Airline Crews Behaving Badly


(Graphic: Ryan McCullah)

Betty“ is a real-life flight attendant who has had enough.

You think you’ve got it bad when your inflight entertainment conks out, the Pixie-Stix addicted kid behind you mistakes the back of your chair for a vertical trampoline, and the plane runs out of “Good Morning Sunshine” cheese boxes? That’s child’s play. Welcome to Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant, a Yahoo Travel series where “Betty” describes the harrowing, real life situations she and her comrades in the sky face every day, 35,000 feet away from a foot massage and premium whiskey.

This week Betty tells us the crazy things the flight crew gets up to when you aren’t looking.

It can be tough when everyone dwells on the negative aspects of air travel. Silly pranks and high jinks sometimes let us lighten the mood a little.

Surf’s Up

It’s rare, but there are flights where there are no passengers on board. With no passengers to see us we can do things we would never do in the sight of paying customers. This is when we go aisle surfing.

Read More: The 15 Most Ridiculous Things People Say on a Plane

Here’s how you do it: You get a meal tray, then stand or sit on it at the front of the airplane. On takeoff, you attempt to aisle surf all the way to the back of the plane. I have never done this because it usually ends badly. You can really gain speed on the carpet, but when you hit the rubber galley floor the tray stops while the aisle surfer goes “flying!”


(Photo: Thinkstock)

Could You Repeat That Please?

The current trend of noise-canceling headphones does make serving beverages more difficult. One day I was trying to serve drinks to a man wearing these headphones but he couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t get his attention. So I was joking with the other passengers that I could say anything to him and he wouldn’t hear me. They cautioned me that he may be able to read my lips. So I started thinking up things I could say that would look like I was saying, “Something to drink?” I said, “Do you need a shrink?” and he said “Diet Coke.” Everyone in the row laughed except the for the guy, who was completely oblivious under his headphones. I went on serving drinks and other passengers who had heard the conversation kept coming up with other things that look like I’m saying “something to drink?” Someone suggested “do you stink?” I thought I might be too harsh, so as I approached a heavy-set gentleman at the window with the giant headphones on I asked: “Are your toenails pink?” and he replied “just water!”


(Photo: Thinkstock)

Read More: Check out Part I and Part II of Betty’s firsthand account of Ambien Zombies on the plane.

Nothing Wrong With a Little Hazing

My airline is hiring at the moment so we are seeing some fresh-from-training flight attendants. I love new hires because they are brimming with enthusiasm. They are also very eager to please and don’t know the ropes. You can only learn so much in training. The rest is learned on the line. Some gullible new hires have fallen for standard newbie pranks. The “air test” is where you tell the new hire that we have to test the air quality on certain flights. You give them a recycle bag and tell them to go “catch” the air in First Class and then have them do another air catching spectacle for the economy cabin. Upon arrival, we have them hand in their bags full of air to a stunned gate agent.


(Photo: Thinkstock)

Mouse in the House

During a period when things were not going well in the airline industry everyone was depressed and flying had become discouraging. I find that when people are complaining, other people nearby can get sucked into the negativity. I decided I needed to do something to lighten the mood. At an airplane shop I bought a little wind-up mouse.

When people started complaining I would secretly wind up the mouse and let it loose in the galley; flight attendants would scream and jump and completely forget what they were complaining about. It became my secret mood enhancer. I have had some unexpected laughs when the TSA security screeners decide to check my bags and give a little yelp when they encounter my in-flight mouse!

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