Hold that flight: a good-news airline story by Christopher Elliott originally appeared in the Seattle Times. In the fourth to last paragraph I answered the question, do airlines hold flights?
“Passengers ask us to hold the plane all the time,” says Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major airline. Almost as often, the request is denied, unless a significant number of passengers need to connect with the same flight. “On-time departures are way too important,” Poole adds.
So…does holding a plane say ‘We care about you, late person” or “We don’t care about all you on-timers?'” You tell me.
Photo Credit: Heather Poole
“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?
[Photo credit: Heather Poole]
I’m always asked, “which airline do you work for?” whenever I’m being interviewed. As if the answer is going to give people a better understanding of why I wrote the book, Cruising Attitude, or why I feel the way I do about flying or travel in general.
“One of the big ones,” is the usual response, followed by something about how the book isn’t an airline expose so it doesn’t matter who I work for. The company name is irrelevant. Then I’ll remind the interviewer that the book is about being a flight attendant, not an airline, and how being a flight attendant is more of a lifestyle than a job. “Half of the book takes place on the ground!” I’ll exclaim to get my point across. Then I’ll wrap it up by saying something like, “It doesn’t matter who you work for, the job is the same wherever you go.”
I’ll admit that there have been times, not many, when I’ve wondered just how true that statement really is, like when I’m checking into a layover hotel and spot a foreign crew doing the exact same thing. Because certainly the job has to be different overseas! And by different, I mean better, of course. What’s strange is whenever self doubt begins to creep in, something will happen to confirm what I believed all along. Take for instance the time a newspaper out of Australia reviewed my book. I was shocked to see so many Australians felt the exact same way about Qantas crews as Americans feel about U.S. crews.
One of the most exciting things about having published a book about flight attendants is getting feedback from other flight crews, and not just flight attendants from other airlines, but from crew who live in foreign countries and work for international carriers! Sometimes it comes in the form of a really nice letter. They’re always my favorite. Other times it comes in gold and arrives wrapped in bubble wrap inside a Fed Ex envelope. Imagine how excited I was to receive a pair of Saudi Airline flight crew wings yesterday! A sign to me that flight attendants worldwide really do have parallel lives, regardless of the company name written on the side of the plane.
Saudi Airlines flight crew
I’m scheduled for a flight attendant interview on Tuesday! I’ve been through the process once before so I am familiar with the questions they may ask, but I’m just not confident in my answers sometimes. The hardest part is answering behavioral or situational questions. When they ask, “Name a time when…” I find it really hard to recall examples from my past work experience. I have trouble with these questions and I’m not sure what a good answer may be. I hope you can help. Here are a few examples.
1. How do you handle stress?
2. Name a time when you were under a lot of stress and how did you deal with it?
3. Describe a situation when you had to make a quick decision?
You’ve been through the interview process once before, so you already know what to expect. That’s half the battle. Try to relax and don’t forget to smile. Being able to keep your cool during a stressful situation is a big part of the job. The fact that the airline called you for a one-on-one interview says a lot about you. Thousands of people apply for the job, but very few applicants hear back from the airline. Remember that next time you’re not feeling overly confident. And try to have some fun.
When it comes to answering interview questions, the most important thing to do is let the airline know you’re a customer service oriented person – as often as possible. Talk about how you go above and beyond the call of duty to help people. Airlines are looking for flight attendants who are friendly, work well with others and take pride in their job. Try not to read too much into the questions. There’s no such thing as a right answer. You don’t have to share life-altering events for an airline to realize you’d make a great fit. Think in terms of the job. Keep it simple.
[photo courtesy of Kudumomo]
I love this commercial! Doesn’t matter if I have no idea what they’re saying. Now how do I get cool music like that playing in the background whenever I walk through the terminal?
“In 1974 I flew L.A. to New York for $250.00 round trip. Adjusted for inflation (google “inflation calculator”) that would be $1107.00 today. Orbitz has a roundtrip price for the same flight for $278.00 (advance booking) right now. We are not paying for the level of service we had back in the good old days and to expect it is very naive. Airlines that try to give anything more than cheap basic service don’t last long. With the wages that flight attendants earn (and they do earn it) I’m surprised anyone would take the job. Give’em a break!” – Greg (a comment found on my Indigo Airlines post)
Photo courtesy of Nutmeg
If you think long distance dating is difficult, try being married to an airline employee. It ain’t easy. Because working for an airline is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, a very unusual one. Even now, seven years later, my husband, a man who travels more often than I do, doesn’t completely understand how things work in the aviation industry and will often times get frustrated whenever we’re discussing our travel schedules. That’s because my schedule, much like a pilot’s schedule, can change at a moments notice, making it difficult to create long term plans. I work holidays and weekends and I’m away from home for days at a time. Not many people can handle that.
Pilots, for the most part, are type A personalities. They’re logical thinkers who remain calm, cool, and in control as they command the aircraft. Think Captain Sullenberger
. There’s no room for emotion when faced with ditching an airplane into the Hudson River. Flight attendants, on the other hand, tend to be caretakers. We can pretty much make do in just about any situation. There’s a reason why so many flight attendants end up on reality television shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, etc. Now they say opposites attract. I believe it. So is it any wonder that many pilots and flight attendants wind up having relationships with people who are completely different from themselves? Quite a few pilots tend to choose nurturing types like flight attendants, nurses and teachers, while a lot of flight attendants seem to get involved with pilots, police officers and firemen. Makes sense.
In my last post, The Bachelor – pilots, fashion & a few pilot fashion tips
, I mentioned that I’m a fan of the reality television show The Bachelor
. Well it just so happens that this season the man in command of the rose ceremony is a pilot named Jake. I truly believe that Vienna, one of the final four contestants, will be the last woman standing. What can I say, I always go for the underdog. Also, I admire strength in the face of adversity. Oh, sure, Vienna’s a little immature, sharing intimate details of her dates with Jake that would have been better left unsaid, but she’s young, thinks she’s in love, and excited about what the future may hold. No one is perfect. So why would I choose the wild child who rubs everyone the wrong way, the woman who snuck into bed with the captain of her dreams only to be turned away and sent back to where she came from? Two reasons: 1. She has the type of personality that can handle life as a pilot’s wife
. 2. The psychological effect of fear.