(Illustration: Ryan McCullah)
You think you’ve got it bad when your in-flight 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.
Like every occupation, the airline industry has its own lingo. This week Betty shares some slang so you can be in the know, too. And know just how bad it could be if Blue Juice splashed all over a Lounge Lizard touching up her Landing Lips before sitting in the Sharon Stone Jumpseat.
(GIF: Warner Bros.)
Blue Juice n. The lavatory water is blue. So when we call the pilot to say, “The lav is out of blue juice,” you may want to hold it.
Commuter n. A crew member who lives in one city but takes a plane to their base city to get to work. These are tired crew members.
Concourse Shoes n. High-heeled pumps flight attendants wear to walk though the airport, changed out for comfortable (usually ugly) flats once in the air. Would you believe there is a market for used flight attendant shoes on eBay? Now, I would love to sell my smelly old shoes but I find the idea… rather creepy.
Crashpad n. Commuters sometimes share an apartment with 20 or more other commuters so they don’t have to pay for a hotel room between trips. I’ve never had a crashpad because one bathroom for 20 people sounds icky.
Deadheading v. Flying as a passenger on company business to get to work. (Nothing to do with The Grateful Dead.) You may have to deadhead to New York to work a flight back to Los Angeles so you are deadheading to New York. We like deadheading!
Dinosaur n.Really senior (old) flight attendant. Just about every flight attendant starts off thinking they will only fly a few years. But as the years go by, the time off, and the flexible schedule and travel perks just get better and better so you end up sticking around (forever and ever).
Jumpseat n. The uncomfortable fold-down chairs we sit on.
Jumpseater n. An off-duty crew member hitching a ride when there is no passenger seat available. This makes you sort of homeless and generally standing around the bathrooms in flight.
Landing Lips n. The snappy gorgeousness you see after we reapply lipstick before landing in order to look fresh for the “buh byes.” I know a flight attendant who was explaining this to a passenger and he said, “I’d like to land on your lips.” They are now happily married.
Lounge n. The rooms downstairs where we have couches and computers and where we sign in and brief for trips.
Lounge Lizard n. A commuter who doesn’t have a crashpad and doesn’t want to pay for a hotel between trips. They sleep on the couch in the lounge overnight. The lizard part is because they can’t take a shower. Glamorous!
Mini Me n. A small trash cart that is half the size of the big trash cart. Crew members have been known to climb into the big trash cart to scare passengers!
Seniority Rules n. Ever wonder why you see older flight attendants on longer flights? The airline industry is an odd duck in that we only get paid when we are in the air — not while boarding the plane or, worse, waiting to pull away from the gate to takeoff (we hate it just as much as you!). Most people prefer to get paid when they are at work, so junior flight attendants are stuck with the four or five short flights a day where they are only getting paid half of the day. So if you’re on a short flight you will have younger and cuter (and poorer) crew members. Like any occupation, you pay your dues and it slowly gets better and better — one reason why there are so many dinosaurs. Stick around, and all in all it’s a great job!
Sharon Stone Jumpseat n.The jumpseat that faces the passengers. This goes back to the movie Basic Instinct where the actress crosses and uncrosses her legs giving a show. Extra caution is required to sit here while wearing a dress.
(GIF: TriStar Pictures)
Stay tuned until next Monday for another installment of Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant.