My Fantasy Job

I like flying and do it a lot.  I also think flight attendants have a difficult job and their resume should read “being nice to stupid people.”   I wouldn’t want to be a flight attendant but one of my fantasy jobs would be getting people on board the aircraft.  Once they’re on and settled in, I’d exit.

I fly Alaska Airlines quite often and I’d love to be the one to enforce each and every one of its rules and would gladly throw every rule breaker off the plane.  My husband says I wouldn’t keep my job very long.  I said, “Well, when I’m Empress of the world, things will be different and they will follow the rules.”

Here’s what I’m talking about.

The moment “pre-boarding” is announced, rude people start hovering near the check-in line so that the families with babies in strollers and old people with walkers have to navigate around them.

Next, you have people trying to get on board even though they’re not sitting in first class or holding MVP status.  Rather than hold up the lines, I often see the airline employee letting people on even though their category isn’t called.  Here’s where I would put my foot down – wait your turn!

Then you have the baggage announcements.  You’re allowed one carry-on item that goes in the overhead compartments and one personal item that goes under the seat in front of you.  How many times do I see women carrying a purse, a carry-on and a shopping bag?  “Can’t you count, lady?”  Some of the backpacks people carry could hold a small child.  Some of the carry ons are as big as steamer trunks and certainly wouldn’t fit in that little thingamagiggy that’s at the door to the jet way that measures whether your bag is the correct size.  The airline threatens to take those bags and check them through but I’ve yet to see anyone’s bag confiscated at the jet way because it was too big – even though it clearly was.

Here’s where people really lose all sense of reasoning – in the jet way.  Once they’re in the plane, all rational behavior ceases.  The flight attendant will explain the rules once again.  Carry-ons in the overhead bin; personal totes under the seats.  No coats in the overhead compartment unless they can be folded and placed on top of the carry-on.  Well, I’m sitting and watching some 6 ½ foot man in a large coat come lumbering down the aisle with a cowboy hat that clearly is squishing his brain and what does he do?  He puts the coat in the overhead bin taking up the space of a carry on.  Why can’t people just follow the rules?

Then, of course, there are the people who stand in the aisle while they pick their nose, pull up their socks, reach up into the overhead bins to pull something out, talk to the person across from them – all while other passengers are trying to make their way down the aisle to their seats.  All this is going on while the flight attendant, again, cautions people to step into the seating area to allow other passengers to pass.

I recently read that Alec Baldwin got kicked off his flight because he wouldn’t turn off his electronic game.  I’ve never seen this happen but I commend the flight attendant who wouldn’t take any guff from the likes of Mr. Baldwin who clearly doesn’t think the rules apply to him.

My favorite rule breakers are those that are warned ahead of time to use the bathroom because the flight attendants would be coming down the aisle with the food and beverage carts in five minutes.  It never fails.  The moment those little wheels on the carts start to squeak by, people’s bladders become irritated and they have to pop up and stand behind the flight attendant and inch their way towards the back of the plane while the flight attendants are trying to feed a whole lot of thirsty and hungry passengers.  It’s truly mind boggling to me.

I’m not of the mind that “rules are meant to be broken.”  The airlines have a very important job to do and flight attendants have an incredibly thankless and hard job trying to keep us safe.

Why people think the rules simply don’t apply to them is a mystery to me.  If you get it, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • chief98110

    I travel a lot and as a result wait for the chaos to subside and get on the plane last. I travel light and since I live in two very liberal states, traveling back and forth is always entertaining, if you like watching train wrecks. Once I’m seated, I put on my noise canceling headphones and try hard to tune out.
    Funny thing is that little kids are seldom a problem; it’s the big ones I’d like to throw off during the flight.The so called liberals are the biggest offenders of being rude and above the rules, just like Mr. Alex. Jerks all of them.

  • Billy Frank

    Maybe become a member of the Leisure Class and do horoscopes or rage at Occupy Wall Street.

  • 1Haole_Boy

    Let us Look at The Education of the Average Occupy Wall Street Radical and Why Their Un-Employability Makes them Radical.
    __Most of the Occupy Wall Street or any street in America are not educated in actually being gainfully employed and have earned useless degrees like: Multiculturalism in America; Women’s Studies; Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Studies; Political Science; Deconstructionism in the Post American World. The list goes on!
    __These young people are taught slogans so when they pull the lever, they are given a pellet of food. No reward goes to those who are critical thinkers who employ the 22 Rules-of-Inference. There are no real jobs waiting for them in the Post-University-World so they hang around the university for a post graduate degree in their useless major and hopefully they get a job as a lecturer. Otherwise, they would be flipping hamburgers or bagging groceries. The really smart ones learn to get certified in such disciplines as “Past-Life-Regression-Therapy“ or ”Life Coach for Success“ where they become part of what Thorstein Veblen calls ”The Leisure Class.” They then hit their clients in the wallet for large sums by their impressive oppulent lifestyle and leisure.
    __Those who haven‘t found a niche or scam to rake in the bucks become enraged that all of that education didn’t get them the American Dream so they must blame someone. They blame the geeks who got their degrees in marketable skills like the engineering field or banking. They blame these fellow graduates for their misfortune. Obama’s Army!

  • Roger Ward

    Now that arriving passengers can’t be met at the gate anymore, one of my pet peeves has evaporated. In the bad old days, people would crowd around the doorway to the arrivals area. These selfish idiots (often with balloons, flowers and large signs) would position themselves directly in front of the arrivals’ door, forcing those of us exiting the plane to back up and wait and then to try to pick our way slowly through a crowd of unknown well-wishers. I don’t fly often now but I remember how annoying it was to have to run the gantlet ever time I arrived. Things are better now … if only in this one way … but it sounds like people are still selfish and stupid.

    • Drew Page

      Roger — I have been flying since 1968 and I couldn’t disagree with you more. Flying back then was enjoyable. There were a lot more airlines, planes left on time and weren’t constantly over booked. Seating was more spacious and comfortable. Airlines even made money.

      Today the airlines are just another form of mass transit. The one and only only advantage of traveling by air over bus remains to be the amount of time one must be uncomfortable. In most other respects, there is really not much difference between the airlines and Greyhound.

  • Chris

    Great rant! I’ve been a Flight Attendant for 22 years. It’s nice to know some folks out there actually listen to and try to follow the regulations. Safe journeys!

    • Leona Salazar

      Thank you, Chris, for all your hard work in keeping us safe in the skies!

  • YVRCabinCrew

    I am an airport customer service agent, soon to be a flight attendant.

    The reason we don’t “enforce” those rules is that all too often we encounter more push back from the customer than we feel comfortable countering. I’m in this business because I enjoy being nice to people, and I’m just not going to stomp my foot harder than a passenger will. At my airline, we are told we are educators, not enforcers. Sure, the flight attendant could stand at the door and deny boarding to a passenger with too many carry-on bags, but that only causes more delays, and we know there are all too many people willing to hold up 159 other people while they argue every rule: “It’s never been a problem before…I always travel with this bag….I fly xxxx thousands of miles a year with your airline and no one’s ever stopped me before…show me that in writing….what legal basis do you have to deny me to carry this bag….which FAA regulation are you talking about – can you pull out the FAA code right now and show me? (Yup, I’ve had all those).

    The fact is, most people are perfectly reasonable and observe the guidelines without a fuss, and it’s not productive to interfere with their travel experience to stand your ground with the two or three assholes you’ll find on every flight. For every passenger with two massive carryons, there’s someone with none, and for every person who takes twice as long to board, there’s someone who takes half – so it all washes out in the end.

    • Leona Salazar

      You’re absolutely right. But as I tell my husband, “When I’m Empress of the world, things will be different!”

  • Bruce A.

    Thanks Leona, you reminded me about some of the things I miss by not flying or taking vacations.

  • Ron F

    I wish airlines would enforce all of the rules as well but my guess is that they will not as long as it is in their economic interest to not do so. I hope that means that all of the people described are the exception and not the rule. If enough people start bringing on over-sized luggage so it becomes a safety concern because all of the luggage will not fit in the overhead luggage bins, the airlines will probably start enforcing the rule. If the boarding of the planes becomes such a problem that flights are delayed, airlines will probably start enforcing the boarding rules. My guess is that the rule-breakers are sufficiently small that the airlines let it pass.

    • Drew Page

      There is a simple way to eliminate the problem. Remove the overhead bins. If a single carry-on doesn’t fit under the seat, it shouldn’t be allowed in the passenger cabin and should be checked with all other baggage. That goes for baby strollers, wheel chairs and everything else.

      This would eliminate the problem of dummies trying to jam a giant size carry-on into an overhead bin designed for bags half the size. It also eliminates the problem of those who put their carry-on into an overhead bin in a row where they aren’t seated.

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  • Michael

    What you see on a flight is just a small example of what we’re in for if we ever face a real national disaster.

  • Nancye

    Fortunately I haven’t had reason to fly in years. Thank goodness! Part of my family live in the same city that I do, and the other part lives close enough to drive. Deliver me from the horns of the unicorn!!