Tag Archives: Airline

Emotional support animals, sock monkeys & pets on planes

Emotional support service animals are service animals that provide emotional support to an individual with a mental health related disability. On most airlines, documentation must be provided 48 hours before departure to permit emotional support animals to travel in the passenger cabin.

I’m all for emotional support animals on board when it comes to calming passengers who suffer from anxiety. What I have a problem with are passengers who bring their pets on board and then claim they are service animals in order to keep them on their laps. Don’t get me wrong, I like animals. I really do. I have one at home. His name is Gatsby and he’s a seventeen pound Maine Coon cat. But not everyone on the airplane gets excited about sitting next to the passenger who has a dog wearing a dress on their lap. A lot of people are allergic to pet dander, so it’s my job to remind passengers that their pets must remain inside their carriers during a flight. The only pets that are allowed out of the carrier (on my airline) are celebrity animals (for real) and service animals. That’s it. Case closed.

While doing a little research, I came across an interesting bit of information. “Did you know there are horses that are considered emotional support service animals?” I asked my mother who is also a flight attendant for the same airline I work for.

“Not horses. Small ponies,” she corrected. Before I could even comment, my mother who was now laughing said, “Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you call a couple airlines and tell them you’d like to bring a small horse on board in main cabin. See what they say.”

Yeah. Okay. Maybe later.

Recently during boarding on a flight from San Francisco to Chicago, I walked into the first class cabin and spotted something I could not believe. On top of a tiny petite woman sat the largest emotional support lap dog I’d ever seen. Shaggy and well-behaved, he was almost as big as the owner who did not have the proper paperwork to prove that the dog was in fact allowed out of its carrier. Oh sure the dog was cute, but half the cabin claimed to be allergic to it and no one wanted to sit by it. Finally, when it became apparent that we weren’t going to depart until the situation had been sorted out, a man reluctantly agreed to sit by the oversized, but very sweet, dog. Eventually an agent appeared who confirmed he had seen the dog’s paperwork, and then quickly he shut the aircraft door and waved goodbye.



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Lawyer wants to become a flight attendant

Dear Heather,

I am an attorney, but I stopped working to go back to school for a tax-law post graduate degree and learned so much in school about flight attendants – weird right? Well it’s not really that weird because my professor used to work as a tax lawyer for an airline, so income tax and flight attendant benefits were a big topic! It really got me thinking… wait a minute… this could be an AWESOME way to see the world and have fun being in customer service. I’m a pretty personable person and love meeting people and helping them out. Does it take a certain type of person to be a flight attendant? I just really want to have some fun and adventure. I know there is a lot more to the job than that, but is there ENOUGH fun and adventure to make the not -so -glamorous parts of the job worth it?


Dear Claire,

Believe it or not, you’re not the only attorney interested in becoming a flight attendant. One of my colleagues who works part time for the airline owns his own law firm in Boston. There’s a reason he still flies when he really doesn’t have to. That’s because the job is still filled with enough fun and adventure to make the not-so-glamorous parts of the job worth it! But it’s up to each flight attendant to make the most of the job, to focus on the positive and take advantage of the flexibility and flying benefits. You’d be surprised to learn how many flight attendants don’t do that. Otherwise it becomes just like any other job. And remember no one ever becomes a flight attendant for the money, but you probably already learned that in tax-law class.


photo courtesy of Dmytrok


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10 signs there’s a newbie in first class

1. PHONES HOME – As soon as the first class virgin settles into the big, comfy, leather chair, they immediately begin to phone everyone they know during boarding to share exactly where they are, and they do so in a very loud voice as they recline the seat all the way back, giving a detailed description of just how far the seat actually goes. Amazing, isn’t it? Calls are followed by a self portrait which gets sent via text. Hi mom! 

 2. WON’T GIVE UP THE COAT – Flight attendants working in first class hang coats during boarding. Because the virgin is unfamiliar with airline procedures, they’ll usually wad up the jacket and shove it inside an overhead bin. If a flight attendant offers to hang it in the closet, the virgin always looks a tad bit worried about parting with the item. Don’t be afraid, coats will be returned fifteen minutes prior to landing.

3. STRANGE USE OF HOT TOWELS – Hot towels are distributed in first class before the meal is served. Most passengers use the steamy cloth to wash their hands, while some will use it to clean their eyeglasses or wipe down the tray table, all of which are acceptable uses of a hot towel. The virgin has been known to do things a tad bit differently. I’ve witnessed quite a few passengers giving the old armpits a good rub down. A couple of coworkers have even spotted passengers trying to eat the thing as if it were a spring roll.

4. ORDERS THE BREAD BASKET – Menus are passed out in first class. Inside passengers will find a selection of appetizers, entrees, desserts and wine. Off to the side it mentions that sourdough and multigrain rolls are served alongside the main course. The virgin has been known to order the bread basket as an entree choice. 




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No he di’int pick free GoGo wireless over bin space!

Dear Heather,
Quick little story….So I was on dash in Chicago the other day, running from Super to Spectacular 80 when I was stopped by a tall handsome stranger wearing all GREEN! Truth be told, he was only wearing a green polo, but it was neon green, and well, that was as far as my eyes would go! I was briefly annoyed.  I was in a hurry! My seat was 3F and I NEEDED that bin space!!! However, once I heard his British accent, bin space was the last thing on my mind. The handsome stranger worked for GOGO and he was about to make my holiday season a whole lot merrier! Not only did I end up with his number, I’ll be connecting on all my flights for free well into the New Year!
Happy Holidays!
Dear Ron,
Wow, I am truly shocked that a British accent beat out bin space!  I mean we’re talking a Super80 here.  We both know there’s not enough space inside the first class bins for all those rollaboards and hanging garment bags that no longer hang due to broken hangers, not when the cabin is full and the very first bin doesn’t even really count.  It’s a little shorter than the others.  You did notice that, right?   Seriously, I don’t care how hot GoGo guy may have been or how sexy he may have sounded whispering free GoGo codes in your ear or whether or not you’re able to get free GoGo well into the New Year, we’re talking bin space here! Not to mention, the guy wore green – NEON GREEN!  That’s almost worse than blue – polyester blue.  You sure you’re feeling alright, Ron? 
PS.  You will be sharing that code, right? 

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CNN follows me – ME! Me? me.

By Doug Gross, CNN 
October 30, 2009 11:11 a.m.
Editor’s note: In this new weekly feature, CNN.com highlights five recommended Twitter feeds about a hot topic in the news. Let us know who we missed in the comments section.

(CNN) — This week’s news of the Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles because they were reportedly using laptop computers is only the latest aviation story to captivate audiences.

Whether it’s the mysterious June crash of an Air France jet over the Atlantic or January’s heroic landing of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, we’re all drawn to stories about air travel.

The blogosphere and networking sites like Twitter are chock-full of people, both insiders and outsiders, talking about flying and air travel.  Many members of the aviation community are active on Twitter. Here are five of our favorite aviation commentators you can follow on Twitter.



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How to get free beer in flight

Recently I read an article on News.com.au about a passenger who stole a few cans of beer from a beverage cart and then tried to flush the evidence – the empty cans, not the liquid – on an Air Canada Jazz flight. The pilot diverted the plane and the nameless thief, 23, was arrested for causing a disturbance on an aircraft. Like most airlines, Air Canada Jazz has zero tolerance for unruly behavior.

It did not come as a surprise to read about the passenger who had been caught stealing liquor, because I’ve come across quite a few sticky fingers myself over the years squatting in front of an unmanned cart or walking out of the galley with minis hanging out of their pockets. Yes, I made them put it back! What shocked me about the whole thing was the fact that the passenger actually tried to flush those aluminum cans down the toilet! Seriously, that’s crazy!

Once, years ago, on a Sun Jet International flight, a passenger decided an hour before landing that a fire extinguisher would make a wonderful souvenir. Somehow, I don’t know how, she managed to stuff the large red bottle inside a duffel bag and hide it under the seat in front of her, and she did it without anyone seeing her do so. The extinguisher only found its way back into the metal brackets behind the last row of coach after we, the crew, made several PA’s threatening to search every bag on board the airplane, which happened after we made a few other PA’s about not allowing anyone deplane until the fire extinguisher was returned – no questions asked. Not too long ago a passenger lo and behold “found” an egg McMuffin just sitting on my jump seat and figured it was for the taking. If the guilty one had not already bitten into my breakfast sandwich I would have snatched it back. I can’t even tell you the number of times my magazines and books have disappeared right out of my tote bag. People do crazy things on airplanes.

Now back to  the beer-drinking-aluminum-can flushing idiot who didn’t have to steal the liquor which resulted in an arrest and probably a fine that was much higher than the price of an adult beverage. Really, there are ways to get free alcohol without causing an in flight disturbance, ya know. Oh sure it depends on the crew and the airline and what’s going on that day, but here are a few ways to increase your chances…


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