Friday, August 31, 2007

You know you're a flight attendant if...

This list came to me as an email pass-around, and to be honest, it's the second or third time I've seen it. Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun to post here. I wonder which of these would seem mysterious to people outside of aviation? Probably the same ones that make flight attendants laugh the most!

You know you're a flight attendant if...........

  • You never unpack
  • You look to the ceiling when your doorbell chimes
  • You wish you had jet engines mounted in your bedroom so you could fall asleep faster
  • You don't ever write a full city name (and it bugs your non-aviation friends): DTW MCO FCO BOM
  • You get excited over certain types of ice
  • You silently curse every Bose headset-wearing dude -- ("Yes, the electronic device announcement means you, sir.")
  • You know how to look fresh in 5 day old clothes
  • No matter how many times you clean out your suitcase you still find ancient hidden treasures in there
  • You HATE boarding
  • You LOVE deplaning
  • You have figured out that turbulence is not caused by clouds but by the initial movement of all meal carts
  • You can't believe that people let their babies and toddlers play on the floor of the aircraft cabin -- ewww, nasty
  • You remember the passengers with great manners (that's sad)
  • You can't remember when UM's actually became bigger than you
  • You love foreigners because they can't adequately complain in English
  • You have to turn your head when you see a passenger in stocking feet enter a lavatory
  • You secretly cheer when another flight attendant has to deal with the medical emergency
  • You HATE on board duty free
  • You can't stand the frequent flyer who says "I fly more than you..." (yeah, right)
  • You hate running into your passengers at your layover hotel
  • Blankety-blank tray stackers!
  • You hate when the heavy drinkers start flirting and calling you by name
  • You long for the days when it was easy to rig the TV for free movies
  • You want to smack the nail clipping -- finger nail polishing -- nose picking -- snoring passengers
  • You want no passengers talking to you while you are non-revving
  • Even when you are not working a flight, you travel in uniform for the liquids, creams and gels exemption
  • If passengers can't find the flush to the toilet -- they should stay in there till they do!
  • You wish you had a button to press that would announce, "No I don't have a pen"
  • You are excited to find a can of different soda that is not supposed to be on your airline
  • You could scream when people use an empty seat to change their baby's diaper, and don't even put a blanket underneath the little one -- worse yet, they ask if they can change the baby on the floor of the galley!
  • You know a meaning for "crop-dusting" that has nothing to do with agriculture
  • You cruise the aircraft after all the passengers have deplaned to find the discarded magazines and paperback novels before the cleaners get them
  • You can spot the cover of a new crossword or sudoku book on an airport newsstand rack from 50 feet away
  • You hate early morning departures -- Who in the hell HAS to fly at 6 AM?
  • You wish every airline manager actually WAS a flight attendant at one point in their life (this goes double for flight attendant supervisors)
  • You can't believe the senior F/A at your airline is in their 80's (doesn't matter what airline they all have them)
  • You try not to go to the bathroom on the plane but you sure can catch a good nap in there
  • You hate that passengers think they can hear you without taking off their headsets
  • You are glad there are no hidden cameras in the galley
  • Your non-aviation friends truly don't get the commuting part: "So you have to fly when and your trip starts where??"
  • YES, "Remain seated for the duration of our flight" DOES mean YOU
  • You can't figure out why your manager is not held accountable for the same things you are
  • Your jumpseat partner knows more about you than your spouse or life partner
  • You have at least 6 items of your own you could add to this list
  • You had a memory for all of these, and understood every one.
And you can identify with this Nicoderm Commercial:

If you have any more items to add to the list above, you're welcome to post them in the comments.

Happy landings!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

AFA petitions to unionize Compass Airlines F/As

Compass Airlines logoThe Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the world's largest flight attendant union, recently filed a petition with the National Mediation Board (NMB) to hold a representational election on behalf of Compass Airlines flight attendants. If the NMB verifies that a sufficient number of union representation cards signed by Compass flight attendants have been collected by AFA, a secret ballot election to vote on union representation will be called.

Compass Airlines, is a subsidiary of Northwest Airlines. The new regional carrier began service earlier this year, operating as Northwest Airlink. By the end of 2007, the airline expects to employ over 300 people and to operate a fleet of 10 aircraft from its Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis hubs.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Passenger tries to open door during Frontier Airlines flight

Several days ago, a passenger attempted to open a door on a Frontier Airlines Airbus during flight, and had to be restrained by flight attendants, with assistance from other passengers. The incident happened on Frontier Flight 514, en route from Denver to New York-La Guardia (LGA), early on the morning of August 25, 2007.

The man was unsuccessful in his attempt, and the plane landed safely with no reported injuries to the five crew members or 127 other passengers. On arrival at LGA, the disruptive passenger was taken into custody by Port Authority police.

According to news reports, the incident happened less than an hour before the aircraft was scheduled to land at LGA. A passenger who had been sitting near the unruly man said that the man had been acting strangely throughout the flight, bouncing up and down in his seat and kicking the seat in front of him. He struggled to escape after he was restrained with duct tape and a seatbelt extension.

[Passenger Bobby] Vigil said his rowmate left his seat to go to the bathroom in the front of the plane and briefly tried to open the cockpit door. The man, whom he described as Asian and about 20, then returned to his seat, only to get up 15 seconds later, go to the back of the plane and attempt to open the cabin door.

"I heard the flight attendant say, 'Help me!'" Vigil said. A struggle broke out, and Vigil and two other male passengers rushed over to help the attendant restrain the passenger.

"We taped him up in an 'X' pattern," said Vigil. "He wouldn't stay still or cooperate."

The man, whose name was not released, attempted to bite the tape off his hands and feet. Extension belts were used to keep him in place as the plane prepared to land, Vigil said.
A story about the incident in the New York Post described the man as 35 years old, and mentioned that he had been taken to Elmhurst General Hospital in Queens for evaluation.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Follow-up: Gulf Air cabin crew win substantial pay raise

Gulf Air logoThis is the kind of follow-up story I wish I could do more often.

Last week I posted a story about a request for an increase in pay and allowances by the Flight Attendant General Trade Union, which represents Gulf Air cabin crew. The union petitioned Gulf Air's CEO asking for a 30% pay raise and an increased meal allowance. There was concern that the airline was losing experienced crew who were leaving for other carriers that offered better pay and working conditions.

Apparently Gulf Air management paid attention to what union leaders had to say. They have agreed to increase pay and allowances for cabin crew, and the amounts will be considerably more than the union requested. (This may be a first!)

An article in the Gulf Daily News about the new pay rates reports:

Flight attendants will have their basic wage boosted by up to 52%, to BD340 a month.

Those serving in First Class will get between 57% and 90%, depending on experience and marital status, taking up their basic salaries of BD400 to BD480.

Crew get an allowance for every hour they are away from Bahrain, which has been doubled from 700 fils to BD1.500 under the new deal, said sources.
The increases were approved by the Gulf Air board earlier this week.

Gulf Air pilots were awarded pay increases as well.

Mahmood Al Kooheji, chairman of Gulf Air, said, "We are moving ahead full steam with the realignment of Gulf Air and this improved package is our appreciation for the flight deck and cabin crews' hard work, dedication and commitment to further strengthen the Gulf Air brand."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

If Sesame Street ran an airline...

...would Grover be the flight attendant? (Silly, but cute.)

If the video does not play or display properly, you can see Sesame Street - Grover the flight attendant here on YouTube.

Tip of the hat to YouTube user sesamestreet66 for posting the video.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Evacuation of burning China Airlines B737 at Naha, Okinawa

A China Airlines B737 burst into flames at Naha, Okinawa yesterday morning. The aircraft had just arrived on a scheduled flight from Taipei, and passengers were preparing to deplane when the aircraft caught fire. All 157 passengers and eight crew members evacuated the aircraft safely just before it exploded. Congratulations to the cabin crew of China Airlines Flight 120 for managing to evacuate everyone, and with no serious injuries.

China Airlines officials publicly praised the crew, describing them as "heroes," and a spokesman for the Taiwan government's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said, "Based on the information we have gathered, they evacuated all the passengers in accordance with the standard operation procedure, which requires that all passengers be evacuated within 90 seconds in the case of emergency."

Crew members were identified as You Chien-kuo (captain), Tseng Ta-wei (first officer), cabin chief Kang Li-mei, and flight attendants Cheng Hsieh-jer, Fan Jin-yao, Chang Chia-wen, and Hung Kuan-lin, all from Taiwan. Another flight attendant, a Japanese national, was not identified by name.

From The China Post:

[Captain] You thanked his crew, saying "they immediately evacuated all the passengers upon receiving my order."

"Without them, I would not have the opportunity to stand here to meet you tonight," he said.

You said all he thought about when dealing with the crisis was to make sure that all passengers and crew members were safe.

Only after he saw cabin chief Kang make a safe landing on the ground through an evacuation sliding chute did he order Tseng to quickly get out of the plane.

Television pictures showed Captain You telling the copilot to climb out of the two-story cockpit via rope before doing so himself. Seconds later, the blaze set off a chain of explosions.
This video of the event shows clearly what a close call it was for all those on board:

If the video does not play or display properly here, you can view "China airlines 737 explodes in Okinawa" on YouTube.

Tip of the hat to YouTube user Hobox72 for posting the video.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gulf Air cabin crew petition CEO for pay raise

Gulf Air logoFlight attendants at Gulf Air are asking management for a 30% pay raise, plus an increase in allowances. The Gulf Daily News in Bahrain reports that a petition signed by 500 Gulf Air cabin crew requesting changes to pay and working conditions was handed to the airline's acting president and chief executive Bjorn Naf by the Flight Attendant General Trade Union earlier this week.

The union's leader, Sadeq Al Derazi, said the airline had to improve the pay of in-flight staff or continue to lose them to rival carriers. Mr. Al Derazi is a cabin services manager who has worked for Gulf Air for 18 years.

"Our main objective is not only to get increased pays but to keep hold of our experienced cabin crew. A lot of them have moved to other companies and we want to stop them," he said.

"Only improving conditions will stop people from leaving for other companies. We are not trying to force their hand - we are asking them to stop people moving to another airline."
In addition to an increase in base pay, Gulf Air cabin crew are seeking an increase in the meal allowance paid for every hour that each flight attendant is away from Bahrain.

The union has asked for an agreement to be reached by the end of this month.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

American Airlines recalls 460 furloughed TWA F/As

American Airlines logoAmerican Airlines (AA) is sending recall notices to 460 former TWA flight attendants who had been furloughed soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The new recalls are in addition to the 200 flight attendants recalled earlier this year. This will be the fifth flight attendant recall by AA since 2003.

A statement about the latest recall on the AA website says that flight attendants who accept and meet all requirements will be eligible to return to service in either November or December 2007.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Air New Zealand may begin offering 'sleeping pods' for pax

Nathan AgnewThis is starting to sound like a trend: Last month I did a piece on Lufthansa's 'Sleepers Class' idea for economy passengers on long-haul flights. Now it looks as though Air New Zealand is considering something similar.

An article on the New Zealand news website Stuff reports that Air New Zealand is considering replacing cramped economy seats with 'sleeping pods' on its long-range aircraft. The article quotes Air New Zealand's strategic development general manager, Nathan Agnew, who said that the airline wants to introduce an entirely new type of economy cabin when it takes delivery of its fleet of Boeing 787-9 and 777-300ER long-range jets from 2010.

Referring to Cathay Pacific's planned introduction of economy seats that recline within a fixed shell, similar to business class seats, Mr. Agnew said, "We think that if you are going to do that concept why not push it to the next level, why stop there? We haven't even constrained ourselves to saying that it necessarily will be a seat. The other option is to give people a sleeping pod."

"We like it (the pod) as a concept. We are yet to evaluate whether practically it could be fitted out to an aircraft interior," Agnew said.

Cabin crew already sleep in pods during long distance flights, usually hidden away at the rear plane or in the ceiling space above the passenger cabin.

"Given that a lot of our long-haul flying is overnight, it might actually be preferable for our customers simply to have something like that rather than have a seat," Agnew said.

Because eating in a pod might be difficult, passengers may be served a meal at the airport before the flight, allowing them to immediately go to sleep once on the plane.

"We have some quite creative ways, at least conceptually, how this could work."
Mr. Agnew stressed that this idea is still a theoretical concept, not a done deed.

For more on what may be forthcoming for Air New Zealand, have a look at this Interview with Nathan Agnew in the New Zealand Herald.

[Photo Source]

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pax ignores seat belt sign, breaks leg in turbulence

Continental Airlines logoA passenger on a Continental Airlines flight broke his leg after leaving his seat during turbulence. The incident happened on August 2, 2007 on board a B-737 aircraft operating as Continental Flight 875 from Houston to Panama City, Republic of Panama. The aircraft encountered turbulence while descending for an approach to Panama City.

A brief factual report about the turbulence incident posted on the NTSB website summarizes what happened:

The Captain requested and received deviations from the intended route of flight to avoid inclement weather along the route of flight when the flight encountered moderate turbulence for approximately 7 to 8 seconds during descent.

The cabin seat belt sign was illuminated and the flight attendants had made several announcements regarding the seat belt sign when a passenger fractured his leg after he elected to leave his seat.

The injured passenger was attended to by an on-board physician until he was de-planed by local paramedics.
No other passengers or crew members were injured, and there was no damage to the aircraft.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Air India cabin crew to get new designer uniforms

Air India logoEarlier this year India's two main state-owned airlines were merged into one company. The new Air India is undergoing a corporate image makeover, and as a part of that effort, cabin crew and ground personnel will be getting smart new uniforms created by one of India's top fashion designers.

Designer Ritu Beri has been selected to design the new uniforms for India's national flag carrier, according to India's Economic Times:

The design of the new uniforms draw inspiration from the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa, yet maintains a modern outlook.

The colour palette of the uniform is red, orange, black and white, with red standing for strength and orange for cultural roots.

"The endeavour is to combine our rich Indian colours and motifs from the Sun Temple with the powerful and more modern combination of black and white in the borders," a statement from Air India said.

The uniform for the female employees, both ground staff and cabin crew, would include sarees, tunics, scarves, jackets, coats, aprons and shoes, while there would be specially designed ties for the male staff.
For more information about the designer, visit Ritu Beri's website. While you are there, be sure to have a look at her Uniform Portfolio page.

When a photo of the new uniforms becomes available, I'll post it here on Cabin Crew News.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Were Flybe cabin crew sickened by fumes in aircraft cabin?

Two cabin crew members became violently ill and collapsed during a recent Flybe flight on a BAe 146 aircraft between Birmingham, England and George Best Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland. The Transport and General Workers' Union, which represents Flybe's cabin crew, says the crew members' illness was caused by a "toxic gas" in the aircraft cabin. The union is calling for an investigation.

A news article about the incident in the Belfast Telegraph quotes union officials who say this was "the latest in a number of potentially disastrous mid-air incidents in which crew members working for various airlines have become dangerously ill during flights."

Campaigners who believe the incidents are due to deadly toxins from jet engine oil contaminating the air supply have warned that the 'fuming' incidents are putting the long-term health of crew and passengers at risk and are also in danger of causing a major air catastrophe if pilots become incapacitated.

Details have emerged in a CAA report into a terrifying episode last month on board the Flybe jet.

Passengers on board the BAe 146 plane flying into Belfast from Birmingham were completely unaware of the drama at the rear of the aircraft, and of the fears of other terrified cabin crew that they may not have been able to deal with an emergency with incapacitated staff.

Dessie Henderson, senior organiser of the Transport and General Workers' Union in Belfast, says it's just one of an increasing number of 'fuming' incidents which are feared to be leaving airline staff and passengers facing possible long-term health problems due to so-called "aerotoxic syndrome".
Mr. Henderson went on to say, "There have been numerous incidents and they can't continue to go unexplained when the health and safety of the cabin crews and the passengers on board the planes are at stake. If these incidents are down to organophosphates, then that is what the airlines need to be carrying out checks for, to see if their staff and our members have been exposed to it."

While declining to comment on the specific incident, a spokesman for Flybe said that all of the company's aircraft are manufactured and maintained to the highest industry standards.
"Any incidents involving sickness experienced by cabin crew, flight crew or passengers are taken very seriously by the company, with appropriate medical support always provided.

"The statistically very small occurrences of on-board sickness indicate that our systems and processes are robust and more than meet all CAA regulatory demands.

"Flybe are at the leading edge of co-operative joint research in this area and are comfortable that our expertise marks us out as industry leaders."
The UK The Government's Committee on Toxicity is said to be examining the threat from contaminated cabin air.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Follow-up: Qantas F/A fired for 'stealing' is reinstated

Qantas logoBack in March of this year, I posted a story here about Philip Woodward-Brown, a Qantas flight attendant who was fired for allegedly taking nuts and other miscellaneous bits from a plane. Such a move on the part of Qantas seemed over the top, given the relatively innocuous nature of Mr. Woodward-Brown's offense, and I said so at the time.

It seems that others felt the same way, including officials at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).

After a hearing on the case, Lea Drake, senior deputy president of the AIRC said that although Mr Woodward-Brown had breached Qantas policy by his actions, she found the dismissal was "disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct." According to a report on the Australian news website, Drake ordered Qantas to reinstate Mr. Woodward-Brown and pay him for his accrued time between his termination last August and immediate re-hiring.