In the last 13 days, I've worked ten! That's a lot of flying. Why? I wanted to make up for having worked only four days in December BEFORE the 23rd (vacation). We have had full, busy flights. I've demonstrated the safety features of the aircraft over and over and served 2,000 plus drinks. That's the nuts and bolts of our work. Let me share some moments of serendipity that make me smile as I remember them and keep me loving my job.
Children five- to 11-years-old can fly unaccompanied. Understandably, during the holidays we have a lot of Unaccompanied Minors. One flight had 15! With one group, I introduced myself and began filling out their paperwork. While doing this I asked their names and then said: "And what is my name?" I had been through the routine five times and when the sixth child had my attention, I didn't ask if he remembered my name. As I put his papers in his pouch, he looked at me and said: "Aren't you going to give me the test?!" This same flight I remembered I needed to add something to the first child's paperwork. I asked him to give it to me and told him I forgot to write something. With a lisp he asked, "Is THIS your first time?" Spending time with these children is a joy no matter how many times I've done it.
Another large group are our Armed Forces. I can't see these young faces without feeling almost a maternal pride. As we entered the airport early for our first flight, I noticed a young woman in fatigues. She was hugging her husband, and they were surrounded by two young children and a baby in a carrier! I wanted to go in her place! One young man, again in fatigues, boarded last with tears in his eyes. I said, "Do you need one more good-bye kiss?" and he leaned over and kissed me! The Ops Agent said the soldier was with his wife and children in the gate area. I'd love to be on their flights bringing them back home.
Babies were everywhere! I've never seen an ugly baby. There's no better reason to fly than to spend time with grandparents and extended family! One popular Christmas gift is a trip to Disney World! It's a lot of fun seeing children's faces as they tell me where they are going! One family had twelve traveling together - grandpa was footing the bill. A trip to remember.
Some of our flights were over two hours--one was over four hours. This gives our passengers a chance to get well acquainted. One particularly friendly group was exchanging addresses and phone numbers. They agreed it was the best flight they have every been on. That's the feeling we want our passengers to have.
I wonder how many wheel chairs are in an airport? Each flight had a long line of wheelchair passengers. We had extra Ops Agents and Pilots helping the Sky Caps. Flying is a big deal to a lot of these passengers. I must tell you about Homer. He boarded first and sat on the first row by the window. He is in his eighties--a snappy dresser! We had time to talk while I was sitting on the jumpseat, plus it was a long flight. He asked me if I would come and live with him. He paid $60,000 for his house in California, and it was now worth $240,000.00! Before we landed, I saw him take a business card from the male passenger sitting beside him. I thought, "How nice; he has made a friend." Well, he handed me the card as he left. He had written his name and phone number on the back of the other man's card and added "Call me some time." I won't forget him and the memory will make me smile. I hope he will do the same!
Holiday flying is hard work, but the kind that gives you a warm feeling afterward.