Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sao Paulo in December..

One good thing about being Junior is that during the month of December I could hold a line that I would normally hold. I held 5 day Sao Paulo trips. This trip consists of working the red eye from MIA-GRU leaving at 8pm and arriving into GRU around 7am... I usually get to the hotel, take a shower, turn on the computer, read a little and go to sleep for about 5-6 hours. I try to wake up and workout. Afterwards I would usually go to dinner w/ a crew member or two... The crews I've been with have been great! Juliette from Boston (another commuter...) has made the trip fun going out to eat, shopping, exploring. One trip, Nick, Diego, Jenny and I went to dinner and then walked along Paulista... looking a the lights. This current trip is my Christmas or Feliz Natal trip. Everyone is in great spirits... and enjoying the holidays... Feliz Natal!!!

Tee visits SJO!!!

One of my dear friends finally got a SJO layover and so J and I had to show her a little of CR. We picked her up from SJO ( I too was on a layover.. just a different trip) and drove out to the beach. We stopped on the way to look at some houses, buy some orchids, and then onto our yummy seafood dinner at Leta's... We had lobster, jumbo shrimp, fish, veggies, and rice. Oh.. we ate so much! It was so much fun to have Tee there!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

AA SJO Layover

I had the great fortune to hold SJO 2 day trips in November and towards the end of the month almost the entire crew decided to visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens. We ended up having 5 f/a's and 2 pilots. J picked us up from the airport and we went straight there. After eating a nice buffet lunch we started exploring! It was beautiful and even more fun to share it with some friends! I took MANY pics! After getting back to the hotel... a few of us decided to go for Sushi... A great Layover~

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Accounts from Crew Members in Mumbai...

I have paid very close attention to the attacks in Mumbai. I find it very sad and unnerving to say the least that at no time are you 'really' safe. I do believe that our Heavenly Father is there to watch over and help us in situations as he did for these people...

From a NWA flight attendant:

For those of you who don't know, I was on a layover at the Oberoi
> Trident hotel in Mumbai when the attacks occurred there last Wednesday
> night. Some of my memory of some of this is sketchy but here's what I
> remember.
> Had a great, uneventful layover...the usual, massage, lunch at Trishna
> etc. Napped from about six pm to 9 pm. I received my 9:50 pm wakeup
> call from reception, reminding me of my 10:50 pm pickup time. I left
> my room for the lobby about 10:35 and saw one of my flight attendants
> standing at the elevator bank. He said the elevators for some reason
> weren't working and that his calls from the house phone adjacent to
> them was going unanswered. My initial reaction was Oh God, am I going
> to have to carry all my bags down stairs??? I was heading back to my
> room to try calling from my room's phone when we heard a tremendo us
> explosion that shook the building. We were on the 18th floor, and
> unaware of what was happening in the lobby and outside the hotel. I
> ran to my room and dialed reception, and again, no answer. I went
> back out into the hallway to see what we were going to decide to do
> when we heard another huge explosion followed by very loud screams.
> At first I
> thought that an elevator had fallen as the screams seemed to come from
> the elevator shafts. Suddenly doors in the hallway were opening and
> heads were sticking out wondering what was going on. All of a sudden
> a young woman comes out and starts banging on other doors in the
> hallway screaming that the hotel was being attacked. Apparently she
> saw it on
> TV. My coworker and I ran into my room and turned on the television
> and on one of the local channels it was being reported that there were
> "firings" outside of some hotels. It was running across the bottom of
> the screen but the TV still had regular programming on. I wasn't sure
> what they meant by firings, but I couldn't help but wonder if that is
> what the explosions were. Everyone was confused about what to do, but
> my coworker said he was going to go down the stairway adjacent to the
> elevators to see if it was safe to get out. He was turned back by
> hotel staff several flights down. By this time I had that hall crowd
> of people in my room watching the news on TV that attacks were being
> carried out at several locations in the city. All of a sudden one of
> the women who was a Lufthansa flight attendant got a call on her PDA
> and screamed that the hotel was on fire and we had to get out.
> Although we didn't know it at the time, it was actually the Taj Hotel
> on fire. But we decided to head down the stairs. Instinctively, I
> grabbed my passport, crew badge, wallet, and cash, and locked my
> luggage in my room. Some of the women were crying but it was orderly
> going down. Strangely nobody from above followed the 16 of us. We
> made it to the pool level which is on the rooftop of the third floor,
> but the all the glass doors to the outside areas were locked. That
> floor also has banquet and meeting rooms and we found all the doors
> locked. Inside the ladies room the towels are cloth, so we grabbed a
> bunch of them and wet them in case we had to breathe through smoke.
> But we hadn't smelled any if the hotel was indeed on fire. We were
> trying to figure out where to go at that point when we encountered a
> hotel security guard. He WHISPERED (which began to scare me even
> more) for us to stay there as there was an "incident" in the lobby.
> We cut through a linen tied to the insides of large bronze handles of
> the doors to one of the banquet rooms. He to
> ld us to be very very quiet, and to stay there until someone came to
> get us. He also told us to stay on the floor. We were in that room
> for over an hour, and several of the Lufthansa crewmembers with us had
> PDA's, and were getting information from outside sources, so we
> learned the situation was not good. Eventually hiding in the dark
> there, we barricaded the door with
> a large table and waited.....then we heard voices. My heart I swear
> stopped for a few seconds. We were all on the floor holding hands,
> praying, some were crying softly etc.... Turned out to be that same
> security man. He was like he was sent from heaven. He said there
> were men here to help us evacuate. There were about a half dozen guys
> in camo with large automatic rifles. We were then led through a long
> set of offices, storage areas etc, until eventually we came out into a
> mezzanine level in the lobby through the hotel's business center.
> There was a Van Cleef and Arpels store and a Brioni mens clothing
> store
> and all the windows were shattered, as were all the windows to the
> outside. Apparently grenades had been thrown in some lobby areas.
> There was glass EVERYWHERE! They told us to stay closely together,
> and QUIETLY but quickly follow them. But every time we encountered a
> turn in the hallway, or an open area, they halted us and the military
> guys aimed their rifles in all directions. We had to descend a large
> staircase into the open main lobby of the hotel, and RUN past the
> front desk, the concierge, and out the main doors. There was not ONE
> window intact, there was blood everywhere, and the restaurant called
> Opium Den next to the elevators had at least a dozen bullet holes in
> the glass. Apparently several people were killed there. Everywhere
> we stepped there was glass.....on the furniture, the carpeting, the
> marble floors...everywhere. There were also NO people....anywhere.
> The huge glass doors to the main entrance were reduced to about six
> inches deep of glass pieces similar to a windshield break. It wasn't
> like sheet glass. It was weird.So we didn't have to open any doors to
> get out.
> We were halted in the entrance area and the rifle men repositioned.
> That was perhaps the most terrifying part. Not knowing where the bad
> guys with guns and grenades were, or if we were going to get shot from
> someplace or somebody that as hiding. We ran across the street and up
> about three blocks to a movie theater complex's parking ramp where we
> were in the company of several hundred people....guests and hotel
> staff both. We got there at around 12:30-1:00 am. We found our two
> first officers, and one of them had an international use cell phone
> that ended up being our lifeline. We were on the phone with the state
> department, headquarters in MSP, and several others so our exact
> location could be known and monitored. Since the whole area had been
> cordoned off, there was no traffic movement so we ended up there until
> dawn, when after a very confusing and chaotic shifting of groups, we
> finally got a private bus company to shuttle us from outside the
> locked-down area to a destination which changed three times enroute.
> It was to a hotel near the airport where we eventually met up with the
> crew that brought our outbound plane "in". It was pretty much carte
> blanche with meals, expenses, and phone calls to family, etc.
> Exhaustion was setting in, as were emotions, and I didn't sleep that
> whole day but a shower made all the difference. EVERY sound outside
> my room sent the adrenaline pumping. At that point we were missing
> flight attendant Daryl Jones, and our captain, Tom Cook. The state
> dept. assured us they were in contact with them every half hour even
> though they were still trapped inside the beroi. About 5:30 pm, we
> got calls saying they were evacuating us out of India, and to be in
> the lobby at 6:05 pm. We finally took off without Tom and Daryl at 8
> pm, and landed in Amsterdam at around 3:30 am. It is about a nine
> hour flight, but I slept the whole way. We supposedly had 15 people
> in coach and only WE were seated in first class. Thank God those
> seats lie flat. We were met in Amsterdam by several KLM managers,
> grief counselors, and clergy of about six different faiths. That was
> good, as it turned out, one of our flight attendants was in the lobby
> when the shootings took place and saw several people killed. nother
> had actually called an elevator to her floor and found it empty, but
> with a pool of blood on the floor, so she ran back to her oom. We
> were all given emergency clothing kits of underwear, socks, and KLM
> sweatshirt and sweatpants, along with amenity kits of basic sundries,
> at least to get us home. Since we were given the option of staying in
> Amsterdam to rest, counsel, have clothing purchased for us, or
> whatever, and fly home the next day, or to continue on to our home
> cities. Out of the nine of MY crewmembers, and the 11 crewmembers who
> landed in Mumbai about the time this started, only two chose to stay.
> They also said a large group of reporters was waiting for us to exit,
> so we were sent off the property a different way, to a hotel nearby
> for a four hour layover until the first flight to Detroit departed,
> thank God. I was OUT that entire flight as well. A glass of wine and
> a xanax works wonders! We were then met in Detroit by several NWA
> senior management personnel and Employee Assistance Program
> psychologists. We were quickly and quietly expedited through customs
> and immigration and offered the chance to talk to anybody we wished,
> but my flight was leaving for Milwaukee in 40 minutes so I had to
> decline. Turns out that crew to Milwaukee had been told of my
> presence and they went out of their way to make me comfortable, as did
> the crews of every flight that got me home. As a matter of fact, I
> have never seen such kindness and compassion extended to us, like it
> was by everybody we encountered, from hotel staffs to Airport and
> airline personnel. It was truly extraordinary. Some processed it
> differently, and at different times, but I finally broke when I
> learned that Daryl and Tom had finally been released unharmed and were
> preparing to board a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt before catching the
> NWA flight to Detroit from there. We left Mumbai with little more
> than the clothes on our backs, but Detroit inflight has been in touch,
> and they said they will replace EVERYTHING we lost, and at full
> monetary value, no questions asked, or receipts required. They have
> also dropped most of my December schedule with pay. I lost my
> TravelPro luggage, garment bag, laptop, cell phone, ipod, Nikon
> camera, skype phone. clothing, leather coat, uniform pieces etc, but
> I came out of there unharmed, and with my LIFE, which is what mattered
> most. Since I sat in row 1 on my flight to Milwaukee, I was first
> off the plane. Jimean met me at the end of the jetway and burst into
> tears, which turned on the water for me too. Then the gate agent
> started in, and I think everybody in the gate area waiting to depart
> was wondering what the hell had just happened. lol It was only when
> Jimean offered up "let me help you with your bags" (I had ONE small
> plastic bag with a handle), did the laughter emerge through the tears.
> Outside of security in Milwaukee we were met by Pamela and Larry, and
> Vicky and Bob. I wanted to get home and up to the farm to be with
> Keith, but I agreed, thankfully to stop over at Amelia's by the
> airport for a bloody mary. MAN, that tasted good! Special thanks go
> out to you guys......that small gesture did NOT go unappreciated! So
> tonight I'm able to finally sit here at my desktop PC and finally get
> back to you. Thanks for understanding.

This is the story of a very lucky Canadian, Jonathan Erlich, who
escaped from the Oberoi hotel just as the attacks began. He was seen
on both Canadian and US TV (CNN)during the last few days. Harv

Hey guys.

Got all your notes. Thank you. I'm ok. A little shaky to be honest but
really just happy to be here. I can't thank you enough for your notes.
You have no idea what the mean to me. Hope to see and speak to you
all soon.

I wrote the following on the plane.

It's 3.33 am Thursday Nov 27th. And I am writing this from Jet Airways
flight 0227, First leg of the Mumbai – Brussels - Toronto –
Vancouver journey . It is a stream of "adrenaline" piece. I apologize in
advance for the grammatical errors. But I wanted it raw and unedited.

First, some context.

I have always been truly blessed. Lucky to be born to the most love a
child could ever wish for. Luck to be born into a family that prided itself on
teaching me how to be a man. Lucky to have been protected and
sheltered by three strong, decent brothers. Lucky to have found and married the
kindest heart on the face of the earth. Lucky to be blessed beyond blessed
with four healthy, beautiful children. Lucky to have wonderful friends who
tolerate my idiosyncrasies.

Tonight, these blessings, these gifts of love and life bestowed upon me,
this incredible good fortune, saved my life. And I honestly don't
know why.

The details.

I am in Mumbai on business. I'm staying at the Trident hotel. It's
sister hotel, the Oberai, is right next-door and attached by a small walkway.

I had dinner by myself in the Oberai lobby after some late meetings.

I retired upstairs to my room. About 10min later my colleague, Alex
Chamerlin, text-ed asking me to join him and his friend in the Oberai
lounge for a drink. I started to make my way out the door but decided that I
was really too tired. I had a 7am flight, and needed to be up at 5. Rest
beckoned. I closed the light, got into bed and quickly fell asleep.
Lucky life-saving decision number 1.

About 1hr later there was knock at my door. A few seconds later, the
doorbell rang (they have doorbells for hotel rooms here – who'da
thunk?). I thought – who the hell is knocking at my door? Turn down service? This
late? Forget it. So I just lay there and hoped they would go away. Lucky
life-saving decision number 2.

Five minutes later I heard and felt a huge bang. I got up and went to
look out the window. A huge cloud of grey smoke billowed up from the road
I thought. Fireworks? I didn't see anyone milling about so knew
something wasn't right. I started to walk to the light switch when - BANG –
another huge explosion shook the entire hotel.

Oh XXX I thought. Is that what I think this is? I opened the door to the
hallway. A few people were already outside.

I heard the word "bomb".

Oh XXX. Oh XXXX I thought.

I'd like to tell you that I calmly collected my myself and my things and
proceeded to the exits.

I didn't. An adrenaline explosion erupted inside me and almost lifted me
off the floor. And I began to move. Really move.

I went back inside, quickly packed my stuff and went back into the hall.

I ran to the emergency exit and started making my way down the stairs
(I was on the 18th floor).

There were a few people in the stairwell. I was flying by them. I
swear I could have run a marathon in 2hrs. I felt like pure energy.

About halfway down, I called my friend Mark, told him what had
happened and asked him to get me a flight – any flight – the hell out of Mumbai.

I got to the lobby level. There was a crowd of people in the corridor.
No one moving. No one doing anything. No hotel staff. No security

XXXX I thought. We are sitting ducks.

I decided to get out of there. First, into the lobby.

I stepped through the door into the silent lobby. My first sight was
a blood soaked plastic bag and bloody footsteps leading into the reception
area. I proceeded forward. The windows were shattered and glass was everywhere.
There wasn't a soul around.

Bad decision, I thought. I quickly retreated to the corridor. The
crowd of people had grown.

We've got to get out of here I yelled. Let's go.

I looked around for the emergency exit and started running towards it.

I made my way through the bowels of the hotel and out into a dark
alley. It was empty and silent. I looked to my left and about 100m away saw a few
security guards milling about.

Run they screamed. I began to move toward them.

I reached the main street and was immediately swept up into the Indian
throngs (for those who have been to Mumbai, you know what I mean).
People everywhere. But they were all eerily quiet. No one was talking.
No car horns. Nothing.

I started yelling "airport airport".

Some one (a hotel cook I believe) grabbed me and my bag and threw me
in a rusty mini-cab.

As I sped away, I didn't see a single police car nor hear a single
Just the sound of this shit-box car speeding down the deserted road.

Traffic was stop and go. I made it to the airport in about 1hr, cleared
customs and buried myself in a corner of a packed departure lounge,
called my wife, called my parents and brothers and started emailing those
friends who knew I was in Mumbai.

Sadly, Alex - my colleague who texted me for a drink – and his
friend were not so lucky. The terrorists stormed into the lobby bar and killed
several people. They took Alex and his friend hostage and started to march
them up to the roof of the hotel.

About half way up, Alex managed to escape (he ducked through an open
door and hid) but his friend was caught. And as I write this, that poor
man is still on the roof of the Oberai.

Alex is safe but as expected, extremely worried about his friend.

I'm telling you right now. If I decided to meet Alex for that drink
tonight I'd either be dead, a hostage on the roof of a building 30 hours away
from everyone I love or - if I had the balls of Alex – a
stupid-but-lucky-to-be-alive jerk.
And remember that knock/ring at my door? Well, I subsequently learned
that the first thing the terrorists did was get the names and room numbers of
western guests. They then went to the rooms to find them.
Ehrlich, with an E, room 1820.
I'll bet my entire life savings that they were the knock at my door.

Thank god for jet lag.
Thank god for "cranky tired Jonny" (as many of my friends and family
know so well) that compelled to get into and stay in bed.
Thank god for being on the 18th floor.
Thank god for the kind kind people of Mumbai of helped me tonight. The
wonderfully kind hotel staff. That cook. My cab driver who constantly
said "relaxation" "relaxation" "I help" and who kept me in the cab when we
hit a particularly gnarly traffic jam and i wanted to get out and walk. And
for other people in traffic who, upon hearing from my own cab driver that
I was at the Oberai, literally risked life and limb to stop traffic to let
us get by (as again, only those who have been to Mumbai can truly appreciate).
Mumbai is a tragically beautiful place. Incredibly sad. But I am
convinced that its inhabitants are definitely children of some troubled but
immensely soulfully god.
I'm sitting on plane (upgraded to first class….see, told you I'm
lucky ☺).
Just had the best tasting bowl of corn flakes I've ever had in my life.
Hennessey coursing through my veins. Concentration starting to loosen
and sleep beginning to creep onto my horizon.
I still feel a bit numb. But mostly I feel like I've just watched a
really really bad movie staring me. Because right now, it all doesn't feel
Maybe a few hours of CNN will knock me into reality. But the truth is
numb is fine with me for a while. If I do end up thinking about the what
if's, I don't really want to do that until I'm much much closer to home. And
I have 30 more hours of travel time to go. But before I sign off, let me say this.

The people who did this have no souls. They have no hearts. They are
simply the living manifestation of evil and they only know killing and murder.
We – all of us - need to understand that. Their target tonight was
first and foremost Americans. Why? Because they fear everything that America
stands for. They fear hope and change and freedom and peace. Let's
make no mistake; they would have shot me and my children point blank tonight
without a moment's hesitation. Most of us sorta know that but sometimes we
equivocate. We can't equivocate. Not ever.
I know that I want to go back. Lay some flowers. Wrap my arms around
these people. Say thank you. Spend some money on overpriced hotel gifts and
tip well. And generally give the bastards who did this the big fuck you
and show
them that I am not – I repeat not – afraid of them.

But first I need to go squeeze my wife. Dry her tears. Then have her dry
mine as I hold my beautiful beautiful babies who will be
(thankfully) oblivious to all of this. Because isn't that what life is
really about?
I appreciate you taking the time to listen.

With much much love.

Jonathan Ehrlich
President & COO

T 604.453.4873
F 604.453.4871


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Help with a name...

I have been able to purchase name brand perfumes for a few months now at wholesale and non tax prices due to living in CR. I'm trying to pass on the saving to friends, family, associates and anyone else who enjoys perfume without paying retail prices. I'm at a total loss however on an name... and to keep things low cost and effective for myself and anyone making a purchase I'm right now just posting the items available on a new blog.

If you are interested in any new perfume or restocking up on your current scents... Let me know and I'll see if I can't help you! I'm not into making millions just a little so I can help pass on the saving to you. If you have friends, associates, family, strangers (j/k) that is looking for some nice scents... please let me know if I can help!

The prices I can get things for are WAY below even the price at duty free and discount stores....

Plus if you are interested in tapping into the perfume market... let me know...

Friday, November 28, 2008

DNF List

DNF.... This little acronym is starting to take a VERY important part in my life at work. Can you guess what it means? I'll give you a little hint with how a trip went about 3 weeks ago.

This is part of my last posting... that happened on Nov. 10th... I had a co-worker of mine who just happened to commute from a VERY long distance (ok it was Australia) and during our LONG delay on the 10th he had an issue with a passenger. He stated to us, agents, captain and whoever else would listen that either 'That lady goes or I go'. Well no one really knew what the lady had done... so the captain and everyone else decided to let her go... this particular coworker (f/a) decided that he was going to go too.

The next day we had our departure pushed back REALLY late and finally when we were on our way... this is what took place:
During boarding I asked this long distance commuter if he was going to direct (help people find their seats) and he responded that he only spoke English and therefore wasn't going to direct.

After takeoff the FO wasn't feeling well and he pulled the #5 (galley f/a) into the cockpit because it was an emergency. I had just brought up the 2nd pickup cart to the mid galley when my friend f/a #5 Jamie asked if I could go into the cockpit quickly because the captain too wasn't feeling very well. I went right up into the cockpit. I was up there for at least 5 minutes. When I came out, my coworkers had already started the service and were halfway finished. I asked if help was needed and was told to just pickup. This LD commuter came up to f/c and slammed the customs forms on the counter and said "Why don't you do these, since you are sooo good at it" and walked away.

I picked up one side of m/c and was about to complete the other side when the LD commuter insisted that he pick up. I said ok... In the meantime of picking up.... Jamie had already passed out the customs forms. We also had a passenger who was drinking wine. We comped him 2 bottles and I charged him for the additional 3 due to the delay. Towards the end of the flight I was changing the videos and this LD commuter spoke across the f/c aisle... telling me that he needed to speak to me, 'NOW'. I walked up front and this guy who stands at least 5'9 or so... asked if I was going to meet w/ my supervisor when we got in... due to my late signins... and I said yes. He said we could go together.... I said ok..

Then what happened next totally caught my off guard. He began yelling at me... (in front of the #1 & #5) telling me I was the most uncooperative f/a in 20 years. I didn't do what I was told ( When I said this is not the time nor the place for this... can we talk about this later w/ our supervisor)... he laid into me saying it was 'all about me'... etc. At that point I knew there was nothing I could do, but wait until he was finished....

After he finally left... I was visibly upset... shaking, trying not to cry, etc. My other coworkers tried to help me calm down. I tried to avoid him the rest of the flight... until the end. Another coworker who worked for TWA for 35 years and AA for 6-7 years had talked to him... he apologized to me.

So with this story being told.... in my 7 months of flying IMA (Miami International) and having 3 BAD experiences w/ coworkers.... I have created a DNF... this acronym if you haven't guessed yet means... DO NOT FLY list!

BTW I did talk w/ my supervisor later that evening about this incident. I have to say that in 10+ years of flying I finally have a supervisor that is professional, smart, compassionate, etc. She stated she was going to have all options available to this person to get help. She also apologized for his behavior!. She also removed my 2 late signins... All I can say is that I'm happy to finally have a decent supervisor at AA and some f/a's really are CRAZY!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Augh.. Mechanic Woes....

Ok, things shouldn't be too stressful when working a flight right? SOOOO not the case! First off, commuting in on the same day as my trip shouldn't be a problem however unless it is on the SCAREBUS... I'll save that for another posting!

I got into MIA with just enough time to run off the plane, clear customs, go to operations to get my manual and drop off my 'big' bag, run through security to my gate just in time for boarding. At 4:15pm we got everyone boarded and were happily on our way to PTY, Panama when after flying for 30-45 minutes the captain came over the intercom. What the captain said was that we were having a mechanical problem with the aircraft and that we needed to return to Miami. Now after just taking off our A/c was completely full of fuel. The captain then announced that we had to burn off fuel before we returned to MIA due to being 'heavy'. This last announcement was followed by groans of our passengers.

I had already started passing out customs forms and decided to continue to do so and answer questions on the way. After 2 1/2 hours we returned to MIA. By now, people were already upset, tired, angry, hungry (does anyone come prepared anymore?) and just plain confrontational. We tried to answer questions to the best of our capability and when maintenance took our a/c out of service we reminded everyone to purchase food on the way to the next a/c, since we would not be serving any food on the way to PTY.

Finally at 8:30pm we got a new a/c. We got everyone boarded and were ready to go except this time it was a problem with catering. In f/c we were supposed to have served a full dinner service complete with a large salad, bread, entree of pasta or beef filet but only had our beverage carts. After waiting for catering bring incorrect item after incorrect item we choose to leave without the needed supplies to complete a service in both cabins. I have to give credit to my coworkers for being creative and able to work with embarrassing situations! We finally took off at 10:30pm. I have never heard passengers yell... 'We want to leave, Let's go, etc.' We landed in PTY at 12:45 am. It was a VERY LONG day!

I have to admit that it is extremely difficult to be in situations such as this, however there is no reason or excuse to harass, abuse and treat others with disrespect. That is exactly what we experienced. More than one of my coworkers were 'threatened'. For me.... waking up at 4am to help J leave for a trip, sleeping 1 more hour and then getting ready for my flight at 6am... it was a VERY LONG, TIRING, EXHAUSTING, DIFFICULT day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Take Flight..

As I was commuting in today... I sat in the very last row in seat 37H next to a nice guy (Greg) from west FLL area. He was originally from upstate NY, then moved to Puerto Rico and was raised there... We had a great discussion about Costa Rica, VZ, and Puerto Rico.

He told me all about the customs and traditions of the Puerto Ricans. Mainly stating that they take their friendships VERY seriously. Extremely loyal to one another... but when you double cross a friend.. that anger is extreme anger. He also told me about many of the different municipalities and how each one will have a week long celebration... so every week throughout the year, there are at least 3 parties to choose from. Also 2 weeks (I think) in December about 100 people or so... will get together and go over to someone's house that isn't w/ the group... knock on the door and waking up the household. Then the owners of the house will prepare and offer food and drinks for the guests until all the amenities are gone...THEN they move on to the next house and repeat the process.

Nice guy... has wife and 8 year old son (who is going to be Obi-Wan Kenobi for Halloween). It was a nice and different way to pass the time.

We hit clear air turbulence. 2 men walking up the aisle returning to their seats literally caught air. I saw them both fly up. I grabbed the man closest to me and shoved him into the open seat across the aisle. He was shaking! The flight attendants at the back of the a/c all took their seats and yelled and held down the passengers that were in the back area. Luckily no one was seriously injured, just Shaken! The captain came over the PA a few minutes later and apologized.. stating there was no indication and nothing on the radar regarding the turbulence.

What a ride! Drinks spilling, people yelling, women AND men screaming, white knuckles... all when we took flight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hands Down... The U.S. has the BEST BEDS!!!!!

Well folks.... one thing I have learned from my travels internationally is that if you sleep better on a soft bed, you are just plain outta luck unless u have enough pillows and a creative mind. While flying domestically, I knew that if I was laying over at a Holiday Inn I was not going to get a good night sleep. HARD beds! If you are the type of person that loves a hard bed then go on vacation to most anywhere outside the US and you'll get a good night sleep. I swear, whether you are in Central America, South America, at swanky hotels and not so nice... 75% of the time (at least) you were not going to get a soft bed.

I know myself... if I don't get enough sleep I can become a bit grouchy... so if I just happen to have extra pillows... I make my own pillow top bed. It really works... I sleep like a baby (of course in the fetal position since the bed becomes VERY small)!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Maracaibo VZ Passengers....

I just had to get this down.... In just my 6 months of flying internationally, I would have to say that the destination I have visited the most would be Maracaibo and Caracas Venezuela. These flights used to be the most dreaded... and still are avoidable by most flight crews at all cost.

The reason isn't just the governmental instability, but the flights really are hard to work. The flights from MIA are usually under 3 hours and we do a complete beverage/meal service. The people are a bit demanding and can be a little demeaning, but my entire purpose for writing about this is my flight tonight.

We had 16 people in F and 155 in Y... this meant that w/ 6 flight attendants whom were a great crew things went smoothly. A co-worker of mine helps collect money for UNICEF. This organization collects money and helps poor children all over the world. This particular flight often doesn't have anyone collecting... due to the short flying time and most collections are completed on transatlantic flights. This evening my dear coworker was able to collect over $250.00 US and 25,000 bolivar (this didn't even include the coin)! We were amazed at how generous the VZ people were. Many donated $1, $5, a few $10 and even 3 $20.

So tonight my kudos goes out to the wonderful people of Maracaibo! May we all learn a lesson of giving from them!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Commuting.... It just became a little crazier!!!

Well, today definitely was a first in my commuting career. In order to 'cover' myself (meaning I don't get harassed) I have to allow myself the opportunity to get to work within 2 flights. Today... I was planning on taking the middle flight of the day... leaving SJO @ 11:55am arriving into MIA @ 4:50pm. My flight didn't signin until 7:05pm. (REMEMBER.... I don't get paid until I'm on the a/c and the door is shut... MOST IMPORTANT) I thought this would be a good option....

If I couldn't make it on this flight.. then I could always take the next flight that would get me in right before signin. When I was about 1 hour from leaving home to go to the airport I decided to check the status of the inbound a/c. I was speechless at first when I saw...CXCL... meaning that my 2nd flight (backup) no longer existed AND my 1st option was delayed to just before signin.

I immediately called crew schedule to inform them that I was trying to commute in and that I would make the flight (if all went well...) but would most likely miss signin due to having to clear customs and the flight running VERY late. As I sat at the a/p waiting and watching the status of the flight... it was becoming later and later. In my mind I kept thinking... if it gets too late.. I won't even go. Why fly to MIA only to miss my 4 day trip? I really wanted to fly the trip due to it being an easy (relative.... when u hear the destinations) 20 hour 4 day.

The flight finally came in and the SJO crew turned it around pretty quick. We left SJO with an arrival around 7:20pm.... allowing me possibly just enough time to clear customs, security and run to the gate.

Well here I am in CCS... writing this... to tell you I made it with only signing in 6 minutes late... (that was after clearing customs)... it is still to be determined how much of a chore it is going to be to get the late signin removed... That adventure will come at a later date! We landed earlier than expected... at 6:55pm. I worked 1 leg into CCS...(remember don't mention...Chavez time... I'll tell you about that in another post) laying over and here is the rest of my schedule...

10th CCS-MIA-MAR (Maracaibo VZ)
11th MAR-MIA-MBJ-MIA-MBJ (Montego Bay)
12th MBJ-MIA (back in time to catch my noon flight home)

Monday, September 29, 2008

When You know Your Airline is Short on Cash $$$

Imagine being on a flight where you have just landed and this is the announcement you hear over the PA (public announcement) system... "Ladies and gentlemen... welcome to Zhengzhou. We have lost power and therefore are unable to taxi to the gate. Due to man power of only 7, we therefore will be requesting your assistance to push the aircraft off the runway". I promise I did not make this up... read below for a laugh (only because we get to read about it and not experience it ourselves).


Passengers Forced to Get Out and Push Broken Airplane Off Runway
Friday, September 26, 2008

A budget Chinese airline took flying pains to a new level Thursday after it
made passengers get out and help push their broken plane to the gate, the
Daily Mail reported.

The CRJ7 plane, with 69 passengers and seven crew members on board, had just
flown from Guilin in the south of China, to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan
province. The plane landed safely but then died before it could taxi to the
arrivals terminal.

The staff could not push the airplane on its own, so the passengers were
asked to pitch in. Even with the added muscle power, it took the group
nearly two hours to get the plane off the runway.

³Thank God it was only a 20-ton medium-sized airplane,² one of the airport
workers told the Daily Mail. ³If it were a big plane, it would have knocked
us out.²

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Delays... delays... we don't just make up excuses!!

I finally got a trip yesterday. After almost walking out the door to go furniture shopping with my girlfriend... I got the phone call from the 817 area code. Those 3 numbers... equal, WORK.
When I got to the plane... we weren't allowed to board due to maintenance working on an issue. After meeting the rest of my crew (finding out we were all just called out) a friend of mine wanted to switch positions, so I ended up working #5 b/c galley on the Airbus. Now if you fly this a/c you know that it is notoriously known for its mechanical problems. After 'waiting around' 20 minutes or so we got onboard.

After completing our pre-flight checks, maintenance informed us that the issue they were working on was serious! So we stopped what we were doing and relaxed. While talking for about 10 minutes... we were informed that the fix and test they had just completed failed so that the a/c was being taken out of service. (the l/h cockpit window needed replaced)

We gathered out things together... taking our time since we knew from history that nothing happens quickly at MIA we moseyed on over to the other gate.

After everyone boarded the 'new a/c' and after the request to 'arm' our doors occurred... we found out that we were missing the 'flag' that is attached to the pin that alerts one when the door is armed or disarmed. Yes, ladies and gentleman... it is a NO GO ITEM! What that means is that the FAA has certain requirements, equipment that we MUST have in order to fly and that flag just happened to be one of them.

So for our passengers... whom were originally suppose to depart MIA to SJU at 4pm we had to wait over 40 minutes to find another pin. Of course... this helped pass the time waiting for hurricane Ike's bands to pass by.

We made it to SJU and back arriving just after 2am Talk about a LONG turn! I'm still feeling the after effects of the late night!!! Meanwhile... still looking for the Glamour!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On Call... Only this is the 1st Month in Years...

From the past 6 years, ever since 2003 while I have been on call it has been a FULL, BUSY month of flying! Again I'm on call this month and thinking to make life a little easier... I would fly a trip of my choice bringing time into the month. I picked up a SJO trip (so of course I could sleep in my bed one more night w/ my honey and see my cute dogs 1 last time...) which was commutable. I had a great crew in which 4 of us were thinking the same thing, bringing time into the month.

I have had MANY days, hours, minutes of Miami productivity! After working my last SJO trip... we flew SJO-MIA-JFK-MIA which equalled 10 hours in 1 day of flight time.... Talk about a LONG day! I sat around the following 2 days spending time visiting my awesome girlfriends! Never getting the 'dreaded' phone call. Then... just as luck would have it... while having dinner at my friends house I found out that for the 1st time EVER I was released for the following day! Now, had I thought that I might have been released the day before....I just might have been able to catch the last flight home. At least I was able to spend some time w/ great friends eating an amazing dinner! I have to add that my friends are amazing cooking the best meals!!

I had an extra day at home, the 3rd. I ended up having the 3 through the 6th off. I flew back to MIA on the 6th... to be 'around' for my following 5 days on call. Many of my commuter friends will kind of 'wing it'. Meaning they will try to stay at home as long as possible, hoping they don't receive an assignment that signs in before they are able to commute in.

My commute doesn't quite allow for that. See, the earliest I can get into MIA is by noon, IF the flight gets in on time... and then I still have to clear customs. So I came in the night before. Crew schedule was actually quite nice to me... on the 7th I had standby... (which is the exciting opportunity to sit at the airport in our crew lounge for 6 hours (getting paid for 5, which we only used to get paid for 3 hours) sleeping, reading, playing on the computer, listening to music, watching TV, catching up with friends, etc, etc) from 12:30pm to 6:30pm. I used my productivity time wisely... completing all of the above activities! I was back at my friends place by 7pm.

I relaxed all day yesterday... sleeping late, working on the computer, working out, shopping, window shopping and wishing at least perhaps I would get the phone call that I was needed to go somewhere! A few coworkers were called out for work... which brought my 'relative position' (meaning supposedly the lower the number the likely hood that you would be called next) down to 4. When I called for today... I was AGAIN #4. This made me think that perhaps I would get the dreaded (though after sitting so many days... ALMOST welcomed) phone call at 2 or 3am. Nope... it is almost noon and I'm still here!

I'm good to work the next 2 days... then I'm off the 12-29th. So far I ONLY have 15 hours (5 from sitting at the airport). This is the LEAST amount of time I have EVER flown in over 10 years! Totally crazy! I am almost hoping to get called out! *Note I said ALMOST!!!*

Monday, September 01, 2008

GIG- Rio.... Productivity Time and some FUN!

After working the 1 1/2 hour flight from GRU to GIG we had a 6 hour layover. During this time our gang went to the cafeteria for employees and went back to my room for lunch. This airport hotel is notoriously known for being similar to a prison. No windows...only a few hallways...not a real open space feel if you get what I mean!

After lunch we decided to see what was behind the curtains and boy we were surprised! We felt like we were at the beach! Ok, not really, but we aren't one to let an opportunity pass by so we had some fun. Enjoy the video... Perhaps one day you can win a vacation just like Tee did!

GRU & GIG Brasil

This was a fantastic 5 day trip MIA-GRU-GIG-GRU-MIA! In the photo's are none other than the best in Brasil of course for our first time! Denise, Tee, Mike, Jeffrey, Larry, and Steph.... What a trip! We ate, walked all over the city, shopped, ate, walked some more & oh ya...slept a little!

The funny little things...

I was on my 2nd of 3 flights and a man in his mid 20's rang his call light during boarding.  When I got up to his seat... he very nicely asked if I had any earrings.  Which caused his girlfriend sitting next to him... to starting laughing.  I of course had to 'play along'!  I told him that I did, but I couldn't let him borrow them.  

It was fun to see him get flustered and remember the name 'Ear buds'.  He was wanting the earbuds to listen to the audio and music.  It is the funny little things that make travel enjoyable!  All three of us shared a big smile today!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The People One Meets...

One of the best parts of being a flight attendant is the many different people (some good... and definitely some bad) I am able to meet.  Flying out of California for many years I've had the opportunity to meet and serve actors, actresses, radio personalities, athletes, coaches, and most recently was 2003 Miss Universe.  I am not a star struck person by any means.  In fact I usually have to have a coworker explain who the individual is.  I look at these meetings as an education to see what type of person and what character that these individuals have.  

I currently fly International out of MIA and while working a grueling 4 day trip with 11 legs involved (legs meaning... individual flights) it was refreshing to have Amelia Vega 2003 Miss Universe from Dominican Republic onboard my flight.  She is an absolutely beautiful person inside and out!  She was gracious enough to take photo's with us (the rest of the crew was doing it...) and talk to us about her regime to get ready to win the Miss Universe contest.  

I have to admit, I love it when people are down to earth and 'human' like the rest of us.  People are just that.... people.  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Someone stole my gift!!!!

The other day traveling from MIA to BOS (don't know the airport city codes????)  a young couple getting off the plane said 'Someone stole my gift'!  To understand the bizarre situation I have to start at the beginning.  
While taxing in MIA a boy around the age of 7 or 8 needed to use the lavatory in the rear of the a/c.  Approximately 5 minutes later a man, whom we later found out was the boys father, went to the aft lavatory.  It took the captain coming over the PA stating that we were next in line to take off and needed all passengers to be seated before we could take off. forward....  we have landed and we are taxing to the gate in BOS.  This same little boy is walking up and down the aisle near his seat.  After ignoring the request to return to his seat I walked back to the boys seat and politely requested the boy sit down with his seatbelt on.  After returning to my seat, the same boy popped right back up as if he had ants in his pants!  

While everyone was getting off the a/c behind this family with the boy, a young couple told me that someone had taken the items out of a gift box from their carryon luggage.  After a short discussion we figured it was the family with the 'anxious' boy.  Due to the FAA the flight crew wasn't able to get off the a/c so the couple went to go look for the family.  They found them waiting for a stroller on the jetbridge and confronted them.  

Next thing we know the mother of the family is back on the aircraft, coming up the aisle with a gold ribbon, black velvet sachet, and gleaming silver serving utensils.  Both the young couple and myself were just amazed at the audacity of that family!