AIRTIQUETTE: IF THE SHOE FITS…

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The other day I was at the airport waiting for a movie date when I got caught up in gist with some of my colleagues swapping flight experience stories. With a combined total of over sixty years of flying, it was only fair we would have personal experiences as passengers too. Here are some of our experiences:

#Kris Rock
So called for his more than slight resemblance to the actor. He had been on a flight to the UK with a transit stop in Frankfurt. As he walked on board, he heard the announcement “Boarding completed.” As he walked down the aisle he stopped at every other row of seats, reached up above him and shut the hat racks.  In places where the racks would not close because people had haphazardly put in their bags, he rolled his eyes – in his mind, rearranged the offending bags, shut the hat racks and moved on to the next. A few rows to the end of the aisle, he saw an elderly woman struggling with her bags. “May I help you with those ma’am?” He asked.He had put the bag in the overhead compartment, shut it and heard the reassuring click as the latch caught, and was turning away from the woman when he saw another cabin crew member walking towards them, ostensibly to help. It was the sight of the uniform that snapped him out of it.  He spent the next two minutes apologising to the crew, and the rest of the flight with his eyes pressed to the window. He had clean forgotten he was flying as a passenger with an airline he did not even work for/with!

#Oluchi
After the meal and duty free service, she had gotten bored on her flight so she walked to the galley to hangout with the crew. There was a water dispenser there and which serves a multitude of purposes. (It encourages passengers to get out of their seats if they need rehydration, which helps to stretch their limbs to prevent some of the negative effects of sitting in one place for too long – deep vein thrombosis comes to mind; it saves the crew the back and forth of serving water to dehydrated passengers, thus conserving their energies; it saves the airlines fortunes in the cost of bottled water passengers would have consumed and so on.)

While at the galley passing time talking with the crew, a number of passengers came, drank from the dispenser and left the used cups on the galley surface. Still talking, she gathered up the used cups, emptied those with water in them, neatly stacked all of them and, looking around, found the trash compactor. It was the silence that made her realise something was wrong. She was standing there with her finger on the ‘operate’ button, looking guilty as sin in a galley that was not even hers!

#Sumbo
She had been travelling with her husband. From door closure through take off, meal service and duty free, she kept up a lively stream of chatter, giving her husband a running commentary of everything being done and why. She pointed out what should have been done differently; how that crew member’s stance was not overbearing but assertive; how that hair was not up to grooming standard as it fell below the wearer’s collar; and when there was an announcement, how that was code for Doctor or any Medical personnel as there had been a medical emergency but the crew were being careful not to alarm the other passengers. She kept this stream of chatter on until her husband pushed the crew call button. When a crew member came to answer him, he flashed her a smile as he said “Please, do you by any chance have a spare uniform? You see, my wife is part of a cabin crew as well, but she can’t sit still long enough to let us enjoy this trip.” Then lowering his voice to a stage whisper, he added “I think she misses work.”

#Franque
I will have to break mine into phases of different flights.

Announcements: It never ceases to amaze and amuse me how people I am familiar with, talk with, become a whole ‘nother people once they are on board and handle the public address system. For some it works; for others, I do not know why they bother. I have heard things like: “There’s a light and a whizzo (whistle)…”; “Your seatbelt fassun (fastens) and unfassun (unfastens) like this…”; “…you are kindly requested to switch off all mobai (mobile) phones…”; “Now we har hin de year (we are in the air)…”

There is this colleague of mine, when she makes announcements, it is like someone is slowly throttling a sheep. She reminds me of a Walkman when the battery is about to die out. She announces in slow motion, a painful annoying slow drone! I have been scarred by my colleagues’ phony accents and mispronunciations. A good thing I do not pay full fare, or I would have asked for a refund at some point.

Service: I try and offer a good service, so when I travel as a passenger I expect a bit of the same. But some crew members just do not help. If it’s not “Beef or Chicken?”; it’s “Cake or Meatpie?”; or “Tea or Coffee?”.  On occasion I have been tempted to counter their offer with “Did what?” Did I even refer to that as an offer? An offer would be “Would you like A or B?” Right?

And then there are the passengers who want everything and more. The other day I was travelling with a friend to Abuja. Given, it was an early morning flight. This passenger in front of us asked for a snack and a drink, then asked for an extra snack, drink and water. And then he asks another crew member for some tea – as if he had not had anything. If he had asked for these things in one serve, it would have been asking for much, but calling the crew back and forth even from where I sat – right behind him – it looked like asking for too much. It was a wonder the crew did not think to bless his tea with a little gift.

Last year, I travelled to the UK for a few days to see my niece. On the return flight I had gone to the aft galley to introduce myself to the crew. We had been trained at the same facility, but even if had not been, crew were always sympathetic to crew. I got a bottle of water, and was offered stuff from their crew cart which I declined. Halfway through the flight, tired of the in-flight movies, and needing the exercise, I went to the galley to stretch my limbs and chat with the crew a bit. I was standing facing the cabin, leaning against a bulkhead. Someone had just said something funny and I had thrown my head back to laugh. I was still struggling to catch my breath, tears stinging my eyes when I saw a gentleman collapse in the aisle.

He had just come out of a row of seats to my right and only took a few steps before his legs seemed to given way from beneath him. He crumpled like a pack of cards and seemed to take forever to hit the floor, but in truth all of this took less than 15 seconds.

The laughter died in my throat as I jumped towards him, the rest of the crew following behind me.  I managed to catch his head before it hit the floor. “Can I get some blankets please?” My voice rang out. Other passengers tried crowding the scene. “Are you travelling with him?” I asked no one in particular. Silence. “If you are not crew, can you please step back and let us handle this.” I continued to call out instructions while getting up to elevate his legs. That was when I saw my rolled up sleeves and realised I was travelling as a passenger too! I handed over to the crew nearest to me and returned to my seat. Though the Cabin Service Supervisor in charge of the main cabin came to thank me and all that, I was more surprised by how quickly and easily I entered that role. And how after everything, I was still calm – no shakes of any kind, apart from the initial surge of adrenaline.

I guess it’s true what they say, “If the shoe fits…” And I am sure all cabin crews will agree with me how once you have worn those shoes, no other shoe truly fits.

PS: A crew once said she knew she had been in the business of flying for too long when ice from a drink she was mixing fell to the floor and she kicked it under the fridge without thinking. She was at home in her kitchen!

Franque

Franque

"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.

25 comments

  1. Bros pls I’ve started build up on twitter…u can like 2 help us tweet a link before my ff’s beat me up *scrolling bk up to read* #okbye

  2. Loooollll! Kai I’ve missed airtiquette…quick question, do y’all read that pre-flight thingy or u say it from ur memory? I’ve always wondered!

    Ur story about d demanding passenger reminds me about some guy beside me d last time I flew. D guy collected snacks 3 diff times n took juice thrice. D funniest part was he only ate one of d snacks, the remaining 2 were carefully stashed in his bag…I guess d kids would b expecting something…hehehehe!

  3. Lol!!! Sumbo’s husband sounds like my dad n uncle!!! Nice one Franque…
    Hope we get another one from u b4 friday 😉

  4. “It was a wonder the crew did not think to bless his tea with a little gift” – u guys do that when a passenger bugs u a lil too much? Just wanna know.

    Funny read. Lmao at the lady who kicked ice under the fridge.

  5. I forgot hw mch airtiquette mde me laff! ROTF. My best wz Sumbo’s. Her husband must nt hve known hw 2 tel her 2 stop. Lool. It almst seems lyk bein a doctor. Bein ready 2 switch roles anytym. Lool. 9ce 1 Franque..

  6. Hey Family, it’s Friday again and we have AIRtiquette makin a ‘return’ to these pages.
    Str8 to the comments then:
    @ Kay: u already heard how iWas workin when the post went up #NoVex;
    @ Neefemi: yay u commented early too!
    @ olalekt n iKnowx2 n Lorlah: we’ll try not to keep it away for that long again;
    @ Yetunde: awww shucks. Thanx;
    @ Nengie: Anything’s possible, yes?
    @ Yeesha: no iDon’t;
    @ Mo’: Thanx babes…

  7. Lovely read as always.
    But y can’t I ask for everything na? When did gluttony become a crime? *straight face*

  8. This was funny mehn… Anyhows, nothing wrong wiv enjoying ur job a little too much. Hehe.
    Hope u had a fab week Franque? Have a blessed weekend! 😀

  9. so glad I discovered you yday…and I have decided to start looking out for you on flights…lol…2thumbs-and a big toe- up for you

  10. Today was a gr8 day! While waiting for an early morning flight to Lagos I read airtiquette then got on the plane only to be greeted by the one and only Mr. Franque himself. Mehn! Mr. Franque! Great to meet the man behind the amazing stories! Thanks for keeping me company and letting me read… Oh and your secret is still safe with me :X

  11. @ VM: of course u can ask for everythin – just ask @ once. All that back n forth business, #NotCool;
    @ Nena: week was borin, but from here on it’ll be ok. #Back@Work;
    @ Smallz: Glad u like. As for that BBM talk, my head dey dia;
    @ T: Thank you very much;
    @ T.L. Bridges: it was super kewl chillin. As for that secret, if it ever gets out remember how iKnew ur name? iJust myt kno where u live :D;
    @ iBeta_Pass: to be honest, iMissed it too.
    @ Everyone_else: next Friday is lookin lyk a relationSHEEP Friday xxx

  12. Can’t believe I’m reading this late. That’s two in a row *sigh*

    Anyway, hilarious. I didn’t realize how much I had missed Airtiquettes until now. Great as usual and LOL at the PS. You are going to have me checking out the floor of the galley for a pool of water every time I get on a flight.

  13. finally read ALL your posts…
    1. I noticed…U improved over the months…
    2. Great writer you are
    3. I am looking for you!!- watching put for u on every and any flight!
    4. I love u already…

  14. @ M.E: one would think a new PDA’ll make it less so. U and a lot of us missed AIRtiquette too;
    @ MsNatural: tell me about it!
    @ Uk: iGuess we all get lyk dat – even me;
    @ T: iNoticed the improvements too, and it’s all thanx to u – all of u. #StalkerMuch. iLove u too from before u read my post iLoved u.

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