Friday, August 19, 2011

Have I mentioned how I dislike Lazy Flight Attendants?

Ok, let me back up a bit here. I was, at one time, a lazy Flight Attendant. Sure, I have only been working the skies for 11yrs, so why was I so jaded?

I remember being that energetic new hire trying to please everyone...doing all the required phases of flight.....hmm, let me see if I remember what they are. Phase 1: Pre-boarding/boarding, and taxi-out. Phase 2: Take-off, beverage service, meal service. Phase 3: Chat with the passenger when all service is complete. Phase 4: landing, taxi-in, deplaning.

Well, not sure if that was right, but it was something similar. Anywho, being based out of Chicago (with my airline), you have a lot of up and down flying. If you were flying to the East Coast, you pretty much had less than 2hrs to do a full meal/beverage service, while going to the West Coast you had an extra hour to do it all. One of the things that I really disliked was the back-n-forth flying. We really repeated a LOT of the same routes, over, and over, and over, and over. It got to be boring, not only for the passengers, but for the flight attendants too.

However, the Phase 3 portion was always the fun part. We would try to engage in the passenger, ask where they were going, or who they are going to visit with. The only problem? Majority of the passengers were businessmen who didn't want to be bothered and just wanted to work on their presentations. (this was before inflight wifi became available)

When the pax start to snarl at you to leave them alone, you just learn not to bother them. Yes, we were still required (and still are) to do walk-thru's every so often to see if someone needed a refill. However even then, a lot of the businessmen just wanted to be left alone....with a full glass of liquid. So with that, I started to sit after I was finished, only to get up when a passenger rang the Flight Attendant Call-Button.

Then chaos broke out in the aviation industry. The worst disaster hit and things started to change. Airlines were laying off employee's to try to stay afloat; reducing options on flights they once had: Caviar, Lobster tails, Smoked Salmon, Assortment of morning breads, liquor/wine/spirits in half bottles...ALL GONE. Now, to stay afloat, many airlines filed for bankruptcy.

I was unfortunately laid off from my employer, but thankfully only for 5 months. When I came back, I was based at a different base than I was laid off from. I was 'thrown' to New York City due to staffing needs. But I had a job. I just didn't care much, and still having the mentality from Chicago, I would do my service and sit on the jumpseat when I was done.

This didn't last long though. I started to feel really bad when I would be shown up by a Senior Flight Attendant who shouldn't be a spry as she/he was. If a call-light went off, before I could even figure out where it was coming from, the flight attendants that had been flying for 30+yrs wold already be out in the aisle checking on the light. From this, I told myself that I would not be that lazy again....(so far I haven't)

I've always wanted to be an International Flight Attendant. Flying on the Domestic side of things at our airline, the service is just sub-par. It's nothing to brag about, however if you flew International, then the service was still extraordinary. The planes were bigger, longer routes, and longer lay-overs at the city you flew into.

Recently, I transferred to another base. This time, I was going Internationally. I was able to go to this locations that I have always dreamed about. Luckily, I'm a Lead Flight Attendant. I get to set the tone of how the service is going to be, and do all the paperwork that needs to be done regarding catering issues, or passenger misconduct.

For the first couple weeks, things were going perfectly. I was learning the ways of the road in my new 'digs', until  I encountered my first lazy flight attendant. With the majority of the flying that I'm doing, the meal service pretty much mirrors that of what I was going out of New York. At one time, I remember talking with a supervisor about why we had carts in the aisle for meals, when I kept hearing about the good old days when the flight attendants would hand-run the trays. Of course, they didn't have any good answer, but I soon would find out.

Flight Attendants started cutting corners to make their jobs easier during the service. This would also be true in taking a cart out into the aisle and serve beverages and/or meals from the cart. One thing that hasn't changed is carts still aren't allowed in First Class on a 3-Class airplane. However, one loop-hole is the Purser can say what goes to change things up a bit. For me, I like to hand-run the trays and meals. It makes the flight go by so much faster, and you can give the more personal attention to the passenger.

Last week, a flight attendant yelled at me saying that I should be using the cart in the aisle (on a 4hr flight) and not make the other flight attendant run so much. Yes, our manuals do say that you can use a cart to deliver trays, I personally feel that is tacky and down-grades the I like to run.

I spent a few months as the 'running' flight attendant and it was awesome. The passengers enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and the service was done very smoothly. So back to a couple of flight attendants, they don't like to hand run because their feet start hurting, and they don't like walking back and forth to deliver the drinks, then the trays, pick up the salad plates, deliver the meals, pick up the trays, deliver the deserts, pick up the deserts. So I finally told them that if they wanted to do the service that way, then they can apply to be a Purser and do it the way they want.  Until then, it's going to be my way in the First Class cabin.

Now keep in mind, there are moments where you would need to deliver using a cart, but that is very seldom (in my eyes) or that's what the service calls for in Business Class.

Ok, I know I'm just rambling on now, but I guess my standards are just too high for some of these people.