Travel observations – airport and planes

The safety video at Air Canada has completely changed since my flight attendant days in the late 90s. It has transformed into a provocative marketing clip disguised as a geography lesson aimed at tourists.

Quite clever, if I say so myself.

There were two safety demonstrations worth mentioning:

The video began with the name of Canada’s north-western region – the Yukon – which appeared in big bold white letters on the screens on the bulkheads. Next, you saw a woman seated on a dog sled, dressed in designer clothes, beautifully coiffed and smiling with flawless teeth. The camera zoomed in and we were shown how the woman secured her seatbelt by inserting it into the clip.

We were led to believe that dog sleds in the Yukon are equipped with seatbelts and hyped-up Huskies ready to pull her across the Arctic snow fields. ๐Ÿ˜€

Another noteworthy demonstration on the safety video was the brace position, in case of a crash landing.

This time they featured another part of Canada, New Brunswick I think, one of the Maritime provinces. A bunch of beautiful, trim women in snug fitness wear were seated on folding chairs, socially distanced in ways which is impossible inside any commercial airplane. They performed brace positions on a grassy meadow next to a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, poised and graceful as if they were performing a yoga routine.

As if.

It was fascinating but I must say safety was not on the forefront of my brain. Instead, all I thought about was how I was missing my fitness routine the day I was traveling… ๐Ÿ™„

Anyway the brace position they demonstrated was ridiculous when you consider the circumstances where bracing is required. I mean, there’s nothing graceful going on when your plane is spiraling out of control and plunging from altitude down toward the solid earth at the speed of light…

Still, from a marketing perspective, I thought it was quite creative. Perhaps this approach gets more people to pay attention to the safety video.

Or not. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

***

So obviously, I’m traveling. โ˜บ๏ธ

I arrived in Vancouver last Wednesday and I’m just now having a chance to review this post which I wrote in the airplane on my wonderful offline WordPress app. I’m sitting in my brother’s office which he has graciously let me use while he’s taking a nap.

Reminiscing my flight attendant days back in the late 90s

The entire flying experience, from packing to boarding, has changed significantly since the 90s when I was a flight attendant. For one thing, everything today is electronic. For another thing, the service part of the flight has reduced significantly even before covid, but more so now post-covid.

Back in my day, the focus of the flight itself was very service oriented, particularly in the charter airlines where I worked. We were paid the bare minimum, worked long hours with many delays, and scheduling was done on a spreadsheet. This was a time before smartphones and electronic apps to keep us all (over)informed.

Safety demo

I used to have to demonstrate the safety procedures… We stood in the aisle as someone read off the instructions in English and French over the intercom. In high heels and a tight little skirt no less. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ˜›

Movies

We also used to pull a shade down at the front of the Boeing 727, and later on the we L1011 (Lockheed Martin) to show a movie. The same movie for every passenger on the plane… No one had access to an individual screen. People brought (trashy) magazines and books, mostly, to keep themselves entertained. Or they slept.

How different things are today.

Do I miss it?

People always ask me if I miss flying. There is a small part I miss about that job, but not enough to reconsider re-entering the industry in that capacity. I highly doubt they would hire a 50+ lady anyway…

I miss the power of the engines starting, the race down the runway, lift-off… I miss the landing at different destinations. I miss the socializing.

I don’t miss the fatigue, the crappy treatment from the employer or passengers, or even some of the social aspects. I do miss my friends but not all the gossipy, cliquey atmosphere.

Here are other observations of things which have not changed in 25 years:

Elderly people get easily flustered and confused and will remain standing in the middle of the aisle with all their bags and block the flow of traffic as they try to decipher the seat numbers. Extra patience is required when this happens multiple times as you try to make your way to your seat at 18F.

Some passengers still don’t understand the metrics of overhead bins. If the bag sticks out you won’t be able to close the bin… try turning it the other way. ๐Ÿ™„

Many passengers continue to make the assumption that their bag must be in the overhead bin directly above their seat even if it’s already full and the one next to it still has plenty of space in it.

Things which have changed in 25+ years

Leaving out the obvious electronic details, the main thing which has changed between 2019 prior to the pandemic (we traveled to Switzerland during summer vacation) and 2022 is the following:

Masks

Air Canada requires masks in flight (as did the airport). I won’t debate the good/bad opinions here, but I saw no issue anywhere in the airport or on the flight. People kept their masks on, or put it back on after sipping drinks or eating food. All the staff (ground/air) wore them, and I saw the pilots wear them as well until after they closed the door to the cockpit. I don’t know if they removed them during flight.

Meals

They don’t serve free meals anymore at Air Canada. You can buy boxed meals but they’re not hot (at least not on a middle of the day flight). We got coffee and tea and non-alcoholic beverages for free. Back in my flight attendant days we served hot meals and multiple drinks before and after on every flight, even the short Florida flights, for free (on a charter airline). Today, the boxes food is charged to a credit card, with a device like they bring to your table in a restaurant.

A note on garbage: my side was picked up promptly, the other side not at all. I sat in the middle of a row of four, with a stranger on my right and my mom on my left. The stranger and I had our garbage picked up shortly after we finished consuming it, but my mom and the passenger next to her did not at all.

I rarely saw a flight attendant and would have really liked to ask for water a couple of times. They do the standard service, it seems, and then disappear for at least an hour or longer leaving us all unattended. When I was flying in the 90s, we services the passengers regularly. We walked up and down the aisle to dispense water throughout the flight.

All in all, travel on a regular business day in the middle of the week went relatively painlessly. The staff was accommodating and the airport not overly busy or chaotic as was the case over the long May Two-Four weekend in Canada, which was plagued by a nasty storm and tornado and covid-related staff shortages causing major disruptions and delays.

Not sure I want to do this every week… But the trip was fine.

I hope my return trip will be equally uneventful.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post.

20 thoughts on “Travel observations – airport and planes

  1. I always thought that being a flight attendant looked like a glamorous job, these days with angry customers and the political climate I think Iโ€™ll leave the position to the professionals ๐Ÿ˜… so glad youโ€™re safe and sound enjoying your trip and I hope your passage home goes smoothly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear you and your mom are getting an opportunity to spend time with your brother. I am choosing to totally forget your description of plummeting to earth since Denver is just a few weeks away…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My flight experience to Morocco was quite nice–Air France. My meals were good enough–not always hot, but probably enough calories to keep me satisfied. I kind of miss the days of free cocktails–once on a flight back from Japan when I asked for Canadian Whiskey the flight attendant dropped two small bottles and some ginger ale and told me to be my own bartender. Seemed like a good plan to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe the intention of the safety presentations has gone from safety to encouraging future flights. Which is how most business’s see things now future business is more important than the things they need to provide both for safety and comfort. Which is a shame really because a good experience is the best way to insure future business at least for me. Anyway, great post sorry if I got to deep there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Were you a “flight attendant” or a “stewardess” in the 90s? I can’t remember when the lingo changed.

    I haven’t been on a plane since 1986. I flew to Hawaii and back in June, then made a short trip to Pheonix in late July of that same year. I had crappy seats on all the flights๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

    I’m more of a Road Trip kinda gal anyway.

    Hope the visit is good and the return flight hassle-free๐Ÿคž
    ๐Ÿ’Œ๐Ÿ’Œ

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was missing your posts. Have a safe trip back and enjoy your vacation!
    Very interesting observations. Maybe someday you will write about your flight attendant days. I can see all that in a novel!

    Liked by 1 person

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