Friday, September 3, 2010

Memoirs of a flight attendant, the Prelude

This month I decided to write down a few of my memories of being a flight attendant. 

How much do I tell?  Is the question I ponder..some things I'm not allowed to tell, other things, I'm not sure I want to tell!  We'll see how it goes.. I know those are the things that people want to hear about most!

Cue Julie Andrews:
Lets start at the very beginning.  A very good place to start! 

Cue Wayne and Garth:
Diddly doot diddly doot

It all started at the Superbowl in Tampa, FL 2001.  I met some people from Detroit who had come to party, they didn't have tickets for the game but just wanted to be in the atmosphere.  I exchanged numbers with one of the guys, and we started keeping in touch.  Several months later, I decided my best move at the time was to leave Tampa and move back home to Chicago.

After living in Chicago for 2 months, I still could not find a job.  These days, that pretty much has become common, but back then, I was getting anxious.  For kicks, I decided to see if the airlines were hiring.  There was a job posting for flight attendants, and a meeting scheduled for the very next day in Detroit.  I had never been to Detroit before, but mapquest told me it was a 4 hour drive.  Since I kinda sorta knew someone there, on a whim I thought what the heck, I'll drive over and see what happens.  Wearing a business suit the whole way, and armed with a resume and some gumption, I set off.

This meeting, there was a huge room full of people, over 100, and we listened to a few current flight attendants tell us about the job.  Then we had to get up, one by one, and tell the room full o people about ourselves and then read a line of flight attendant script.  At this point I'm starting to look for the door, my palms sweating, my heart pounding just a little faster.  I was not a public speaker and this huge room of people, I had to come up with something spur of the moment to say?  Ummmmm.  Oh no.  I started thinking this is silly, I came on a whim, I'm not getting hired, whatever, ok I'll just go up and get this over with.

"Hi, I'm Karina.  I just moved from Tampa to Chicago and now I'm here in could say I'm homeless at the moment and how can you get more flexible than that?" 

The room chuckled and it made me relax ever so slightly, and turn a little red too;  I didn't mean for it to be funny. I don't know why people laughed but I went with it. 

"There are 2 exits at the front of the plane, 2 at the rear, and 2 overwing exits.  At this time, please find the exit nearest to your seat, keeping in mind that your nearest exit may be behind you."

I chose the smallest line in the script possible, and as they went through the room, everyone started to read the same short line.  Then we all got herded out of the room, after being told of the 100+ people in there, 10 would be chosen.  I knew for sure I wasn't getting picked, so I went to the hotel bar to have a drink with my friend.  Afterwards I was planning on leaving, I didn't even want to go back and learn I wasn't chosen.  My friend told me just to go and be sure.  I didn't want the sting of rejection but I went anyway...and my name was on the door of the people chosen.

Holy crap!  Me!? 

I went back in the room with the other 10, and learned that in 2 weeks we'd all be flown out to Florida for 4 weeks of training.  What in the world do you need 4 weeks for training for I wondered?  Isn't it just pretzels and pepsi?

Did I mention I was afraid of flying?