(Illustration: Ryan McCullah)
Last week we detailed the five types of drunks on an airlplane and the week before went over the craziest things parents do on planes. Attention, passengers: This is Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant, a Yahoo Travel series in which “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. You think you’ve got it bad when your in-flight entertainment conks out, the Pixy 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.
Let’s set the record straight: Flight attendants are not floozies (well, maybe a few are). Somewhere along the line people got the idea that we have boyfriends in every city or that there is a lot of hanky-panky going on with the pilots. If I had a man in every port and was fooling around with a bunch of pilots, I’d be exhausted!
But that doesn’t mean that life at 30,000 feet in the air isn’t without its own set of questionably sexual moments — between the crew and the passengers.
Flirting with disaster
I was flying to Hawaii and working in the middle galley restocking beverage carts when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I was in the process of lifting heavy drawers, so I said, “I’ll be with you in one moment.” She poked me harder, so I figured it was something important and set down the drawer and turned around to see her wide-open eyes as she pointed to the first-class galley and exclaimed, “There are two flight attendants having sex in the first-class galley!”
This was a first.
Dubious, I replied, “I’m sure that’s not true.” But she was insistent. So I walked up front and was surprised to see the galley curtain totally shut. Could it be? The male and female flight attendants were both single. I hesitated for a second but then knocked on the wall and slowly opened the curtain.
The female flight attendant was sitting on a carrier (the metal boxes that contain glasses and such), and the male flight attendant was giving her a back massage with a water bottle. I told them that a passenger told me they were having sex in the galley, and they looked about as stunned as the excited passenger had been. So the male flight attendant calmly walked to the concerned passenger and said, “We weren’t having sex in the galley. … We save that for the layover.” He was joking — but she walked away looking appalled.
We never did figure out why she thought they were having sex in the first place, although perhaps a closed curtain and an involuntary little massage-related moan could lead a hyped-up imagination astray.
Related video: ‘SNL’ Introduces the Worst Lady on Your Airplane
What happens in first class stays in first class. (Photo: Thinkstock)
You want me to do what?
I am a single flight attendant, and boy have I seen some bad flirting! Sometimes it’s so weird that you are not even sure it’s flirting. To this day I’m still not sure about this one.
On international flights we get time for crew rest — on larger planes in a facility upstairs or downstairs, or on smaller planes four passenger seats blocked off by a curtain. I was on a flight to Europe, and it was time for my hour-and-a-half crew rest. A female flight attendant was at the window and I was at the aisle with the curtain closed. As we were getting settled, the female flight attendant that I had met only once before said, “You can just snuggle up to me.” I thought she was joking, and I did a little uncomfortable fake laugh, “hee hee hee hee.”
She said “I’m not joking — just snuggle up to me!” What the heck, I thought. I don’t snuggle with women I barely know — actually I don’t snuggle with anyone at work! All I could think to do was just fake laugh again, “hee hee hee hee.”
And yet she continued, “I’m not joking, either. You snuggle up to me, or you sit at the window and I’ll snuggle up to you.”
All together now: “Hee hee hee hee (uncomfortable) hee.”
Snuggling? Sure. (GIF: ABC)
Smooth move survivor
During boarding I was walking through the cabin when a male passenger said, “I think you’re sexy.” I looked down and recognized him as Jonny Fairplay, a popular villain from the reality TV show “Survivor.” He said, “Yeah I’m talking to you.” I didn’t know what to do, so I just smiled politely and kept walking.
I told my fellow flight attendants in the galley, and none of them knew who he was. He was scruffy-looking and disheveled, and when I pointed him out to the crew, they asked, “You mean the homeless-looking guy?” Every time I went by him, he would say the same “I think you’re sexy” thing, and it was pretty uncomfortable. Then as we were deplaning I was standing at the boarding door saying my buh-byes, and here he comes walking toward me. Time slowed down because he keeps getting closer and closer, and I begin to realize he is going to try to kiss me. I was thinking, “No, no, no. What are you doing? This is crazy“ — and then he gets close enough for his baseball cap to hit me in the eye.
It hurt, but it saved me from an unwanted and uncomfortable kiss. I was shocked and holding my hand over my injured eye. To his credit he looked ashamed that he poked me in the eye, apologized, and said, “Smooth move” before continuing off the airplane.
Related video: Sky-High Stories From a Pan Am Stewardess
Isn’t this romantic
On a 767-400 airplane there are jump seats at the exit doors that face the passengers, meaning flight attendants using them have to be aware of their feet placement because you can literally touch knees with the passengers opposite you. These are the least popular positions and usually go to the most junior flight attendants, because you are forced to chat with the passengers you are facing. (Let me count how many times you’re strapped in and forced to endure a 15-minute gripe-fest about air travel. Actually, let me not.)
One evening we were flying to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and I had to sit in one. This creepy-looking, strangely dressed guy was sitting across from me. For takeoff I managed pleasant small talk with him. For landing I strapped into my jump seat, and the guy says, “Isn’t this romantic. … It’s dark with all the twinkling lights outside and it’s just you and me.”
I was thinking this was anything but romantic.
I looked over to my co-worker in a similar seat across the aisle, and she was rolling her eyes and swallowing her laughter. And then I looked at my watch and realized I had about 12 more captive minutes.
Casanova says what?
Another time I was saying “hello” to the passengers at the boarding door and I was wearing our uniform dress. Key point: It’s form-fitting. This first-class passenger in a suit leans in to me and says in a low voice, “That dress is a real ball burner!” and kept going down the aisle.
I was left thinking, “Huh?!” First of all, I had never heard that saying before, and even though I think it was a compliment, it sure was borderline offensive. I probably could have caused a fuss, told him it was inappropriate, and so forth.
But instead it became the joke of the day among the crew. “Oh that coffee is a real ball burner” and “This trip is a real ball burner.” If the gentleman thought that was flirting, I bet he doesn’t get many dates.
(GIF: NBC )
Stay tuned until next Monday for another installment of Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant.