Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shopping List

When you travel a lot, you learn the things that you need to pack in order to make your time on the road more enjoyable, or at the very least, less painful.
I recently purchased two items that I cannot imagine how I traveled without them.
The first, is a power strip.  It seems that there are never enough outlets in the hotel room.  The existing plug ins are either so inconveniently located as to be inaccessible, or they are filled to capacity with the alarm clock, television, lamps, etc.  I need room to plug in my laptop, cell phone, iPod, and occasionally other items.  This simple, and inexpensive purchase, has already made my life much easier.  I wish that I could take credit for thinking of it, but that goes to Shel at Road Weary.
My second purchase was travel-size wireless router, another relatively inexpensive purchase.  There are still a few hotels who only offer a wired access, and this router now gives me maximum flexibility to work in bed, across the room, or on the lanai.  Use caution, however, as you may also be routing that wi-fi access to nearby guests.  Credit for this purchase goes to Flyer Talk.
Do you know of something else that I need to put on my shopping list?

Seen Onboard

Many apologies for the erratic posting schedule.  I'm been doing massive amounts of flying, internet connections haven't always been readily or conveniently available, and when I've finally gotten home, I've been exhausted.
I've got lots of good stories to share, though, and I'll be getting to them in the next few days.
For now, here's a t-shirt I saw onboard today:
I hear voices. . .
. . . and they don't like you very much.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rerun: Beef or Chicken?

Occasionally when I’m waiting in the boarding area to get on a plane, a passenger will approach and ask if there’s a meal on the flight or if they should get something to eat at the airport.

I’ve never really understood this question.Very few airlines offer food on flights any more.

If you happen to be on one that does serve food, you may have noticed that both the quality and quantity has been reduced. Breakfast may now be a muffin and juice. Dinner, a sandwich. And that’s if you’re on a meal service flight. Most of the time it’s just a beverage and peanuts.

I always try to plan ahead by eating just before heading to the airport or by bringing something with me. The best is when I can bring something to eat from home -- those yummy leftovers from the previous night. Alternatively, most hotels will have a café or coffee shop that can prepare you a sandwich, salad, or simple entrée to go. Ditto for most restaurants. I let them know it’s for travel, and most times they are very helpful in packing it up so that it survives the transit to the airport.

If that’s not an option, there are new services cropping up that will provide you with a meal and deliver it to your office or directly to the airport. I haven’t personally tried out any of these services, but I’m starting to see of lot their food on the plane. A quick Google search should help you find out what’s offered in your area.

If all else fails, get something to eat at the airport. While the choices are limited, most times you can find a sandwich or salad, or a fast food chain.One thing to keep in mind when bringing on food, is the odors that the food will cause around you. While you certainly have the right to whatever you choose, a little thoughtfulness will have your seatmate drooling over your meal rather than holding his nose.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I am New York

I've visited lots of cities when traveling, whether it's for business or pleasure, so this is the perfect quiz.

The answer is spot on, too. Leave a comment and let me know which city you are.

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Love Story Commercial

I've always loved the Virgin Atlantic Airways "Love Story" commercial.  It's witty, plays on a number of stereotypes in a fun way, and perhaps, most importantly, it makes me smile. 
Apparently I'm not the only one who has enjoyed it.  Here's news that the commercial has been recognized as the top international television commercial worldwide in a survey conductions by U.K. publication, Campaign Magazine. 
Previously awards include:  Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show and Loeries Grand Prix.
Watch the commercial and decide for yourself.
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Poll Results: Passengers of Size

The lawsuit against Southwest Airlines for their Passenger of Size policy prompted this poll.
I actually expected more disparity in opinions about this matter, so I was a little surprised at the results:
Buy another seat was the overwhelming choice:  93%
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Eavesdrop on ATC

Darn you, Tray!  As if I don't have ways too goof off, you have to direct me to one more. 
Listen in to live ATC (Air Traffic Control) communication at Live ATC.  There are seven locations (from around the world) to choose from.
Caution, however, it may be habit forming!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Too Much Information

Sitting on the jump seat with someone for a few days can bring about a false sense of intimacy.
Just because you occupy a close workspace, and have a shared responsibility for one another's life in the event of an emergency, doesn't mean that you are confidants, and maybe not even friends.
So why is it, then, that a complete stranger will start confiding personal and very confidential information about their life while sitting on the jump seat next to you?!
Over the past few days I've learned a great deal about my co-working:  About her health issues, the birth of her child, the breakup of her marriage, her new found sexual freedom, her new boyfriend's fantasies, her sister's credit problems, and a whole lot more than I want to mention here.
Before this trip, I had never seen this woman before. 
Why does this happen?  What prompts someone to spill their guts like this?  Why do people on an airplane need to share Too Much Information?
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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Comida Cubana, Por Favor

If you live in, or are familiar with Miami, maybe you can help me out.

Some friends will be traveling to Miami for an upcoming conference and want recommendations on where to go for Cuban food.  I think they will be staying in the greater South Beach area, and they will be relying on public transportation or a taxi for transportation.

Email me with your suggestions.  


Friday, February 17, 2006

Passenger Chatter

I had a passenger onboard  today who came to the galley and wanted to chat.  About nothing.  Endlessly.
Here's how I wanted to respond.
Can anyone relate?

Questions & Answers

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a questions and answer piece, and they’ve been stacking up in my inbox.  I’ll try to answer a few of them now:

Have you ever had any air marshals onboard your flight?  Have you seen their guns?  How do you know who they are?
Yes.  No.  The whole details about how many air marshals are in the program and when, where and how they travel is confidential.

Have you ever dated a passenger that you’ve met on a flight?

Have you ever dated a pilot?

You seem to beat up on people with PDA’s.  Do you own one?
No; part of me would like to, though.  And I know when to turn it off.

Can you recommend a good hotel in ______________ (fill in the blank with the name of a city)?
I’d rather not turn this site into a forum on hotels, city tours, etc.  There are lots of other blogs and website that focus on that travel niche.  Once in awhile I may include something, but that it not the direction I want my writing to go in.  Contact me privately, though, and I may be able to help you out.

Would you like to have lunch/dinner/drinks with me next time you’re in my city?
First of all, I need to determine who you are, where you live, and do a little vetting to make sure you’re not wanted in any jurisdiction.  There is such a thing as personal safety, you know.  Seriously, if you’re a crewmember and would like to meet up, shoot me an email.

That’s it for this time.  If there’s something you’d like to know about YuHu Stewardess, send me an email and I’ll try to answer it promptly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

New Poll: Passengers of Size

Take the new poll, and let everyone know what you think about a policy requiring a passenger of size to purchase an additional seat.

Passengers of Size

I don't like talking about things that are playing out in the courts, but once they are over, I figure it's fair game.
If you've picked up a paper lately, or read your news online, you've likely heard about the woman who brought suit against Southwest Airlines claiming racial discrimination.  Southwest responded that while the situation may not have been handled as well as it might have been, the employees involved were merely trying to follow a company policy, and that race was not a factor.
What's the situation?  Southwest's "Person of Size" policy.  The policy requires anyone who cannot sit in the seat, with the arm rests in the down position, to purchase a second seat.  If the flight is not sold out, and the purchased seat would have gone vacant, the price is refunded to the passenger.
After hearing the evidence, the jury agreed that there was no racial discrimination, and ruled in favor of Southwest.
Setting aside the issue of race, since the jury ruled that was not a factor in the policy, I'm trying to decide how I feel about the "Person of Size" policy.
As a flight attendant, I have certainly heard complaints from people in seats that were encroached by the passenger in an adjacent seat.  It is difficult to be sensitive in handling the matter and balance all competing interests graciously.
As a passenger traveling on a pass, I have been the person put in that seat, and have been squashed to the point of having virtually no room.  Since I'm traveling for free, I guess I really shouldn't complain.
How are the rights of individuals (in purchasing the right to be transported from Point A to Point B) balanced?  Does this policy discriminate against people of size?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Paul, a U.K. correspondent for IAG Blog, writes that he broke the Ryanair story, and says that it is getting lots of attention. 
Check out what Channel 4 has to say about the program, as well as read what passengers have to say.  To get the other side of the story, check out what Ryanair has to say about everything, including copies of their correspondence to Channel 4.
I have a feeling this story isn't going away any time soon.
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UPDATE: Ryanair Fires Back

Was it true?  Or staged?

That's the questions apparently being batted about after the airing of "Ryanair:  Caught Napping."  The program had been billed as an expose of the day-to-day operations of Irish budget carrier, Ryanair. 

Now, amidst rumors of legal action being taken by the airline, there's lots of discussion about what REALLY happens at Ryanair.  The company claims that the expose' was staged, exaggerated, and blown out of proportion, and is reportedly considering filing suit.  The television station is standing by its reporting of slipshod practices at the airline.

Any flight attendant can tell you that shortcuts are taken.  It's necessary, practical, and most of the time it's not a big deal.  It goes with the territory.  Some shortcuts, however, should never be taken. 

Which, if any, were going on at Ryanair air, I'll leave for you to decide. 

Read the story as reported in the Belfast Telegraph.


Thanks Sandra for the follow up.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Hugs and kisses to everyone who has taken time out of their busy day to send me Valentine wishes.  It is appreciated from the very bottom of my heart.
Since I'm very much a romantic at heart (underneath the cynicism of my writing), I'm taking most of the day off to revel in the glow that is love.
I'll be back to my normal self tomorrow.
I wish for all of you a day full of love, happiness and joy -- however you define those things.

Valentine Candy

I secretly love these candies:

Your Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"

You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.
You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you

Your flirting style: friendly and sweet

What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance

Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

Monday, February 13, 2006

Are You in Tokyo?

If you are a flight attendant who either lives, or is based, in Tokyo, would you please contact me by email:  yuhustewardess@comcast.net.
A friend is working on a research project and is looking for a contact.  If you can help, or know someone else who can, please get in touch.
All assistance would be gratefully appreciated.
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Rerun: PDA Separation Anxiety

I like my electronic gadgets as much as the next gal, and understand the growing dependence we’ve all come to have with these items. I can’t imagine leaving home without my cell phone and PDA in my purse, my laptop in my carryon, and certain battery operated devices in my suitcase.

But what I don’t understand is the inability of people to turn these items off for the few minutes that it takes us to close the aircraft door, taxi out, take off, and get up to cruising altitude, when most items can once again be turned back on. Blackberry and Treo users seem to be the worst offenders, so will refer to this problem as PDA separation anxiety.

Like all forms of separation anxiety, it is a deep and abiding belief that the earth as we know it will not continue to rotate on its axis if the individual is not at all times electronically available. Really and truly, this is not the case.

It is okay to turn off your phone, PDA and computer before the Flight Attendants ask you to do so. In fact, it is preferable to do so. However, it is mandatory that you turn them off before you are asked for the third time. I think of this as the three-strikes rule.

Just turn the damn thing off so we can get going. You are not that important. You are causing a delay for an entire cabin of passengers who will soon become surly because I am going to tell them that the reason we are still sitting at the gate is because we have a passenger that is too important to be unavailable to their clamoring public.

If this seems too difficult for you to master, or you believe it is an unreasonable request, may I suggest a therapist before your next flight.

Originally posted: September 29, 2005.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Addicted to Love

It's the countdown to Valentine's Day, and that means a fun time to take a look at the frivolous side of love and relationships:

You Are 37% Addicted to Love

Might as well face it, you're a little addicted to love.
You won't do anything for love, but sometimes you do more than you should.
No one's worth losing your head for - because in the end you'll only lose your heart.
Don't avoid falling in love. Just make sure you don't get too hooked.

Perfect Flight Attendants

Are you fed up with grumpy flight attendants?  Worried that the pilots may not have had sufficient rest?  Tired of airline personnel being unable to take care of your basic requests?
These crew members may be just what you need.
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Customs Declaration

I'm always scrupulously honest in claiming things when I pass through customs, whether I'm on vacation or working an international flight.  My job depends on it.

During my time out of the country, I keep a little notebook listing of what I'm buying to take home with me, along with the cost.  I keep track of things that are exempt, or make a note if I need to check on that further.

I keep informed about what can and cannot be brought back into the country, and avoid buying things that I know will be a problem.  It's not worth the risk of trying to "get something in."

When it comes time for me to fill out my customs declaration it's easy.  I list the dollar amount that I'm claiming, present the form along with my passport to officials, and I breeze on through.  Occasionally I'll get a random question or two.  Usually it's something along the lines that I'm not spending enough money on my layovers, which is always accompanied by a hearty laugh from the officials.  It's all very quick, organized and efficient.

I can't understand why people are willing to take the risk of not declaring something -- which is actually smuggling.  I'm not willing to take the risk of being detained in customs or having my property confiscated, let alone facing the possibility of a stiff fine or arrest and criminal proceedings. 

So I ask myself, what was this woman thinking bringing a human head (with teeth, hair and skin) into the US?  She was arrested and charged with smuggling a human head without proper documentation, among other charges.  (Which raises another question -- What is the proper documentation for bringing in a human head?)

Thanks to Astroprof for forwarding the article all about it while I was out traveling. 

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Ryanair Reality

I've never been a fan of reality television. 

Oh, sure, occasional I'll stop off to watch one of the shows, but it's sort of like watching a train wreck:  alternatively fascinating, scary, interesting and embarassing.  I never last watching the program for very long.

What I really don't want to watch is a reality show about an airline.  I do it every day, and I know what really happens out there.  I don't need some craftily edited piece to show me that there are some mean people in my industry; I've had to deal with their pettiness myself.  I don't need some soft music or lighting to bring a tear to my eye by an employee going the extra mile to help out someone; I work with those people and have been choked up my their thoughtfulness more times than I can remember.

However, nothing says "I gotta watch this" more than an expose'.  And apparently that's just what viewer will get with a behind-the-scenes look at Ireland's Ryanair.  Dirty planes, exhausted pilots and crew, and mistakes in the flightdeck are just part of what's being teased.  All this courtesy of two reporters who infiltrated the airline.

I don't know if this will be seen in the U.S., so if anyone can provide more information, or a synopsis after it runs, I'd be interested to hear about it.

I hate to be a cynic, but I'm guessing there's nothing in it that will surprise me.


Via Sandra.


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T-Shirt Sayings

T-shirt seen onboard today:
"If you're happy and you know it. . . by me a drink."
Always a nice sentiment, and proving that not everything out there has to be X-rated.
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Friday, February 10, 2006

Flight Attendant Jokes

Flight attendant jokes must be circulating again, as I’ve gotten a lot of them in mail this past week. Here’s an oldie, but goodie:

What separates a flight attendant from the worst scum of the earth?

The flight deck door.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Flight Attendants as Censors

Flight attendants aren’t censors, but we are sometimes put in the position of having to act like we are.  I hate it!

If you are watching an adult movie (I don’t want to call it pornography, but if the shoe fits), and there is nudity of sexual scenes that can be viewed by others in the cabin, I will tell you to turn it off.  I don’t care what you watch in private, but my employer cares about what you watch when there are other customers around.

If you are reading a magazine that has nude photos, I will ask that you close it and put it away.  No matter how tasteful those photos may be.  You will need to read it another time, as my employer cares about what you are reading when other eyes may happen upon it.

If you are listening to music with profanity in the lyrics, I will ask you to put on your headset or turn it off. You can listen to your stereo as long as those around you cannot hear it.  My employer doesn’t care what you listen to.

If you are engaged in a loud conversation, especially if you are using words that cannot be aired on television, I will ask you to lower your voice.  I believe in free speech, and appreciate your desire to express yourself.  My employer insists that you express yourself in a manner and at a time that does not offend other customers.

If you are wearing a t-shirt (or some other article of clothing) that contains an offensive graphic (usually sexual) or phrase (usually profanity), my employer wants it removed or covered up while you are on the plane.  You have probably been told that prior to boarding.  If you forget during the flight, I will gently remind you and expect you to comply.

Most passengers seem to accept these requirements, even if they may personally disagree.

Here’s a new twist:  What happens when the graphic deemed to be offensive is a tattoo?

It seems that the Australian airlines Jetstar required a woman who had a tattoo of a naked couple engaging in sex to cover it up during flight.  

The passenger has written to the airline complaining that she was embarrassed when the flight crew asking her to wear a jacket to cover up the tattoo.  EXCUSE ME!  If you’re not embarrassed to be sporting a tattoo of people having sex, I’m having a tough time believing that being required to put on a jacket is a big deal.

Oh well, at least it was just a complaint.  Here in the U.S. it would be a lawsuit.

Via:  IAG Blog

Monday, February 06, 2006

When is it Time to Quit?

Most days I love my job.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having days when I’m more aligned with Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It.”

Every once in awhile, usually after a few drinks, crew members will sit around and talk about how much longer they intend to fly.

Responses vary, from the relative new hires that talk about doing this job for a little while, “just for the travel benefit,” to long-time flight attendants who wonder if their retirement plans are going to be sufficient to allow them to ever leave the work force.  As the job has shifted its shape over the last decade, many flight attendants face the disillusionment of what the job has now become and wonder how much longer they can last.

It’s never an easy decision to leave a job.  That’s why I got such a chuckle out of “Time to Quit”, Flight Attendant James Wysong humorous listing of ways that you know it’s time to quit being a flight attendant.  

There were a few that I could relate to:

  • Several hotel staffs know you by name.

  • Passengers ask you questions at the airport and you aren’t even in uniform.

  • You start to smell like a Boeing aircraft. Eau de Boeing they call it.

  • You start saying “Buh-bye” in your sleep.

When will you know that it’s time to quit?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sky High Germs

When you work in a long tube at 40,000 feet, surrounded by hundreds of people in very close proximity, good health is a necessity, not a luxury.  It's not something that I take for granted, and I have always been proactive in taking care of my health.
I have always tried to eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, and just take care of myself in general.  It's not always easy though, when you live on the road.
Restaurant food is the norm, healthy foods aren't always readily available.  Sleep patterns are frequently irregular, as a schedule changes back and forth from day flying to night flying.  Germs are rampant in the cabin, and that is especially true for those that passengers bring on with them.

Astroprof sent me a link to this CNN article about germs in the cabin.  It spells out what flight attendants have long known:  that people travel when they are sick, thus contaminating people around them.  The article contains a list of things that can be done to lessen the possibility of becoming infected with something, and most of the items on the list are common sense whether you are on the ground or in the air.

It is the time of year for germs to be running rampant, so a little precaution the next time you fly should keep you healthy, and me as well.

Rolling Stones at Halftime

I’ve been watching the Super Bowl half time show, and 60-something Mick Jagger prancing around like he was 20-something again.

As part of the British invasion of the 60’s, that was supposed to corrupt America’s teens with their provocative music and lyrics, they seem to have aged as well as could be expected.

Am I the only one, however, who is chuckling that the Stones are now considered “safe” entertainment for the half time show?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Poll Results: Lack of Manners is the Most Annoying

Lack of manners was the clear winner (or maybe loser is the better way to look at it) in the poll for the most annoying passenger behavior.
With 18% of the vote, most people felt that it encompassed many of the other, and more specific, choices on the list.
Following lack of manners was excess carry on baggage and arm rest monopolization with 13% and 10% of the vote respectively.
Let this be a reminder to all of us the next time we travel.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Frequent Flyer Miles are as Good as Cash

As more and more airlines struggle with profitability, one of the issues on the table seems to be the frequent flyer programs.
I frequently travel as a "real person" (buying a full fare ticket), and belong to a couple of these programs.  On occasion, I've even cashed in my miles for a free ticket or two.  Lately I've been reading that a lot of these programs may be changed, and it seems to be in a way less advantageous to us travelers.
When I talked with crew members about the state of the industry, one of the consistent questions is why we are giving away so many tickets.  Why are members of our frequent flyer program allowed free upgrades?  (Rarely is it that I see a full fare passenger in first class; they are usually all upgrades.)  And why, when they aren't available, do the expect their free amenities to be provided to them in coach class?  Why are we providing so many seats to be used for miles when we can't fill the ones we have with paying passengers and make a profit?
All these are legitimate questions, and even though I understand the marketing and branding value of frequent flyer programs, it makes me wonder about their viability at a time when air travel is so cheaply priced. 
Then I come across this Reuters article which explains how the airlines sell their mileage credits to a variety of sources, including hotels, restaurants, credit card companies, banks, car rental companies, etc.  Turns out this sale of miles yields a very big influx of cash to the airlines.  It's a billion dollar a year business.  
Air Canada has spun off their loyalty program into a separate business unit, raising some 250 million dollars in cash.  Although no U.S. carrier has announced a similar plan, yet, there appears to be potential for such a move.
Looks like we're not just in the transportation business anymore.
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Five Factor Personality Profile

Perhaps this profile explains why I'm a flight attendant. I think it's the perfect mix of responsibility and fun to adapt to a life on the road.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Smoke-Free Westin Hotels

I'm a little late posting about this (I've been busy flying), but Westin Hotels has announced that they are now a smoke-free property. 

Requesting a no-smoking room will be a thing of the past, as all the rooms are being cleaned to eliminate all vestiges of odors, and the entire property will be designated non-smoking.  For those who can't help but light up, there will be a cleaning charge designed to cover the costs of indepth cleaning and smoke elimination.

It is miserable to walk into my layover hotel and have to deal with the odor of smoke.  I have actually had to leave my uniform airing out on the balcony in order to get rid of the smell.  Although we are supposed to be in non-smoking rooms, it doesn't always work that way.

Westin joins an ever growing list of hotel and resorts that are smoke-free, but I believe it is the largest hotel chain on the list. As a non-smoker, I can only hope that other hotels follow Westin's lead.  Smoke free and Heavenly Beds -- what more could I possibly want?

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Turn off Electronic Equipment

Overheard onboard today:

P.A. Announcement: "Once again, all electronic equipment must now be turned off so that we can close the door for pushback. All cell phones, PDA's, computers, personal stereos, and games must now be turned off. We will let you know when you can use them once again."

Fly Girl: (Repeating an earlier request) "Ma'am, I need you to turn off your cell phone now; we're ready to depart."

Passenger: "Oh, I didn't think that you meant that I had to."

Fly Girl: "Yes, ma'am, everyone needs to turn off all electronic equipment."

Fly Girl: (What I was really thinking) Of course YOU don't have to turn it off, we meant everyone else. Because you're special and no one minds taking a delay so that you can finish up your conversation.

Sometimes it's hard to be the good Fly Girl.