Monday, May 29, 2006

Clean, Crisp & Pressed

Sometimes when I get home from a trip, I look at my crispy starched, formerly white shirts, and wonder just what happened.

Is it really possible for me to have that many cans of soda explode down the front of me?  Did I spill that much stuff?  Am I really that much of a slob?

Unfortunately, at 40,000 feet, spills are inevitable.  It just goes with the job.

Fortunately, there are fabrics that are stain resistant, and treatments that can help repel stains.

Unfortunately, none of those have been incorporated into a uniform shirt or blouse.

Why is that?

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Holiday Weekend

What are your plans for this weekend? 
Traveling?  Parties?  Staying home?
I'm glad that I'm not flying, and can avoid all the craziness of the airport.  I'll be busy at home with lots of invites for weekend parties.
How about you?
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Are Air Marshals Really Anonymous? Do You Care?

Apparently the air marshals out there are not as anonymous as people would like to think.
A report by the House Judiciary Committee cited several policies and practices which work at odds with the stated policy of the air marshals being undercover.
As a Flight Attendant, I see air marshals on a near daily basis, and, like many of my regular passengers, there are some I recognize by sight.  But 9 times out of 10, even when I don't know them, I can pick them out in the boarding area.  Perhaps this is what the Judiciary Committee is critical of.  And they should be.
Some of the practices under critical review include:
Dress code:  It is believed that the fairly strict and conservative dress code actually draws attention to the air marshals, rather than allowing them to blend in with other passengers. I'd say this one is probably an obvious issue -- after all, who dresses up to travel any more?!
Hotel:  Evidently the marshals are required to stay at designated hotel, probably much in the same way that flight crews do, and are required to show their credentials at the front desk.  I know how obvious we are in checking in, so I would imagine it is for the marshals as well.  Nothing screams out "here I am" more than flashing credentials.  (Well, maybe flashing a gun.)  It's reported that one hotel (Sheraton Fort Lauderdale - Airport) even designated the air marshal service as the "company of the month" at their hotel.  Oh yeah, that will guarantee anonymity.
Boarding:  It's believed that the boarding process gives away the identify of the marshals.  While I'm not in the boarding area to pay attention to this process, I'll grant that it may have validity.
I'm not entirely convinced that the success of the air marshal program depends on the marshals eing anonymous.  But, if that's the stated policy, it's a good idea to have practices that support, rather than work against, it. 
It will be interesting to see what Congress does with the report, and if any changes are made to the program.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Theme Song

There was some catchy music being played during the boarding process yesterday, and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. It's not even that interesting of a tune; it's just stuck on a continuous loop in my head.

I came across this fun little quiz while looking for something to replace the annoying song that I am unable to shake.

Your Theme Song is Beautiful Day by U2

"Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

You see the beauty in life, especially in ordinary everyday moments.
And if you're feeling down, even that seems a little beautiful too.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kaleidoscope World

When I was a kid, I loved my kaleidoscope.

When I had to be quiet, or stay indoors, the colorful patterns would keep me entertained for hours. It was always by my side when I was sick, my mom knowing that it would give both of us a little relief.

I came across this website, where you can make your own online kaleidoscope. You can see my before picture and my kaleidoscope photo above.

Warning: It's a little addictive!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jet Blue's Inflight Spa

What's not to like about flying red-eyes when you're treated like this?

Jet Blue has started giving out red-eye flyer kits that contain spa items from Bliss Spa.  Stuff in the kit includes, eye masks, earplugs, moisturizer, and lip balm, along with a promotional offer at the Bliss spas, located in New York City, London, and various W Hotels.

Also on the red-eye filghts, is Jet Blue's "Shut-Eye" service which features passenger access to a self-serve pantry filled with snacks and hot towels.  Of course, I'm wondering what the Flight Attendants' responsibility is during these flights.

I can't wait to check this out!

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Laptop Battery

I rarely travel without my laptop.

It keeps me connected with my work, my friends, and my family.  It allows me to check on flights, trade my schedule around, and, of course, write for YuHu Stewardess.

I understand that some computer applications are a heavier drain on laptop batteries, so I try to minimize those when I can't get plugged in.  But it still seems that I'm jumping from battery use to A/C adapter and back to battery use with no rhyme or reason.  Now it seems that my battery just doesn't hold the juice like it used to.

I know that I should buy another battery, but so far, I've just not been able to justify the expense.  So I was happy to read about how you can extend the life of your laptop battery by running it through a full discharge/charge cycle.

The way to do this is to let the battery run completely down until the laptop goes to sleep.  Then plug it in and let it recharge completely.  It is recommended that this be done once a month.

I ran it through the cycle this afternoon, and now I'll see how long it lasts.  If you've tried this, I'd like to know if it really does extend the battery life.


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Friday, May 19, 2006

Mandatory Retirement at Age 60

One of the often debated issues in the airline business, is the mandatory retirement age (60) for pilots.
There are a variety of arguments on both sides, some more convincing than others.
Here's a nice discussion of the issue, written by a pilot, and also infused with a little bit of humor.
Where do I weigh in on this issue?  When the mandatory medical exams are truly thorough exams, certifying the health of the captain, I'll discuss the subject further.  Right now, there are too many ways around the medical certification for me to consider raising the age.
Let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Breaking Wind

I've been seeing the Flat D Chair Pad all over this morning.
It's a charcoal activated chair pad that's designed to absorb the odors of. . . well, there is no real polite way to say this. . . flatulence.
There are some flights where Flight Attendant's should have this to hand out to some passengers.
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Monday, May 15, 2006


Here are the poll results from the question:  Will you see the movie United 93. 
Seen it already:  5%
Going to see it:  22%
No:  50%
Don't see any movies:  3%
Undecided:  20%
The "NO" vote overwhelmingly has it!
I'm still in the undecided category, although leaning toward a yes.  Most likely, though, I'll wait to see it on DVD.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm Back!

I've had a busy week or so, and have not been able to post.  I'm back now, and have returned to the land of steady computer access.
Lots going on in the airline biz these days, so come back soon to catch up on everything!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pilot Job Outsourced to U.S.

Apparently someone is hiring pilots --- overseas airlines.

Foreign carriers are outsourcing flying jobs to U.S. pilots:  China, India, and the Emirates have long been options.  Emerging options include:  Bolivia, Qatr, and Vietnam.

Compensation packages include salary, health care, housing alloance, retirement plans, and vacation.  Many of the packages are more than what pilots have been making here at home.

In other parts of the world flight crews are still treated with respect. 

Via Today in the Sky

Monday, May 08, 2006

Movie Review: United 93

Here's a nice review of the movie United 93 written by a pilotat Blogging at FL250.
After reading it, I'm getting a little closer to making up my mind about whether I want to see the movie or not.
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TSA Jokes replace Post Office Joke

Did you hear the one about the TSA guy who. . . .

Apparently everone has a TSA airport story, and whether deserved or not, they have now become the new post office joke.

Do you have a favorite TSA joke?


Via Today in the Sky

Friday, May 05, 2006

Jet Blue Baggage Handlers Want to Unionize

It looks like everything may not be rosy at Jet Blue, as word filters out that the baggage handles have filed a petition with the National Mediation Board to stage a union election.  The certification process, which is the prelude to an election, will likely take at least a month.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union said that it was approach by the Jet Blue baggage handlers, in essence pointing out that this was an inside campaign and not an external organizing one.

Complaints seem to include:  no paid sick leave, no paid vacation, no pension plan.

Jet Blue denies the claims, saying that all Jet Blue employees receive paid time off based on the numbers of years of employment.  Since the company is fairly young, I think that it's safe to say, there's no one around with lots of time on the books.  The company also claims that there is a company matching 401(k) and profit sharing plan.

As always, in these situations both sides are spinning the story to best suit their needs.  The truth lies somewhere middle. 

What this does indicate, however, is that Jet Blue will have to face the same labor issues that other carriers have been facing for years.

Stand by.  I think these issues are just beginning.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo

You Are a Strawberry Margarita

You're so sweet it's a little overwhelming, and people are a little afraid of corrupting you...
It's a little difficult to imagine you with a margarita. And you're truly a different person after you've kicked back a couple!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How's About This Ticket Pricing Decision?

Anyone who is a regular reader here knows that I continue to shake my head over the lack of fiscal accountability in setting fares, and instead nickeling and diming passengers to death.
Many carriers have added a fuel surcharge fee, supposedly a temporary fee to help offset the high price of oil.  Well excuse me!  But haven't we had high oil prices for awhile now?  (And yes, I realized what was once considered "high" is probably now seen as a bargain.)  Do airline executives really think this is temporary?
Just raise the damn price folks!  Let me know what it's really going to cost right up front.  Don't tease me with those bargain fares, and then jack up the price with add-on fees.
Call me crazy, if you must, but is there anyone who thinks this is a good business decision:
According to Terry Trippler of Cheapseats, it now costs $103,400 to fuel up a Boeing 747-400 for a flight to Asia.  That costs represents an increase in over $48,000 from two years ago.  If you factor that out for a FULL aircraft (408 seats typically, depending on precise configuration), the fuel alone averages out to $253 per person, one-way. 
Then, of course, there are other costs:  labor, gate charges, executive and administrative costs for running the company, and oh yeah, the aircraft costs itself.
Mr. Trlippler had recently paid $227, one-way, not including taxes, for a Northwest flight from Detroit to Tokyo.  Not even enough to pay for the fuel!!!
Is it any wonder Northwewst is in Bankruptcy? 
Is it any wonder why the entire industry is generally in the toilet? 
PUHLEEZE -- when are people going to get realistic about what it costs to fly?
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Advertising on Airplane

Always looking for a way to make a buck, Brazilian airline TAM has started selling advertising on the tray tables.  In Europe, it's reported that carriers sell a variety of onboard advertising as well.

I guess if it works in subways, on buses, taxi cabs, etc., it could work on an airplane.

I just shudder to think where it could lead, though.


Via Jaunted




Monday, May 01, 2006

Snoop Dogg & British Airways

People try to sneak into first class all the time.  There are a few different approaches: 

The "do you know who I am approach" in which the individual tries to impress the flight attendant with how important they are in the hopes of getting into first class.  Success rating:  1.

The "special needs" approach in which the passenger asserts some special needs (whether real, or imaginary) and needs a little extra room or space.  Success rating:  4.

The "bribery" approach where the passenger brings goodies to the flight attendants.  Dven if there is no room in first class, this technique will likely get you a free drink.  Success rating:  10.

And now, from London, we have a new technique:  storming the VIP Lounge.  This technique just isn't going to meet with much success, as evidenced by the Snoop Dogg/British Airways debacle. 

Three of the traveling group had first class tickets, but apparently felt that the remaining members of the group should join them in the VIP lounge.  While we must always be a little leery of celebrity gossip details, it appears that this much is known: 

  • Snoop Dogg and his entourage have been banned for life from British Airways.
  • Seven police officers were injured in the fray.
  • Snoop Dogg, along with five others, were arrested.
  • There was alcohol involved.

Say no more.

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