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In this third installment of “Carrie’s Galley Gossip,” TPG Insider Carrie A. Trey — a flight attendant for a major airline — shares some of her favorite stories from life at 35,000 feet. Be sure to also check out Part One and Part Two.
An Eye-Opening Request
There’s never any shortage of passengers on a plane who are looking for handouts. Playing cards, bottles of water, bottles of wine, back massages, relationship advice – you name it, people ask for it.
On one particularly challenging flight from Dubai to London, one passenger started ringing his call bell what seemed like every five minutes to ask for pretty much anything he could think of. “I am wanting this!” or “I am wanting that!” he said with a point of the finger and a bob of the head. After an hour of this tomfoolery, I instructed my fellow flight attendants to put one of everything that was free on the aircraft/not tied down into a duty free bag and give it to the persistent gentleman. This briefly seemed to settle the situation, but a mere 10 minutes later, the call bell rang again — from the same row.
With my hands on my hips, I marched to politely but firmly ask the man what (on Earth) he could (possibly) want now. Surprisingly, though, it had been the woman sitting next to him who rang. She barked something at the man in Gujarati, which seemed to mean, “Put your earphones back in, watch your movie and ignore what I’m about to say!” She then turned her attention to me, proceeded to explain that Aunty Flo was visiting earlier than expected and wondered if I had anything on the plane for her. At last, a need I could easily fulfill: I immediately brought her two maxi pads and a warm towel, then pointed her toward the nearest lavatory.
No sooner was she gone than Mister I-Want-It-All began digging through his duty free bag of goodies. “This one vas not in my baag!” he shouted, wagging a finger in my face. “Sir, I don’t know what on earth you are talking about,” I responded calmly, despite the fact that at this point I was 1) over it and 2) in need of a cocktail. “You gave her something and you didn’t bring one for me! Why?!” I tried to explain calmly that what I had brought the woman was only for female passengers, to which he merely barked, “Have I not paid for the same ticket she has?!”
Way past the point of wanting to continue this conversation, I simply went to the back of the plane, grabbed two more maxi pads and another warm towel and returned to hand the man his spoils. I then went back to tell the other girls what was going on and have a giggle — because even for me, this was a bit much. Several minutes later, as I was headed to business class to regale the crew there with the afternoon’s shenanigans, I saw the same woman stopped dead in the aisle beside her seat, a look of absolute horror on her face. When I approached to investigate, I saw that our needy friend had a warm towel draped over his bald head… and having mistaken it for strapless eyeshades, a panty liner stuck firmly to his face.
Unable to contain myself any longer, I began to roar laughing and had to excuse myself to the galley, leaving a happy ending behind me — since the passenger who couldn’t be satisfied finally got everything he wanted.
This is My Stop!
Many of you like to mix alcohol with various sleep aids on long flights. In theory, this seems like a good idea – knock yourself out and simultaneously avoid jetlag. In practice, however, it’s a terrible idea that could land you far from your intended destination. (Not to mention in a hospital or even prison.)
Halfway through a flight from New York to Hong Kong, I came across a business-class passenger yanking wholeheartedly on the handle of the aircraft’s middle door.
“Sir, stop!” I cried, followed quickly by a holler of, “Help!!”
There were no other crew in the immediate vicinity, but I thankfully had what seemed like half the NFL in business class that day — in no time, three burly men had him pinned to the ground, but all the while he was yelling, “Let me go! This is my stop! I have to get off!”
Aware that something was seriously off, I told the NFL to go easy on him while I called the Captain to inform him of the situation.
We soon ended up diverting to Anchorage, which was thankfully only about 40 minutes away. Upon our arrival, the police there were more than ready to jump the would-be escapist and make a huge scene (my guess is they don’t get a lot of action in Anchorage), but thankfully, there was a level-headed paramedic amongst the bunch. When said paramedic asked the addled passenger if he knew where he was, the man’s oddly lucid response was, “Yes, London. Now, can I please get off?”
Flying from New York to Hong Kong, but he thinks we’re in London? Not bloody likely. As it turned out, this unfortunate young man had mixed Ambien with a bottle (or so) of Champagne, and the result was catastrophic. I don’t know what became of this confused passenger after he was removed from the plane, but I sincerely hope that he was treated civilly… and learned to avoid “Chambien.”
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