Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

On Flight Attendant Rage – Part Two

You’re settling into your first six months of flying out of Newark. You’ve got the mechanics of the job down. You’re getting used to the permanent numbness in three toes on your right foot.  And so what if you’ve got bursting capillaries on the inside of your left knee at age twenty, suggesting that running up and down the aisle at 35,000 ft. in high heels and a girdle is not necessarily a good thing for the human body.  You’ve learned how to sleep standing up, leaning against walls, when airport crew lounges are crowded and all the chairs and couches are taken. 

You’ve learned the etiquette of smoke-break behavior in the cockpit.  Always let the second officer light your cigarette for you.  It’s his job.  You remember what the appearance counselor told you during week four of stewardess training:  smoke like a lady!  Never crudely stub out your cigarette.  Instead, gently break off the lit head and let it smolder out on its own.  As a man lights your cigarette, be sure to look him seductively in the eye, not at the flame.  He’s the one who aims for the cigarette.   You regret that scary incident in the cockpit, when your hair catches on fire because the second officer apparently didn’t get that memo.  Thank God he’s quick-thinking and beats you upside the head, extinguishing the fire pronto.  You also regret having to stagger out of the cockpit, dazed, with half-a-head full of singed hair.  You eventually get past the wide-eyed stares of the first class passengers.

In spite of all this, you’re still under the illusion that what you’re doing for a living is glamorous, which is fueled by the admiring stares from people when you’re walking with your crew through terminals across the country.  Little girls often approach, to touch your uniform.  Smiling men give you the up-and-down.  People move off to the side so you and your handsome entourage can pass through.

You manage to eek out some fun on your few days off.  Coping mechanisms include ten-minute train rides to Manhattan, where you walk through Central Park, visit museums, window-shop, and occasionally catch a bargain matinee on Broadway.  You hang with the Rutgers grad students living in your building, who come from places like Short Hills and Westfield.  You’ve learned to love scotch because you’re now all grown up and far away from home.  You get to drink underage at the mafia-owned bar on Hill Street, where they love you because you and your friends attract lots of hard-drinking guys who think stewardesses are easy. 

Then you’re back in the air again, getting practically spat-on by a nasty businessman in coach.  For six hours from New York to San Francisco, he belittles you, criticizes you and even yells at you.  So, risking a possible “onion” letter to your supervisor, you confront him at the end of the flight.  “Why do you hate me,” you ask.  “You don’t even know me!”  To which he confesses, “Because you look exactly like my ex-wife.” 

 And so the tiny seed of Rage continues to grow.

 Stay tuned for Part Three.


October 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. This woman is the smartest, sassiest, most savvy author I have read in years. This is laugh out loud humor. She tells it like it is, makes NO apologies and is brave enough to say what we all think! Well done!

    Comment by Terry Sexton | October 13, 2010 | Reply

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