Tag Archives: Passengers

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Where’s the adult-free zone?

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Caption it!

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August 23, 2013 · 7:57 pm

Bribing passengers to switch seats

ImageBribing among airline passengers reaches new heights, as seat choices get scarce, by Dave Seminar, originally appeared on FoxNews.com July 31, 2013.  NOTE: I’ve been flying for 17 years and I’ve only seen this happen once.  To be honest I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often! 

Currently, if onboard disputes arise, it’s up to the cabin crew to resolve the situation. In any in-flight disagreement, if the captain considers an argument a security issue, he can have the offending passenger removed from the plane.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major U.S. carrier and the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, has seen passengers offering each other cash to switch seats without incident, and even has resorted to bribing fellow passengers herself. When she was traveling with her 3-year-old son, bought another passenger lunch and drinks in order to entice him to switch seats, so she could sit next to her child.

“If I saw someone trying to pay someone else off (to switch seats), I wouldn’t interfere. I’d assume they knew each other and someone owed the other person money,” said Poole.

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Photo of the day: You can take the boy out of economy, but not economy out of the boy

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Photo Credit: Steven Frischling

Caption credit: Stefan Paetow

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The Paul Harris Show: Flight Attendants, Crashpads, Delays, THE MILE HIGH CLUB

3This interview originally appeared on The Paul Harris Show

I predict this will be one of my most-downloaded interviews. It was certainly a lot of fun for me. On my America Weekend show, I talked with Heather Poole, who has been a flight attendant for major airlines for 15 years and has written about her adventures in “Cruising Altitude: Tales Of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.” We talked about passengers trying to get into the mile high club (without bothering to move to the bathroom!), whether checked-luggage fees are causing havoc during the boarding process, and whether she has had many male passengers hit on her. She also revealed something I didn’t know about when the payday really starts for flight attendants, and what it’s like in the apartments they share in various cities during layovers.

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Hey Siri, was that my plane?!

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Photo credit: Heather Poole

Caption:  @AviationPhotographic

 

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May 20, 2013 · 4:24 pm

10 ways to handle a tight connection

4079981298_37ce535983_n1. Book wisely. If you need to be somewhere really important, it’s probably not a good idea to book your flights with less than an hour between them. Even an hour is pushing it. An hour and a half is good. Two hours, even better. Whatever you do, don’t take the last flight out! Delays happen. So do cancelations.

2. Pay the extra fee. If you’re the anxious type and travel is stressful, pay the extra fee to sit closer to the front of the airplane and be done with it. Why start your trip out on the wrong foot and the risk a snowball effect. Because once something goes wrong, everything seems to follow suit. Better to be out a few bucks than to miss a flight! It’s worth it just to relax.

3. Check your boarding pass. Many airlines print the boarding time, not the departure time, on the boarding pass. Depending on the equipment type (smaller vs. larger aircraft), you can usually tag on another 30 to 40 minutes to your connection time. Read the fine print.

4. Switch seats. Ask a flight attendant if you can move closer to the front of the cabin on landing. Unfortunately, most flights are full these days and just because there’s an open seat up front doesn’t mean you’ll find a spot in the overhead bin for your bag too. If you’ve booked a tight connection, you might want to make sure your carry-on luggage fits under the seat in front of you.

5.  Relax: I know, I know, easier said than done. Just know that while it might feel like it takes forever to disembark, the truth is almost everyone is able to deplane in less than 15 minutes. So take a deep breath and … exhale. Put in your earphones and play the most relaxing music you have. Then get ready to run. Here’s to hoping you wore appropriate shoes to sprint across the airport terminal.

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Photo credit: NewbieRunner

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Here’s what I think about those sexy flight attendant ads…

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“Does Sex Sell Airline Seats? Some Airlines Hope so. ” originally appeared on TravelChannel.com

We asked Heather Poole, a 15-year flight attendant and author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet her thoughts about marketing flight attendants as sex symbols.

She wasn’t too impressed.

“Cheap airfare is the only thing that sells tickets today,” says Poole. “That and — oh! — on-time departures and good safety records. If passengers really cared about what their flight attendants looked like, Hooters Air would still be in business. They only lasted for 3 years!”

Poole adds: “The only airlines that seem to flaunt sexy flight attendants are the ones looking to sell calendars or get “likes” on their Facebook page. There’s a reason they’re selling sex over a quality airline. Business must not be quite as hot as the crew.“

Plus, what about women fliers? asks Poole. Sexting up campaigns aren’t likely to win over this huge travel demographic.

“Do most female fliers really care how sexy flight attendants are? I don’t think so. It’s like some airlines are only directing their marketing at male passengers. Last time I checked there were women not just sitting on the plane, but occupying business and first-class seats, serious hardcore frequent fliers! They’re also flying the plane. To which I say, God Bless America! I’m so thankful I work for a US carrier. “

So what do you think? Do the marketing attempts to present flight attendants as sex symbols make flying more attractive to you? Or should airlines focus their efforts elsewhere?

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[Photo credit: Heather Poole]

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The Worst, Funniest, and Most Common Bad Passengers I’ve Encountered

ImageFrom time to time I get asked questions about bad passengers. I thought I’d share a few of them here.

What’s the worst passenger behavior you’ve witnessed?

I’ve caught passengers taking other people’s luggage out of the bin to make room for their own bags. I’m not joking. They’ll pull out a bag, drop it on the floor and walk away leaving it in the middle of the aisle for the passengers behind them to crawl over. Have you ever tried stepping over a 21-inch Rollaboard? Not easy. Happened three times last month!

The funniest?

Recently a woman tried to stow her suitcase in that, oh, what do you call that spot? Crevice? Crack? Between the overhead bin and the ceiling? There’s like a millimeter of space there! I don’t care which airline you’re traveling on, that’s not going to fit. Then there are the recliners and the anti-recliners. One anti-recliner got upset at a recliner because she couldn’t get her tray table down. I suggested if maybe she removed the gigantic fanny pack from around her waist it might go down. She looked at me like I was the crazy one! One man actually called me over because the passenger in front of him had reclined his seat. I had to point out that, uh … his seat was reclined too!

What’s the most common bad passenger behavior you’ve seen?

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[photo credit: Telstar Logistics]

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Executive Travel: In flight service

20130302-100708.jpgThis article was originally published in Executive Travel Magazine

By Christopher Schmicker
Mar/Apr-2013

This flight attendant and author shares her perspectives about change up in the air, and ways savvy passengers can make the best of it.

“Flying today is like being on an episode of Survivor,” says Heather Poole. “Only the strong survive.” As a veteran flight attendant at a major U.S. airline (the name of which she declines to disclose), Poole should know. Over the past 15 years, she has witnessed the industry’s rapid evolution from pre-9/11 to the present.

Six years ago, in July 2007, Poole opened a WordPress account and set out to chronicle her life in the sky. When you Google her blog a disclaimer of sorts appears: “Another Flight Attendant Writing About Flying.” But Poole’s candid observations, infused with a brand of black humor that only those tasked with servicing fickle customers with a smile can properly lay claim to, have won so many loyal fans that to call Poole just another flight attendant fails to paint the full picture.

Thanks to her book, Cruising Attitude, published in 2012 by William Morrow, Poole appears frequently on TV shows from Good Morning America to Fox & Friends, and in the pages of newspapers from The New York Times to USA Today. Along with Steven Slater (“What a nice guy,” she says of meeting the former JetBlue employee. “It felt like I’d known him all my life.”), Poole has become a de facto ambassador for her profession.

Cruising Attitude expands on content from her blog and covers topics that range from crash pads and crew wages to air rage and the perils of pouring Diet Coke at 35,000 feet. What comes across through all of these anecdotes is Poole’s sincere passion for her job, despite the ups and downs. “I wanted people to understand what [flight attendants] do and where we’re coming from,” she says, “because honestly we’re all in this together.”

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5 ways delays are worse for flight attendants than passengers

889452754_8cc5241919This past weekend flights across the northeast United States and eastern Canada were cancelled en masse as a winter storm descended on the region. For the tens of thousands of travelers stranded or delayed, it’s a lousy experience that seems to have no end. But we know it isn’t any better for the pilots and crews scheduled to work the grounded aircraft. To get some perspective on the matter, we turned to Heather Poole, our favorite flight attendant/writer, for some insight on why exactly it’s so lousy for them. — Jason Clampet

You think you’ve got it bad?

Passengers aren’t the only ones suffering when a storm hits town and causes the airports to close. Here’s what happens when flight attendants get grounded.

We don’t get paid

Flight attendants are paid for flying time only. Time on the ground doesn’t count. I’ve been working as a flight attendant with a major carrier for 17 years and from time to time I’ll work an 11 hour day and only get paid for five of those hours. Happens all the time to more junior flight attendants.

How?

All that time between flights goes unpaid. The flight attendant greeting you at the boarding door is not getting paid. Neither is the flight attendant helping you find a spot for your bag. The time clock doesn’t officially start ticking until the airplane backs away from the gate. Needless to say delays and cancellations affect flight attendants just as much, maybe even more so, than passengers.

We can be reassigned to work for days

Once we’re on a trip, we’re at the company’s beck and call until we die or the weather clears up. When airlines are low on staffing, they can reassign us to work different flights as long as we’re legal. The FAA allows us to work a 16-hour duty day, but we have to get at least eight hours behind a hotel door at the end of the day. Between trips we get 11-12 hours off, depending on if it’s a domestic or international route or whether or not we’re on reserve or holding “a line” (schedule).

After flying six days in a row, the FAA requires us to take a 24 hour break. These 24 hours don’t always take place at home. Sometimes they happen at an airport hotel. 25 hours later we could be right back up in the air. Which is tough because there’s just no way to let our families know when we might be home again.

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