Monday, October 06, 2008

Worst. Flight. Ever. (and by flight I mean getting on a flight)

I'll share with you the terror that was Matt and I getting home from Toronto. When I looked on Saturday, all the flight from Toronto to Calgary were decently open. There were about 5 flights on Sunday after 1:00 pm, so I knew we wouldn't have a problem.

When I checked on Sunday after the race, all of a sudden they were all full. We scrambled to get packed and rushed to the airport in hopes of making it there in time to get a good priority number. We made it there about 2:45 before the flight (when 3:00 is "first in line"), so we checked in, and waited. We found out that one of the flights was canceled because the plane got struck by lightning, so that was the reason all the other flights got busier! So we didn't make it on to 2 flights, and things were looking pretty terrible for the third and fourth. Oh, did I forget to mention that Monday was Matt's first day at his new job, and the new job being an electrician apprentice?? Yeah so we were kind of desperate to get home.

Here's a major side note. Since I am an employee, I can sit up front in the jump seat in the flight deck with the pilots. I told them that I would only do this if there was a seat in the back for Matt, because I didn't really need to get home as quickly as Matt so I'd just wait until he got on a flight and I'd sit in the jump then. On the first flight, at one point it looked like there would be a seat for Matt, so I was going to be sitting jump. As we were excited that we might get on the flight, the crew walked by. I let out this huge gasp and Matt said something like "HOLY SHIT" when we saw one of the pilots. I'm not sure if I enlightened you about our Hawaii extravaganza, but there was a pilot who basically made our life a living hell and has since retold the story over and over again to his crews, antagonizing this terrible flight attendant and her awful boyfriend. This guy is the world biggest prick. I don't normally use that word, but he just is. He's terrible. And if I had to work with him, I would call in sick. He's that awful. Anyway the thought of me sitting in the flight deck with him the whole time was less appealing than getting an old person's nasty gross feet rubbed on me. I also thought that if this captain had a say in it, we wouldn't even get on the flight even if we were next in line. Luckily, we didn't have to make the decision because there were no seats for Matt, but it was scary. I was actually glad we didn't make that one.

The fourth flight was on one of the bigger planes, which hold 166 people. There is a minimum crew requirement on airplanes, meaning the crew/passenger ratio is 1:40. Normally we carry 4 flight attendants on all planes, and if the flights are full on that bigger plane, they'll pull a flight attendant from somewhere else and put them on that flight. That didn't happen for this flight. So there were 6 seats on a plane that had to remain empty, while there were 10 people in the toronto airport DYING to get home. So as a flight attendant, there is a chance that I can work in order to get myself home. That is, if you have a uniform. So I stood at the counter in the boarding lounge and was talking with the Customer Service Agents, who ultimately control my and Matt's fate, and said "well I'm a flight attendant, but I don't have a uniform." So sorry Heather, no uniform, no working. At this point, Matt and I had been at the airport for about 5 hours, Matt had called and left messages with his new boss explaining that he wouldn't be at work for his first day, and we were feeling all in all terrible.

I decided to go up to the counter one more time, just to remind them I was there, yeah, hi, over here, love to get on a flight, when the CSA said "hang on Heather, we might be able to track down a uniform for you." OK LET'S GO! I ran back to my seat, grabbed my pass for the airports, and we ran down to this crazy mystery uniform room. While we were down there, a the CSA got a message via walkie talkie that I needed to call crew sked, who control the crews and are the people you want to be friends with, because if you're on their bad side, you're in trouble. And the last time I spoke with them, I was less than polite. Needless to say, I was expecting them to say "NO! HA!". I called, stated my purpose, and was SO expecting them to say no that when they said yes I just said "ok thanks!" and hung up. I couldn't believe it!

So up I went to the gate in pants that looked like they were crumpled in a ball for the last 5 years, a shirt that was too big and a sweater, with my sandals still on. I didn't have shoes or socks. Well one of the flight attendants working had an extra pair, and the CSA who helped me gave me her own shoes!!! I couldn't believe it! So in another mad dash, I got my stuff, went down to the plane, got all ready to start working. Matt got one of the seats, 5 other standbys got on, plus two more in the jump seats in the flight deck. So I had to work, which was fine, though I was a tad on the tired side since I had gotten up before 5:00am and ran a race and all that jazz, but we got home. Matt got to sit in a comfy seat and watch movies and get service, but don't worry I wasn't jealous. We finally made it home and went straight to bed.

And that was our terrifying adventure. Should I mention that I've never not gotten on a flight before? And we didn't get on THREE. Crazy.

1 comment:

K said...

i sincerely hope i don't have an experience even close to one like that tomorrow.
though it couldn't get too crazy except for "sorry, no room" for me...