These are my thoughts on flying on an airplane in 2012:
- Flight attendants should be the most polite, friendly, fabulous people you can possibly meet. I flew from Jacksonville, FL to Denver yesterday, with a connecting flight out of Dallas/Ft. Worth, and all 4 or 5 flight attendants I interacted with during my
1700 mile journey were sub par in their friendliness factor. One lady of the sky in particular was quite rude when the woman next to me on my flight from Jax to Dallas (a character named Magdalene that I will introduce to you later), asked for a chardonnay and a glass of water. How dare she.This is not to say that I think all flight attendants should be reminiscent of Elle Woods or any other saccharine-sweet bimbo in a PanAm costume. Their job is to ensure comfort and safety while flying, not entertainment. I get that. I also understand having a job in the service industry, and putting up with difficult, ornery, and rude people for hours at a time. However, if being a server has taught me anything (besides the whole “carrying three drinks in two hands” thing), it is this: each table is a fresh start from the last. If you wait on the most rude, condescending, picky person at table 1, and then get sat at table 2, you cannot assume that the folks at table 2 will be anything like the first table. You have to expect the best with every new set of customers. If you carry on a grumpy attitude from the table that sent you running in 100 different directions and left you a 5% tip, you automatically set yourself up for failure with the new table that might be easygoing, funny, and generous. That being said, these flight attendants, though putting up with a lot more (pardon my French) shit than almost anyone else in the service industry, need to be the type of people that can just shrug off the bad flights and continue on with the next ones. You are waiting on over 500 people crammed into a space small enough to qualify for a crawlspace in most rich people’s homes. Please make it an enjoyable voyage as best you can.
- Some people just really want to talk.I am the type of person that enjoys my alone time on airplanes. I plug in my earphones, crack open my Diet Coke and peanut M&Ms, and, for lack of a better term, chillax. Usually I don’t have any problems with my seat-mates respecting this “Bruno Time,” as I call it. My favorites are the businessmen who aren’t high up enough in their companies to warrant a first class seat, but valuable enough to warrant furious typing on a laptop/Blackberry throughout the flight, thus skipping the awkward conversation that is bound to be.
Sometimes, this personal time is interrupted. Magdalene was one such interruption. We spent our flight to Dallas talking about her Ivy League-bound stepson, her newly employed husband, and her career as a speech pathologist. She was a truly sweet woman, and I didn’t really mind oohing and ahhing over her brand new iPad with her.
- There is no such thing as a free lunch…or free pretzels anymore.Bring snacks.