I’ve dreamed about becoming a flight attendant to travel around the world, meet amazing people, taste different cuisine…
Imagine having a butter chicken and garlic naan in Delhi, a bœuf bourguignon in Paris, kangaroo skewers in Fremantle, a pint of Guiness in Dublin, the freshest sashimi in Osaka, a calzone with mozzarella di Buffala in Sardinia…and the list goes on…
With layovers getting shorter to minimise the cost of aircraft parking in the airport and maximise on the crew’s health and abnegation in the job, we barely make it out pass the “do not disturb” sign hanging outside the hotel room.
If you can solve the equation of eating a decent meal at a reasonable price with enough time to sleep for the next duty. Please share it with me because I haven’t been able to solve this pythagoras theorem in ages.
First you have to find the motivation to go out. Let me get you the picture. When you deal with the passenger load of a boeing triple seven for a whole day and they were upset because they didn’t get to chose between overcooked penne and a starchy potato mash, you don’t want to think about food until your next duty.
These are symptoms of food phobia. That’s not anorexia or boulimia. If you show signs of palpitation, nausea, sweating and dizziness at the mere thought of food: you’re probably having a PTCCD moment (post traumatic cabin crew disorder).
You don’t want to hear the word food, think about eating or worse be seen to eat in public because you’re so used to eat behind galley curtains you’re scared someone will ask you to fill their glass with diet coke. We all know how long it takes to fill a glass with diet coke in a pressurized cabin. As long as it would take you to serve a whole row of passengers on a 3×3 seater.
So you finally resign to sleep for the whole 18 hours of your layover until the wake up pulls you out of your hypoglycemic coma. Sadly your body has burnt all that reserve of fat you were safeguarding for an unplanned ditching during these few hours of inertia on that queen size J.W.Marriot mattress. At first you thought it was your wake up call but don’t be confused with the gargling sounds of your intestines.
You check your watch and you have 10 more hours to go before your next flight. Lunch or dinner time. Why does it matter? You’re so jetlagged all that matters now is to hibernate ASAP because you have that incurable disease called hunger and you can only cure it with carbs, proteins or liquids.
You have a look at the in room dining menu but the prices are so high you wonder if that’s the membership fee for Mar-a-Lago Club or a premium safari with a baby rhino horn at the end of the journey. The crew allowance you picked could feed a family of four in slumdog millionaire for 6 months but it would barely cover a Caesar’s salad minus the dressing. Crew discount you say, after taxes it’s like you never had the discount. Not to mention the tray service fee. If I had a tray service fee for every tray on that damn plane…I promise I would never complain about my job!
There’s only one option left. Go out to eat. (Gasp!) While walking down the street I felt like Janet Leigh about to get slashed in the shower scene of Psycho. The soundtrack playing in my head, I was apprehending to meet of one my fellow crew. The joy of being flight attendant: dreading to meet a colleague out of the plane.
To make sure I didn’t meet anyone I sneaked in the first 7-11 around the corner. The cashier looked at me blankly and pointed at the screen meaning it was time to pay or was it how they said hello here. A box of sushi reduced to half the original price because it was due to expire tomorrow and a can of coke (not diet!) for less than ten bucks. I didn’t mind the grumpy face and rude pointing if it meant more savings for my tiny per diem. I’m gonna add that pot noodle at 3.99 for my next layover so I don’t have to get out of my room.
HEADS DOWN! STAY DOWN! Seen: a fellow crew in the bread section chosing between the tuna and the egg mayo sandwich. Looks like we had the same idea. Let’s skip an awkward moment and leave the pot noodle where we found it. I repeat LEAVE THE POT NOODLE. LEAVE THE POT NOODLE.
Too late, the crew made eye contact. Wave back and head out! Wave back and head out! Don’t worry about the awkward moment. That will either make a convo in the galley around a coffee or you will both pretend it never happened.
Your dedicated cabin crew with a hint of hospitality and loads of sarcasm.