your boss, annoying passengers, or the long hours you’ve worked can be a real passion killer. So try to switch into a different way of thinking once you’ve worked your shift, and made it home. It will be better for you too!

    Make your time away a plus not a minus

    There’s an old saying that applies perfectly to the cabin crew profession: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. So for many flight attendants, short bursts of separation are used to enhance the relationship, rather than damage it. Tom says: “I personally find it’s better for relationships to have time away! You look forward to going away but then can enjoy looking forward to coming home to see your other half!” Some effort is required for this – make your ‘reunions’ interesting, romantic, sexy and fun. That way your other half will always look forward to the moment you return. James says: “The time apart is what keeps my relationship strong. It's nice to have ‘me time’ and also ‘us time’. But work and home are always separate.”

    Choose a partner who understands

    It might be the case that some individuals just won’t be able to cope with a partner who is constantly working rosters and likely to be away for long periods, missing weekends and working holidays. Jessica says: “If you think they won't be able to handle your work... they probably won't! Figure this out before you commit to the work or the relationship, then decide.” We think this is great advice – you will both be miserable if resentment creeps in.

    Don’t screw the crew

    This sounds rather blunt, but it’s an important one, and was certainly suggested by a few people on Facebook, who no doubt have seen colleagues mess up their love lives in this way. Although there are ample opportunities to ‘play away’ when you work as a flight attendant, this is a failsafe step towards wrecking a stable relationship at home. If you have someone special, think very carefully before getting involved with someone at work. “It’s highly unprofessional anyway, and getting a bad reputation can really damage your career,” says Donna.

    Communicate, communicate, communicate

    It’s easy for resentment to creep into any relationship and this could be exacerbated when you work in very different professions. Sheena makes the point that both parties must be equally willing to make the relationship work, and for this talking through issues is vital. “You should have an open communication and if there are misunderstandings you should never let it pass,” she says. ”Instead talk about it and don’t let your pride be the priority! If you’re not willing to talk things over and find ways to compromise “you will find yourself old and loveless!” says Rupa.

    Work hard at ‘quality time’

    Planning ahead is something cabin crew tend to be good at, or the job will take over personal lives completely. When you know what’s on the roster, make sure you plot time into your diary for trips away with your loved one, so you both have plenty to look forward to. Having tickets for gigs, theatre and festivals is a great idea, or even making sure you enjoy regular meals out or trips to the cinema. ‘Date nights’ at home are good too – as a low budget means of being thoughtful and romantic. Peter says: “My relationship works really well. He flies long haul and I fly short haul. The gods of rostering are always kind to us, and if we go longer periods of not seeing each other it just helps keep the all important flame alight. It can be tough at times but 99% of the time it's easy peasy!”

    We hope these snippets of advice are helpful. Please post any other tips that spring to mind and we will add them to the article.

    Happy flying and happy loving with www.AFTERFLIGHT.com !
    Последнее редактирование:


    ORD watcher
    Cabin crew loneliness and how to avoid it


    By cabincrew.com on Monday 22nd Oct, 2012 at 11:20

    Cabin crew are hectically busy for long periods of time, but can suddenly find themselves alone in a hotel room thousands of miles from home, with no-one to talk to.
    Being away from home – essentially feeling homesick – is one element of the loneliness associated with cabin crew careers. Psychologists say that if being away from home is a regular part of your job, a feeling of ‘disconnectedness’ with the world can creep into an individual’s mind, and lead to further problems of stress, fear and anxiety. Another issue for cabin crew is working with teams of people who are professional and friendly, but different on every trip, so you rarely get time to bond, and make lasting, genuine friendships with colleagues – something people in other professions take for granted.

    “You don’t necessarily have to be alone to feel lonely,” says Dr Mark Lauderdale. “Loneliness, like many other feelings, can be a habit. You can carry this feeling with you into many situations in your life – even situations where you are surrounded by people.”

    Lauderdale says there are many techniques that can be employed that will turn feelings of loneliness into confidence and strength. Positive thinking, and training your brain to think beyond the loneliness can be put into play. There are certainly many self help books, and online resources that can help you tackle loneliness head on.

    We asked Cabin Crew readers about this issue of loneliness on our Facebook page, and you kindly provided some useful thoughts.

    “Yes it is sometimes lonely being cabin crew,” says Laura, “but sometimes I need to be alone, so I like it! And when I need to speak with somebody I use my Whatsapp.”

    Angela says that crew have become used to writing their feelings on social media.... “And also some of them have a blog to write their own story.” Clearly social media networks and messaging services are a real lifeline for flight attendants jetting around the world.

    Sometimes faith can help cabin crew during the quiet times – as well as the busy times.
    Mbuso says its important “keep in touch with family very often, and always pray and read the Bible. You'll feel God’s presence around you”.

    Zee has a philosophical take: “People are lonely because they build walls, instead of bridges...”

    What the experts say

    The advice given by the experts is to identify exactly what is making you feel lonely, think about how you would prefer to feel, and set out some strategies that will help you bridge the gap between the two. This might be planning Skype calls with loved ones when you can, using social media to connect with the world again, making an effort to go out and do something sociable rather than stay in, or even something as simple as taking belongs from home with you, that will give you a psychological boost – photos of your partner, family and friends.

    Of course it's worth asking fellow crew members if they'd like to join you for a meal or some exploring when you arrive in a new city. Not everyone will want to, so don't feel deflated if you can't round up instant mates. Stay positive about the fact you are somewhere exciting in the first place. Ludwig says: “Being lonely is a state of mind! Being a flight attendant is the most fun you'll ever have, where you can see the world while getting paid. You can shop...eat different cuisine from different cultures...meet people...drink...If that doesn't make you happy and you still feel lonely, I suggest you can go to a psychologist and get some help.”

    This may sound dramatic, but in fact it’s true that some counselling or a few sessions with a trained psychologist might be very valuable to cabin crew members feeling that loneliness is making them disillusioned with the job. Often talking through your feelings, verbalizing exactly what bothers you, and having some guidance on what can help overcome these issues of loneliness can make all the difference.

    Airlines can help here, as they are very keen for cabin crew staff to feel happy and motivated. So if you are suffering from loneliness which is leading to anxiety and job dissatisfaction, talk to your line manager or the HR department who will be happy to help.

    So really loneliness is about not feeling connected, and thanks to modern technology, and hopefully the support network of your employer, any disconnection should be easily overcome. We certainly hope you find ways of living a happy, positive and empowered life as cabin crew.


    ORD watcher
    Do Older Flight Attendants Get a Bad Rap?

    By RICK SEANEY, CEO of FareCompare
    May 4, 2012

    How did flight attendants go from sex symbols to punching bags in just a few short decades? I"m not only thinking of that Southwest pilot who called some of his colleagues "grannies" last year (he got his comeuppance in the form of a suspension) but also all those nasty comments on the Internet and mean-spirited remarks I hear personally.

    Sure, we"ve seen a recent flurry of tributes to beloved older flight attendants - United"s 83-year-old steward and the 60-ish twins who still push drink carts for Delta come to mind - but that"s unusual, to say the least.

    More common - at least anecdotally - are complaints that aging flight attendants are "mean" or unhelpful and the Internet is littered with comments bemoaning "hags" or invoking the "B-word." Not long ago, I even heard from a veteran airline pilot who said, "In defense of the traveling public, some flight attendants do prosecute their duties with "extreme prejudice." Not surprisingly, he prefers to remain anonymous.

    For the record, I think flight attendants are getting a bad rap, and I"ll tell you why. I"m also going to give examples of some very bad behavior by older passengers. But something is happening; maybe it's a confluence of ageism, attitude and economics.

    For more travel news and insights view Rick"s blog at farecompare.com

    Regarding age and ageism, I refer to a 2009 report from the Population Research Bureau:

    In 1980 per the PRB, about 80 percent of U.S. flight attendants were under the age of 35. According to the report's latest available figures, by 2007 the number of these "youngsters" had dropped to only about 20 percent while the numbers of older cabin crew members soared. By 2007, half of all flight attendants were age 45 and older, but here's the real shocker: Nearly 22 percent of them were 55 and older.

    In other words, the days of double-entendre airline ads like the one from long-defunct National that purred, "I'm Cheryl. Fly me" are long gone, but do they get any more respect now that they"re "seasoned"? I couldn"t help but notice that the subjects of the two admiring profile pieces - the 83-year-old and those twin flight attendants - were men. The reporters would say, that"s just how it worked out, but would the stories have been as appealing if they"d been about old women?

    Certainly Heather Poole, flight attendant author of Gadling"s popular Galley Gossip column, sounds tired of fielding questions like "why are flight attendants fat, old, grumpy, lazy and ugly" unlike some of their "foreign counterparts." Poole"s response, in part: "I wonder just how big you are?"

    Today, U.S. flight attendants have the same rights and protections we all do, though it wasn"t always so, and it took a while. In days of yore, flight attendants had to quit once they married or, horror of horrors, turned 32. Then there were those weight restrictions (why do you think they wore girdles?) and make-up requirements and such. No more.

    As for foreign counterparts, they apparently hire them young at Singapore Airlines, where flight attendants are reportedly given five-year contracts that are renewed at management"s discretion. But let me ask a question: What"s more important, looks or time-tested skills?

    I"m not saying younger folks aren"t capable; of course they are. But say your baby decides to come early - at 32,000 feet - which happened to a Delta passenger in April. I'll bet she appreciated the help she got from a veteran flight attendant - with 29 years on the job.

    And remember how an American Airlines pilot fell ill in midair last fall? His seat in the cockpit was filled by a 61-year-old flight attendant who happened to have a pilot"s license and coolly helped to land the plane. Airline officials praised her assistance as "outstanding."

    Let"s go back a little further. On that "Miracle on the Hudson" flight, once Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullengberger landed the plane in the river, who do you think got all those passengers out safely? The three female flight attendants, that"s who - ages 51, 57 and 58.

    If some of today"s older flight attendants seem a little grumpy, you might be too if you lost as much pay as they have. After adjusting for inflation, their median hourly wages dropped by 26 percent between 1980 and 2007 (while median hourly wages of all U.S. workers rose by 13 percent). Some flight attendants said their earnings dropped by a third after 9/11.

    Some argue that today's flight attendants don"t have to do as much. While it's true many airlines no longer have blankets to pass out and there are no more hot meals in domestic coach, that's always been the least of it. The main responsibility of flight attendants is safety - yours and mine.

    Plus they have lots of other things to worry about, such as the 50-year-old passenger who allegedly kicked and spat on flight attendants (on US Airways in March); the 61-year-old passenger who violently grabbed a flight attendant forcing her to seek medical treatment (on United in April); or the 65-year-old woman who "forgot" she boarded her American flight with a loaded gun (and where were you, TSA?); and the 53-year-old passenger who allegedly would not quit playing "Words With Friends" and was given the boot (yes, you, Alec Baldwin).

    Next time you board your plane, try smiling at your flight attendants. Maybe they won"t notice. Or maybe it"ll make a world of difference.
    Flight attendant has 50 years of experience in the skies
    October 7, 2010|By Jaclyn Giovis, Sun Sentinel

    This year, Barbara Beckett marked her 50th anniversary as a flight attendant, a career that once would have been ended after a decade by mandatory retirement rules.

    The 70-year-old Boynton Beach resident has logged thousands of flights in her career with American Airlines, and has no firm plans to retire.

    She has worked through dramatic changes in the perception of flight attendants — from the '60s era of elegance and sophistication to the '70s sex symbol and on through the '80s and '90s, when the profession shed some of its gender bias and discriminating rules.

    Today, Beckett averages five trips per month for American, mostly between Miami and London and Miami and Buenos Aires.

    "I love the people and the job," Beckett said. "On those airplanes, we're all family."

    The best part of flying for so long has been watching aviation come into the jet age, she says. Planes now are larger and faster, and they offer passengers more in terms of onboard entertainment. Passengers sometimes have valid gripes about fees, delays and the like, but air travel also has become more affordable and accessible to the masses, she said.

    "Passengers are better serviced today than years ago," Beckett said. "Sometimes they don't think so, because we run out of something and it bums them out the whole flight and we have to schmooze them."

    Beckett's primary role is to ensure the safety of passengers aboard commercial aircraft. But often passengers confuse that critical duty with secondary functions such as serving in-flight meals and beverages.

    Rude passengers are the worst part of the job, Beckett said, noting about a quarter of the passengers on any given flight fall into this category. Some passengers refuse to listen when asked to follow flight commands and be seated when the seatbelt light is indicated. Others get intoxicated and do not respond well to being cut-off from alcohol privileges.

    "I wish they would give me the dignity that I command on that flight," she said.

    Increasingly, passengers are inconsiderate, Beckett said. Years ago, they followed directions and showed flight attendants respect.

    Flight attendants are caregivers by nature, Beckett said. They must be prepared to handle any emergency from those of a medical nature to threats of terrorism.

    "I've had passengers who were close to having a birth on the plane. I've had heart attacks, strokes, a seizure."

    Despite these challenging situations and the constant threat of terrorism, the flight attendant says she has never felt fearful in the air.

    "I don't worry," Beckett said. "I talk to the passengers and tell them not to worry when they approach me about that [terrorism] subject. It's all in an attitude."

    Beckett's co-workers say she's a great example to others in the profession.

    "You feel warm and safe when you're with Barbara," said Tim Burns, international purser for American Airlines.

    Beckett is a leader, whose kindness extends to every person she comes in contact with on the job, Burns said. "Passengers leave feeling, 'I was cared for. I was noticed,' and she has that same affect for the crew."

    Rolando Conde of American's Miami Flight Service crew noted, in an e-mail, Beckett "accomplishes every task with style and grace."

    When Beckett began her career in 1960, flight attendants were required to be single when they were hired and were fired if they got married, exceeded weight maximums or reached age 32. But airline industry advocates for women's rights eventually protested those rules and eliminated such rules through litigation, negotiation and government intervention.

    The age restriction was eliminated by 1970, as Beckett was approaching the cut-off. "I was sweating it," she said. The no-marriage rule was struck down throughout the U.S. airline industry by the 1980s. Weight restrictions were eliminated in the 1990s.

    Beckett said she weighed 118 pounds for years. "If I weighed 130 pounds, they would put me on a scale every time I reported to work," she said. "They put the fear of God into you until you lost the weight."

    In the late 1960s, she had to wear a girdle to work. "They wanted you to be absolutely smooth in your appearance."

    It's rare to find a flight attendant that has worked for 50 years, though being a veteran has its perks: Beckett is the first flight attendant to bid for flights at American Airlines. Among all flight attendants nationwide, she ranks third in seniority.

    Any destination in the world is a free plane-ride away, but Beckett says she isn't much of a tourist.

    And if she retires, it'll happen on a whim. "I'm just going to wake up and say 'I've had enough.' "

    Jaclyn Giovis can be reached at 954-356-4668 or [email protected].
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    Seeing Double At 30,000 Feet

    March 14th, 2012 by Daniel Thompson in Flight Attendants

    David and Daniel Thompson are Delta flight attendants and identical twin brothers who haven’t flown together in 35 years. They recently participated in Delta’s Fly Together program, which gives flight attendant crews the opportunity to fly with family or friends who otherwise wouldn’t be scheduled to work together. This is their story.

    Growing up as identical twins, we often enjoyed observing people’s reactions when seeing us for the first time. Last week we had a chance to relive that fun while working a flight fromHonoluluto Narita/Tokyo.

    When we started our careers as flight attendants in the mid-1970s at different airlines, we never imagined that 35 years later we would be working for the same company, let alone on the same flight. Delta and flying is a family business for us; David’s wife Lorraine is a Delta flight attendant, as was Daniel’s late wife Karen. Following the Delta/Northwest merger, we didn’t know if or when we would get the chance to fly together; with one of us based in Boston and the other in Honolulu, we are separated geographically more so than any other two bases. But last week, that opportunity came!

    Before we even boarded the aircraft, we were getting double takes from customers in the gatehouse. We both worked in the upper deck cabin of the 747, which provides a more intimate setting. During boarding, Daniel recognized a Japanese couple from a previous flight, who were noticeably amused and entertained by the fact that this week, there were two of us. We were treated to several photo opportunities with our customers, which we loved. Interacting with our customers, especially in the BusinessElite cabin, is the best part of our job. We hope to make every flight special for them and on this particular flight they certainly made it special for us.

    Our layover was interesting, as Daniel has only recently started flying to Narita; and David hadn’t worked a trip there for some 20 years. We had an opportunity to socialize with the rest of the crew, as well as friends from other bases who we hadn’t seen in years. No trip to Narita would be complete without dinner at Amare’s aka “The Awning,” a local restaurant and favorite spot among crew members.

    After years of sharing flying stories with one another about our separate trips, we now have a story we can share about our first trip working together. We hope we can share many more double takes with our customers in the future.

    Thanks for flying with us!

    David and Daniel Thompson
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    10 Things You'll Never Hear Your Flight Attendant Say
    March 16, 2012

    Want to know what really happens at 35,000 feet in the air? Ask Heather Poole.

    A flight attendant for more than 15 years, Poole has seen it all. She takes you into the galley and cockpit in a new book, "Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet." Poole also shares tips and tricks of the trade that every passenger wants to know.

    The author and industry insider gives "GMA" her take on the 10 things you'll never hear your flight attendant say. (Spoiler: Steer clear of that airplane blanket!)

    Heather Poole's 10 Things You'll Never Hear Your Flight Attendant Say

    1. You can keep using your cell phone. The reason we'll never tell you this is because you can't. Oh, I know you think you can. Regardless of what Myth Busters "proved" or what the New York Times printed last week, turning your cell phone off is the law. We can actually be fined (personally) by the FAA for not enforcing the rule. So unless you want to pay that fine for me, and then employ me, turn it off!

    2. You get fewer options if you're at the back of the plane. This shouldn't be true -- you've paid for the same ticket as everyone else -- but it's simple math. If we only have 55 Diet Cokes for 160 coach passengers, and we've used them all up by the time we get to your row, there's nowhere to restock at 35,000 feet. But look on the bright side: You were one of the first passengers to board the flight, so you probably found an open bin for your carry-on, which is not always the case for those sitting in the first row drinking their beverage of choice.

    3. Sure, we can change the cabin temperature. Some people run hot, some run cold -- it's impossible to make everyone happy. There's no way we're going call the pilots every five minutes to warm up the cabin and then cool it down. If you complain about the temperature, we might tell you we'll have the captain adjust it. But unless the entire plane complains, or the crew is uncomfortable, it probably ain't happening.

    4. Stay warm with an airplane blanket. Now, I'm not saying anything specific here, but if I were you, I'd wrap up in a sweater or coat. That's what a flight attendant would do. And I definitely wouldn't put one of those blankets anywhere near my face. The pillows? Well, I haven't seen one of those in years, but I do remember people used them for the darndest things. (Note: Flight attendants alone probably keep Purell in business.)

    5. You want the chicken entree, no garlic? No problem. Planes are not restaurants. As much as people like to think so, we're not waiters. Keep in mind we have one oven to heat up more than 30 meals in business class. You don't have be from CSI to realize you're basically eating a TV dinner that's been prepared in a toaster oven.

    6. It's against the law to join the mile-high club. Because it's not! That's the good news. The bad news is it's against the law to disobey crew commands, so if we ask you to stop, by all means stop! And come out with your pants up. Then everything will be A-OK, and you won't have to tell your cellmate what you're in for.

    7. Our ages. Gone are the days when you could pinch us and get away with it, but a few well-kept secrets are still every woman's (and man's) prerogative.

    8. My layover hotel is XYZ. Maybe I've seen too many slasher movies, but the last thing I want is that passenger who complained about slow beverage service knowing where I'm sleeping.

    9. How the movie ends. Because during the 17 times it's shown on our flights, we have been otherwise occupied. Same goes for the question "where are we?" Usually we have no idea. Unless we call the captain, all we know is where we are in the beverage service (which, we hope, isn't too slow, see above).

    10. I hate my job. We do our best to keep passengers from realizing how tiring our job can be, especially if we've encountered delays. Just bear in mind I've said "hello," "goodbye" and "what you would like to drink?" about 600 times over the course of three days, and the only time I stopped smiling was when a passenger threw up on my dress on day one of a three-day trip, and when I ran out of shampoo on day two. There's a reason we continue to do what might sound torturous to some. We love it!


    ORD watcher
    10 Craziest Flight Attendant Stories
    1/23/2012 under Strange Stories - by Grace Murano

    1. The flight attendant who decided to rap the safety demo


    Before taking off, flight attendants always give the same safety demo, which can be annoying if you fly frequently. It's this flight attendant's fifth flight of the day and he is sick of his own safety demo. The passengers supply the beat while he raps the safety information.

    2. The airline who hired the first transsexual flight attendants


    In February 2011, Thai airline, PC Air, started recruiting transsexual women as flight attendants, making it the first Thailand-based airline to do so. The airline received more than 100 job applications from transsexuals, of which it hired four, to join the 19 female and 7 male flight attendants. It stated that the qualifications for the transgender attendants were the same as for women, and they should also walk and talk in a feminine manner. According to the PC Air job advert for cabin crew members, all applicants need to be of Thai nationality, hold a Bachelor's degree, be able to swim and have 'excellent' communications skills in both English and Thai.

    3. The man who proposed to his flight attendant girlfriend during a flight


    Joao Vieira wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Portuguese flight attendant Vera Silva, in a memorable way. So he booked a flight on which she was working. He worked with the pilot and flight crew so that he could get on the plane's public address system and propose marriage to her. After a moment, she turned on a microphone from the opposite side of the plane and said yes.

    4. The flight attendants that gave their safety demo remixing Katy Perry and Lady Gaga


    Flight attendants on board a Cebu Pacific Airlines flight remixed Katy Perry and Lady Gaga in their unique presentation of their jet's safety features. Candice Iyog, vice President of Marketing at Cebu Pacific Airlines, said: “Cebu Pacific has always been known as a fun airline, we wanted to get the message across to our customers that flight safety doesn't have to be boring. “This was an experiment that we hope to repeat and also a chance to showcase the talent of some of our cabin crew staff.”

    The performance took place while the plane was at cruising altitude, with the cabin crew giving a normal safety demonstration before take-off. (Link)

    5. The billionaire owner of an airline who had to serve as a flight attendant after losing a bet to the owner of a competing company


    Richard Branson had to put on a sexy red AirAsia, female, flight attendant uniform on May 1st 2011 for a 13-hour London – Kuala Lumpur flight after losing a bet with AirAsia's owner Tony Fernandes. The two of them had gambled over whose F1 racing team would finish higher at the 2010 Formula 1 Grand Prix – Branson's Virgin Racing or Fernandes' Team Lotus, and whoever lost would have to serve as a flight attendant on the other's airline.

    Branson was also supposed to shave his legs since Fernandes' airline doesn't allow “hairy stewardesses”, but he was allowed to keep his beard. He had to serve meals and drinks to Tony Fernandes and 250 other passengers. Besides, this was not the first time that Branson has dressed as a woman. He wore a white wedding dress for the launch of Virgin Brides in 1996, which doesn't exist anymore.

    Both airlines bosses came up with the idea of a party in the sky with live music and entertainment. A total of 160 seats were sold for a charity of Branson's choice, at £4500 (about $6300) each.

    6. The flight attendant who stuck a 17-month old baby in the overhead bin


    Virgin Blue has sacked a male flight attendant and offered an angry mother free flights after her toddler was put in an overhead locker. Natalie Williamson claims she, her 17-month-old son, Riley, and her now estranged husband were on a Virgin flight from Fiji to Sydney, when the flight attendant picked up Riley, placed him in the locker and closed the latch.

    Virgin has admitted an incident did take place, but claims Ms Williamson's husband was playing a peek-a-boo game with Riley involving the overhead compartment when the flight attendant joined in.

    7. The flight attendant who quit his job during a flight using the emergency slide


    In August 2010, Steven Slater, a flight attendant of JetBlue airlines, got into an argument with a passenger during boarding at a Pittsburgh airport. He finally had had enough of his job, quit, and opened the emergency slide on the plane in order to leave.

    According to witness, he grabbed the intercom and said: “To the passenger who called me a mother f*****, f*** you [...] I've been in the business 20 years. I've had it. That's it.” Mr Slater then activated the emergency exit and slid down the inflatable slide onto the tarmac. He then boarded a train to the terminal, stripping off his tie and discarding it, to the astonishment of bemused onlookers. Slater was later arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

    8. The flight attendant who has collected 1,760 spoons from 447 airlines


    If you're ever short of a spoon you can always rely on Dieter Kapsch – he's got 1,760 of them. The flight attendant has amassed his unusual collection from 447 airlines. Explaining how his unusual hobby started, he said that his first spoon reminded him of a nice holiday, and from there it escalated.

    One of his oldest spoons is from Imperial Airways, a British operation that ran from 1924 to 1939, and he also has one from the China Clipper, a Pan Am flying boat of the 1930s. ‘My friends love my collection and they're very supportive – they have added to it a lot,' said the 38-year-old Austrian, who added: ‘I hope there will be some more coming.'

    9. The world's oldest flight attendant who retired after 60 years of service


    In 2007, Iris Peterson, the number one flight attendant at United Airlines, retired after 60 years of service. Ms. Peterson began her career in 1946, when job restrictions included age, gender, ethnicity and weight. Ms. Peterson and her peers helped to destroy these discriminatory practices, advancing the rights of women and uprooting gender discrimination. Active in her union throughout her career, Iris held various leadership positions and often represented her colleagues in grievances, safety issues and on Capitol Hill.

    In 1953, she was the first official lobbyist for the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association. In 1968, the same year that stewardesses won the right to hold the job if they were married, Ms. Peterson participated in safety plans for the first jumbo aircraft. She worked with aircraft engineers and was instrumental in gaining acceptance for 17 safety items, including the evacuation alarm, which is now a standard on equipment worldwide.

    10.The JAT stewardess who survived a 33,000-foot fall


    Twenty-two year old Vesna Vulovic was a flight attendant on Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 enroute from Stockholm to Belgrade. A bomb, which may have been planted in the front baggage compartment of the plane, exploded onboard when the aircraft was at 33,330 ft. Vulovic was in the tail section that fell to Earth. It landed at just the right angle on a slope of snow-covered mountains. She was the only survivor among the 28 passengers and crew. She broke both her legs and was paralyzed from the waist down. She was in a coma for 27 days. Her recovery took 17 months. She continued to fly with Yugoslav Airlines for 20 more years.

    She holds the world record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 meters (33,333 feet).

    NOTE: It was never proved that the plane was torn apart by a bomb. In January 2009 German ARD radio Prague office research and Czech journalist Pavel Theiner proposed a conspiracy theory that the plane was shot by accident by the Czechoslovakian air force.


    ORD watcher

    Flight Attendant Up in the Air for 53 Years
    December 29, 2010 7:53 PM
    Flight Attendant Up in the Air for 53 Years
    By CBSNews

    (CBS) Remember when it was about the joy of air travel; not the ordeal of transportation?

    Norma Heape does, reports CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. She's been flying for 53 years - longer than any other flight attendant at Continental Airlines.

    "I'm just fortunate that I chose something that I enjoy doing, and I've never lost the love for flying or for traveling, or for serving people," said Heape.

    Heape began flying for Continental in 1957 - when she was 20 - before they were even flying jets. They were called "hostesses", required to be single and slender.

    "They would put us on a scale before each flight," said Heape, "to make sure we were in compliance with our weight. Everyone wore a girdle."

    They were the original jet setters with style -- and service with a smile. Passengers were on their best behavior. They even dressed up for our flights. Because for them, half the fun of the trip, was just getting there.

    "Times change," said Heape. "When I started flying, we served coffee out of a metal jug. And now we're doing cappuccinos and espressos. So you tell me what's glamorous."

    In her long and illustrious career, Norma's logged more than 63,000 in-flight hours, and travelled more than 26 million miles - the equivalent of about 50 round-trip excursions to the moon!

    And if you think that's impressive, wait till you hear what other record she holds.

    "I'm very proud that I have perfect attendance at Continental," said Heape. "I have never called in sick a day of my life."

    In an industry where the fleet is aging, Captain Ruth says this 74-year-old senior flight attendant is still very fit to fly.

    "I hope when I'm her age, I'm in that good of shape as she is," said Ruth. "I'm fallin' apart already."

    And while many of think experience in the cockpit makes the difference, Heape says there is no susbstitute for experience in the cabin.

    "Just like when that airplane of Capt. Sullenberger's went into the drink, I mean, who got the passengers out?," asked Heape. "It wasn't the pilots, it was the flight attendants. And they were all over 15 years in seniority."

    You might say Norma Heape is top of the heap - out of 9,500 flight attendants at Continental, she holds seniority number one - which means she gets her pick of destinations. Today, it's a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong.

    "Want to go?" asked Heape. "We have five seats."

    And while she's probably asked, "how long till we land?" almost as often as "how long till you retire?" The answer in both cases is: not anytime soon.

    "The day that I can't be the onboard leader or perform what the company wants, then I think it's time to step down," said Heape. "Not today."

    After 52 years, Auburn woman still taking to the skies
    by thomas leskin (staff writer [email protected])
    Published: March 26, 2012



    AUBURN - Barbara L. Porter has spent more time with her feet off than ground than most people during the past 52 years.

    A native of Ohio, she's lived in Auburn since 1973 and has worked in the airline industry since she was 18.

    "It's been quite a road and I would advise anyone to do it," Porter said.

    Now a flight attendant with United Airlines, her career began after she graduated high school in 1959.
    Porter said her parents couldn't afford to send her to college, so after high school her father sent her to an airline school, Central Technical Institute in Kansas City, Kan.
    There she entered a three-month program to become an airline hostess or reservation agent.
    When she got her first job after graduating, she said her parents nearly died from the news.

    "I was really too young to be an airline hostess, but TWA came in and hired me to be a reservation agent in Los Angeles," Porter said. "Hawaii wasn't a state yet and my mom said, 'Barbie you can't go there, it's as far as you can go in the United States, you can't go there.' "

    Flying from Kansas City to Los Angeles, she arrived at midnight, had $50 in her pocket and didn't know anyone. She ended up staying in a YWCA for the night before starting her career the next day.

    "I showed up at work the next morning and that was the beginning of my airline career in March 1960," Porter said. "Obviously, there was a lot of experiences and fears and excitement to start out like that because I knew no one."

    Porter's career lifted-off from there and in 1962 she transferred to Philadelphia to be closer to home.
    She was still working with TWA and was now old enough to become an airline hostess, also known as a flight attendant.

    "They either wanted two years of college or of work experience," Porter said.

    Already dating her husband, Alan, she could now be closer to him, and he also kept encouraging her to become a hostess.
    Porter got hired as one in 1964, working with TWA out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
    She and her husband got married in 1966, then she quit in 1969 to start a family.

    "In those days you couldn't have children," she said. "They had just allowed flight attendants to get married."

    Can't stay away

    Although Porter was off work while her children were growing up, she said she never stopped missing flying and working in the industry.
    Porter and her husband moved to Schuylkill County in 1973 from outside of Philadelphia, purchasing a farm and building a house on the property.
    They moved to the area because Alan is a self-employed machine tool maker and was working for Penske Racing, creating prototype parts for the race cars at Indianapolis.
    Once their children were older, Porter said that she missed the skies and would often go to the Reading Airport to ask about job openings.
    She was finally told that they ordered a new airplane, a smaller plane, and asked if she would like to be a "stew" (flight stewardess).

    "I stood up and said, oh yes," Porter said. "I was in shock, I was so excited."

    Starting work with Suburban Airlines Allegheny Commuter in 1978, she became the chief flight attendant for Suburban Airlines and was in charge of hiring the flight attendants. There were five in the beginning.

    In addition to normal duties, she also thought the commuter should be exactly like a major carrier, so she asked US Airways, which the commuter was under contract with, for information in order to mirror them and be as professional.
    She also had Suburban add an in-flight service, serving a snack to the passengers, although it was only a 30-minute flight.
    Her husband created a serving cart that could be assembled and disassembled quickly, also allowing them to sell liquor.

    "That's what we did and it made history with that commuter industry," she said. "People were buying our carts."

    Since they couldn't give away snacks, she contacted Anheuser-Busch that was starting a new project of in-flight retail snacks.
    Called Eagle Snacks from Anheuser-Bush, they were honey roasted peanuts and cheese curls.
    Porter said they were very popular.

    "I think we were the very first airline to get it and sell it," she said. "Passengers were buying it by the bag and we went to the other commuters who were then buying it and it was exciting."

    Rising career

    Although Porter was back at work for Allegheny, she eventually went back to work at TWA in 1983 when she said they had to "call all those moms back to work."

    "I couldn't resist because I had seniority," she said.

    She worked at TWA until American Airlines bought it in 2001, and all the TWA people were put at the bottom of the seniority list.
    Not long after, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 occurred, resulting in a furlough of all the former TWA workers.

    "That was really a big heartbreak, then after 9/11 I thought I had to be near an airline so I went to Allentown and joined TSA (Transportation Security Administration)," Porter said.

    She worked with TSA for three years from about 2003, until one morning her husband ran up the steps and told her that he was online and United Airlines was hiring flight attendants.

    "I said Alan, I'm 64 years old, they do not want me," she said.

    But Porter applied, got an interview in Washington, D.C., and was hired in February 2006.

    "I just feel so lucky and blessed because I love this job," she said. "I had to go through seven weeks of training and it was grilling because everything has changed now."

    While at the start of her career the duties were more about the passengers, after Sept. 11, 2001, it was now about self defense, to defend the airplane, the captain, the cockpit and the passengers.
    She said it went into "serious security," while still trying to have the congeniality with the passengers.

    Quite a journey

    After starting her career nearly 52 years ago, Porter is still in the skies working for United Airlines.
    She works various schedules and can work for as many as six days at a time without a day off.

    "It's the way the business is, you just don't know, and it's kind of exciting for me to walk in and the next minute I'm going to Beijing (China)," Porter said. "I never know how to pack and I spend a great deal of my time packing and unpacking bags."

    She added that United Airlines is now the world's largest airline and more than 40 percent of the people working for it are more than 50 years old.
    When she started her career, she said they had to sign a paper stating they would quit when they turned 35 years old.
    Working for multiple airlines over a half-century, she has had her share of experiences that made her into who she is today.

    She was working with TWA when flight TWA 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York, on July 17, 1996, 12 minutes after takeoff from JFK, killing all 230 people on board.
    It was a scheduled international passenger flight from New York to Rome with a stopover in Paris.
    While regularly flying that route, that month she decided to take a break from the international time zones and fly domestic.
    Her friend was also supposed to fly that day, but it was her birthday and she went home.

    "Had she not traded out of that trip, and had I been with her and been on that trip, I wouldn't be here with you talking today," Porter said.


    ORD watcher
    Flight Attendants Use Job Perks for Good Cause

    Free travel and free baggage are a means of helping those in need for these three flight attendants
    by Amanda Robb

    The next time you see flight attendants zooming through an airport, don’t assume their luggage is packed with clothes for a Paris overnight. They may well be transporting urgently needed supplies to some of the world’s poorest citizens. Because what these Samaritans lack in billions—their average salary is $41,720—they make up for in perks: free travel and, on some airlines, free baggage.

    When United flight attendant Mary Beth Lavin heard in 2008 that an Ethiopian orphanage was nearly out of formula, she stuffed three suitcases full of the product and, off duty, got on a plane. In 2009 she founded Formula One Life (formulaonelife.org), a nonprofit that delivers formula, supplements and water-purification devices to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Haiti.

    For Kary Doerfler, who flies a Delta New York–Ghana route, the motivation was more personal. “On layovers, I missed my own three kids,” she says, “so I started visiting the Osu Children’s Home in Accra.” Three years ago, she started Dreams for Orphans (dreamsfororphans.org) to raise money to build a nursery for the home’s infants.

    Soon after United’s Trish Hack-Rubinstein began flying, she discovered her schedule allowed her to be a “volunteer junkie.” Today she runs a foundation that supports Fresh and Green Academy, a private school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (friends​of​fresh​and​green.com). “There are public schools in Ethiopia, but they don’t provide food, so poor kids drop out,” Hack-Rubinstein says. “Our school gives them three meals a day.”

    Hack-Rubinstein hosts fund raisers for the $4,000 a month needed to run the school. But she also packs wisely. “Every trip, I fill two large duffel bags with donated clothes,” she says. “What the kids can’t use, their moms sell at a store next to the school. They use some of the money to buy yarn to make scarves, and I take those back in my now empty bags to sell in the U.S. For a lot of the women, it’s the first income they’ve ever had outside prostitution, begging or stone hauling.”

    This kind of experience can put day-to-day flight travails in proper perspective. “Yes, sometimes passengers do go kind of crazy over dumb things,” Hack-Rubinstein says. “Their bag is too big to carry on, or they have to sit in the middle seat. I say, ‘Relax, it’s not that big a deal.’ And I mean it.”
    Above and beyond for children abroad

    Ten years ago, Elizabeth Bodine took a trip that would change the lives of herself and many Russian orphans.

    Published November 6, 2005

    HERNANDO BEACH - Unlikely as it now seems, a decade ago Elizabeth Bodine worried about the emptiness of her life.

    "My parents had recently died and I kept wondering: What am I doing here? I don't have any kids. I'm flying all over the world (as an international flight attendant) having a good time. I need to make a difference," said Bodine, 56.

    Then she visited an orphanage 35 miles from Moscow.

    "Suddenly I'm standing there with little hands all over me, all these children in their little gray jumpsuits," Bodine said. "When I couldn't sleep for the next four days, I decided I had to do something."

    The visit led to her sponsorship of Orphanage No. 7 in the town of Fryazino and to her current, hectic schedule.

    She works a weekly nine-hour flight to Moscow on Delta Air Lines, usually taking two large duffels of supplies to the orphanage. After a 22-hour layover, she makes the return flight and commutes by airplane from New York to her home in Hernando Beach. Over the next few days, she shakes off jet lag, then solicits donations of clothes and toys, as well as money for food, medicine and occasional surgeries.

    Bodine has done what comparatively few people in wealthy countries are willing to do: directly confront suffering among the world's poor and commit to doing what she can to help.

    "It puts into perspective how lucky we are and how lucky I have been to have the parents I've had and the education I've had," Bodine said.

    "I had a really good childhood, and these kids don't have that, and at some point it comes time to give back."

    Both her family and her education seemed designed to prepare her for her work with Delta and the orphanage.

    Her father served as an Army pilot and lawyer, who after World War II received the unwelcome assignment of defending Japanese officers accused of war crimes in China. There, he met Bodine's mother, a native of Siberia fluent in five languages, who was working as an interpreter.

    Bodine, an airline attendant for more than 30 years, received a bachelor's degree in Russian literature and language at Saint Mary's College in Indiana. She later studied Russian in Moscow, where both a brother, now deceased, and her sister, Natalie Bodine-Shaw, lived for several years.

    It was Bodine-Shaw who introduced her sister to Olga Vokorova, a pediatric surgeon in Moscow who had taken up the cause of disabled children in government-operated Russian orphanages.

    "She just told the whole story of these kids," Bodine said of Vokorova, who, like her brother, died of cancer.

    One part of the story particularly moved Bodine: "Most of these kids are not orphans," she said.

    Instead, they had been abandoned by their parents because of physical or mental reasons, some as easily corrected as a cleft palate or an extra finger or toe.

    "A handicapped child: In Russia, that's something that's broken," Bodine-Shaw said while recently visiting her sister from her current home in Canada.

    "I think it goes back to the Soviet idea of utopian perfection."

    That's only part of the reason, said Golfo Alexopoulus, an associate professor of Russian and Soviet history at the University of South Florida.

    Russia has a long tradition of warehousing children, partly because of a history of events during which parents were killed and families shattered: the civil war following the Russian Revolution of 1917, three major famines in the 20th century, the Stalinist blood purges of the 1930s and World War II, in which about 25-million Soviets were killed.

    During the Soviet era, most women were required to work while continuing to perform almost all household duties. That social pattern remains prevalent, discouraging adoption and the rearing of special-needs children, Alexopoulus said.

    And though the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 has allowed some Russians to grow very rich, many more are as poor or poorer than they ever were, she said. Houses and apartments are typically tiny, and most buildings have no accommodations for people with physical limitations.

    "In Russia, it is exceedingly difficult to support a child with any sort of disability," Alexopoulus said.

    "When you don't have enough living space for one child, much less for two or three, you aren't exactly going to respond enthusiastically to the government call for adoption."

    So millions of children in Russia live in conditions like those Bodine found during her first visit to the Fryazino orphanage 10 years ago.

    Their surroundings were clean, she said, and the staff seemed capable and devoted. But the orphanage was also barren and smelled overpoweringly of disinfectant, she said. The children were fed little other than a gruel-like soup; they wore gray jumpers that "made them look like little Auschwitz survivors," Bodine said.

    In other words, their needs were enormous: mittens, socks, underwear, overcoats, toys and medical supplies.

    So Bodine began paring down the weight of her personal luggage so she could take as many supplies as possible and still comply with the airline's weight limit. Sometimes she enlisted the help of other flight attendants to carry goods, including six wheelchairs on one trip and an old-fashioned wooden rocking horse on another.

    With cash donations, she buys supplies that are cheaper in Russia than in the United States, locally grown produce and medicines, for example. She has also paid for operations, from minor procedures such as repairing cleft palates to the closure of a hole in the skull of a boy hit by a train.

    She does not do it alone, she said. Members of her church in Spring Hill, Our Lady of Fatima, have been especially generous with donations, she said.

    The manager of the hotel where she stays in Moscow allows her to stockpile supplies there before she transports them on monthly trips to Fryazino, three hours away on brutally rough roads. And friends, such as her neighbor Frank Mortell, take care of her three dogs, one adopted from the streets of Moscow, while she is away.

    Mortell, who has also visited the orphanage, said he is glad to help.

    "The work she's done is amazing," he said. "Those people had absolutely nothing, and now the (children) are beginning to live like human beings."

    Proof of that is the videotape Bodine played recently on her television, which stands next to a table piled high with onesies, T-shirts and socks for her next trip.
    It begins with footage of the neighborhood, mostly soot-coated block buildings with bald, trash-strewn yards.

    "It's pretty grim," Bodine said.

    So are some scenes from inside the orphanage, including those of skinny, listless children who suffer from severe fetal alcohol syndrome. But even children with severe disabilities, including spina bifida and hydrocephalus and a boy who can only move on all fours with a rolling hop, squeal with joy at Bodine's arrival.

    "They call me (Aunt Lizzie)," she said. All the children are dressed in clean, colorful clothes. Mobiles hang from the ceilings over cribs, and toys have been lined up neatly against the walls.

    Bodine would like to do more, and has begun to work with a Russian organization, Maria's Children, that helps train orphans to prepare them for the time they are released.

    "They cut them loose at 16," she said. "They usually give them a little one-room apartment and a factory job, but there's a very high rate of suicide and alcoholism. A lot of the girls get sucked into prostitution rings. A lot of the boys get sucked into gang activity."

    Thinking about such problems sometimes overwhelms Bodine, as does her busy schedule. But she also thinks that, maybe, some of the children will remember the help she gave them.

    "I want them to know they are not forgotten," she said. "You never know if you are going to trigger something in a kid's mind that will give them hope. And that's maybe what this is about more than anything: Give them hope because, without that, what do you have? You have despair."

    Dan DeWitt can be reached at [email protected] or 352 754-6116 .

    People interested in making a donation of goods or money for the children of Orphanage No. 7 in the town of Fryazino in Russia may call Elizabeth Bodine at (352) 684-5885.

    Elizabeth Bodine. Pan Am graduation, Miami, 1972
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