I arrived home safely last Saturday afternoon. Thank you all very much for your well wishes.
I was amazed on my flight out of here May 14. On the leg from Cancun to Memphis there were 17, count 'em, 17 passengers on the plane. It was weird and depressing and really drove home to me what a drastic effect the H1N1 scare had had on tourism here.
The flight back from Memphis to Cancun was an entirely different matter. The plane was packed. Not an empty seat to be found! I was so happy to see that. Most of them, from pieces of overheard conversations I picked up, were headed for the Mayan Riveria.
But the leg from Grand Rapids, Mi, to Memphis was like no other that I ever had. Thanks to the solitary female flight attendant we had. It was a small plane, two seats on each side of the row, maybe 25 rows. The fun started even before we took off.
Ms. FA got on the loudspeaker at the front of the plane and started her message to the passengers. We've all heard it a hundred times before, put up your tray, how to fasten your seat belt speech. I was jolted out of my thoughts when I heard this:
PEOPLE! You need to stop what you are doing and direct your attention to ME! This information could save your lives and I am not going to stand up here and waste my breath on you if you don't care! Once again, direct you attention to ME!
Let me tell you, heads popped up and focused on her right smart quick! She finished the standard safety instructions and then started in on stowing overhead and under your seat storage. She even told us that anything under the seats HAD to be under our seats, even if the one next to us what empty. She added that we chose to bring that onto the plane and it should be under our care and control. She did not want to see any backpacks or anything else on the floor unless it was directly in front of us. I saw a lot of people bending over to retrieve their stuff at that point! Her final point, and she was quite serious about it, was that nothing was to be stored in the back pocket in front of you during take off or landing. Nothing!
As she was making her final check before take off, waling down the aisle and checking everybody, it was her lucky day! She found two offenders to berate!
"SIR," she wailed at one poor guy, "I distinctly told you to shut off all electronic devices at this time. Were you not listening while I was speaking? Were you just not paying attention? Now I have to repeat it all over again just for you? No Sir, I am not going to do that. By not listening to me you have now put your life, my life and all of these passengers lives in potential danger. Now shut that off and put it away before it becomes the property of this airline." He shut it off.
The second person was in violation of the seat pocket rule. Again with the
"SIR!, you have an unauthorized item in your seat pocket. Please remove it at once and stow it in your luggage during take off." He removed his offending paperback book from the seat pocket and she moved on. I'm sure she was quite disappointed that the rest of us had quickly removed our books from that pocket!
Her final piece of efficiency came during the flight. She was doing her drinks and peanut run and had reached some point around row 20. Some poor woman in row 17 decided to get up, since the seat belt light was off, and move to the front of the plane. Ms. FA, with eagle eyes in the back of her head, spotted her. She whipped around from her cart and we heard
"Miss!, where do you think you are going?"
Our offending passenger turned and looked like a deer caught in headlights. She meekly, barely audibly responded in a harsh whisper
"If you had also been paying attention as I asked to my on board instructions, you would know that there is no bathroom for passengers in the front of the plane. The only bathroom on this aircraft is located in the rear."
"Now please take your seat and wait until I have finished my service run and you will be able to get past me to use the bathroom. You're an adult. You can do that."
Where upon the highly embarrassed passenger returned to her seat.
I think Ms. FA overstepped her authority and certainly did not exhibit very good people skills. What do you think?