Well, I asked and you delivered. Thank you to all of you who participated in the ask me something post. It was fun to contemplate my answers for you!
There are 16 people who posed questions, so in order to keep this blog post from becoming a rambling essay, I have grouped the questions together by type and will answer each type (by subject) every Monday until I’m done.
The schedule for future Mondays is posted below the first group of questions.
Week of July 29 – part I: Flying and being a flight attendant
Questions by IM Fletcher of The Jane Doe Byline
Q: As a flight attendant, did you ever have ear problems?
A: Yes. I did have problems with my ears but it was not caused by the flying. I had a childhood illness that affected my hearing and, over the years, it’s quite possible that the flying may have participated in making things worse. Problem is, no medical professional could say so one way or the other. The official answer from the ENT was that due to the illness my hearing will continue to deteriorate regardless whether I fly, or not.
Q: What did you tell passengers who were suffering from ear problems while flying?
A: Passengers didn’t ask me much about ear problems but if any of us flight attendants noticed someone having trouble during take off or especially during the lengthy descent, we made some recommendations like try swallowing or taking sips of a drink, or blowing your nose. The worst part was flying with a cold, for us or for passengers, because you literally feel like your head will explode.There isn’t much you can do; technically if you have a cold you should avoid flying but this isn’t always practical advice.
Q: When and why did you stop being a flight attendant? [You can see I’m interested in flying]
I quit after four years not because I hated the flying part, but because the company treated us like crap (they were eventually bought out, then went under, like so many Charter Companies do). I made less than minimum wage, had no pension and rather inadequate benefits, and I was sick of being poor and in debt (student loans). I applied at Air Canada and almost got in during the “cattle call” (there were hundreds of applicants for only a few positions) but at the last minute decided a more steady job on the ground would be better for my health. I ended up working for a simulator training company (for pilots) so I did stay in Aviation for a few more years until 9/11 happened, at which point that part of my career came to an abrupt end. 🙂
Question by Deb of I am therefore I write
Q: As a person who hates to fly- think terrified and panic attack hates to fly- how did you help those folks, if you encountered any, when you were flying?
I’ve often thought they need to create an isolation closet somewhere in the cabin for those of us who prefer not to take drugs or get drunk and pass out if flying is necessary
A: I once flew with a SIL who is also terrified of flying, but I was a passenger at that time, like her, not a flight attendant. She had taken something to calm her and then wanted a drink as well, and her husband sat beside her and held her hand so there wasn’t much I could to beyond that.
I’m trying to remember back to my training – it must have been mentioned how to handle a person who was panicky or excessively fearful. I’m sure there was. Our main job, contrary to what people might think, was the safety of all passengers on the aircraft, so naturally you did not want to have someone board who was already showing panicky or erratic emotions. There aren’t many places to go get help when you’re at altitude…
We applied the usual methods to help someone keep calm, but the Inflight Director, the person in charge of the rest of the cabin crew, would analyze at boarding how someone might react if they’re already displaying strange behaviour that could potentially get erratic and thereby unsafe. I recall us having denied boarding to people who were excessively drunk on a return trip from the Caribbean…the way they might have reacted if something had pissed them off in flight could be similar to someone who is overcome by crippling fear due to phobias. But this rarely happened.
Lucky for me I have not encountered severe trouble, just minor occurrences that were handled either prior to, or in flight.
Upcoming schedule for the remaining questions:
Week of August 5 – part II: Questions about my Swiss nationality
Questions were posed by Bereaved Single Dad, Cupcakecache, Joni
Week of August 12 – part III: Questions about personal likes, social media and inspiration
Questions were posed by AlienResort, Joan Enoch Writes, Cynthia, Walter, dfolstad58
Week of August 19 – part IV: Questions requiring deep thought (ACK!)
Questions were posed by Andrea Frazer, Steve, Kara, theearthspins
Week of August 26 – part V: Questions about reading, music and parenting
Questions were posed by Laci, theearthspins, Jim