Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Passenger of the Day: The Lovers

International pre-departure can be as fun as your 5th fruit cake of the holiday season- trying to maneuver the aisles during the busy boarding period to ask first class passengers for drink orders, taking and hanging coats, passing out amenity kits and menus and answering questions. All that and while not getting paid; the money starts flowing when the brakes of the plane are released, not when we start sweating for the needs of first class passengers, the neediest of whom seem to be upgrades from economy.

I approached the couple in 4K and L during the boarding process. She was attractive with dark features, straight black hair pulled back, a striped blouse under a black sweater and a cheery disposition. He was equally handsome with a full beard and wore a tee shirt and gray sweatpants. Very classy for first class, and quite comfortable, which apparently wins the contest. He was more into the young woman seated next to him than anything else.

Ignoring their attire, I smiled and asked if I could bring them anything to drink. My tray was already full of sparkling wine, orange juice and water; should they ask for these popular selections, it would save me a trip back up the aisle full of people headed to coach. Swimming up stream with a tray of drinks always brings the fear of bathing someone in a concoction of sparkling wine, orange juice and water. My poor heart.

He smiled back and said no, thanks. I looked to the young woman, who turned to the man attached to her right hand, and whispered to him. He looked into her eyes and then looked back to me to say that they would indeed like some sparkling wine. I smiled again and placed their drinks down, moving to the next row of seats.

Several passengers seemed very excited about their travel. Santiago, Chile was our destination, a new route for Mother Airline. Actually, we had the route many years ago. Santiago was always the city that got away from me. After the events of 9-11, I was furloughed, but spent time away from work taking advantage of my flight benefits. I made one big trip a month and had gone to such places as Hong Kong, Milan, Brussels and Taiwan. Santiago was the next destination on my list when Mother Airline called me back to work, so I didn't get to make the trip; and then we stopped flying there. Since starting again, a lot of passengers are taking advantage of the renewed route.

During the initial beverage service, I asked to take the lover's drink order. He declined my offer. Again, the young woman, now with her feet on the seat and her knees up to her chest, turned to whisper to him. She looked back to me like she had won a prize and he spoke up that they would like another glass of sparkling wine. “Oh,” she added, “and a glass of water for both of us.” “So, she does speak,” said my inner voice.

This is how it went every time I offered anything to them. He would say no, like a polite guest in a stranger's home, too timid to actually take up any offers of hospitality. She would lean into him, whisper in his ear, change his mind and he would then accept the offer. She seemed to have the power over him to accept any of my offers. Would you like dessert? Would you like a cheese plate and port wine? Would you like to smell this rotten fruit? Would you like to chew on this piece of glass. Would you like a fruit cake?

The Lover's, as we all started calling them, continued to hold hands and look longingly into each others eyes. They sighed and laughed. They did everything the same; like twins. What he ordered, she ordered. What he watched, she watched. She would get up to use the lav, then he would. It was the purser who pointed out that sweatpants on a man in love don't do enough to hide his passion.

We looked on in awe, the three of us working in first class, all agreeing that we wished we had someone to steal kisses from on a vacation flight to a foreign country. The others from the back all came up to steal a peek at our lovers- giggling, smiling and in a world that only they occupied at 37,000 feet.

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