Once upon a time, a self-proclaimed Archaeology-Lifer got a job as a flight attendant. No one knows quite how it happened. Here's what happened next...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Series of Anecdotes

Obviously I haven't been writing as much lately.  Not as much as I should have been, and definitely not as much as I should like.  It's just been one of those months full of "go here" and "do this" and "sleep, what's that again?"  I've been a busy little bee, and have lots of things to tell you all, but in the interest of saving writing everything out much in the fashion of an epic poem full of Vikings and pillaging and plundering, I shall provide you with a Series of Anecdotes.  Perhaps this is also an attempt to save your attention span also.  Who knows?

Early in September (or perhaps late August, I can't quite remember) I worked a pairing for The Airline.  We had been sub-contracted by another airline (one I had considered applying to) in order to operate one of their regularly scheduled flights up to Iqualuit and back again.  One of the other FAs had originally been scheduled to work this flight, as she had done the previous week, however she happily offered it up to me and I snapped it up.  I soon knew why!!!  This airline we were operating for has a RIDICULOUS service flow.  You probably get more service with this lot in a 2.5 hour flight than you would crossing the Atlantic with Air Canada.  I literally didn't have a split second to myself.  Oh shoot, my bun came undone and my hair is hanging loose?  NO TIME!  Don't fix it, just MOVE!  Somewhere between the third coffee service and the second round of "hot towels" I wondered if I had somehow slipped into the 1960s, and contemplated having a nervous breakdown.  Somehow we made it through, but I can tell you that if another of those contracts comes up, I will need some serious persuading to say yes. 

Terminal at YFB

"She's got me landing with a 30kt tailwind!! Who the hell does she think I am?!" - Overheard in the flight deck landing in Quebec City.
A few weeks ago a guitar case appeared in the customs hall.  A nice one.  A Fender.  I took a look at the tag... Steve Miller.  Um.  Wow.

A week or so back I was working in the customs hall at the airport, and a young man came up to the baggage information counter.  He looked rather upset, so I steeled myself for the incoming rant, but as it happened he was very polite.  He told me he was sorry to bother me, but the zipper on his suitcase had broken some time during the flight.  I immediately launched into the spiel about our company's baggage repair service, but he interrupted me.  He said he wasn't bothered that his bag was broken, only that his girlfriend had given him a piece of tupperware before he left, and it had fallen out of the bag somewhere along the way.  He asked if the ramp agents could check for it in the plane, which they did, and found the tupperware.  They brought it up to customs for the young man, and I had a look, expecting to see home-made baked goods or little candies or something like that.  The tupperware was empty. 
'Oh thank you so much!  I am so relieved!'  he said, and walked away.
I was forced to go to YUL for training by the company I work at the airport.  It was maddening.  I spent the better part of a week stuck in a room "learning" things I had known for almost three months, and to top it off I heard jets fly overhead every 45 seconds, and couldn't see a single one of them!  I was reluctant to go to Montreal at all, until I remembered that they had cool planes there, and I imagined myself in heaven, hunting B747s every afternoon.  The reality was a little different.  YUL is a terrible airport.  There is not ONE place in the whole building where you can see the ramp and the airplanes without having to pass through security first.  All I wanted to do was eat my lunch and stare at planes.  Is that so much to ask?  And because I am not stationed at YUL, using my Red Pass to get to the gates just to go look at planes made me feel like I was in Mission Impossible.  I managed it, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to...

Misson accomplished!

One afternoon in YUL, having made it to the gates in time to settle myself by a window and watch the sky for the appearance of my beloved B747, I noticed something strange.  A stream of water seemed to be coming from between two planes parked at the gates.  I wandered over to get a better look, and saw something wonderful!  What I believe to have been an Air Canada Embraer 190 was taxiing between two fire trucks as they discharged their water canons.  A Real Life Canon Salute!  I was very moved, and amazed when I looked around me to realise that none of the other people sitting in the terminal had any clue what they were witnessing.  I literally had chills.

Also while in YUL, I went to visit a friend of mine.  He was previously a ramp supervisor here in Ottawa, but had left about two months ago, and got a job at one of the FBOs at YUL.  He invited me over to the FBO one evening, and spent some time showing me the incredible private jets of the rich and famous.  Shining gorgeous challengers all crammed into  one hangar with fancy sports cars parked between them, and the whole place smelled of Jet Fuel!  I just wanted to bring a sleeping bag and move in.  To make it even better, the FBO was right on the runway, so we stood on the ramp for a long time and watched the B777s and the B747s and the A330s taking off.  My friend even let me sit in one of the Mazeratis, AND turn it on!  I'm not really a car girl, but the sound of that engine was jaw-droppingly sexy.

On Tuesday this week I finally got my behind back in an airplane, after a two week gap between lessons, thanks to rotten weather and my trip to YUL.  I was more than a little nervous, to tell the truth.  We were due to undertake my first Instruments lesson, which is accomplished by making the student wear a "hood" which blocks the student's view of anything but the instrument panel.  No visual flying.  Meanwhile the instructor takes care of the radio calls, keeps an eye out for traffic, and gives the student directional instructions.  The idea of having part of my vision obscured gave me the creeps, but I sucked it up and dealt with it, and although it wasn't the most pleasant lesson, I felt pretty confident that I performed well.  My Instructor gave me a bit of a break half way through the lesson, and had me land on a grass strip to give me some practice with Soft Field landings and take-offs, which was pretty enjoyable.  And then it was back to the sky and back under the hood.  Halfway back to Ottawa I realised that I was essentially flying an aircraft blind, except for my instruments.  I had no idea where I was and no idea where any other traffic might be. 
'Damn,' I said to My Instructor.  'It's a good job I trust you.'


1 comment:

  1. Lost empty tupperware??? Are you kidding me??? LOL
    Good read though!