Happy Holidays and fuck you very much.
Fuck you, fuck you more, fuck your little brat, fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you the very most.
Merry fucking Christmas, you scum.
That’s how I felt inside as I smiled brightly and outwardly said, “Happy Holidays — have a good one! Take care! Bye now! Thanks for flying with us!” repeatedly at some especially nasty holiday passengers yesterday, which turned out to be one of the worst days of flying I’ve had so far in my career.
For better or worse, I’m a pretty positive, optimistic person. But even that tendency couldn’t help me yesterday. By the end of the day, my eye was actually twitching.
The day quite honestly didn’t even have a chance. The entire crew was made up of on-call flight attendants who had been on the other side of the clock flying red eyes with minimum legal rest before this assignment. We reported for this one-day trip at 6:25 a.m., and the four of us combined had about six hours of sleep going into it. That made for some pretty cranky co-workers, so I knew it was going to be an interesting day. Plus, I’ve felt more in the holiday spirit than usual this year. It’s nice, but also gives me a slight case of the blues since I won’t actually be around for them. Truthfully, I wasn’t feeling fabulous even before getting this assignment, so that’s certainly part of it.
If you thought holiday cheer would have passengers in a light, good mood, you would be sorely mistaken. Each of our segments seemed to breed increasingly worse behavior. Demanding. Entitled. Impatient. Outright mean. Some of our pilots were unfortunately no better. Condescending. Needy. Rude. Ho, ho, ho.
On the first flight, we all heard the emergency signal that can either be initiated by the flight attendants or pilots. We got on the phone and established it hadn’t come from us in the cabin. I called the flight deck and they apparently hadn’t even heard it. Glad to know they’re paying attention up there. They later said the aircraft we were on is actually known to have some “spirit activity” — phantom noises, chimes from nowhere, etc. Ghost plane. I’m glad it was apparently just a poltergeist playing tricks on us, because for a brief moment I thought I was going to perish with a bunch of assholes. I do not fear death, but with you people? Hard pass.
My favorite passenger interaction of the day by far was with this bitch in first class who demanded her own personal snack basket. How dare her fellow passengers reach into the same basket!? The atrocity!!
I swear one flight consisted of an entire cabin full of people who were under the impression that they were the only soul onboard and demanded to be treated as such. Oh, it’s been 10 seconds, why has my screen not been reset? Why is it taking so long to make the four drinks I ordered and ABSOLUTELY need on an hour-long flight? Oh, you’re serving the row ahead of me? This seems like a perfectly good time to demand service immediately. The plane is landing in less than 10 minutes and I positively need another glass of wine even though actual federal regulations dictate that I cannot have a glass in my hand during this time.
BUT I HAVE STATUS!
Guess what? Your status doesn’t mean shit to me and never will. I’ve heard flight attendants say that passengers are the worst part of the job, and sadly it’s days like yesterday when I feel that statement deeply. I proudly think of myself as a rubber ball, and at this point in my career I can pretty successfully tune most things out. Every once in a while I have to admit, though, that no matter how strong I am, certain days can drag my spirit down just a little bit. Sometimes I feel as if the bubbly, friendly personality I project lends itself to being treated like shit and walked on. But what’s the alternative — be a raging bitch constantly? I won’t lie … I need a better balance.
At the end of this hellish day, I looked at the time and at my schedule. Just after 8 p.m., we were finally done. Our day, including our sit time between flights waiting on new aircraft, lasted nearly 14 hours. Of that, we were paid for less than eight. As good as a flight attendant’s hourly wage often sounds, that’s referring to flight hour. During all that time we spent checking in, briefing, boarding several flights and deplaning them, we weren’t paid that wage. This is something you accept when you embark on this career, but it’s days like this that make you say to yourself, “Wow, not only was that a fucking awful day, at least I got paid for half of it!”
I say all of this to number one, vent. It feels good. Number two, be real. I often talk and write about how great being a flight attendant is. And it truly is! But no job is without its pitfalls and truly horrific, harrowing days. Feeling crappy inside and projecting only sunshine and happiness on the outside all day can take its toll on anyone, and I’m extremely grateful that I was able to catch a flight home last night and decompress. Tomorrow I head back out into the fray to create some new Christmas memories in the air and on layovers in Tampa and Boston.
Happy holidays, and may they be the least hellish as possible for you and yours!