Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stop Causing Trouble

Photo by Penguin Scott

OK people, stop getting on my flights and causing trouble. When you get on my flight and cause trouble, it just means I have to fill out paperwork. Paperwork is in triplicate and if you get on my flight and cause trouble when I’m not at my home base, I have to make a copy of my report and send it to the base where we landed just after you caused the trouble.

But before there is paperwork, there is calling the captain to advise him that you are causing trouble. After we land I have to describe the trouble you caused to a police officer and a supervisor. Sometimes the two of them are not together when one or the other asks me to describe the trouble you caused on my flight. This means I have to repeat myself- and I hate repeating myself.

After I’ve described the trouble you caused to the police and local supervisor, (who then relay the trouble you caused to the FBI) chances are, the other flight attendants then also want to hear my version of the trouble you caused on our flight.

Really, all I want to do is serve you a drink. If there is food to serve, I’d love to do that for you, too. If you have questions about planes, airports, air traffic control, my job or penguins, and I’m not too busy serving other passengers, I’d also love to answer anything I can. But when you come onto my flight and start causing trouble, I get upset.

On my flight to Denver, after we’d gone through the cabin preparing for landing, my flying partner comes up to me in the first class galley and tells me a passenger just grabbed her and was causing trouble when asked to stow her belongings for landing. My flying partner grabbed my arm to show me what it was like. It hurt. I told her to let go and wanted to hit her back. I asked if I needed to go talk to her and was told yes, I did. Since I was the purser, or the head flight attendant on this trip, I was obligated.

I was told she had alcohol on her breath, although when I got to her seat, I couldn’t tell. The woman in 12C was a nicely-dressed woman in her 50s. Her outfit indicated that she had taste. Her jewelry indicated she was not hurting in our troubled economy- after all, she had my annual salary on her right hand alone.

I asked her a few question and she seemed a bit sluggish in answering; not that she slurred her speech, but it took a moment for her to process my questions and come up with an answer. She indicated that my flying partner had been badgering her. The couple seated next to her looked over to me as if to say, “Nuh-uh!” I told her that it seemed unlikely that the person in question had been badgering her, being that she had been working in first class with me, and spent very little time, if any, in economy.

She told me she lives in three different homes and flies my airline often, commuting from one to the another. She said this was the worst treatment she has ever had. I thanked her for her continued business but let her know that someone would need to speak to her when we landed. “Oh, I can’t wait when we land, my husband is meeting me and I have another flight to catch.” “Well, unfortunately, a chain of events has already been triggered, so you will be detained a bit when we land,” I shot back. And if this was the worst treatment she's ever had at our airline, she is lucky to have been treated so well for so long!

At this point, a glance out the window showed that the ground was ever so close. I excused myself to return to the first class galley so I could finish putting things away and then took my jump seat for landing.

Sure enough, upon landing, we found four police officers and two supervisors waiting. The lady stayed in her seat during deplaning, while my flying partner first spoke to the authorities, then it was my turn. By the time I’d finished, the last passenger stepped off the plane and a young officer went to her seat to speak to her.

Our flight was delayed and we had arrived a little late, so they took her off the plane. Another supervisor asked if we were OK to continue flying, like maybe we were too phased to continue the trip. Yes, we were just fine. Could we now board the plane? Yes, let’s please, since we were now 30 minutes behind schedule and we had to first stop in Chicago before eventually arriving in Philadelphia for our layover.

She had to go and cause trouble. Now I have to go and write up my report. In triplicate!

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