Worst Airline Ad Ever

Okay, so I saw this ad on TheFlyingPinto blog and I had to post it myself. Maybe they should have reversed the position of the airline logo and make the plane point upwards? ha!


Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant’s file lawsuit due to Turbulence

Yep. You read that correctly. I was just as shocked as you are when I first read this story.. and frankly, I’d love to meet these ladies.

Donna Dacko and Inga Isakson were working a flight to ONT (Ontario, CA) from SEA (Seattle, WA) on December 25, 2007  when just prior to landing the flight hit “previously unreported sever turbulence.”

Inga allegedly hit her head on a seat armrest and metal rod below the seat which left her surrounded in a pool of blood and foaming at the mouth. Donna, was reportly thrown “at least” 6 rows of seats after hitting her head on the ceiling and landed on top of Inga.  In their lawsuit, they claim that Weather Service International (WSI) neglected to properly predict the weather and/or warn Alaska Airlines of the weather and are seeking payment for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and emotional distress. They also named the U.S. government in the claim because they think Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Air Traffic Organization should have warned them about the severe weather because their injuries were “totally preventable.”

Are you KIDDING me?!

If I filed a lawsuit for every time I hit turbulence, when I was told by the pilots reading their weather reports, that it should be smooth- I’d be spending my days in a courthouse filing paperwork.  Nevermind the lawsuits I could file claiming “emotional distress”  when the flight deck asks me to take my seat because the aircraft in front of us reported hitting some bumps, and after strapping in, we never encounter them. Smooth as glass. A lot of aircraft get their reports of turbulence from other aircraft in the area who have already experienced it, whose to say that Alaska 464 wasn’t the FIRST aircraft to encounter the turbulence and that no one else in the area or on the ground knew it was there. I mean, can the meteorologists and the FAA Air Traffic Organization really SEE the disturbed air?

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Yes, of course, if they really got hurt, I do feel sorry for them and send my deepest heartfelt well wishes. Going through severe turbulence isn’t a fun situation to be in, and can be very scary. However, I find it odd that they file this lawsuit one week before the statute of limitations expires. Why wait until now to file this claim? Why wait 2 years? What happened to the other one or two FAs on board? Are they okay? Furthermore, are you to say that when a meteorologist forecasts a foot of snow at 11pm and the next morning there is only 2 inches, because the storm got weaker through the night, that we can now sue them? It could be claimed that schools closed and flights canceled which caused lost revenue for those businesses, much those flight attendants lost wages from being out of work.

I’m really stunned at the audacity of these flight attendants. Turbulence is always something to be unexpected in my book, and proper precautions are should always be made in the event you hit “previously unreported” turbulence.  It comes with the job. When you going through training your taught about the many things that can happen to you on board an aircraft, including aircraft crashes. Turbulence is one of those things that we encounter on an almost every day, every flight basis. This is nothing new for them.

Alaska Airlines says they know nothing about this legal action. Frankly, good luck to them. They have to prove that two years ago SOMEONE else prior to them descending to 8,000ft knew that the patch of rough air they went through, was already there. The only patch of rough air I can see, is in the same location their brain is supposed to be.

If you’d like to read their 18 page filing, click here.

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Galley Medical Center

At my airline they make boarding seem like this really big deal. So big that we take *over* 30 minutes to board an A320..35 minutes to be exact. At my past airline we took 35 minutes to board a 757 with 50 more people than an A320 holds.

Anyway, a few trips ago I was working the dreaded New York – Los Angeles flight. This flight, notorious for something going wrong, was renumbered a while back. I thought the renumbering would break the curse. It didn’t. This time, it wasn’t so bad.. just…odd.

We’re about 3/4 through the boarding process and this guys comes to the front galley. He looked at me and screamed

I have to get off!

Uhh.. okay? So I asked him “why do you have to get off?” and his response was “the flight attendant in the back told me I can’t fly!”

Knowing one of the two FAs in the back really well, I started to laugh a little. I was kind of surprised someone would listen to a flight attendant at all when they make a statement like “you have to get off the airplane.”

Anyway, I asked him why the FA said that. Then, I heard a story.. I’ve never heard before.

Well.. I’m afraid of flying and more than that.. I’m petrified of turbulence. So.. I put ear plugs in my ears so I don’t have to hear the noises of the airplane.. and … well.. I lost one of them.

So I laughed a little — told him it was no big deal, I could get him ear plugs. He then quickly responded with

You don’t understand. I lost one of them IN my ear.

I’ve never heard of such a thing. Apparently, in his paranoia of flying this passenger went into one of the lavs in the rear and proceeded to place ear plugs in his ears so he didn’t have to ‘hear turbulence.’ He became so scared of the imposing 5 hour flight that he shoved a foam ear plug so far into his ear, it is not virtually unreachable.

Am I on candid camera?

Kind of confused on what to do, I called the back to track down which FA sent this passenger to me. It was the female, I knew it was her. She is also a purser but happened to be flying coach on this trip and said “I’m happy I’m not you.” She then made up this convoluted story (which has little truth to it) that if he didn’t deplane..when the aircraft pressurized the ear plug could expand/contract and/or become further lodged inside of his head. Now the man is freaking out. He doesn’t like to fly.. and we just told him it could cease his hearing.

Thanks honey!

So, as I try to tell him to take his things and there was another LA flight a few hours after us, a random passenger (who was waiting to board the airplane but was blocked by this gentleman with the soon-to-be hearing issue) says “let me take a look at it.” Without flinching the depth challenged man allowed a stranger to check out his ear. The guy then says “hold on.. I can get it!”

He goes into his bag pulls out a tweezer, and I kid you not.. chop sticks. In that moment my galley was transformed into a medical center. 2-5 minutes later, the ear plug was freed, the passenger saving the day was thanked by his fellow pax and us (with a free drink) and boarding continued.

10 minutes later I get a call from the back, all I can hear is laughter. The guy tried to go back into the lav to put the ear plug back into his ear prior to pushback. The FA had to physically pull the door away from him and tell him we recommended he doesn’t try to thwart his fear of turbulence with ear plugs again.

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Aborted Normality

I was on day 2 of 4, working Seattle to Los Angeles, back to Seattle, then once again, back to Los Angeles. I was flying with a crew that I knew but haven’t flown with before. I actually did one of their IOEs a year ago. Having that faith in her really came in handy.

We were getting ready to land as usual in Seattle from LA, nothing was out of the ordinary. Suddenly, we hit moderate to sever turbulence on our final decent. The aircraft was banking left, right, up, down, the tail was swinging as the front turned.. it was a very rough ride. The looks on the passengers faces in first class was a look of nervousness.

The landing gear came down, and the flight attendants received our two minute warning. I took my jumpseat, content as usual – knowing that all of my safety checks were done correctly and my cabin crew was seated. Thank god.

As we started our short final, things got hectic. The aircraft hit wind shear and we were again experiencing moderate to sever turbulence. As we got closer to the airport, I began to see the lights from the runway, I knew this was going to be a rough landing. Seconds before the aircraft would have been fully on the ground, wind shear again. Both pilots, in unison, decided to abort the landing. I expected it. I was prepping myself for an emergency had we landed. Yes, it was that bad. We had actually touched our main landing gear to the runway, and the wind shear then blew us off the runway onto the grass.

As we shot back to the skies like a rocket, and the airplane was making noises airplanes shouldn’t make.. I sat there.. smiling. 1A was having a panic attack. She kept screaming “its not safe to land” “its not safe to land” to which I screamed over the bulkhead “we’re not landing!”

Finally, after stabilizing our altitude the Captain came on the PA to address the passengers.

As you can see, Seattle is a little windy tonight. We didn’t feel comfortable putting the plane on the ground in that wind… so we’re going to go around.. take another look at it.. and it’s safe.. we’re going to land. If not.. we’ll worry about that when it happens — but air traffic control is saying it should be okay.

Then my phone rang. The Captain explained to me what had happened.. the main landing gear had touched the runway and the wind sheer blew us off course, and off the runway. We were going around, the landing should be normal and fine and if I had any questions. I didn’t.

I then called to the back to make sure the other FAs were holding up okay and heard the information the Captain announced over the P.A. They both said they were doing fine, the passengers seemed okay, and they were enjoying the ride.

As I hung up the phone the passenger in 1F looked over at me and mouthed “we’re going to be okay, right?” I said, yes. Though, reviewing my commands and prepping myself for the worst I too wanted to hear everything was going to be okay.

fpAs we started on our go around.. and went back through the turbulence to line up to land, again, I started to watch the people in first class become friends with each other, pray, and some began to cry.

After a few minutes we received the signal from the flight deck to take our seats and prepare for landing. We never stood up, anyway, it was entirely too bumpy and unsafe, so we were ready.

As began our decent we hit the same wind, rain and wind shear we did the first time, making me feel uncomfortable about a second attempt at landing. The passengers were beginning to cry louder and hold hands. Finally, the landing gear was deployed again and we were going to give it another shot. We landed, safely. And it was the smoothest landing I’ve had in a long time.

Trying to make light of the situation, and reassure everyone that they’re okay and the aircraft is still in tact, I get on the PA and said “well……..welcome to Seattle” and closed it by saying “We hope you’ve enjoyed your experience with us today.. and we look forward to seeing you soon!” As the passengers were getting off the plane each and every one of them stopped to say thank you to me and the flight deck. Some said “thanks” some said “thanks for saving my life” and some walked right past us without saying a word.

I looked to the back of the cabin and saw that were was 2 pax still in their seats. So I went to back to the back and there was an elderly woman, probably in her late 60’s who was visibly shaken up. She was crying, shaking and didn’t want to move. I had one of the other FAs grab me a bottle of water and told her I would be bring her bag to the front so that whenever she was ready, she could walk to the front. Once I got to the front of the aircraft I also had ground support order her a wheel chair.

I look over, across the aisle from this woman, and there was another woman, this one was laying on the floor. I asked her the same thing, got her some water and the other FA moved her bags to the front. I kept telling both of them “its okay, we’re on the ground now.. everything is fine.” For some reason I didn’t think they believed me.

As the elderly woman walked off the aircraft she did get in the wheelchair. She was feeling weak in her knees and didn’t want to walk.

After the passengers were all gone the Captain came out of the flight deck for a debriefing. That’s when we were told about how we were blown off the runway, and how the decision was made to go around. He then asked us if were okay or if we had any questions. None of us had any.. we were all pretty calm because we never got up out of our seats.

In retrospect, we should have done a quick walk through to make sure everyone was okay, but I really don’t think it was safe enough.

Anyway, a few minutes after our debriefing .. one of the gate agents comes down to the aircraft and said “Are you ready to board?”

And that quickly you have to forget about what just happened, could have happened and might happen.. put the fake smile back on your face and work one more flight before going to bed.


Blind, Deaf and Not So Helpless

This past week I went back to work following my vacation has it was quite eventful. You all saw I posted a blog live from the line about the passenger who wanted french fries and then proceeded to think the trash bag was a grab bag of snacks. Well, the day after that, it got a bit more interesting.

We arrived at the gate in Washington DC to be told by the agents that we had a woman coming onboard who couldn’t see, hear, or speak english. For this trip I was working in the maincabin (long story short I needed to move my schedule around and this m/c trip was the only thing that could work!) and was working the position responsbile for all of the special briefings so I started to formulate just how I’d brief her.

Just when we started boarding, this woman who looked to be about 90 years old walks on the plane (by herself) and hands me a note:

Hello, my name is Anita and I’m 93 years old. I’m blind and partially deaf and don’t speak English, I speak Turkish. I am traveling to Los Angeles to meet my son and need some help along the way. I prefer an aisle seat, low-fat milk, and soft snacks. I require a pillow and blanket for my head and back, as well as a reclining seat. I am mostly healthy but will need assistance to and from the restroom and help closing the door. Thank you.

Now, let’s dicsect, because this raises a lot of questions. How can someone let their mother, in this state, travel alone? On our airline you pay for food (including snacks) are they just expecting something free? We don’t have pillows and & blankets anymore in coach, they’re for purchase how badly does she need one? .. and lastly, Milk. You all know my dislike for people who want Milk. We don’t always have it either, what else can she drink?

Anyway, I walk her to her seat, put her bag up and she sits down. During the beverage service, forgetting who I was talking to, I asked her if she wanted something to drink. After waiting for a response, I remembered, untwisted the cap to a bottle of water, took her hand and made her touch it, to know it was there. We continued on.

Later, I started to think about how to figure out if she was hungry and what she could eat. I came to the conclusion that if she could drink Milk, she can eat a fruit & cheese platter. So, I walked over to her, placed it down on her tray table, again took her hand and placed it on it. Hoping she’d realize it’s cheese because I don’t know how to explain that to someone who cannot hear me nor see what I’m talking about. Of course, there was no charge, how do you explain to someone who can’t see or hear you that I need $7 credit card only?

Later, the 2FAs and I were in the back and as usual a line for the restroom formed. The Fasten Seatbelt Sign came on and the lead made her announcement about returning to your seat and fastening your belt. We all look at the line that has formed and we see Anita. How she found the line/back of the plane/bathroom is beyond us! The lead walks over to her, speaking instructions about how unsafe it is to be up (forgetting that she’s deaf) and to our surprise, she responded

I understand how unsafe it is darling, but I really must get to the restroom

Okay, WHAT?! She spoke perfect English!? I walked right up to her and said “you speak english? are you blind and deaf as well?” Her response was:

No dear, my son told me to just hand that note to the people on the plane and not to speak to anyone or get in anyones way because the contents of the note would take care of me for the whole flight. He also said by not talking back and following what he wrote I could get on and off the plane first.

We were all shocked. Here I am, taking her hand and placing it on water and food because I’m at a loss for how to help this woman eat and drink, and the whole time she speaks perfect English, can see and has a hearing aid in her right ear. She didn’t once question was I was touching her and placing her hand on products either.

I wonder if she was even 93. All women seem to lie about their age, that lie – I can understand. Maybe.


Live from the Line: Would you like fries with that?

I’m back at work, hence this short update live from the line. I worked the red-eye to Washington DC last night and it had such a CRAZY group of people on board.

One, specifically, cracked me up so much I had to share.

We were light, 100 people, so we were sitting in the last row of seats snacking and this guy came to the back and started touching things on the galley counter. I jumped out of the seat and asked if there was anything I could get for him. He said “do you have chips” as he was touching my trailmix.

I said, yeah we have pringles you can buy. He said “no no, I want french fries”

My eyebrows raised as high as the empire state building as I looked over quickly to my other FAs sitting there laughing uncontrollably, and said “I’m sorry we don’t have french fries” he said “really? no fries” I said, thats right.. no fries.

He then said “okay how about pineapple juice” — then I lost it. I said to him “how did we just go from french fries to pineapple juice?, unfortunately, we don’t have pineapple we have apple, OJ, cranapple and tomato” and he said “pineapple.”

Finally, I pointed at the OJ and said: “How about OJ?” he agreed.

Later, one of my other FAs was doing a trash pickup.. and as she got to his row he stopped her. He opened up her trash bag, looked inside, touched some items and said “no thanks, I’m okay” — as if she was passing out free food/beverages from her trash bag!! I was on the floor laughing! She was so grateful I happened to be behind her and witnessed this because she said no one would have believed her if she re-told that story.

Weird people come out in the night!