I actually enjoy flying.
Well, allow me to qualify that – I used to enjoy flying. Unfortunately, not so much anymore. I’ve talked about this in the past, and the reason I gave for air travel falling from favor was more centered upon the BS one must deal with on the ground – such as the “hurry up and wait” factor as well as the TSA just to name two. Don’t get me wrong here… I’ve met many wonderful TSA folk. People who are doing a job and try to make it run smooth and easy because they understand how trying the whole process can be. But, there are also those – and it seems, unfortunately, that they make up the majority – who are on a power trip and take great delight in being assholes.
Well, I’m not here to talk to you about the TSA today. I’m actually here to talk to you about Airborne Waitresses. I’m sure that euphemism will get me in trouble, but what the hell. Apparently I am born to be in trouble.
My story begins on Friday last. I was bound for Texas to present at the Ostara Festival and sign books at Sisters of the Earth and Sea. Like the rest of us, bookstores have been hit by the downturn in the economy, therefore they do what they can to cut costs. In this instance, they booked me on the redeye. No biggie. I can sleep when I’m dead.
So, anyway, I was up at 3AM and then E K & the O-spring dropped me off at the airport around 4:20. After standing in line, checking my bag, standing in line again, farting about with TSA, having my CPAP inspected, swabbed, detected, tested, and otherwise scrutinized, I was on my way to my gate. Eventually, after I spent time sitting around with other half-snoozing folks the airline announced that the flight was oversold and that they needed to bump at least three people. Normally I jump on this since they get you there anyway AND give you a voucher. This time, however, I sat still. But, as the minutes ticked by they became more and more adamant that they had to bump some people. And so, finally, I gave in and tested the waters. Once I was certain they could get me to my destination at a reasonable hour – especially since I had a connection to make – I told them I would fall on my sword for them.
So, I stood off to the side and set the wheels into motion that would notify those who needed to know that I would in fact be arriving later than scheduled. Then, a completely different ball started rolling, and as it continued downhill it picked up both speed and a healthy dose of ka-ka. Why? Because it needed to fling poo on me when it reached the bottom.
The American Airlines gate agent called my name and told me that they didn’t need to bump me after all. I had stood there watching them put standby passengers on the plane (or so it appeared) – something I thought odd to begin with, given that they had bumped three confirmed passengers, but whatever. Who was I to complain? I was going to be receiving a $300 voucher. Or, so I thought. Now, instead of the voucher I was being put back on the flight.
Having watched the prior mess, when the agent handed me my original boarding pass I asked, “Am I still sitting in the same seat?”
“You should be,” he told me.
The phrase “should be” obviously should have told me something. But, in my defense, it was early and I took his words at face value.
I boarded the plane and made my way back down the length of the MD-80 to my assigned seat – 31D. Of course, it was occupied. I spoke to the lady, then asked the Flight Attendant standing there where she would prefer that I sit since the seating had been messed up due to the shifting of passengers.
This particular Airborne Waitress was something on the order of 137 years old, and had a permanent scowl stapled to her face. Seriously. She already had 10 years in on the job when the Flight Attendant in the picture on the right was hired.
At any rate, she immediately yelled, “What?”
Yes, you read that correctly. Yelled. Not said, asked, uttered, muttered, or otherwise spoke. She yelled.
I answered, “31D.”
“What’s your seat number?” she yelled again.
“31E?” she bellowed.
“No ma’am, 31D.”
“D? D as in dog? 31D?” she yelled.
“Yes ma’am,” I replied, notching my volume up a bit more, although nowhere near yelling as she was. “That’s what I said. 31D.”
Instantly she pulled off her face, and let me tell you the flaming death’s head was no prettier than the scowling prune. Suddenly she yelled even louder, “Don’t you take that attitude with me!”
I was taken aback. I’ve logged so many miles in the air that my flying odometer has rolled over more times than I can count, and never have I dealt with such a thing. I’ve had flight attendants flirt with me – one of whom was even dead set on having my company for the evening when we landed (she didn’t get her wish, much to her disappointment. Good thing too, as E K would have killed her, then tortured me for several weeks until I expired.) I’ve had them ask me to help during a period of heavy turbulence when passengers in my row were wigging out. I’ve even sat and traded recipes with them.
But, never had I been attacked by one.
I looked at her and said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to give you any attitude. I just want to know where you want me to sit.”
She glared at me, then rolled her eyes and muttered something unintelligible, then proceeded to yank some poor woman’s ticket out of her hand. A moment later she started screaming at her instead of me. The next thing I knew she was demanding that the woman move across the aisle and let me sit where she was sitting. I looked at the woman and said, why don’t you just stay where you are and I’ll sit over here. I immediately plopped into the seat and buckled up. Psycho Stewardess glared at me, but left it at that.
For the moment.
By “for the moment”, I mean a few minutes later she repeated the incident in extreme detail for some other passengers who were put back on after having been bumped. Up to and including a stern lecture about how all because of them the flight was going to arrive at DFW later than scheduled.
When she went forward, we all looked at one another, and chatted quietly, using various four letter words to describe the insane wingnut in a uniform. The general consensus was that she needed a Valium, or more preferably cyanide. My point being, this wasn’t just me – all of us in the back of the airplane thought the woman had lost her mind and was undoubtedly the rudest flight attendant on record.
And, just to prove us correct she had to get in one last psycho moment, by screaming at a teenager to lift his tray table when we were on approach to DFW. Unfortunately, she picked the wrong kid to jump on. Seems he was a special needs individual and couldn’t really comprehend what it was that she was yelling at him about… And he was sitting in the window seat. Momma was in the aisle seat between them and she instantly intervened.
Of course, the flying bitch still had to have the last word. She yelled at the momma that she, “should have told her at the outset that he was special needs.”
For the record, instead of being late we landed 30 minutes early and had to wait on the tarmac for 15 minutes for a gate to be free.
I actually have a theory about that. I suspect the Captain pushed that airplane as hard as it would go because the rest of the crew probably called him up and said that if we didn’t get there soon they were going to chuck the Misanthropic Airborne Waitress out the hatch at 34 thousand feet.
You know what? They would have had plenty of help.
More to come…