Petra shrieked and smiled in a high pitched voice. I didn’t know her but I was already hating her.
“I’m so excited to be part of the cabin crew family.”
There’s no cabin crew family empty head. You’re an orphan of the sky I thought to myself.
We weren’t yet on the plane but deep inside I hoped there was a slide I could inflate and push her down and feed her to the sharks. I didn’t smile back. “I’m Chloe.”
“Nice to meet you.”
Long awkward silence.
I wasn’t happy to meet her. I had to wake up at 23:30 for a flight at 03:30. What was nice in meeting a complete stranger with whom you’ll be confined at 14 000 feet, for the next eight hours, serving people who’ll be treating you like shit?
I wasn’t mad at what’s her name again? I looked at her name tag. Yeah Petra. I was like her a few years ago. Over excited, so eager to be in customer service, meet people, hold interesting conversations, see new places, make friends. What a pile of bollocks.
“But that’s not the procedure!”
I know it’s not the procedure. But whatever you learn during training has nothing to do with the reality of the job.
“Aren’t we going to get in trouble for this?”
“Bitch we just left the Persian gulf and we’re about to enter the Arabian sea. What kind of trouble do you think we’re going to get into if we put three bottles of water instead of one on that fucking drink trolley? Look, these people are thirsty and unless you want to go from your cart to the galley three times during the service go on. If you think you got stamina to run the 1000m airplane relay in the women’s category, do it. Bear in mind there’s no medal at the end.”
She looked at me like a doe about to be shot by a hunter. And damn I wanted to shoot Bambi. If only someone had been harsh on me the first days, I wouldn’t have been naïve about that job for so long.
“I like to work in team and I have always been a creative person. I can adapt to change and I’m always eager to go the extra mile.”
I can’t believe it but when I hear her, I hear me a few years ago. Where did I find crap like that to say at the interview. The thing that gets me about it is not that I’ve said it. But I actually believed in all of the words I had said at that time. If Pinocchio had a sister we would have had enough wood to keep Gepeto warm during winter.
“So how long have you been working?”
Here we go, she wants to talk now. I’m having dinner, can’t I just eat in peace. Can’t you shut up. I sip a glass of water and mumble “three”. One word conversations. Should keep her at large.
“I can’t wait to have as much experience as you do. Where did you fly to? I guess so many places…”
Bla bla bla..
I wasn’t listening to her anymore. She was asking me questions and replying to them herself. One word conversations always worked. This is not Ivy League. If you want to build strong friendships, that’s what college years are made for. We’re not going to meet again after this flight, there’s no point in me being friendly with you empty head.
Everything you read about air hostesses being a big sorority is not true. Girls hate girls. Just think of it. We’re good looking. Well for most of us. Do you think pretty girls are nice to each other? No. You haven’t met the Senior Flight Supervisors. The mean ones. Those who are getting old and jealous of your freshness and beauty. They’re like the evil queen in snow white. If they could they’d send some hunters to get your heart and lather themselves in the blood of virgins who haven’t been through puberty yet. Trust me you’re in a bubble foam bath bottle by now.
“I didn’t know it would be so hard.”
Well sure you wouldn’t know. You’re all nice and smiling. Passengers smell newbies like shark smell blood at a radius of 10km. If you want to survive you’ve got to show some firmness.
She picked around 10 trays from the floor. “I heard flights to Asia were tough but I didn’t expect that one.”
Girl, you haven’t seen anything. If taking 10 trays off the floor is hard, wait ‘till a full grown adult hands you what he puked in a glass after he brushed his teeth. And I’m talking European route, UK nonetheless.
All this for what? To post some selfies on Instagram in uniform. To smile to the world when inside you’re half dead and think when will this stop. But then you see Bangkok on your roster, and then Prague, and then Maldives. And you think, if it’s the price to pay, you don’t need an AMEX, just a smile and take up the tray.
Thanks Samuel for this informative, yet very funny anecdote of working as Cabin Crew!
‘I am Samuel and I’ve been in service for 5 years. I’m a very nice cabin crew but if you act like a little brat be ready for some sarcasm. I love my job. I like to make fun of myself. This is what keeps me flying. Believe me, after so many years if you don’t, you need some valium before you take a flight.
If you want to read more from me follow TWO WINGS IN THE SKY on wattpad, the life of a wanna be flight attendant at Katar Airways http://my.w.tt/UiNb/BTB20TBwTu
Or some random posts on wordpress ifmonkeyscouldwrite.wordpress.com
You can also see pictures of me, my crazy looks and layovers on instagram: @samuel_aubama’