Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mischievous Travels: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.

Flight Attendant Training.

It's not what you imagine it to be, and it's definitely not like "View from the Top."

My first Airline held their training in Denver, Colorado. Gorgeous, beautiful Denver. I trained to fly on small jets like the CRJ700 and the BAE-146. I barely remember my initial operating experience tests as I was stricken with the WORST head/sinus/flu thing imaginable, but I was determined to push through as I was not about to go through 6 weeks of flight attendant training just because of the sniffles. Let me just tell you that take off and landing where your ears are screaming from the pressure change and your sinus cavities feel like they're going to literally burst through your skin doesn't make you feel like doing cartwheels down the aisles. It will, however, leave you sobbing in your jump seat counting the minutes till your next scheduled flight.

 The BAE in the hangar. We were training that day to do evacuations. I find it funny now, looking back, that we were so terrified to jump down this little slide after going down the DC-10's slide with no problem. If you ever have to go through training, go to a bouncy house place and practice a "jump and sit" about a thousand times. Congratulations, you are now an official Flight Attendant!

Ah, the CRJ. She was my sweetie. It was just me, my Captain, First Officer and 50 passengers. I loved how quick my flights were and that I was constantly busy. I loved meeting repeat customers who used our service to get to work, as we did a lot of commuter type flights from Atlanta to Savannah and Tampa to Tallahassee. This aircraft and time in my life were THE reasons I fell in love with being a Flight Attendant. If you've never worked in the airline industry, we have a saying that once you've flown, you will forever have jet fuel pumping through your veins. When you're out of it, you miss it like you've never missed anything in your whole life.

I wish I had pictures of training in Vegas for my second airline. We stayed across the street from the Hard Rock and they'd just opened up the Hofbrauhaus. We were a WILD group and it did not help that we were in Las Vegas. We spent a LOT of time at Hamburger Mary's (which is apparently permanently closed, thanks for that Google Maps!) There was nothing like drunken Karaoke and a BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) after being scrutinized and drilled by your Flight Attendant instructors. There was also a ton of homework done in the Starbucks inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Lots and LOTS of homework (between gawking at all the insanity swirling around outside the cafe.)

On my initial operating flight (think of it as a final exam where they test you on your performance as a Flight Attendant), I flew into Frankfurt, Germany. As I didn't have my wings yet, I had to sit in a passenger's seat. This Airline flew for the DOD shuttling military back and forth overseas for tour changes, R&R's, etc. On our way home, I was wedged between a window and a soldier who had lost his buddy prior to our flight in combat. It was the longest, most somber flight of my life. I begged the Senior Flight Attendants to put me to work as I couldn't bare sitting next to this man as he mourned his friend.

I quickly learned to love the Galley of the DC-10. Better yet, if the Galley was in the belly of the plane, I was in Flight Attendant heaven. It wasn't that I didn't love what our company represented and didn't take pride in the bravery of our passengers, I just couldn't get past my own mental blocks and NO WHERE was busier (or had more busy work for me to do) than the Galley. So many bins to clean and organize. So many meals to cook and carts to stuff.

Ovens on your left, soda and supply bins on your right, carts beneath, 300+ passengers worth of trash piled up next to the cargo doors and the elevators directly ahead. Being a "wee small" person of stature, I could rest my arms on top of those ridiculously lacking in depth counters and not have to bend over. I was never worried about bumping my head unless there was fierce turbulence.

I loved the Galley. I was often referred to as a "Galley Hag" or often lovingly called the "Galley Bitch." It all depended on where we were headed or how I received the galley upon receiving the aircraft. I was very particular about the cleanliness and organization of MY Galley thankyouverymuch. All those little napkins hanging off the carts on the left in the picture above? Figurative hate mail to the next Flight Attendant. Messages like, "Trash DOES NOT BELONG in Ice Carts" and "Clear sodas and Dark sodas HAVE THEIR OWN SLEEVE THEY DO NOT INTERMINGLE!!!" It was also my job to order inventory at the end of each flight so the next crew wouldn't be short on supplies. Oh how I would have loved to had my Galley after I'd stocked it. I hope my efforts were appreciated even a little.

So... I suppose you want to know more about Germany...