Monday, January 16, 2006

Pizza Delay

Today was a day full of delays.  It started out badly, and it never got any better.
The first flight was plagued with a mechanical of unspecified origin.  The first thought was that it could be fixed rather quickly, and we'd be on our way with a minimum of delay.  Most likely something that would be made up during the actual flight.
We weren't that lucky.
In the middle of the boarding process, things went awry.  Not sure the mechanical explanation for it, all I know is that it meant we weren't going anywhere.  For a rather long time.
Since we already had boarded a couple of passengers, the flight attendants weren't allowed to get off the plane.  The captain and first officer left, either to take care of paper work or because they had a better offer.  We asked the passengers if they'd like to deplane and go back into the terminal.  They said no.  So there we were.  Stuck on the plane, facing a now rather lengthy delay, no food, no ability to get off and get food, and no idea of when the problem would get resolved.
And so, the clock keeps ticking. . . ticking. . . .
Once again, we asked our two passengers if they'd like to get off.  We encouraged them, explained that we had no food, urged strongly.  But no luck.  They liked remaining onboard.  Never mind that the crew's access to food was now cut off as we couldn't get off.  Never mind that we weren't getting paid for the delay (we only get paid for flight time).  Never mind that our stomachs were grumbling and our tempers getting shorts, we're happy to provide a lounge for you to relax in.
And the clock keeps ticking. . . ticking. . . .
Nearly three hours later the issue is resolved.  The passengers started boarding, and we kept our fingers crossed that we would be underway within a half hour.  We were tired and hungry.
But a very big THANK YOU to the couple who brought a pizza to the crew.  We hadn't had any food, and had no prospects of getting any.  When we talked to them, they said they when they ordered a pizza for themselves, they though of us and ordered an extra one.
Your thoughtfulness in thinking of us was greatly appreciated.  I'm often asked how passengers can ingratiate themselves to the crew.  I've always said that it's about treating us, and all people, with basic courtesy.  The pizza was a classic example.
Bob and Helen --- thank you!
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Redsong said...

I didn't know that FAs can't deplane if the passengers don't deplane. Did y'all explain this to the passengers?

Astroprof said...

With only two passengers, did you need a full complement of FA's? Of course, regulations don't always strictly follow logic.

Fly Girl said...

Redsong: Once the boarding process begins, ALL Flight Attendants must remain onboard. No exceptions, except an emergency. The passengers probably didn't know this, but despite our strong urging to leave the plane, they wouldn't. If an agent had come down to check on us, we could have insisted that they deplane. But we were left onboard without access to the agents as the pilots had already left the plane themselves. The issue of the pilots running off is also an issue -- one that we took up with them.

Astroprof: Yep. A full complement is required by Federal Regulations. There are actually some good reasons for doing so, but in this case the airplane became a departure lounge.

Anonymous said...

So of course my next question is: is there any way of explaining that the full staff must get off in order for you to do so? I think this path ends badly no matter how it goes, either by seeming rude to the passengers, or because it's not allowed by your airline. Nonetheless, I'm glad to know these things.

Fly Girl said...

You are right in that there is no good way for this to end. At least without some help on the ground. The situation should just never have occurred.