City Code Snapshot: YVR


If this all sounds familiar, it’s hopefully because you remember this post from last year, and not because all my posts about flying sound the same (although I suppose that would be its own commentary on the nature of the gig these days…).  I’m reposting this Rhapsody in Blue and Green about my favoritest of all airports for the benefit of those among you who may wonder why (or, for that matter, how) I set my upcoming erotic romance almost entirely on Vancouver International Airport property.  You Again? is a short, sexy love story about When Henry Met Zack that gets kinda hot kinda right away.  Sure, to the casual reader, it’s about sex, it’s about expectations, and it’s about beauty and the eye of the beholder.  But if it’s True Romance you’re looking for, remember: Greater love hath no man than a flight attendant for his favorite airport. 

YVR totemWhen last I featured a City Code Snapshot, it was of our isolated airport layover in Houston.  I am a frequent and vocal critic of — OK, whiner about — lengthy airport layovers and their high boredom factor, as you will by now have noticed.  Thus I feel like there is a certain amount of poetic justice in the fact that my very favorite of all airport layovers — the one for which I single-mindedly bid to the exclusion of any other factor, and for which I shamelessly whore myself on the trade board — is in one of the most glittering and glamorous cities in North America.

I don’t care if I never see downtown Vancouver on a layover again, as long as we continue to luxuriate in these posh airport digs, and from me that’s pretty big talk.  The five-star hotel is not just attached to the airport, but is perched feet from the USA Departures terminal, and the view from the relaxation chamber that other hotels might try to pass off as a mere “room” is very often of the airplane that has delivered you there.  But not to worry: if this reminder of your fast-approaching a.m. departure threatens to foul your mood, the blinds are easily closed, noiselessly and automatically, at the push of a button beside your comfy bed.  Continue reading

No, No, New York

Statue-of-Liberty-SariStart spreading the news: I want to be a part of it, but New York just ain’t happening for me today.  It’s right across the river, too, but some days, once you’re ensconced in your hotel room — mere feet from not one but two comfy beds, even — “across the river” might as well be “across the Universe.”  I traded into this Newark trip at the last minute to get Saturday off, and it’s one of those pesky airport layovers that’s too long to be short, but too short to be long; New York City is a very manageable train ride away, and Do I? or Don’t I? has tormented me now for days.

I love to lament the bygone glamour days of my chosen career, even if most of them pre-date me, and I know I have worn the downtown layover topic somewhat thin.  I like to See and Do on my layovers whenever possible, if for no other reason than that it helps me to create the illusion of a fascinating life on social media, and if it’s Seeing and Doing you’re after, you’ll definitely heart NY.  And the last time I was in New York City, we bought our discount show tickets at the World Trade Center, so it’s been a while.  But not every day at this gig can be a Glory Day.  We had a long day yesterday, we have kind of a long day tomorrow; the train into town is easy from the Newark airport, but it also costs $25 round trip, and that’s before I spend a penny in an Indian restaurant or, especially in this of all towns, a bookstore; it’s thirty degrees and supposed to rain or possibly snow, and the only sweater I have in my bag is one that I also occasionally wear in Hawaii — the reasons (“excuses” is such an annoyingly apt word) do pile up, and some days, the allure of curling up with a book and a glass of wine and watching other people be cold out the window will not be denied.  I am seldom one to turn down an opportunity to ogle big-nosed, five-o’clock-shadowed, dark-haired men, but we’ll have a plane full of them tomorrow (in this regard, EWR, LGA, and PHL never disappoint), and it’s not like I can’t have Indian food delivered.

I am a mad fan of the Big Adventure, but airline life is a many-faceted (and uproariously deranged) proposition, and sometimes it’s just a job.  No celebrity sightings today, no hilarious cross-cultural misunderstandings or epic photo ops.  But I’m gonna get some rest, and I’m gonna get some writing done, and there was that raccoon in the parking lot that I thought for a second was maybe a monkey — not everything that ever happens is Big, and the Big Apple is more than I was up to today.  But there’s beauty (not to mention blog posts) in the small stuff, too, and the book I brought won’t read itself.  And the next time I’m tempted to sulk on a boring airport layover, I’ll have something to do: there’s still A Day in New York to plan, after all.

You Should Write a Book

One thing I like about my job (and you knew there had to be something): it’s a big hit at parties.  You tell people you’re a writer, and they look at you like, Yeah, right.  “I’ve never heard of you,” they seem to say, “and you’re obviously not a millionaire, so you must not be a very good one.  I have to… turn this way now.”  In other words, as Geena Davis said of Lori Petty in A League of Their Own, go pull someone else’s leg; mine are long enough already.  But people perk right up when they get a hold of a flight attendant in a social situation.  Some people say, “Oh, I always wanted to do that,” and others say, “Yikes, I could never do that.”  But everybody’s got an idea about what this job is like — some more realistic than others — and everybody’s got an opinion.

The first order of business (alas) is usually to hold the flight attendant personally accountable for one’s last airline-related travel debacle.  (I especially love when people carry on about the absurdity of their latest mechanical delay.  Cuz they’d presumably rather fly on an airline that doesn’t fix their airplanes when they break?)  And then come the questions: “Why are flight attendants so old?”  (Cuz they’ve been doing it a long time.)  “Why are flight attendants so cranky?”  (Probably cuz people are always asking them “Why are you so old?”.)  “What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on a flight?”  And that’s the fun one.  Partly because the answer is always refreshing itself.  Only one thing?  How do I choose?  Continue reading

“Glamour” Ain’t Nothing but a Magazine

It’s a cliché among flight attendants, but the first time I heard it, it still cracked me up: stepping into the back of a 767, I came upon a flight attendant on her hands and knees on the sticky, knobby galley floor, up to her shoulders in a cart of dirty meal trays.  By way of an offer to help her, I asked, “What are you looking for?”  She backed out of the cart long enough to look up at me, regulation up-do askew, and crack, “The Glamour.”  She did eventually find the pen or the reading glasses or whatever it was that a passenger had left on his meal tray, but these days you can ransack an airplane with glamour-sniffing dogs and still turn up empty. Continue reading