Single in the Sky

The past month has been rough to say the least. After coming back from vacation in the beginning of January my boyfriend and I decided it was time to end things.

Now, before you become sympathetic, let me tell you a little bit about what happened. Seb has a lot on his plate. He works practically full time, goes to school full time, must complete an internship this summer, and does not wish to remain in Phoenix after school, and is considering a move to Seattle. Maintaing and making a relationship work and exceed requires more time then he has at the current moment. We did not end things because of a dislike for each other, nor because we had an argument, but rather because he needed to focus on things more important in this time in his life.

I was supportive of this decision and fully understand the reasoning. I was a witness to his lack of time, increased stress and need for some downtime. In fact, I am so supportive that he and I still live together, as roommates and best friends, in an upgraded 2 bedroom apartment.

I tell you this because I made him an important role in this blog. When I started the ‘About the Blog’ section didn’t hide the fact that he, in fact, created the name “Up Up and a Gay” and he was the one who told me that I should pursue my dream to write for a living, and propelled me to start and continue with this blog.

Now, he still continues to do so, but in a different role. And, that’s okay.

Life, goes on.

Now, I’m single in the skies… and back in the dating game. A game don’t really enjoy. However, it can be quite comical for all of you, because now it gives me another chapter of my life that I can share with you on here. You won’t be finding the stories that Chelsea Handler shares about her sexcapades, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting nonetheless. Something I vow that you won’t see, if stories of me dating another flight attendant at my airline.

There’s something weird about dating another FA within the same company. I don’t know what it is.. but to me its just weird. What if you break up? what if it doesn’t work? what if after a big breakup you both must work a 4 day trip together? Too many “what if’s” and its not worth the drama and the rumors on the rumor mill that any airline runs on.

I think my breakup came at a good time in my life. Work is thriving (we’re getting pay raises this year..), I am officially based in Los Angeles effective March 2nd (bye bye San Francisco and Ground Delays!), I learned from my last relationship more about what I’m looking for and what is important within a relationship and finally, it’s a new year.. anything can happen.

In closing, thank you to those of you who are close to me and sent me messages after the breakup and offered a shoulder to lean on and thank you for continuing to read this blog! I am sorry I have been slacking this month with updating it, but between the break up and the move, in addition to changing my flying schedule around to accommodate both events, time escaped me. But restassured I’m back in full force, about to work a flight from Las Vegas to New York in about 4 hours, gearing up to capture the stories of the traveling public to share with you.

Pet Peeve: Airport Appreciation

One of my biggest pet peeves of being a flight attendant is airport appreciation. To those of you not in the industry you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well here’s a quick explanation.

When the airline builds our trips (sometimes known as pairings) which include all of the flights we’re scheduled to work, there is sometimes “sit” times (or the time between flights of which we have to work) in between flights. Extended sit times, usually more than 2 hours we refer to as “airport appreciation time.”

There is nothing to do durning this time but wander through the airport, maybe grab some over priced airport food, catch up on phone calls, emails, etc. You would think we would WANT “sit times,” but we don’t. Remember flight crews are usually only paid from the moment the door closes to when it opens in your arrival city. For these sit times, we’re only earning per diem, which at my airline is $1.75 an hour. So, for those 2-3-4 hours in between flights I’ve made, maybe: $5. Talk about unproductive!

One of my past trips drove me crazy. Actually, I drove myself crazy. I bid for the trip only because of the layovers and didn’t bother to look at what flights I would be working. The first day I had a one hour sit, the second day I had a two hour sit, and the worst of all, the third day I worked a flight departing at 645am arrived into San Francisco at 8am and didn’t work my next flight, a transcontinental one mind you, until 1130am! That day in particular killed me. I was up at 4:15am to get ready for my 530am van to the airport to work a flight at 645am, and didn’t get to my final arrival city until 730pm east coast time, or 430pm pacific. I worked a 11 hour day and only got paid for 6 hours thanks to the sit time. Whats sad is on day three my whole crew walked into the lounge we have, and found 2 other crews on 2 or 3 hour sits.. all with nothing to do! We all went out for breakfast together… and still had time to kill afterwards.

Usually sit times are a real downer. You’re awake, your working, all of a sudden you’re sitting around with nothing to do.. you get tired.. and then CRAP! It’s time to work a 5 hour flight!

Unfortunately the FAA has no regulations in place regarding how long between flights we can sit around. It falls under the “duty time” limitations, but thats a whole other topic.

Lesson Learned: Don’t bid for trips based on layovers or any other criteria without looking at the actual flights to be worked. Sit times are a waste of time.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts. Thanks.

Since I’m usually the purser, time and time again I catch myself repeating “The captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign, please return to your seats, fasten your seatbelts, and remain seated until it has been turned off.”
How many people actually hear me? All 150. How many people LISTEN to me? about 50.

It’s amazing to me the disregard the traveling public pays to the seatbelt sign. It’s almost as if they think we turn it on and off for no reason, to the point that it means nothing.

Let me give you a background on the seatbelt sign. According to the Federal Aviation Regulations (or FARs), which are the laws that govern airlines and airline passengers, when the seatbelt sign is on, you as a passenger are required to fasten your belt.

14 CFR 125.327

(2) The use of safety belts, including instructions on how to fasten and unfasten the safety belts. Each passenger shall be briefed on when, where, and under what conditions the safety belt must be fastened about him or her. This briefing shall include a statement that the Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with lighted passenger information signs and crewmember instructions concerning the use of safety belts.


14 CFR 121.317

(f) Each passenger required by §121.311(b) to occupy a seat or berth shall fasten his or her safety belt about him or her and keep it fastened while the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign is lighted.

Further, when I make the announcement to do so, and you continue to not comply, you have now broken another FAR which states you must obey all crew member instructions. The seatbelt sign is turned on for taxi, take-off, landing and when we are approaching or are currently hitting turbulent weather. These are all phases of flight in which you should not be standing.

When it comes to aircraft taxi, the FAA has imposed restrictions on when an aircraft is allowed to push back and move forward. If any passenger is out of his or her seat, the aircraft must stop and hold position. That passenger is now a safety risk to others and themseleves in the event that they fall.

For take-off and landing, this should be a no brainer. If it’s not safe for anyone to stand, including the flight attendants.

But when it comes to turbulence people seem not to care. I was flying from New York to San Francisco this past weekend when over the midwest we suddenly hit moderate to sever turbulence. I happened to the in the back of the cabin letting one of my other crewmembers eat in the front when it happened. The other FA and I grabbed onto our seats and held on. Orange juice was going everywhere, cups were falls, cans were rolling.. it was a mess for about 10 minutes. During this 10 minutes, 5 people tried to make their way to the bathroom. I couldn’t even stand up, I was shocked they were able to get that far. The FA and I, in unison screamed “go back sit down.” All listened but one. She came all the way to the back to have the other FA say “the seatbelt sign is on” and her response was: “it is?”

YES it is! For one, we weren’t screaming for the fun of it and secondly, did you not realize the struggle you had to keep your balance getting back here.. What are you thinking?!

There seems to be a big lack of understanding on the passengers end as to why we tell you to sit down and remind you over and over again that the seatbelt light is on. One reason is because we have to. It’s our job. We’re not doing it to be mean, or to keep people out of the galley, we have to do it. If there’s an FAA inspector onboard and he sees you get up with the seatbelt light on, and I don’t say anything, I can be fined. We also do it for your safety. If you get injured, guess who has to help you? We do! Even though we told you over and over, we still have to help you. You also pose a safety risk to those around you because in a situation like severe turbulence your body can become a projectile and you can be thrown around the cabin.

And lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves, when a flight attendant tells you “I just have to remind you, the seatbelt sign is on and please return to you seat” asking us “so I can’t go?” is going to get you no where. We are not allowed to give you permission to use the bathroom when the seatbelt sign is on. We cannot stop you from going, but we can’t tell you its ok to go. Why? Because then we’ve just opened up ourselves and the airline to liability. You were in the bathroom “because the flight attendant said I could go.”  Please do not get mad if you ask that question or say “i’ll be quick” and the flight attendant responds again with  “I just have to remind you, the seatbelt sign is on and please return to you seat”– because that’s all we’re allowed to say.

Now, I will be play devils advocate for a second and say yes, there are times when the seatbelt sign is on because the pilots may have forgotten to turn it off. However, as flight attendants, when it is on we have to obey it and remind everyone to do so as well. The flight attendants can (and I do) call the pilots to ask them if there is projected turbulence or if they simply forgot to turn it off. Then there are those times when the flight attendant requests the seatbelt sign to go on.  It happens very rarely but when there is a lot going on in the galley usually involving a medical emergency. By turning the sign on, you can enforce a sense of order in the cabin, if there might not already be.

One of my other pet peeves about the seatbelt sign comes when I make an announcement 40 minutes prior to landing, that the seatbelt sign will be coming on in 20 minutes as we start our decent. I tell everyone to standup, stretch, put stuff back into the overheads and use the bathroom now. Usually a lot of people do. But when the seatbelt sign comes on, don’t get up and tell me “oh I didn’t know” or ask “so I can’t go to the bathroom?” because I told you 20 minutes ago it was coming, you just chose not to listen to me.

In closing, just sit down. If the sign is on, its on for a reason. Hassling the flight attendants about how long its been on (especially if there has been turbulence and seems to be smooth now) it isn’t going to help fix the situation either because we can only remind you that its on, and ask you to comply. Please remember, if it is a true “emergency” situation, make sure you go to the bathroom.. but realize if you do get injured you are at your own risk because you’ve been reminded and asked for compliance by the crew.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Live from the Line: Hands Down

I know a lot of you including @SkyVan on twitter wonder why I work New York – LA all the time, and its a simple reason really: No one senior to me wants to do it, so I always hold my first preference in New York trips. In essence that allows me to build my schedule the way I like it. Lately, the passengers have been better than they have been in the past. I’m in the middle of a four day trip right now and of course, just worked New York to LA and there was only two passengers who got on my nerves. Go figure they were traveling together.

Just after take off I went to the overhead bin where my bags were stowed to get my lunch bag when someone behind the bulkhead asked me if I had a blanket. Because of “swine flu” we no longer have blankets, so I apologized to her and told her that we do sell them though and that she was welcome to order one. While this conversation took place, the woman sitting in the middle seat behind the passenger who asked me for a blanket started waving her hand in my face to get my attention. She didn’t raise her hand, she didn’t ring the call button, she didn’t say excuse me; she instead waved her hand as close to my face as she could possibly get. In the middle of explaining to the lady why we had no blankets, I had to stop, turn to this woman and say “I’ll be with you in a minute” to have her reply “well, that was rude.”

I’m sorry, “I’ll be with you in a minute” was RUDE? Was your hand in my face NOT rude?

So, I brought my bag back to the galley then returned to this woman to see what she needed. She told me she was having a problem watching the inflight movie and that she couldn’t hear any audio. The reason why she couldnt hear any audio was because she plugged her headphones into her neighbors headphone jack. So, I pointed out the problem and went back to work.

Later, after doing a trash run, I was headed back to the galley when hands went flailing again as I walked past her row, this time she was thirsty and wanted something to eat. The flight attendants in the main cabin had just past her row and when asked if she wanted a beverage, she said no.  So I explained to her how cabin service worked, and got her a drink.

Mid-flight I was bringing a drink to someone in the main cabin, when she threw her hands in my face again. This time, I told her that I didn’t really appreciate that, and that she should use the call button. She waved her hands at me again and said “anyway..” and continued on with her request. This time she pointed at her travel partner in the window and said “he wants his light put on.” I looked at her in disbelief. She really waved me down to hit the reading light button. So I turned it on and left.

I understand that as passengers you might want the flight attendants attention for one reason or another, but please don’t be rude about it. Please realize there are 149 other people on the plane who also want/need something from us, so please ring the call button and get in line. Don’t throw your hands in my face, especially for things you can do yourself, like turning on a light. Thanks for reading my Rant!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Blue Skies Ahead

I always find that after being away from flying for a while its hard to go back. I’ve been on vacation for 17 days, and tomorrow is my last day off. 18 total.

Being on vacation as a flight attendant is like going to a sanctuary. For the first few days I don’t want to talk to anyone, answer a question, the phone, the door, or see an airplane. I want to be sealed away from the world. Vacation for a flight attendant is heaven. There’s no call buttons, delays, cancellations, crying babies (unless you have one yourself) or rude passengers telling you off. Vacation is solace.

It’s over, and I’m dreading it. Wednesday I start a 4 day trip and it starts with a flight to New York straight away. That’ll jolt me back into the work mentality. It’s funny though, I sit here dreading going to back to work but once I get there and we push back from the gate (because who likes boarding anyway?) I fall in love with the thought of flying again. I can’t wait to do it again and think “why did I not want to come back?”

Flying is something that gets in your blood when you do it for work. Its all you can seem to talk about and think about. You almost have to train yourself to talk about other topics with friends for fear of boring the hell out of them, unless they are flight attendants themselves, then you’ve got yourself your own version of The Crew Lounge. Also, doing what I do fuels content for my blog, so going to work now has a dual purpose!

This trip on Wednesday will be my first time in the skies for 2010. I’m looking forward to another year of fun, layovers, new people, contacts and friends. Thats why I do this job. Its something new everyday, no day is like the last. As things in life change and evolve it is always good to remember that I’m doing a job I love and that I’m doing a job that makes me happy. In what other career can you say “its always a nice day everytime I go to work?” Just this one, because it always is a nice day at 35,000ft. You’re above the rain and clouds and you find yourself rising above it all.

As my mother said the other day “its a new year, a new start, a new you.” I intend to live up to that this year and I fully believe that 2010 will be a defining year for myself. There’s just blue skies ahead.

Look for reports from my first trip back “live from the line” in a few days!

I’m going on vacation, and you are too!

I’m going on vacation! Maybe. One of the perks of being a flight attendant is the ability to fly free, and have those related to you fly free or for a reduced fare. The downfall of course is that you’re on standby.

I’m supposed to flying from Phoenix to my destination city with Sebastian, but it seems we might not be going anywhere. All of a sudden, all the flights to our vacation city filled up, as well as all of its surrounding cities, leaving us.. well.. stuck. We’re getting a little crafty, which is almost a requirement when you nonrev now a days (nonrev = non revenue travel, that’s what they call employee travel). We could be flying to a city 3 hours away and driving, connecting in two airports, maybe even three!

Stay tuned to the photo stream on the right hand side for still photo updates on where I am, where I’m trying to go, and if I ever get there! Also, in an effort to document my life as a blogger or jouranlist, below you’ll find my LIVE qikVideo stream. This stream is updated with video via my cell phone camera (crazy, right?) This stream will update with whatever video I’m recording at the moment you’re viewing this blog (yes, LIVE, it will show you in the upper right hand corner and on the bottom tool bar when the stream is live) or display the most recent video I’ve recorded. So please feel free to watch them or click the links and see what I’ve already uploaded.

Also, if you happen to see that I’m “live” anything you type on the chat screen, accessible from the tool bar, I can see on my phone.. so feel free to chat me up!

[qik user="upupandagay" width="425" height="319"]

I hope you enjoy my vacation, if I get to go on one! Wish me luck!

The Crew Lounge Podcast

Happy New Year!

Just a quick post to let you all know that The Crew Lounge Podcast that Sara and myself have been working so hard on, is actually a reality!

Thanks to Mike at UPGRD.com, the first podcast has been posted at upgrd.com/TheCrewLounge so please head over there and check it out!

In this episode we talk about Ivana Trump getting removed from a flight, crew rest, eBags, and so much more. I promise you its worth the listen.

Remember you can follow The Crew Lounge on Twitter by clicking here, and on Facebook by clicking here.

If you’re interested in being on the show, please send us an email at FA@upgrd.com! Enjoy!