Insider Series: Carrie's Galley Gossip — Part Six
TPG's favorite Flight Attendant Insider Carrie A. Trey is back with her sixth installment of Carrie’s Galley Gossip, where she shares some of her favorite stories about life at 35,000 feet. Sit back, relax and enjoy a good laugh!
Confusing Seating Arrangements
I was once working a long-haul flight and was approached by a gentleman who was clearly upset. “Your agent at the gate gave us the wrong seats! We are separated and I selected seats together,” he almost-yelled at me, clearly exasperated.
“Well, Sir, we are quite full tonight, but I’m happy to help you as best I can. May I see your boarding passes?” I asked. He pulled them out, saying “I don’t know why you people do this to families. This is a nine-hour flight and my wife is in 16A but we have 13 F, E and B.”
“Okay,” I said, “But how many are in your party?"
“There are three of us,” he replied, handing over the boarding passes. I took them from him, trying my best not to laugh, as I already suspected I knew what had happened.
“Sir, you and your family are seated together,” I told him, as my assumption was confirmed. “You're seated in 16A, B and C. 13 FEB is today’s date.”
Some days it’s harder than others to keep a straight face.
Pop Goes the Cork...
Very early in my career, I was in the forward galley of the airplane chatting with one of my colleagues just after take-off. She had flown with my mother at Pan Am, so of course she was excited to see me having followed in Mum’s footsteps.
“You’re just going to love this job,” she gushed. “And you absolutely inherited Maddie’s good looks. You’re the spitting image of your mother!” she told me.
As I was only about three weeks into the job, there was a steep learning curve and so much to figure out! That said, one thing I had no problem doing was popping open a bottle of Champagne. As we chatted away, I mindlessly grabbed the bottle to pour a glass for the passenger in seat 3B. Unfortunately, I was paying far more attention to my conversation (mistake number one) than to what I was doing as I began to unscrew the cage on the bottle. I was also not paying attention to which direction the bottle was pointed (mistake number two) and within a second of the cage coming undone, the cork shot out of the bottle like a rocket — not an unusual occurrence on an airplane, given the air pressure.
The cork went flying through the cabin and hit the poor person seated in 1B square in the forehead! I swear I saw the whole thing happen in slow motion. The cork hit its sleeping, unsuspecting victim square between the eyes, causing him to flail his arms and wake up startled and spluttering. He immediately looked at his wife next to him, who had seen the whole thing happen and was already laughing hysterically. Not seeing the cork or knowing what had hit him, the man must have assumed it was his wife who had smacked him, so he rolled up his newspaper and whacked her back! I nearly fainted. “Well done, Carrie. Two weeks on the job and you’ve already managed to get yourself sacked,” I thought, absolutely mortified.
I ran over to the couple and began spewing what I hoped was a sincere apology, but I could barely hear myself over his wife’s uproarious laughter and his grunting and grumbling. In the end, of course, all was well. The wife even wrote a letter to the airline, which I wish I had saved, saying that her husband had been long overdue for a good whack on the head and she very much appreciated my having done that for her. She also went on to say that I was very professional, profusely apologetic and she, under no circumstances, wanted me to be penalized for my mishap.
My supervisor didn't punish me, but rather laughed hysterically after hearing what had happened — to this day, he still calls me “Bubbles" even though I've since moved on to another airline.
As you can imagine, some of the things we get asked for as cabin crew members can be pretty off the wall. While most of you ask us for “Coffee with milk and sugar” or “a coke, no ice, please,” or maybe just a “gin tonic," your seat-mates sometimes have more complicated requests.
Drink orders, for instance, can get pretty crazy. I’ve been asked for a "Baileys and Diet Coke," which just comes out looking like curdled-cottage cheese and I have no idea why anyone would want to drink such a thing. I’ve also been asked for a "Rum Bloody Mary," which I suppose is not bad for all the sweet-savory fans out there, but again, I think I’ll pass.
On one recent flight, I was asked for hot water with lemon — easy enough, right? Well, the woman then continued, explaining exactly how it should be served to her.
“I’d like you to put hot water in a coffee cup, fill it almost to the top, then add a slice of lemon.”
“Of course, madam,” I said. “I’m not sure hot water with lemon requires much more explanation.” Did she really think I couldn’t handle this?
One of my favorite in-flight requests was on a flight from London to Las Vegas, where someone actually asked me where the ATM was. I explained that I’m sure there were plenty to be found in the terminal, but that I wasn’t familiar with Las Vegas and the gentleman should ask our ground staff after we'd landed.
“No,” he said. “Where’s the ATM on the plane?”
I was really confused now. After he repeated “No, where’s the ATM here, on the airplane?” I thought maybe he was joking, but politely explained that we didn’t actually have one on the airplane.
“Well, Southwest does, so maybe next time I should fly with them," he said.
Please sir, be my guest. First of all, lying to me about another airline having something onboard isn’t going to make it appear here. Secondly, Southwest does not have ATMs onboard either so you're going to be sorely disappointed when you get on that flight and find out in addition to it not having ATMs, it also doesn’t have hot meals, personal TVs or fly to London at all, for that matter.
Do you have any questions for Carrie A. Tray? Let us know in the comments, below.