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Jul 11th 2008 2:37AM She works for MY airline. You know, the one who flies domestically and allows F/As to wear shorts and tennis shoes, and occasionally sing or speak silly P/As... We really do try to take care of our passengers, and make people's flying experience as fun as possible. I've made "balloons" out of cabin clean-up gloves, "rattles" out of a kiddie cup with pretzels in it, "crowns" and/or "leis" out of peanut bags strung on heart shaped stir-sticks. And not to mention made "Birthday Cake" out of a roll of toilet paper we've decorated!
Complain all you want about our boarding procedure, but once you get on the plane, see if we (your flight crew) aren't at least a little more empathetic, if not a whole lot more FUN than what you may be used to over at other legacy carriers. We MAY have to get a little medieval over some FAR stuff ('Cause the FAA is getting BEYOND medieval on us - can you say "thumbscrews?!?!) but if you just do what the Powers That Be tell us that we have to ask you to do, everyone will stay safe and have a whole lot more fun!
Jul 10th 2008 7:35PM I believe it! I'm currently sitting airport standby (On call, in the airport for a 5 hour stretch, just in case an emergency comes up and they need a replacement F/A with no advance notice, for those of you who don't know...) and a flight attendant (who shall remain nameless) came in who had been assaulted by a passenger going into Ft. Lauderdale last night. The F/A asked the pax to turn her phone off, and the woman grabbed our F/A by the hair, pulled the F/A into her lap, and got off at least 2 solid punches at our F/A's face. You should see the black eye our F/A was sporting! The police met the plane and the woman was taken off in handcuffs, but the damage was already done. And a similar situation occurred on Jet Blue around 3 weeks ago when a F/A asked a pax to stop smoking. They diverted to Denver, I think...
May 14th 2008 7:27PM I'm a flight attendant for SWA, and we haven't had AirFones since before I began flying at the beginning of 2002... That being said, I have had one pilot tell me that he was using his HUD to land when a cell phone began ringing and it made the image vibrate/jump around/become hard to see and read so that they had to declare a missed approach and go around. I have also had pilots tell me that they've been able to overhear bits of conversation on their radio (ie: call back on the InterPhone and ask us to make a PA and ask whomever is talking to "Helen" to call back when we're on the ground). It IS funny, but at the same time, I'd rather they be able to completely hear ATC than bits and snatches of other conversations that might be interfering...
May 14th 2008 2:44PM Charles, I am a flight attendant and I'm sorry that your experiences have left you so bitter that you seem to have so much hatred toward us as a group. Please do remember that we are individuals, and are not all the same. However, we are tasked with making sure the FAR's are followed, and if we don't both the company and individual flight attendant can be fined significant amounts (up to $10,000 for the F/A fine, not sure how much the company fine could be).
Just so that you know I'm not a heartless drone, just prior to September 11, I was in a similar situation as this passenger. Before I went to work for the airlines, I had to make a flight from Dallas to Phoenix with the knowledge that my little brother was in a coma and may not make it until I could get there. He died before I landed, but even had I been able to make/receive calls at altitude, I could have done nothing to change it. It would only have served to upset me more.
It is not a Southwest company policy but an FAR that mandates that cell phones not be used during flight, so whether you or I agree with it, we must ensure compliance. If you want to get that rule changed, contact your senators and congressmen and ask them to get the FAA to change that regulation.
Feb 10th 2008 11:07PM And Ken, I'm sorry about your experience. If you are in uniform on my flight, you will not ever pay for a drink, and the only time you will be singled out is when I am flying in the front of the plane/have control of the microphone, and I ask everyone else to remain seated so that you can get off the plane first, in appreciation for what you do to defend me and my country.
Feb 10th 2008 11:02PM I am a flight attendant for a major American airline and wanted to pass along my two cents worth. I love my job, and I am good at it. Call me masochistic, but I actually ENJOY meeting the majority of y'all who fly - families and veterans in particular. For those of you who believe we are no more than glorified waitresses, I need to disabuse you (pun intended) of that notion.
The *FAA* requires that there be a minimum of 1 F/A per 50 people onboard to meet THEIR safety regulations. Labor costs are the largest operating expense for any airline, and with every operator looking for ways to cut costs, I have a sneaky little hunch that if the airlines could get away with it, flying would quickly become a self-service affair. Some people wouldn't mind. Some people would probably even prefer it that way, but I really do believe that if we weren't required to be there for safety reasons, there'd be a lot fewer (if any) of us aboard.
About portable electronic devices - at my airline, if I am doing my walkthrough you have already been asked at least twice before to turn them off. Once during my welcome PA, and once when we shut the doors. So if I come up to you and ask you personally to please turn off your laptop/phone/IPod, that will be at least the third time the request has been made. I don't like having to act like a baby-sitter, it makes me feel bad, and it irritates you, but it is still my job to make sure that you do. Technically, we are not even supposed to push back from the gate until we are sure that all devices are off. (And yes, I, as an individual, can be fined up to $10,000 if someone from the FAA finds me not doing my job correctly.) PEDs may or may not interfere with any cockpit instrumentation, but it certainly interferes with your ability to pay attention to anything else that is going on around you. If you have something in your ears when I'm trying to tell you where the exits are, and I need to get you off the plane quickly, are you really going to remember where the closest exit is? (And there really are a lot of different air frames out there, with exits being located in slightly different positions and/or having different means of operation.)
From the time we push back from the gate until we clear 10,000 feet is what is termed a critical phase of flight. (And the reverse is true for landing.) Anything "bad" that happens usually goes wrong under that altitude and we really do have to be able to clear an airplane in under 90 seconds. Believe me, I've seen FAA test footage of what will happen in 90 seconds after a fire starts in an oxygen rich (read: pressurized) environment, and if you are not off the plane by then, you WILL NOT get off. To that end, we ask you to raise seatbacks and tray tables so that there is nothing to stop a quick exit. If you are on the aisle and your tray table is down, you have effectively cut off your neighbors' quickest means of egress. (And if something happens, like a front landing gear going out before the plane rotates, you've probably got at least bruised ribs. But that's just my opinion.) The same is true if you have carry-on items that do not fit all the way underneath the seat in front of you. If you or one of your fellow passengers trip during an evacuation, not only is that person hurt, but they then become a hazard to everyone else who is trying to make their way off the plane in that direction. It sounds alarmist to think that way, but it is similar to driving defensively. We have to prepare the cabin in the same manner every take off and every landing so that we are ready for the worst if, God forbid, it happened.
I am sorry for those of you who have had bad experiences with flight attendants. I always try to treat people by the Golden Rule, and I have to admit that it is nice when people treat me in the same manner. Please remember that just as it is hard to want to be nice to a F/A when they are rude to you, the reverse is true for us. We are sorry for the lines at security, but they work for the TSA/DHS, not for whichever airline you are flying. If an employee at the gate is rude to you, we will be happy to give you contact information for the company, but we probably don't know the person who upset you, so please don't just assume that we will (mis)treat you in the same way. And even though some of us may ACT like (sky)gods, the last time I checked, we couldn't fix the weather, so please don't get too upset at us if it IS a weather delay. I will be happy to serve you water on the ground if we have to wait, but my airline's liquor license precludes alcocholic beverage service on the ground. I also have to take into consideration that I will have to balance what I will use on the ground against what I know I will need to serve in the air, and the fact that I might not get provisioned at the next airport downline. Other than that, please just ask (nicely), and I will do my best to help you however I can. Just please don't hit me.