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In this second installment of her new column, “Carrie’s Galley Gossip,” TPG Insider Carrie A. Trey — a flight attendant for a major airline — shares some of her favorite stories about life at 35,000 feet.
First of all, if you haven’t read the first installment of my column, you can check that out here. Then, dig in to part two.
Breast is Best
I was getting the aft galley in economy ready for our midnight departure from Lagos, Nigeria (LOS) back to Dubai (DXB) when a 20-something-year-old Englishman came flying into the galley, breathing heavily, pointing frantically and generally giving me the impression that someone was having a heart attack.
“Sir, what is wrong?” I asked him with great concern.
He could barely reply, “Thir…. Thir… Thirty-se-seven D.”
Trying to stay calm but also peering up the aisle with my brow furrowed, I asked, “What about 37D, sir — is everything ok?”
Visibly shaken, the young Englishman continued to point and stutter, “37D. Just go. 37D.”
Not wanting to waste more time, I began to head up the aisle. I didn’t see any of the commotion that usually accompanies heart attacks, exploding diapers or other scenarios that might make even the usually stoic English lose their composure (and that also often happen on the airplane.) As I approached from behind, I saw that 37D was a woman in full African dress, complete with a fabulous two-foot-high headwrap.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for a Lagos flight. My first reaction was, “Racist jerk who doesn’t want to sit next to a black woman. I’ll upgrade her and put him by the lavatory.” As I got about a row away, I was able to see that the woman was breastfeeding. “Immature chav,” I thought, trying to figure out how to move the young man to an even worse seat, if only to make things more comfortable for the young lady.
And then I saw it. The baby. It was very hairy. And had spots.
“Holy Christ, that’s a puppy!,” I said … quite possibly out loud.
Suddenly I found myself trying to regain enough self-composure so as not to run up to the cockpit sputtering out of control — just like the young man already in the back galley.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you come across a woman breastfeeding a puppy. In the end, we offloaded the woman for not having paid the pet-in-cabin fee.
This Isn’t Starbucks
Recently, a little piece of paper went viral in the airline community. Please take a look for yourself:
Now, I’m happy to provide customer service at a level that would make even a Singapore Girl sweat, but this was just a bit much. A top-tier elite flyer on a major US airline has apparently been handing the crew of her flights this little instruction card on how to make her perfect cup of coffee — replete with a request to return the missive to her so she can harass her next crew with it. And as if this weren’t bad enough already, she outright insults the intelligence of the crew by insinuating that they don’t already know which colors Splenda and Sweet-and-Low are…
Please remember that when you’re on an airplane, you’re at 35,000 feet — not in a Starbucks. Have a gin and tonic instead, and when you land, you can return to harassing the baristas at coffee chains to your heart’s content.
Often as passengers are deplaning, they like to hand us trash. It’s not pleasant, but it’s also not a big deal. You take it, you throw it away and you wash your hands later. Easy peasy.
We were deplaning in Bangalore (BLR) and a passenger handed something to my colleague standing across from the door. She reached out to take it too quickly, and by the time she realized that she had taken a spew-laden air-sickness bag from the gentleman, it was too late. She stood there holding the bag as far away from her body as possible, still stunned that someone would be so uncouth as to hand her a bag full of sick.
Before either of us had a chance to react, though, another gentleman came walking through the galley, and he gingerly took the bag from her, saying, “Thank you very much!,” with a bobble of his head and a smile on his face.
Oh, dear … I know the bag says the airline’s name on the outside and looks rather innocuous, but I promise — it is NOT a party favor! Oh, well.
I can only imagine his surprise when he opened his bag of treats later: “If this is what they’re giving to business passengers, I can only imagine what they’re passing out to the folks in economy!”