We were all new once. We all had to make that "first flight" which was not a training flight. On training flights new candidates either sit and observe or they get up in civilian clothes wearing their "trainee" badges and work under the direction of the assigned crew. At then end of a training flight the purser or flight leader ( if it is a domestic flight) fills out a report on how well the new person did. Did they follow established company standards. Were they properly groomed. Did they smile and interact with the guests and, most importantly, how did they work with the actual crew.
Once all that training stuff is over they get their wings and that first phone call comes from that marvelous group of people known as crew scheduling. I have always made it a point NOT to get on their bad side because they can make your life truly miserable. Smart mouth or whine and that nice three day trip to Tokyo magically becomes a five day domestic trip with about 5 bangs a day, every morning a 0400 wake up for a 0500 hotel pick up and layovers in such highly sought places (not they are bad cities) like FAR
in February, DSM
--well, you get the idea. Never, ever annoy these people that control your life.
Then comes the day of their first real trip. They show up, perfectly groomed, a little quiet usually, hopelessly over packed, but at the pre-flight briefing we make it appoint to enthusiastically "welcome them to the club" and help them relax. As a 747 purser, I would try to see to it that they did not get a really demanding position (like BC
galley or MC
galley) but rather a kinder, gentler place like a meal cart in main cabin. One day I had a tall, attractive woman, previously a manager for the US Postal Service making her first flight. On the way from DTW
she wore her 4" heels throughout the flight. She never unbuttoned, much less took off her uniform jacket despite my suggestions that she do so for comfort and her legs were going to be killing her after 14 hours. Didn't do it. Of course, she was a lot slower than the rest of us but that was no big deal. As soon as we noticed that she was lagging behind a little one of us would open the other end of her meal cart and hand out a few rows of trays to help her catch up. In return for their assistance they got a hateful stare. In theory, the carts should not be more than three rows apart on either aisle--hard to do sometimes when you have to run back to the galley for a special request or a replenishment of one entrée that was more popular. In NRT
that night we invited her to join us in the hotel bar for a celebratory beer and a unique NRT
invention--fresh popcorn covered in Texas Pete Hot Sauce. She never showed up but that is ok--sometime you are just too beat and a hot shower and a warm bed are more important. The real fun started the next day as we were heading back to DTW
. We were briefing in the front business class cabin of the 744 and, as always, I asked if anyone had any questions or concerns that needed to be addressed. "Miss Postal" as she will be called was sitting in the back of the cabin. She stands up and in a loud and VERY aggressive tone says "In training we were taught that the meal carts have to stay side by I expect it to be done today!" Every head of the other 15 f/a's swiveled around with jaws dropping to see who would address a senior purser in that tone. I tried to make light of it and said you are new, of course you are not as fast as we are and it is not problem--we always say the job is not done until we are all done. We pitch in--hand out trays, pour coffee or tea, pick up dirty trays. We are a well-oiled team. All the way home all she did was snarl at her coworkers, refuse our help and towards the end of the day she announced that she was writing us all up. "Miss Postal" on Trip #1 writing up a crew with a combined seniority of nearly 500 YEARS? I don't think so. I pulled her aside and told her bluntly that she was pi**ing everyone off and she needed to tone it down and that she was not writing up anyone. She kept arguing with me, telling me I was incompetent and finally I had just had it. I told her that if she was like other US Postal Service employees and was so inflexible I could understand why people "went postal." Later I saw her scribbling madly on some paper so I prepared a preemptive strike. I wrote an email to the Inflight Service Director on my laptop about the incident and hit "enter" as soon as I walked into the terminal with wifi available. Of course she tried to rat us all out but our managers knew all of us to be good, reliable and responsible employees--guess who never flew another flight again. Buh-bye "Miss Postal."
[Edited 2014-03-23 07:49:59]
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90