I got so many positive responses from my last trip report from the perspective of a flight attendant, that I decided to do another one.
This is from the second day of a three-day trip, that I've just completed.
AirTran Trip Pairing #A3725/DAY TWO Operating:
BOS BWI 1450 1613
BWI BOS 1748 1920
BOS MCO 1958 2216
I was flying this trip with the same two flight attendants from my previous trip (Lori and Lisa). We had arrived in BWI the night before a little before 10PM, and had agreed to meet in the hotel lobby at 1330 to catch the hotel shuttle to the airport, a short distance away. Our scheduled "show time" at the aircraft for this day of the trip was 1405.
The three of us met in the lobby, the shuttle driver loaded our bags, and we were off. Lori was expressing concerns she had over a news report she had just seen regarding the threat of terrorists taking flammable or explosive liquids aboard aircraft in drink containers. I commented that I thought I had read some where that security personnel were now asking passengers to drink from any drink containers they were attempting to bring through security, but I wasn't sure. We both agreed that the inconsistencies from one airport to the next are the most frustrating aspect of our job....never knowing what to expect from one security check-point to the next.
In a few minutes we had arrived in front of the AirTran ticket counter at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, our luggage was unloaded by the driver, and we headed toward the gate. We've been working this trip every Wed-Thu-Fri this month, and typically there has been no line at security whatsoever for the D concourse, but today there were about 25-30 people waiting, so we used the "badged employee" entrance. There was a USAirways crew in front of us, and we chatted with them while we waited. They were on an A319, headed to CLT, but would eventually end up in FLL that night.
We got through security, and Lori decided to stop and discuss her concerns about "flammable liquids" with a TSA agent. The spoke for about 5 minutes, and the conversation seemed to have calmed Lori a bit.
We headed to the gate, D5, to await the aircraft, which was coming from RSW. Lisa and I decided to grab salads from Taco Bell while we waited. As soon as we walked back up to the gate, the aircraft was arriving early (around 1355). Instead of rushing down the jetbridge, we decided since they were early to let everyone get off the aircraft first. Unfortunately, we had forgotten this was a thru flight from RSW to BOS, and since we weren't down there, the inbound crew had to make the "thru passengers" get off the aircraft. There weren't many of them though, so it wasn't a huge deal.
In any case, the crew deplaned, and we stepped aboard about 10 minutes after two. While catering and cleaning were finishing up, we completed our pre-flight duties, and met our pilots, Mike (captain) and Barry (F/O) for the flight to BOS. Since I was the lead, Mike and I had a quick briefing including weather enroute and at destination, flight time, password, and MEL items (there were none), emergency procedures, etc., which I then passed along to Lori and Lisa. By now, it was 1420, and the agents were anxious to board for our 1450 departure. Lisa began icing cups for pre-departures in business class, and advised the agent we were ready.
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS FLIGHT 448 BWI BOS
AIRCRAFT BOEING 717-200 SHIP 725
SKD DEP 1450
ACT DEP 1444
SKD ARR 1613
ACT ARR 1610
Boarding went smoothly, and everyone was settled in by 1435. I offered beverages to the 7 pax in Business Class, while Lisa completed the counts. The agents came down with our final manifest, and confirmed counts with us.
Pax Load 53Pre-departure Security Clearance was completed with the flight deck, the door was closed, and we immediately began to roll.
I completed all the announcements while Lisa and Lori did the safety demos. I then gathered the service items from Business Class, and advised the captain "Cabin Secure" via the interphone. A few minutes later, Barry announced we were next for departure. Lisa and I strapped in up front, and we were off.
As we climbed away from BWI, I made our new marketing announcement, and included our two new cities (PBI and MCI).
A few minutes later, the Mike announced "Departure Check" over the P.A. This indicates that we have climbed above 10,000 feet, and it is now safe for us to get up. I made the service announcement, and asked passengers to remain seated until the seat belts had been turned off.
Lori and Lisa took the beverage cart into the main cabin, and I completed a quick snack and beverage service up front. The flight was short, only scheduled at 54 minutes, so not a whole lot of time to interact with the passengers. Lori and Lisa finished their service in the back, and I went through with trash collection. We felt the aircraft began it's initial descent, and I made the announcement that we were beginning our gradual descent, and that this would be the final opportunity to use the lavatory facilities or stretch your legs before the seat belts would be reilluminated.
Soon after the seat belt signs came on, and Mike announced our descent into Logan. I finsihed a last round drinks in Business Class, and then we set about cleaning up the cabin. A few minutes later, Barry announced "Arrival Check" over the P.A. This indicates we have descended below 10,000 feet and should prepare the cabin for arrival. Typically this means we'll be touching down in 10-15 minutes. I made the arrival announcements, explaining we were beginng our descent for "approach and landing at Logan Internatioinal Airport", and asked everyone to "help us prepare the cabin for arrival".
A few minutes later with everything and one everyone buckled up, Barry announced "Landing Check" over the P.A. This indicates we are less than five minutes from touch down, and if we're not in our seats by then, we better be.
I heard the gear come down, and I made my final pre-arrival announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are beginning our final approach to the arrival runway, again ensure the security of your seatbelt. Welcome to Boston".
We touched down a few moments later, coming in smoothly over the docks, and began our taxi to the gate.
Unforunately, we had arrived early. We were due in at 1613, but had touched down at 1550. I say unforunately, because there is a scheduled departure at 1600 from BOS to BWI. Which means our gate was not available. We then went to the entrance to the alleyway and waited our turn. Since I've worked this flight all month, I actually liked this part, as it gives me the opportunity to watch the international concourse. The usual suspects, an AirFrance 340, two Lufthansa 340s, and a BA 744 were in their gates. As we waited, the AirFrance 340 began to push, and push, and push, and push. The were being to a remote area, but I couldn't see where. Meanwhile, at the AirTran gate, the 1600 departure pushed right on time. We waited a few minutes for it to clear the alleyway, and we headed in. Despite having to wait 20 minutes on the gate, we still managed to arrive 3 minutes early.
The passengers deplaned, and we crossed the seatbelts. We also would be getting off here. Our pilots would be picking up another cabin crew here, and then continuing onto Atlanta. We talked briefly with the new cabin crew, one of which was an old friend of mine. I briefed the new lead coming on regarding any cabin discrepancies and catering needs (none on both accounts in this case), and Lori, Lisa and I headed off to waste an hour.
Since our gate is tucked into the "afterthought" of concourse D, we decided to wind our way through the hallways over to the Northwest gates, the same place we waste this same hour every week. (If anybody is at Logan this month between 1615 and 1715, you can find the three of us nestled by the windows at the Northwest Airline/American Eagle van gate).
We watched the aircraft we had just brought in push out and taxi out of the alleyway. I bought a Boston Globe and a bottled water, and Lori and I discussed union business. Lisa read her latest novel (quite a reader that one). At about 1710, we saw our aircraft nosing it's way down the alleyway to our gate (about 10 minutes late due to alley traffic). We gathered our bags and headed back to AirTran land.
The agent advised we were booked to 115 (capacity is 117) and had about 18 revenue standby passengers from later flights trying to get on this flight. We boarded the aircraft, met our new pilots who had just brought the aircraft ATL-BWI-BOS, said "hi" to the deplaning cabin crew, and quickly finished our preflight. Our new pilots were Dean (captain) and Jorge (F/O). They would be taking us all the way to MCO.
It was already 1725, and we were due out in just 23 minutes. With a full airplane and a lot of standby folks to clear, the agent was hysterical to board. Never wanting to be late myself, I told them to 'get in on'.
Boarding seemed to be a trickle, but steady nonetheless. At departure time we had nearly everyone aboard, but I hadn't had a chance to offer pre-departure drinks. Since time was short, I just went through Business Class with a tray of ice water and orange juice. That always seems to appease people when your time constrained. Finally, the agent brought down two passengers and a jumpseating ACA pilot. (As most of you are aware, since 9/11/01, other airline jumpseater may NOT ride in the cockpit, but must occupy a pax seat). The three last minute passengers (two standbys and the pilot) headed into the cabin to get seats. Unfortunatley they were all headed to the same one.
Needless to say, they weren't all going to fit. There had been a seat duplication at the ticket counter. I noticed 12A was empty, and asked the passenger in 12C if anyone was sitting there. One passenger took 28E, the other passenger took 12A, and I explained to the pilot, that it looked like we weren't going to be able to take him after all. He got his bags and stepped off the aircraft. I went up to the cockpit, and asked Dean if the pilot could sit in a cabin jumpseat. He stated unfortunately, he could not. One of the agents came on and said, why isn't the pilot on? I explained they had a seat dupe, and there was no seat for him. She looked aggravated, and ran up to the gate. There were now three agents on the jetbridge and the ACA pilot. The agent came down and said "we're gonna pull one of those passengers". Lori and I looked at each other...confused.
The last passenger who boarded was taken onto the jetbridge. She looked frustrated. Lori and I and had both been agents at other carriers in the past (Lori had been at Eastern and America West, and I had been at American). We both asked the agent if the passenger was a revenue passenger. The agent said "Yeah, but she's confirmed on the 7:20P flight, she was just a standby for this". Lori and I were both shocked...and reminded the agent...that this was a REVENUE passenger they were pulling to put on a NONREVENUE OTHER AIRLINE PILOT. The pilot was looking at us like "come on, give me a break". But come on, how was this gonna look to the rest of the passengers to see a passenger pulled off and a pilot in uniform come on in her place? We were emphatic with the agents that the put the revenue passenger back on and do so immediately...as it was now 10 minutes past departure time. They said "fine, whatever". The passenger came back on, thanked us and took 12A. Obviously, there needs to be some customer service training in BOS.
FINALLY, we closed the door and pushed.
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS FLIGHT 474 BOS BWI
AIRCRAFT BOEING 717-200 SHIP 708
SKD DEP 1748
ACT DEP 1806
SKD ARR 1920
ACT ARR 1913
Pax Load 117
Despite pushing so late, the flying time was only scheduled for 51 minutes. So I knew if we could just get off the ground fairly quickly, we'd still be on time. Low and behold when we got out to the runway we were number on for departure, and we were off.
I made the same marketing and service announcements and then we sprang into action. Since our flying time was short, and we were packed, we knew we were gonna have to hustle, especially since this is a "full beverage service" flight. Lori and Lisa took the beverage cart to the back, and started from the last row forward. I hurriedly offered drinks and snacks in Business Class, and then went to the main cabin to help, serving off of a tray a-la-Southwest. Dean turned off the seatbelt sign which was no help to us. With four (big) guys now standing in the forward galley waiting to use the lavatory, I felt like I was crawling over passengers and seats to get the service done. And I'm 6'3", so it wasn't like I could just wiggle between the huns standing up front. I made announcement reminding everyone "we have a very full and fairly short flight today. If you would please assist in the beverage service by trying to keep the aisle clear until we've completed it. Thank you." This seemed to help. I managed to serve the first 6 rows of coach, while still offering seconds and thirds up front. Lori and Lisa were still on the beverage cart, but almost done, when we started our gradual descent.
They finsihed and pulled the cart up to the galley, and I began collecting trash in the back. Before we knew it, "ARRVIAL CHECK" was given, and we were headed into BWI. "LANDING CHECK" followed soon thereafter, we tossed off our aprons, put on our blazers, took our seats, and touched down. WHEW! It went fast.
We taxiied to gate D23, arriving early. (Thanks Dean, we could've used the extra 10 minutes on this flight!)
I announced to the BWI passengers that their checked luggage would be available on carousel number 9, on the lower level of the main terminal, and invited our thru passengers to MCO to remain on board for a beverage service while we waited. Only 4 passengers remained on board...so completed the quick beverage service was simple, especially since we weren't due out until nearly eight o'clock.
Catering came went, we crossed the seatbelts. Lisa ran to get Lori and her some food, and then we were ready to board at 1930. Agent came down with the load plan and or preliminary manifest (which shows where all pax who are checked in are seated). Lisa iced cups, and I offered pre-departures in Business Class. At ten minutes until departure time, we were ready to go. I realized that the manifest showed 7 passengers in Business, but that there were actually 8. A young woman was occupying 3D, and the manifest showed it as empty.
I (politely) asked if she had just upgraded, as I didn't have her on my manifest. She stated she had, and handed me her boarding pass. Sure enough...last minute upgrade. I thanked her, and asked if I could refresh her bloody mary. She declined. I then noticed the manifest also showed two AirTran A2B Corporate Account passengers in the back. Since, I had two empty seats in 1AC, I offered the gentleman comp ugrades. They happily accepted. Everyone now in place, we were ready to go. The last manifest came down (showing the pax in 3D), W&B was complete, PDSC was done, and the door was closed.
We pushed back immediately, and were off.
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS FLIGHT 474 BWI MCO
AIRCRAFT BOEING 717-200 SHIP 708
SKD DEP 1958
ACT DEP 1958
SKD ARR 2216
ACT ARR 2155
Pax Load 67
The flight was uneventful and quiet. Not a big fan of working evening Florida flights because they are often filled with rowdy vacationers (especially FLL and TPA). However evening MCO flights usually have few families because of the hour (30 screaming kids on their way to DisneyWorld are worse than 30 drunks), and the other vacationers are a bit more subdued. So the flight was uneventful. There was a group of college age guys in the last few rows who were really enjoying drinking beer and chatting with the girls (Lori and Lisa).
After two full beverage services, and numerous cocktail and snack runs in Business Class, most people were ready to be left alone. With Lori in the back chatting up with the guys, Lisa reading her novel, I elected to work on USA Today crossword in the forward jumpseat (I'm a USA Tody Crossword addict).
Before long we were over Jacksonville, and headed into Orlando. Touched down early, and were at the gate 21 minutes ahead of schedule.
Then the day went to Hell.
After everyone had deplaned, I realized my bag wasn't where I had stowed it. I asked the rest of the crew if they had seen it. Nope. My heart sank when I realized that there was a black roller bag left aboard that didn't belong to the rest of the crew. Somebody had mistakenly taken my bag. I grabbed the passenger's bag, and headed off the airplane, hoping to catch him or her. Jorge (the F/O) then said..."you know what, when we were in BWI, I saw a guy in the bathroom on concourse who definitely did not look like a F/A, but had black roller bag with a bright green 'AFA' (Assoc of Flight Attendants)tag on it, and an AirTran business card on the side." I asked if there were red and white "GO FAST SPORTS!" stickers on the side. (Go Fast Sports is a place in Colorado that specializes in skydiving, snowskiing, biking, and running equipment). He said he didn't remember the name, but did remember the red/white stickers. He then described the man, and I immediately remembered him. Great, my bag was now somewhere in the greater Baltimore/Washington area.
The pilots were going to separate hotel than we were since we had a longer layover, and would be getting different pilots the next day. Lori and Lisa headed out to the crew van, and I decided to go by the Baggage Service Office. They took my "bag claim" and promised to work on locating it. I left the other guy's bag, and gave the agent his seat number.
When I got out to the curb, the van had left me. GREAT. I didn't know it, but another van was on it's way to get me, but since I had no idea, I then spent $37 on a cab to get to the hotel on International Drive. I then headed to the 24 hour grocery store across the street to buy some essentials (thank God they carried they underwear).
I contacted Crew Scheduling, and they said they'd pull me off the rest of my trip the next, so all I'd have to do was work one leg back to Atlanta, since I had nothing to continue the trip with.
AAAAAh...the galmourous world of being a flight attendant.
Well that's it, hope you enjoyed my latest installment. BTW...do you know the difference between a jet engine and a flight attendant? The jet engine stops whining at the gate....ha!