The Other Side of Travel. A Former Flight Attendant's Story. Part 4

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Dec 8, 2018 11:45

Part 3:

The greatest tragedy of the Aerosvit collapse is the people who have been unable to find themselves "on the ground". I know just five people, including me, who are happy with their careers. For me quitting my job at the airline was the best thing I've done in my life. However, for most of us it's a long drama. People work in call centers and taxi services trying to return the whole time. They return and see the same situation.

A few days ago, I met one of my colleagues I used to work with for two different airlines. Now he's working for his third one and he says he gets his daily allowance with a one-year delay (!). I can't even choose decent words to describe that situation!

Another controversial story is complaints. Perhaps, something has changed for three years, but there's always a complicated situation inside a flight crew. It's unnatural and wasn't the case in the old Aerosvit until they hired a lot of freshmen including me. However, when they hired about 200 new people, the old experienced staff couldn't stand us at all at the beginning. Because we were young, we tolerated everything and didn't even think of disobedience.

There was a guy who liked blowing the whistle. I must say that post-flight analysis in aviation is totally terrible drunk parties. His crew once got really drunk in New York (having a lot of time for rest), and their hotel was in the Chinatown and the building was very tall. Two flight attendants, who were about 40 years old, hung that guy upside down from a balcony. It was like a movie: New York, heavy traffick, and a guy upside down. "You gonna rat on us again, moron?" "No, guys, never again." And they pulled him back. I think he stopped being a whistleblower.

The UIA situation was even worse, as far as I know. They didn't hire Aerosvit flight attendants because the Aerosvit atmosphere was more relaxing, but at the UIA everybody marched at attention. My favorite story is a stewardess who flushed her colleague's passport in a vacuum toilet onboard.

It always surprises me why people around you think that working as a stewardess is cool. Men are starting at you because they want to get laid with you immediately, and women go crazy and delighted because they also want to be stewardesses. People around you think for some reason that you live very well because you're young, inexperienced and make one thousand bucks and everybody thinks for some reason that's okay, but in fact you serve tea. YOU SERVE TEA, KARL! Of course, you can say you're responsible for safety, but how exactly? You count vests and check the oxygen tank pressure? Well, good job!

There were a couple of unpleasant accidents when I flew. We once failed to release the chassis. The day before, we were told that Polish pilots had landed a plane "on the belly" and they had been awarded as heroes of Poland because it's a highly risky maneuver: the distance between the engines and the ground is very short, the plane sways while landing, and if one of the engines hits the runway, the plane burns down for 90 seconds. However, we did release the chassis, but it hadn't been detected for some reason. We landed successfully.

After all, no matter what I think of the internal situation in Ukrainian aviation, statistics don't lie: the plane is the safest means of transport.

Listening to me, you probably think it's the worst job on Earth, but I even liked something about that job. I liked going to various destinations even if I was on a round trip. I called it "globe syndrome". I just imagined my point on the globe and how fast I had got there. During my rest on long-distance flights, I liked sitting in the business class and writing down my fresh impressions of the countries I had just visited. I liked taking off and landing in the cockpit, especially at sunset. I liked taking books with me and taking their pictures onboard. I liked observing endless changes in the sky. Staring out the window onboard is the best thing to do.

Recently I flew, and I noticed that after three years, I remember everything onboard, even the smallest details. I can tell a chassis release bump from ordinary oscillation, even if both bumps take place almost simultaneously. I can tell a captain from a second pilot by their speech speed. I can recognize a deported passenger. I still remember all the greetings and interim texts by heart. I remember emergency procedures and commands I must give. I can calm down a person with aerophobia, provide oxygen or inflate a gangway. It seems like "there are no ex-stewardesses" is a right definition and whatever I say, aviation is an essential part of me. It's forever.