This post was originally published in the Glendale – Cherry Creek Chronicle in July of 2009. I have just arrived home from a four-day trip replete with mechanical delays, duty-time legality issues, and Orlando, that seems to have officially rung in this year’s summer travel season. After a couple glasses of wine and a good night’s sleep, I am moved to repost.
I have about twenty different renditions of the song on my iPod, sung by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Angelique Kidjo: “Summertime, and the living is easy.” Yeah, well, this is my sixteenth summer as a flight attendant for a major airline, and I am pretty sure those lyrics didn’t come to George Gershwin on an airplane. For nine months a year, airplanes are filled with seasoned travelers and million-mile frequent fliers who more or less “know the drill,” and flight attendants pretty much know what to expect. The off-season traveler means business: he’ll get on the airplane balancing an open laptop and talking on his cell phone, clog up the aisle while he fills up an entire overhead bin with his oversized carry-on bags, and then sit and make comments to the flight attendants about how people need to hang up their cell phones and travel with smaller bags and the boarding process will go more smoothly for everyone. These passengers breeze through security with slip-on shoes and TSA-approved toiletries, know exactly what they want to drink and how much it will cost, and can be counted on to have the laptop fired up from way before we tell them it’s OK until way after we tell them to turn it off, some of them hard at work, most of them watching Family Guy on DVD. They don’t bother us, we don’t bother them (certainly not with “service,” not these days), and everybody’s happy. I’ve got an Us magazine to read, after all. Continue reading