Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Favorite Things: Never Fully Dressed

Caught me smiling!

A smile seems to have a favorable influence upon others and makes one likable and more approachable.” -Mona Lisa (maybe)

Fifteen years ago, my mother was a nervous flier. She's much better now, and I think my career may have had something to do with that. She once told me that she always watches the flight attendants. If they are calm, there is nothing to fear. If they looked scared, she starts making out her final will and testament on the in-flight napkin.

This seems to be true with many fliers. I notice during bouts of turbulence how the first thing people do is to look out the window. If the shade is closed, they will open it, be blinded by the immense brightness, close it and then squint at me to see if I'm calm. I'm never scared of turbulence; I love turbulence...I love to feel the plane flying. Yeah, I'm one of those.

One day I realized that when doing the beverage service, I tended to purse my lips and look serious as I concentrated on remembering the 3-6 drink orders I had just taken. I wasn't smiling. So I now take no more than 2 orders at a time and make sure I'm always smiling, so that everyone can see the friendly flight attendant about to serve them, and not some machine.

Not smiling with a Moai in Chile
One of our local union presidents never smiles. I've never seen one grace his face. He looks as if he may be in pain or hates the entire world. People always wonder how he was ever hired as a flight attendant in the first place. A smile is formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth. He apparently had them removed. Some smiles include a contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes, an action known as a "Duchenne smile". Smile and the world smiles with you!

My favorite thing is when passengers smile. During boarding, it's so nice to see a smile. It opens up the chance for conversation as they they stand in the line waiting to reach their seat. I'll make a comment on the nice smile and guess that they may be going home. “That's a great must be going home. Nothing like getting home after a trip.”
A nice smile from an employee

A passenger deplaning with a smile usually means they were happy with the flight, and that's why I'm there, after all, besides safety and security, to make their flight memorable. I give a parting comment to every passenger as they leave the plane and the big smiles, the thank yous, the hand shakes and comments about the nice service, the great announcements, the friendly really makes my day.

Is it odd that one of my favorite things about my job is something as simple as a friendly passenger smile? No, I don't think it's odd. It's just nice. They say you're never fully dressed without one. And if I'm any good at this, you, the reader, are smiling now! A friendly smile. It's my favorite.
Even the aircraft interphone has a smile!

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