Saturday, October 24, 2015

Passenger of the Day: Grape Ape

He looked like a giant grape- hulking 6'-5” frame with broad shoulders in a purple polo shirt. This grape ape was topped with dark, curly hair, and had a beard. He sat in 4A next to a woman who appeared to be his mother. She was less than normal-sized- a petite thing, also with curly hair but a strange tan/brown combination, maybe from a few too many dye jobs. They were on their way back to Houston from Santiago and seated in first class.

During boarding, I asked what he wanted to drink. Champagne was the response and I thought to myself, “Good for you! That's what I would order.” Mom had a gin and tonic. Ick. I like a gin and tonic about as much as I like fruit cake.

He asked for a second glass before we closed the door, just as I would have. Nothing like a bubbly induced tipsy feeling when headed down the runway at a few hundred miles per hour. He tasted every course served during the dinner service, practically licking the plates clean. He asked for wine with his meal, followed by a coffee with Baily's and then a Jack and Coke. He was taking advantage of every little thing in first class, as if he were an employee, non-revving (flying for free), and not able to enjoy this kind of service too often, as most employes would.

Consulting with the passenger manifest later in flight, I discovered he and Mom were, indeed, employees. One of the most popular benefits of the job is enjoying the best seat on the plane that is available. The seats are divvied out by seniority, and that's why any flight attendant you may know always talks about their hire date. Seniority can be better than money!

The Grape Ape was a very nice man; polite and soft mannered. He was never presumptive or rude. He knew his place, automatically ordering his second choice entree, knowing that being low on the totem pole meant he might not get his first. Mom was quite kind, as well. It is a nice thing when coming across manners in first class. Not everyone who flies in first class acts first class!

Serving the Grape Ape was fun, as I very quickly realized that he enjoyed first class in the manner to which I do, and I was able to anticipate his desires. Without asking, I handed him the fruit and cheese plate following the main meal and had already began to hand him a glass of port before asking if he'd like it. The Grape Ape consumed his fruit and cheese just in time to take advantage of the ice cream sundae as the credits to the movie he'd been watching began to scroll.

During the landing/breakfast service, when asked what he wanted to drink, he asked for a mimosa. I still don't understand ruining good champagne with orange juice, but knowing this passenger so well, I brought him a small bottle of champagne and two glasses half full of orange juice, so he could make his own as strong as he wished. He was quite impressed, as was his mother. They thanked me so much during the services, I was this close to suggesting they simply hold off and give me one big thank you at the end of the flight.

As they left the plane, they looked around the galley corner to find me standing by door 1 Right. They thanked me once more, reaching out to shake my hand. It's always nice to give someone a great experience on a flight. To me it doesn't matter if a passenger is an employee, a high yield flier or someone flying for the first time; I want everyone to have a great experience and I'll do what I can to make that happen.

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