Friday, December 30, 2005

My Favorite Travels of 2005

Just a re-cap of some of my personal travel highlights of 2005:

New places that I went to this year:

  1. New Hamphire - It was just a quick drive over the state line, and a brief little tour, but it counts.
  2. Vermont - It was summertime, so maybe my next visit will be to see the fall colors.


Favorite places that I re-visited this year:

  1. Palm Springs, California
  2. Vancouver, British Columbia
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
Best hotels that I've stayed in this year (none of which were layover hotels):
  1. Madison Hotel (Washington D.C.) - Great rooms and service.  It was nice to sit on the balcony with a bottle of wine and enjoy a crisp fall night.
  2. Peninsula Hotel (NYC) - Impressive architecture, fun rooftop bar, and a clientele perfect for people-watching.
  3. Mandarin Oriental (NYC) - Lovely spa, decadent pampering. 
  4. St. Regis (NYC) - One of the best Bloody Mary's that I've ever had in my entire life was at their bar.


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Top 10 Travel Stories of 2005

It's been a year of ups and downs for the airline and travel industry.  To quote a line from one of my favorite book, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of time."
Here's my take, in no paticular order, on the Top 10 travel stories for 2005:
  1. Airline bankruptcies.  With so many airlines operating under the protection of the bankruptcy court, wages, service and customer service was slashed.  Who will survive becomes anyone's guess.
  2. Emergencies played out on television.  Jet Blue emerency landing at LAX.  Southwest going off the runway at Midway.  Alaska depressurization on a Seattle/Burbank flight.  Real life, real time, real people.    Even those who aren't veteran travlers were glued to the television hoping for a happy ending.
  3. TSA failures.  Long lines didn't get shorter, and competence didn't increase. Something had to give.  And it's going to have to give again if things don't improve.
  4. Scissors and small bladed knives now allowed onboard.  Lots of arguments on both sides of this issues, but they're back for now.
  5. Lighters banned from flight.  Smokers are carrying matches now.  Not sure if this solves the problem that it was designed to fix, but lighters are off for now.
  6. US Airways/America West merger.  Is it a match made in heaven?  Only time will tell.
  7. Hurricane Katrina.  The hurricane, and its aftermath, will have a heavy impact on tourism in New Orleans and the surrounding area.
  8. Airline discount fares.  When will it end?  The prices get lower and lower, well below the cost of actually providing the service.  Is it any wonder so many airlines are in bankruptcy.
  9. Add-on ticket fees.  From airport and security fees, to curbside check in and talk to a real person fees.  It's an "ala carte" process; nothing is included.
  10. Elimination of food service.  Or, if it's there, you have to pay extra for it.  This change has also spawned a number of new businesses that will now provide food for you to take onboard.


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Thursday, December 29, 2005

What Else Can Airlines Charge us For?

Continuing the discussion from an earlier post about specialized airline fees:

What else can the airlines charge us for? That’s the question asked by St.
Petersburg (Fla.) Times
travel columnist Steve Heuttel, who writes that
“hardly a month goes by without a traditional airline introducing a new charge
for something you used to get free.”

American, United, Northwest and Alaska Airlines are all charging $2 for curbside check-in at some airports.

I'll say it again: It's time to just charge a reasonable ticket price and get away from all these add-on fees. I believe travelers want to know what it's going to cost to travel, rather than be lured in by a low-price ticket and then get hit with the add-on fees. But, hey -- that's just me.

via Today in the Sky

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Alaska Airlines Decompression

Thanks to all who've written to ask if I was on Alaska Airlines flight #536 from Seattle to Burbank.
While cloaking myself once again in anonymity (regarding the airline that I work for), I was not on that flight.
Blogger Jeremy Hermanns was on the flight, however.  Read about his experience and see his photos.  There are many issues worth discussing, and most them are raised in his post and comments.  Warning, however, some of the comments get pretty vicious.  As someone who works in the cabin, and is familar with this type of aircraft, I got a chuckle out of how misguided or simply wrong people are about what should happen. 
Once again, an airline emergency with a happy ending.  While the crew was merely doing what they were trained to do, my kudos go to all of them, pilots and flight attendants alike.
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Flight Crew Links

I've been taking advantage of this laid back time of year to do a little work on my blog design.
I'm a neophyte when it comes to design, which is why Blogger has been a god-send for me.  Yeah, sure, there are limits to what I can do -- but believe me, there are even greater limits to what I can do without this structure.
I have added a flight crew blogroll to the side bar, which lists links from a previous post.  I'm using the term "flight crew" in a very broad sense, and these are blogs from flight attendants, pilots, ground personnel, wanna-be's, and used-to-be's.  They cover a wide variety of topics, so you may want to check them out and see if they are YOUR cup of tea.
Thanks to all of you who sent in additional suggestions.  I will be checking those out in the next few weeks, and updating after that.  Please feel free to drop me a line if you know of any others that I should list.
More changes to come as I update the list of some of my other favorites.
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Sunday, December 25, 2005

The 12th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Twelfth Day: Peace, joy, and abundant blessing to everyone.

Whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year, I wish for all of you the best that life has to offer.

Eleventh Day: Happy holiday hotels.

Tenth Day: Feeling the love!

Ninth Day: No overbooking problems.

Eighth Day: Proper staffing.

Seventh Day: Delay free flights.

Sixth Day: Plenty of space for carry-on bags.

Fifth Day: Happy co-workers.

Fourth Day: Short security screening lines.

Third Day: That we'll be home for those extra special events.

Second Day: No weather problems.

First Day: Healthy passengers.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Eleventh Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Eleventh Day:  Happy Holiday hotels.
Many flight attendants will be spending tonight, Christmas Eve, in a layover hotel.  While technically not alone (we have our fellow crewmembers with us), it just isn't the same as being with family.
If we're lucky, the hotel restaurant will be open and we can get a bit of a holiday meal.  It's not the same a good home-cooked meal, but it's better than nothing.  Nothing, unfortunately, is what happens at some of our hotels who close down their restaurants for the holiday.
It's tough being alone and away from home for the holidays.  Sure, it goes with the job, but that doesn't make it easy.  It's extra tough when the hotel is virtually closed down.
A very BIG THANK YOU to those hotels who make our job a little less lonely by doing something special for those us who are working over the holidays. 
Tenth Day:  Feeling the love!
Ninth Day:  No overbooking problems.  

Eighth Day:  Proper staffing.  

Seventh Day:  Delay free flights.  

Sixth Day:  Plenty of space for carry-on bags.  

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  
Fourth Day:  Short security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second DayNo weather problems.
First Day:  Healthy passengers. 

Friday, December 23, 2005

Were You Naughty or Nice This Year?

Just in time to assess my naughty or nice factor, and to fuel the speculation about what Santa will be bringing me.

You Were Mostly Nice This Year!

Sure, you had your naughty moments... but guess what?
Santa was probably sleeping when you were living it up.
As far as he's concerned, you've been on your best behavior.
So cross your fingers, and you might score good presents.

The Tenth Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

The Tenth Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas:  Feeling the love!
From family and friends.  From co-workers and passeners.  From strangers walking by.
No whining or grousing.  No complaining or grumpiness.  No anger, resentment, or passive aggressive behavior.
We want to see warm smiles, hear polite cheerful voices, and enoy that warm fuzzy holiday feeling all the way to our core.
Ninth Day:  No overbooking problems.  

Eighth Day:  Proper staffing.  

Seventh Day:  Delay free flights.  

Sixth Day:  Plenty of space for carry-on bags.  

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  
Fourth Day:  Short security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second DayNo weather problems.
First Day:  Healthy passengers. 

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What Reindeer are You?

The presents are all wrapped, the cooking and baking is done.

I don't want to clean the house, or do laundry, or pack and get ready for work. Instead, I'm just playing on the computer.

You Are Cupid

A total romantic, you're always crushing on a new reindeer.

Why You're Naughty: You've caused so much drama, all the reindeers aren't speaking to each other.

Why You're Nice: You have a knack for playing matchmaker. You even hooked Rudolph up!

The 9th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Ninth Day:  No overbooking problems.  Overbooking is a fact of life in the airline industry.  It’s done because of the high no-show factor for flights, leaving the airplane empty and the airline unable to recoup their monetary losses.  

The formula used to figure out how much to overbook a flight is usually based on the past no-show rate for a flight, and does take into high travel days.  It works more times than it does not.  Occasionally, though, the system fails, and we don’t want it to fail during the holidays.

Eighth Day:  Proper staffing.  

Seventh Day:  Delay free flights.  

Sixth Day:  Plenty of space for carry-on bags.  

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  
Fourth DayShort security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second DayNo weather problems.
First DayHealthy passengers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

500 Best Hotels

Travel+Leisure just released their annual 500 Best Hotels list.

Let me assure you, not one of those hotels on the list is a crew hotel for my airlines.


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Are These Really New Fees?

It used to be that when you purchased an airline ticket, the price you paid covered the cost of the transportation for you and your baggage, a meal and beverages during the flight, and other amenities that the airlines used to woo customer loyalty.
These days, extra fees are tacked onto your ticket price.  Service charges, cancellation or change fees, airport improvement fees, security fees, and the list goes on (and on).
Now, some airlines have announced some additional charges:
From USA Today's Today in the Sky is news that starting in January American Eagle (American Airlines' regional carrier) will begin charging for beverages.  Test marketing is on flights into and out of Los Angeles, and is based on a charge of $1 for a 12 ounce soda.
Also from Today in the Sky is the news that the British low cost carrier, FlyBE, will be charging for check baggage starting in February 2006.  Not only will they be charging fees for checked baggage (ranging from approximately $3.50 to $7.00/bag), but they will also be giving a discount to those passengers who only bring carry on bags.
Finally, from Inflight HQ comes the news that Alaska Airlines will begin charging a $10 service fee on tickets purchased at a ticket counter or via their 800 number.  Alaska is apparently the last carrier to jump on the bandwagon of charging more to talk to a human being.
These fees are being touted as "new," although I maintain that passengers have always paid for them. 
Originally they were paid for as part of the all-inclusive ticket price.  Now that travelers are demanding the very lowest price ticket, airlines have decided that the can't afford to include all these "niceties" for free. 
It's a Hobson's choice:  Pay more for all-inclusive, or portion it out to pay for what you use. 
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The 8th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Eighth Day:  Proper staffing.  When the phone rings, those of us with Caller I.D. make sure that it’s not crew scheduling calling.  Only then do we answer the phone.  

Most people don’t realize that crew scheduling can call me, and if they reach me, they can assign me to fly.  Even if it’s a scheduled day off, and I’ve got a doctor’s appointment, or I’m leaving town.  Even if I just had twenty people arrive for dinner and we are just sitting down to eat.  If I refuse the assignment, I face disciplinary action.  

The only valid excuse for refusing to fly when assigned an extra trip is illness (although you may be sent to the doctor for verification), or if I had a drink (although then they may just give me an assignment for a time after the alcohol time limit has passed).

Of course, there are work rules that scheduling must follow, but sometimes they like to play fast and loose with the rules.  There’s just not much you can usually do about it, except complain later.

It makes us grumpy.  No one likes to be forced to work on a day off.

Seventh Day:  Delay free flights.  

Sixth Day:  Plenty of space for carry-on bags.  

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  
Fourth DayShort security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second DayNo weather problems.
First DayHealthy passengers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Kind of Christmas Tree are You?

This is just the kind of Christmas tree that I have, too.

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.

The 7th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Seventh Day:  Delay free flights.  Whether a delay is caused by mechanical, weather, security, inefficiencies, late connections, stupidity, or whatever, we want them gone.  Everyone wants to get where there going, and on time, and never more than during the holidays.  Let every day be a delay free day.

Sixth Day:  Plenty of space for carry-on bags.  

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  
Fourth DayShort security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second DayNo weather problems.
First DayHealthy passengers.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The 6th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Sixth Day: Plenty of space for carry-on bags. Heavy winter coats and packages can take up lots of room this time of year. We always hate having to deal with bags that simply are too large to fit anywhere. We cringe when the overhead space is used up, and there is nowhere else to put bags. We really do want everyone to have all the bags fit somewhere. It’s just that it isn’t always possible, and it’s worse this time of year. But maybe, just maybe, this is the year that it will happen.

Fifth Day: Happy co-workers.

Fourth Day: Short security screening lines.

Third Day: That we'll be home for those extra special events.

Second Day: No weather problems.

First Day: Healthy passengers.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

TSA Provides Secuity Screening Information

Check out this information about the best way to get through the airport security lines, as well as what the expected wait time is at your airport.

This information  is courtesy of the TSA, so keep that in mind when evaluating its accuracy.

The 5th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Fifth Day:  Happy co-workers.  Just like passengers, everyone we come in contact with can influence our day:  the supervisors at the check in area, the agents boarding our flights, the pilots, and of course, other flight attendants working our flight.  Sometimes, we are so caught up in the routine work of the flight, as well as extending a little extra TLC to passengers, that we forget to take care of one another.  A lot of flight attendants who will be flying on Christmas will bring little goodie bags (full of cookies, candy, fruit, odds and ends) for the co-workers who are working with them.  It's one way saying that sometimes our "family" during the holidays needs to be defined more broadly.
Fourth DayShort security screening lines. 
Third DayThat we'll be home for those extra special events. 
Second Day :  No weather problems.
First Day Healthy passengers.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

The 4th Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Fourth Day: Short security screening lines. We have to stand in them, too, so we’re all for making the process as quick and painless as possible. It helps cut down on flight delays, flight crew and passenger frustration, and probably makes the TSA workers a little happier as well.

Third Day: That we’ll be home for those extra special events.

Second Day: No weather problems. snowstorms, ice storms, freezing rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, or windstorms. In other words, no ugly weather to mess with flight patterns, or to delay departures or arrivals.

First Day: Healthy passengers.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Flight Attendant Fashion: The Skybelt

A co-worker that I'm flying with today fancies herself quite the fashion expert.  She brings an extra suitcase and garment bag along for her extensive wardrobe, even if it's just a two-day trip. 

On the layover, she is always immaculated coiffed, made up, and dressed.  Some would claim, over-dressed, but I guess that's just a matter of opinion.

She's high maintenance and I love her dearly.  She doesn't impose her standards on anyone else, although I seen a shudder go through her at a perceived fashion faux pas.

Since I'll be flying with her again during the holidays, I'm considering bringing her a fashion Christmas gift:  a Sky Belt.

The Skybelt is a belt made out of colored webbing, and the buckle consists of old airplane seat belt buckles.  The company was started by a former flight attendant as a way to earn some extra money for a family vacation.  The line now features interchangeable colored belts, and clip on designs, and is available through online ordering.  There is also a list of retail locations.

The first Sky Belt purchase is $32.95, and additional belts are $10.95, although currently there appears to be a sale going on.  Clip ons to personalize your belt design are $4.95. 

While this may not be an appropriate fashion gift for my co-worker, it's a fun fashion statement.


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The 3rd Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Third Day: That we’ll be home for those extra special events. The airlines are a 24/7 business, which means flight attendants will be working, and away from home on holidays. Seniority dictates which days we will be working, and which we will have off. However, most airlines allow flight attendants to trade trips and days off (within some limitations) so that our schedules remain flexible. We can’t all hold the holidays off, but it is nice when trading allows us to be home for those extra-special events.

Second Day: No snowstorms, ice storms, freezing rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, or windstorms. In other words, no ugly weather to mess with flight patterns, or to delay departures or arrivals.

First Day: Healthy passengers. No cold or flu germs infecting other passengers or the crew. No need to divert for medical emergencies. No one needing emergency oxygen. No need to have paramedics meet the airplane. No falls, no bloody noses, no coughing. Healthy passengers mean a healthy working enviornment for us.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Planning for Flight Delays

Flight Delays.

It's the stuff that airline travel is made of.  Headaches, too.  Generally speaking, there is nothing that you as a passenger can do about it except to plan for it.

One of the biggest planning decisions is how you will get to and from the airport.  I am a big believer in NOT using friends as your mode of transportation, especially during the busy holiday seasons, and you can read about other options in a previous post

However, if you absolutely MUST have friends pick you up, make sure you tell them to check your flight status before they head off for the airport.  Even if they live hours away from the airport, it's better that they know your flight is delayed by three hours before leaving home. 

There are a variety of ways to check to see the actual, real-time status of your flight, and to check on your anticipated arrival time:

  • Most airlines have a flight tracking option on their respective website.  You can go to their home page and then look for a link that says flight status or flight tracker.  Here is a sample from the Delta Airlines site.
  • The FAA has a site which tracks delays, on a general basis, and many airports across the country.  This can give you an idea of what in going on in the event of a weather delay which is hampering all flights into or out of a particular airport.
  • Some airport, or regional areas, post information about their particular airports on their website.  Try Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for information covering National and Dulles in Washington D.C., Fly Denver for flights in that city, or Fly PDX for flights in Portland, Oregon.
  • There are also a number of dedicated sites that provide this information.  Flight Arrivals, Flight View, and FlyteComm are a few that I hear recommended frequently.
  • Some of the travel websites also have a status check option.  Try Yahoo Travel, Cheap Tickets, or Orbitz.

Armed with where to go for delay information is the first step.  Here's what you can do to put the information to good use:

  • Find the site which you like best.  Check it out to make sure it is simple to use, and that your pick-up driver will be able to use and understand the information.
  • Give the site information to your pick-up driver.  Send it to them as a link so that they don't have to remember the address.
  • Determine if the site has a mobile option, that is, an option that will send delay information directly to a cell phone.
  • If your flight is delayed at departure, call your pick-up driver and let them know that you have been delayed at the outset.  Call back when you know updates.
  • Remind your pick-up driver to check for flight arrival status before they head off to the airport.

These aren't foolproof steps, but they cover the things that you can do as a passenger to plan for delays.

Happy Travels.


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the 2nd Day of the Flight Attendant Christmas

Second Day: No snowstorms, ice storms, freezing rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, or windstorms. In other words, no ugly weather to mess with flight patterns, or to delay departures or arrivals.

First Day: Healthy passengers. No cold or flu germs infecting other passengers or the crew. No need to divert for medical emergencies. No one needing emergency oxygen. No need to have paramedics meet the airplane. No falls, no bloody noses, no coughing. Healthy passengers mean a healthy working enviornment for us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Stinking up the Joint

What's that smell?

Believe me, sometimes you just don't want to know. Anytime you cram a bunch of people in a long, metal tube and close the door on them, somethings going to smell. . . bad.

What can you do about it? Usually, nothing. But if it's beyond the normally offensive smells, you should contact your Flight Attendant while you're still on the ground. There may be options.

Gridskipper reports:

. . . it’s a relief to know that at least some airlines are actually willing to do something about evil aromas. In their conditions of carriage , American declares you can be booted from a flight if you “have an offensive odor not caused by a disability or illness.” The right of determination is granted to the flight crew, but you must raise the issue early (i.e. before takeoff) in order to have the best chance of a favorable resolution.

In an article in the L.A. Times, a more detailed list of options and remedies are explained, including removal of the offending passenger(s), upgrades, changing seats, and re-booking on another flight. It's delicately handled.

Speaking up may not solve the problem, but keeping quiet definitely will not.

12 Days of Christmas: Flight Attendant Wishes

The Flight Attendant’s Twelve Days of Christmas:

First Day: Healthy passengers. No cold or flu germs infecting other passengers or the crew. No need to divert for medical emergencies. No one needing emergency oxygen. No need to have paramedics meet the airplane. No falls, no bloody noses, no coughing. Healthy passengers mean a healthy working enviornment for us.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hold Mail While Away

An overflowing mailbox is often a sign of a vacant house. 
Don't be a target this holiday season by calling attention to your absence.  Unattended mail leaves you at risk for theft or identity fraud. 
If you will be traveling, even for just a few days, arrange to have your mail held.  It can be held for as few as three days and as long as 30 days. 
You can pick up a form at your local post office, or use the online hold service.  While not available everywhere, I put a couple of sample zip codes into the form and found it available.

Kisses & Mistletoe

Everywhere I look I see mistletoe. Time to pucker up and indulge in some holiday kisses.

I couldn't help but take this little kissing quiz -- just to see how I measure up. Looks like I'll be stocking up on mistletoe this year.

You're an Expert Kisser

You're a kissing pro, but it's all about quality and not quantity
You've perfected your kissing technique and can knock anyone's socks off
And you're adaptable, giving each partner what they crave
When it comes down to it, your kisses are truly unforgettable

Baggage Screening

Flight Attendants are required to go through the security screening process along with passengers.
Oh sure, we usually get to cut in line and go right to the front, but then we have to take off our shoes, coat, and remove anything that can set off the security alarm.  Just like you.  So when you complain about the process, we feel your pain.  But we offer little sympathy.  As far as we're concerned, if we have to do it, so do you. 
The next time that you are complaining about having to be screened, remember that your flight attendants have gone through the process, too.  And that's on top of an indepth background check and having our fingerprint in a federal database.  Sometimes we wish that we were treated as nicely as you.
In the interest of showing both sides of the story, there is no way that I could do the job of a screener.  It would be boredom beyond belief for me. 
You may want to try Baggage Screening:  the Game (via Gridskipper).   Scroll down the page to the interactive button that will let you be the baggage screener.  Listen to the instructions and then try a two minute exercise where you try to spot contraband passing through the x-ray machine.  How did you do?  I did very, very poorly.
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Aviation in the News

Happy Monday!
I took the weekend off from blogging because I was flying. 
Normally this doesn't create a problem, but for some reason I was unable to access wi-fi and had to make do with dial-up.  Makes for difficulty in posting, so I gave myself the weekend off.  Back on track now.
Lots of aviation news the past week:
The plot thickens in the air marshall shooting in Miami.  Apparently, no witness has yet corroborated the marshals claim that the passenger said he had a bomb.  However, there is no reason to doubt the official reports while the investigation continues, withholding judgment until it is completed and all the facts in.
A Southwest 737 ran off the end of the runway at Chicago's Midway airport, killing a child on the ground.  The official NTSB investigation is just underway, but already lots of ideas, speculation, and lawyers circling the wagons.
In Nigeria, for the second time in as many months, a plane has crashed
Fun times for the airline industry.
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Friday, December 09, 2005

737 Slides off the Runway at Chicago Midway

Thanks to all of you who wrote after a Southwest Airlines 737 went off the runway at Chicago's Midway Airport.
I still find it amazing that total strangers would express such an outpouring of concern for me, and I am both humbled and appreciative.
While I am not willing to reveal the airline that I work for, I was not on Southwest Flight #1248 Thursday night.
Take care of yourself and one another.
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Miami Shooting Update

I guess it comes as no surprise that the investigation into the shooting by air marshals in Miami yesterday has begun.  That's the way it's supposed to work.  An event happens, their is a review of the incident, and suggestions for improvement will be made.
Along with the official review, however, will come the "unofficial" speculation, theorizing, and second-guessing of what happened and what should have happened.  I guess that's the way it's supposed to work, too.  Getting all of us involved in a dialog is one way to call attention to events going on in the world.
There already seems to be differing opinions about whether or not the passenger claimed to have a bomb.  Time will tell, as the investigation conducts interviews with witnesses and reviews all the evidence.  I
It's way too soon to rush to any sort of judgment -- one way or the other -- except to say that it is most certainly a tragic series of events. 
The Washington Post has a great update on the events.

Flight Attendant Blogs

I’ve been in the process of compiling a list of flight attendant blogs. (Okay, there are a few pilot and other airline employees on this list as well.)

Here’s a start, and I know that this is by no means complete. Thanks to everyone who sent in info. If I’m missing your blog, or any that you know of, please send me an email and I will update the list regularly. Look for a blogroll in the side bar soon.

In no particular order:

Diary of a Fired Flight Attendant
The World, My Playground
Sorry, I Don’t Have Peanuts
Airport Junkie
Head in the Clouds
Higher Plane
Let’s Get this Bitch in the Air!
Guess Where I Am
Sky is the Limit
Sexypilots Wife Madeover
Flying Waitress at Your Service
Pacific Mike
Bloggin at FL250
Rant Air - Welcome Aboard
Ask the Pilots
Fly With Me – podcast

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Federal Air Marshal Kills Passenger Claiming to Have Bomb

Breaking news courtesy of the Associated Press:

In Miami a passenger claiming to have a bomb in his carry on bag was shot and killed by a federal air marshal. The flight had just arrived from Medillin, Columbia. It is reported that the passenger was ordered to the ground, didn't comply, and was reaching into a bag when he was shot.

More details here.

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A Discarded Business Card

I was cleaning out my purse last night, and found a business card.  It was someone that I didn't know, so I tossed it out.
This moring I was digging through the trash looking for that card.  Overnight, I had remembered who it was.  The guy who I'd met in the hotel lobby when I had the disappointing rendezvous with Mr. Amazingly Gorgeous.
This guy had assumed (accurately so) that I was meeting someone at the hotel, yet he still had the confidence to ask me out for lunch.  Even after I declined, he'd still given me his card, and told me to call if I ever changed my mind. 
So what did I remember about him?  Well, let's see.  Blonde hair, blue eues, athletic build.  Attractive, smart, witty, a good conversationalist.  Well dressed, outgoing, good manners.  He'd been raised in France and at times I could detect a hint of an accent.
Should I call him?
Heck yes, I should call him.  Well, wait.  Maybe I should just send an email.  Yes, that's what I'll do, I'll send the Frenchman an email.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Heavy Carry On Bags

During the boarding process today, a well dressed woman stopped me in the aisle and said:  "You'll need to take care of my bag, miss."
"I'll be happy to have it checked for you ma'am," I replied.  "I'll be right back with a claim ticket for you."
She freaked out.  Her voice got louder and louder as she called out.  "No, No, NO, NO!  You must put it overhead.  Be careful, it's very heavy.  I could barely carry it on and I don't want to lift it."
This is where the good flight attendant on my right shoulder, and the bad flight attendant on my left shoulder, had a bit of a discussion.

Bad flight attendant:  "Let me see if I understand you, lady.  You brought on board a bag so heavy that you can barely carry it, and you definitely can't stow it.  You want me to lift this VERY heavy bag and risk injuring myself.  If I injure myself, I will have to go out on a workers comp leave.  If I'm on workers comp, I don't make as much money as I normally would which, in turn, means that I will have difficulty meeting my financial obligations, or I will have to drain my savings.  So, now I ask you again:  You want me to do what you self-centered twit?"

Good flight attendant, smiling:  "I understand it's heavy, ma'am, and that why I'm not going to lift it either.  I see three possible solutions here, and I'm going to leave the choice up to you.  You can put it in the overhead yourself.  You can stow it beneath the seat in front of you.  Or, I will be happy to have it checked for you.  Please let me know what you decide."
I continued smiling as I walked away to the not so subtle cheering from the people around her. 
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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hangover Cures

I read an article at Gridskipper about easy Jet, a fairly young European airline.  I went to check out their website and found a wealth of information.  Lots of good solid data, along with some great humor as well.  They also have a newsletter.
Their post about hangovers and cures was one of my favorites, and the very fact that a post like this is on the airline website tells me a lot about the kind of company it is.  The article lists the cures for a hangover from a variety of countries.  Some new ideas, some old, and some that trigger my gag reflexes enough to make me swear that I will never over indulge again.
I have no first hand experience flying on easy Jet, so I'd love to hear from anyone who knows more about them.
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Airport Humor

Overheard at the airport yesterday:

Woman (attractive, well dressed, 40-something): "I can't believe how ridiculous this airline has become. They're turning into Scrooge Airline. I have a list this long (she gestures with her hand to a length of about six inches) of ways in which they've screwed me over this past year."

Pilot: Yes, ma'am, I understand. I have a long list on that same topic as well.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Calling All Flight Attendants

I know you're out there! 
I've read you blog, visited your website, subscribe to your feed, gotten emails from you.  You know that the stuff I write about is real.  I don't have to make this stuff up -- it happens.
Now, I'm going to get organized about it.  I'm trying to collect all the links for flight attendants (or former ones, hell, maybe even a pilot or two) who blog.  Please email them to me directly (for inclusion in a future post and/or blog roll).  To do that, you can go to my profile on my home page, or just send me an email at:
Of course, if you need to be anonymous, I completely understand!
Thanks for your help!


Just in case you may have missed it before, flight attendants don't like delays any more than you do. We especially don't like them when it means our late arrival cuts our crew rest down to nine and half hours.

That's nine and a half hours from when we open the door at our arrival destination till we close the door the following day. During those nine and a half hours we have to get all the passengers off the plane, get ourselves off, go through the airport to the shuttle area, wait for the shuttle, get to the van, check into our hotel, sleep, and go through that whole process in reverse to get back to the airport the next day.

Let me repeat, we don't like delays. They make us cranky, too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stow Your Carry On Bags

It's the time of year when the number of carry on bags increase substantially. Students traveling home from college, gifts for a variety of holidays are packed, and coats and heavier clothes for colder weather just take up more room.

By quickly getting settled in your row and properly stowing your carryons, it helps speed along the boarding process, which in turn helps facilitate an on-time departure.

Unfortunately, there's only a finite amount of space in the cabin. Most airplanes do not have a secret little space somewhere in the galley. And if we do, trust me here, our crew bags have already been stowed there to free up a little more cabin space for you.

Before the airplane door can be closed, the flight attendants must verify that all carry on bags have been stowed. This means that they need to be in the overhead bins or pushed forward beneath the seat in front of you.

If your bag is sticking out of the bin in such a way that it cannot be closed, it is not properly stowed. Ditto if you bag sticks out from the seat in front of you so far that you can't stand up. If they are on your lap, not stowed. On the seat next to you, not stowed. In the aisle, not stowed.

Get the picture? There are usually only two options: overhead or beneath. Repeat, overhead or beneath.

Review: Ask the Pilot

I just finished reading the book Ask the Pilot by Patrick Smith.  Smith is an airline pilot and freelance writer who has a weekly column about air travel on
The book is a collection of essays written by Smith, along with some questions and answers.  Although not written in a techno-nerd style, the answers give a good overview of technical information including how planes fly, turbulence and weather, and safety related issues, along with some historical airline information.  Smith also does a good job of debunking many of the myths of air travel. 
Ask the Pilot does just what it set out to do:  it gives a sometimes serious, sometimes irreverent, look at air travel from the point of view of a sometimes pilot, sometimes passenger.
It was a quick, enjoyable read, and I recommend it to anyone who travels a lot, or who has a curiosity or fear of flying.
Now, if only there was a book, Ask the Flight Attendant.  I'm guessing a few of those questions would be answered differently.
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Monday, November 28, 2005

Medical Referral When Traveling

It's taken me years to find health care providers that I trust.  I am happy to share referrals with friends, because I truly like and respect these providers.  However, since I'm on the road almost as much as I'm at home, there are times when I need health care when I'm not at home.  If I'm working, I can generally count on my airline referring me to an appropriate health care provider. 
However, if it's not an emergency, or if I'm travel for pleasure, I may wish to seek out someone on my own.  My first option is usually to contact friends who live near to where I am and ask for referrals.  That usually will solve the problem, as I have friends around the country.
I read about an additional resource that will also help in finding a doctor when I'm on the road.  It would also be useful for someone who needs to find a new doctor because they are moving to a new city. 
David Cowan writes in his blog Who Has Time for This about a doctor search and review site sponsored by Helthia.  While I hope that I would never have to use it, I have the feeling that this is information that is going to come in handy.  You might, too.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rumors of Snow

I've been talking and exchanging emails with friends who are hearing rumors of snow. I've heard from friends who say that it's been snowing where they are, but no one has said that it's sticking to the ground and piling up.

No one, that is, except my friend Geoff in Zurich. (You may want to check out his blog, Zurich Gnome, which covers Formula One racing.) Geoff sent me a few photos that he took while out for a walk, and while he apologized for the quality of the photos, my experience with phone cameras have never given me results this good.

So far, Zurich wins the snow contest, And check out that blue sky!

New York Times "Blogs From the Road"

I read a good article in my New York Times this morning (Travel Section, page 6).  The article is also available online:  Blogs from the Road.
The article talks about the need to keep in touch with friends and family while traveling, and explains how blogs can fill this need.   While this is old hat for many of us travel and blog regulars, it does provide a brief overview of the concept along with some resources.
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Black Friday Results

I survived Black Friday. 
The morning started with brunch with friends, and then we proceeded to tackle our respective shopping lists.  The stores were crowded and people seemed to be in a buying frenzy.  Overall, though, everyone seemed fairly polite and well-mannered.
We took a break in the late afternoon and met for a little fortification - cocktails and appetizers - and then continued shopping.
I finished up everything on my list, giving me no legitimate excuse to venture out for additional holiday shopping.  But, I have a couple of layovers coming up that happen to be in cities that many would consider some of the great shopping meccas of the world.  Alas, I have no will power.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and reputed to be the biggest shopping day of the year.  There is even an "official website" for Black Friday, where you can receive the latest information about sales and rebates in your area.
Now, I like shopping as much as the next flight attendant, which is probably more than the average person, but I'm not sure one day of shopping deserves its own website.
Nonetheless, I am venturing out to do a little shopping today.  We're not leaving early, having already slept in and had a lazy morning cup of coffee, but we're ready to head out soon. 
My shopping list isn't long, having chosen fiscal responsibility at Christmas time many, many years ago.  I've been cultivating an idea list all year long, so now it's a matter of actually making purchases and checking things off the list.  For many people that's the worst part, but for the shopaholics in us -- it's nirvana.
Of course, I delight in the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday as well:  The arrival of Santa Claus, the decorated windows.  The smell of pine, roasting chestnuts, coffee.  The carols playing, musicians and singers performing on the street corners. 
Yes, it's the beginning of the holiday season, and my holiday spirit.
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