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!