And All You're Ever Going To Be Is Mean

3.26.2012

I have always loved airports - before this job, and even now, after practically living in them much of the time.

Delays excite me.
Everyone is going somewhere.
Everyone has a story.
There's constant movement.
There are so many destinations.
It's like a tiny city inside a building.

The flurry of cars outside departures.

Ticketing and check-in.

Security (well, no one loves security).

The tram.

The concourse.

The shops and restaurants!

The announcements!

The boarding passes!

The jetway!

What I've just described is a loosely summarized description of a typical airport process of experience.

I tried to describe it in a positive and exciting way. That's why I used exclamations.

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However, there are a lot of people that, instead of getting more excited through the sequence of events, start to slip down a sneaky thought spiral of hatred, crankiness and despair. Things like:

"No airline does it right."

"Security is a hassle! And a waste of time."

"Airport food is expensive, and gross."

"Gate agents are mean! I paid a lot of money for this!"

"I DESERVE AN ENTIRE OVERHEAD BIN OF MINE OWN!"

So, by the time they reach me - standing at the boarding door to smile and welcome them, they are experiencing what my sister and I like to call:

Total Disintegration of Personality.

This means that there is nothing I can say to make anything better. I am personally responsible for every unfortunate thing that has happened to them, and I run the company myself. There is nothing that can be offered or said for consolation. They are entitled to a minimum of a ten second tantrum.  I am required to stand there and continue smiling, in the midst of verbal assault.



I'm going to be honest, sometimes it's really hurtful. I am a care bear, after all.

But most of the time, it has helped me to not take things so personally and kind of laugh. Because we have all been completely ridiculous at some point in our lives.

(While deplaning)
Me: Thank you so much for flying with us. I am sorry again about the delay.
Crankosaurus: You should be. You are all incompetent.

Me: Sir, I am so sorry about having to check your bag.
Angry Beaver: I HATE THIS AIRLINE. (throws his bag violently to the ground)

(Inebriated girl in front of me looked at me and then turned to her boyfriend and exclaimed loudly)
Drunk Girl: Why do all stewardesses look the same? They're all fat and ugly.


I am confident that no one would ever be mad at me if I got to wear these uniforms.
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Ah, customer service!

It's up in the air - it's here, it's there! Everywhere!

I love those little crab apples.
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37 comments:

  1. I totally hear you! I experience a similar situation with some of my students parents. Such little rays of sunshine! You're a saint for dealing with disgruntled airline passengers!

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    1. That's an aspect of a teacher's job that I always seem to forget. You have them for an entire year, but I need only take care of them for a few hours. Um, perspective for me! Haha. I am sure it makes you so grateful for the parents that are encouraging!

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  2. Omg. You're a saint. Anyone who makes a snide remark about my weight will promptly be sat on. Until I have suffocated them. Dumb betch.

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    1. I cried :)
      It just helped to recognize how ridiculous it was.
      Plus I was in my uniform. So I had to just keep smiling.
      People! Are! Crazy!

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  3. I love this, and you. I feel that you appreciate the last part of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk

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    1. "You are sitting in a chair IN THE SKY."

      HAHAH I love everything about it. It's so. True.

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  4. You described everything I love about airports! I have actually been quoted saying that I'd like to spend the night in one sometime haha. (not actually sure I'd be excited about that if I miss non-rev flight after flight...) Have you ever read the book "Naked Airport"? It's a historical non-fiction about the history of the airport and how it's changed over the years. I'm a bit nerdy like that.

    Oh and I have definitely seen people disintegrate at the airport. It's not always pretty out there. And those uniforms in that photo.... what airline was that?! Holy clown outfit! ;)

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    1. The thought of everyone sleeping in the airport was always exciting to me, too. Now it's not AS appealing since I would only be able to think about the luscious hotel bed I would be missing...but I still think I could do it as long as I didn't have to wear my uniform.

      I have not heard of that book! I just looked it up on Amazon. I would love to read that. The culture of it and how much everything has changed is fascinating to me. Even in the small amount of time I've spent in them - I remember how different the experience was when I was little.

      I'm almost positive Emilio Pucci designed them, but I am too lazy to research the airline. But YOWZA. I am glad we've toned it down. The monkey hat is just too much.

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    2. Ditto Ashley - your description is why I love airports to a T! When that movie where Tom Hanks lives in an airport came out, I was like "But that's MY dream!"

      However, by the time I get to you standing in the front of the airplane, it's hit me that I'll be floating in the sky, and I'm not quite as happy and nice as I should be. I'm never outright rude...but I should probably work on my attitude!

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  5. I would eff those people up so bad.

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    1. HAHA I can almost picture that.

      I talk the talk but I cannot walk the walk - I just crumble and get all weepy when people are mean to me.

      But it's forcing me to toughen up and think, "Would Elvis Earl tolerate this? No. No he would not."

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  6. I can't imagine the people you have to deal with working the job you do! That would be so tough. I bet you do a great job & have lots of interesting stories though :) love your blog! Xoxo

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    1. Thank you!

      These are really rare instance - I know people are more frustrated with the experience than with me. And most people are great. It's crazy that just a moment of anger can affect you so much!

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  7. My little man wants you to know he loves...."I love those little crab apples."

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    1. I love him. Now whenever I sit down to write I can only think of little man, sitting at the screen and catching up.

      Or, I think of him singing 'Mommy you are so special' and I melt into a puddle.

      He'll always be my boyfriend.

      Can I have a fiance and a boyfriend? Bryan won't mind?

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  8. man! I may not be able to relate as a flight attendant, but i can relate as someone who worked in customer service. Some people can be so mean. My roommate is a flight attendant and she used to say that when people step on the airplane they leave their brains behind and their manners. I'm beginning to see a trend here. Hopefully the few (or handful) of really nice people can make up for those bad eggs while you're at work :) have a nice day!

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    1. I can't believe how brave people are with the way they say things sometimes!

      I bet by now you are like a dream passenger - what with everything you have heard and learned from your roommate.

      To be honest - these stand out to me, because they were particularly rude...but for the most part, it's uneventful and I think people are great most of the time.

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  9. Ever since finding your blog, my admiration for all the work that flight attendants do has increased loads, especially those on international flights! Also I definitely relate about travel-induced excitement - I'm a sucker for airports, train stations, whatever gets me to my next destination :)

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    1. So true! Transportation in general is exciting. Maybe not car traffic so much, but still. The togetherness! I am a nerd.

      I don't even think I noticed the flight attendants before I had this job. That's so nice to say out loud. A lesson in humility, to say the least!

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  10. Your positive attitude is making me excited to fly next month! So thanks for that :)

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    1. Ahhh! I am so glad to hear it. With as many horror stories as I've heard about flight attendants, I'm continually refreshed by how many there are that really care about the people they serve. It makes a huge difference. Are you flying with the babe next month?

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  11. i don't think i could have stayed professional after the 'drunk girl' comment. i'm filled with rage for you. and you're gorgeous!

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    1. You're sweet to meee! I was totally dumbfounded. And I called my mom crying afterward. And she had some choice mom words to say which really helped. Hahaha. But yes, she was a meangirl. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and blame some of it on the booze.

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  12. Oh my goodness the things that come out of peoples mouths! It's like you said, we've all been there and have had those moments. What shocks me is how people can't just take a moment and THINK before opening their big 'ol pie holes.

    I definitely commend you for staying strong - I probably would have broken down and cried after the first comment. I need to work on getting some tough skin. But you go girl! And kill them all with kindness :)

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    1. Hahaha you and I must respond pretty similarly. Some people get sassy, and some people just melt into a puddle of tears. Unfortunately, I am the latter. But you're right! It's toughening me up. It's not all in vain!

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  13. I gasped out loud...maybe you should were your care bear heart on your sleeve so they all no better...or blind them with your belly rainbow or something. I love you. You are neither fat nor ugly. Nor incompetent. Duh.

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    1. AHAHAHA you referenced the belly rainbow and it's reason 7634387234387 why you are my soul mate best friend. I love you. Thank you. Duh.

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  14. i cannot imagine being cranky on a plane although i only fly for pleasure. it might get a bit old flying for business. just had a delightful trip to nyc in fact!

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    1. Flying to NYC is all kinds of exciting!

      Sometimes the business folk are the most reasonable. They are seasoned flyers and most of them are on a plane more than I am.

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  15. Haha this post cracked me up! My fiancé's mom has been a flight attendant FOREVER and she always shares customer service horror stories with us :) It makes for a good laugh later, but I know in the moment it can leave quite a sting.

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    1. Ahhh hahaah I am sure she has much better stories to tell than I do. I've only been flying for a year and I've already seen a significant amount of crazy.

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  16. This had me laughing. I try not to misdirect my anger when flying. I really do love airports and looove to travel as well. But for some reason I have the.worst.travel.luck.ever I am always always always delayed usually ending in me sleeping in a city that I did not plan on. But that is not the flight attendant's problem and I get all kinds of angry when I see rude people treating flight attendants, servers, clerks etc. in a mean way when it is out of their hands. Grrr!

    I commend you for what you do lady, it cannot be an easy job!

    I am very excited to be your newest blog follower :)

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  17. Oh, girl. Hahaha, even for me - lately I've been experiencing a lot of mechanical delays and beginning to think, "Am I the common denominator here?" I know most of the time you finally just reach a point when so many things go wrong that the whole thing is laughable.

    I'm so happy you found me!

    I totally agree with you - it breaks my heart when someone thinks they'e being 'brave' by speaking their mind...when really, it's just destructive and hurtful.

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  18. Crankosaurus
    Angry Beaver

    bahahahaha! Reasons why I love you.

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  19. Aw man! That would suck. I love being at the airport and all that stuff is a part of the experience. I've had three members of my family work for different airlines and they all have similar stories.

    Too bad people suck sometimes, no?

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  20. oh how true, that makes me smile. people can be so mean to those in customer service. it's hard to not know where to place your frustrations. at least there are good stories to balance out the bad cranky people of the world.
    http://sawatdeeyall.blogspot.com/

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  21. Wow. Thank you for this blog. I just stumbled on this. I'm absolutely terrified of flying. I never was as a child, I flew a lot, and then, around 20 years old - bam - the fear started consuming me. And I have to fly a handful of times a year. Every time I book a flight my hands shake at the thought of it. (I'm not an anxious person otherwise).

    But I must say, I think I'm going to bookmark this blog and read it before I fly, because just reading it now is comforting!!!

    For fearful flyers such as myself, flight attendants are basically our saviors from take off to landing. I book my seats closer to the front of the plane, so I can see the flight attendants in their seats. Seeing you guys relaxed, and also understanding enough to throw me the occasional reassuring smile (or mini vodka) when turbulence hits is what gets me through every flight. You have no idea how helpful it is!!! :) For that reason flight attendants play such an important role in my life. Anyway, I've never really commented on a blog before but this one hit home. Keep up the good work!

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