OK – we are all on hold. Isolated in our homes, working remotely, home schooling the kids – going a bit stir crazy. What is your typical trip to the grocery store like right now? Do you follow the arrows? Or perhaps you get mixed up and when you go back to get balsamic vinegar you go the wrong way (against the arrows) thereby risking dirty looks (dare I say slings and arrows? – no that is a bit much).
Do you get a bit judgmental when you are out taking your evening walk? Are those people social distancing? What are those kids doing all riding bikes together – they are surely not from the same household? Our lives have been totally disrupted in every way and in the travel industry we feel this particularly as our world just suddenly got very small and very still.
So how are other people in our industry dealing with this “Brave New World”.
How about the staff on the cruise ships? Someone has to keep the ship maintained. I came across some interesting videos made by some of those “stranded” on board.
And what about those weird meetings we have to have these days on zoom or other video conferencing options. Now one thing I will say about these meetings is that you get to know your fellow workers a little bit better because usually you are seeing them actually in their homes. Admit it, don’t you check out what is going on in the background? If you have a pet of course you are going to include them – and the other people on the call love it.
But you got to know what you are doing. Watch this and you’ll see what I mean….
Clue – watch the caller on the left second from top…..Just look at the faces of the other people on the call. Priceless!
And what about all the flight attendants who are no longer up in the sky dealing with irritable travellers, poopy diapers and people who won’t come out of the toilet? They were probably relieved the first few weeks but maybe they too are missing their jobs? This is how one flight attendant keeps tuned up for the job while she waits to be recalled.
So while we “remote” our way through this strange world let’s consider these wise words from Zig Zaglar
“Please listen carefully – Press 1 for English, Press 2 for French. If you were born on a Tuesday press 4 …. thank you for holding. Your time is important and we will be with you as soon as possible. Your current wait time is 24 minutes.”
Does all this automation really speed things up? I am really not sure. Have you been through arrivals at Calgary airport where you feed your form into the computer and then have to go and stand in a line so a man can tell you whether you can leave or not. ???
Same as e-tickets and checking in online. You get to the airport and you still have to go to another computer to print out baggage tags – or maybe I am missing something – so how come you have to go and stand in another line up. And … something I have to vent about …. I still cannot manage to get those baggage tags on my bags without the help of one of the airline staff.
Where will this all lead us? Will flight attendants be next? Just get on the plane yourself and find your own seat. Get yourself seated and it is up to you to check that you have your seatbelt on. Can’t always depend on someone else to look out for you. A robot can’t do that job. What happens if there is an emergency mid flight? Or someone has a baby? Or they run out of the pasta option. Who’re you gonna complain to? Robots don’t care – they don’t have feelings.
It’s alright – we can all relax. Flight attendants are the least likely people to be replace by robots according to http://www.replacedbyrobot.info who record as follows –
0 % Chance of Automation
“Flight Attendant” will never be replaced by robots.
This job is ranked #250 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.
After reading this report I got curious….. Mmm – “they” keep saying that travel agents will go the way of dinosaurs. I wonder what http://www.replacedbyrobot.info thinks about travel agents ….. deep breath – click search ….
5.7% Chance of Automation
“Travel Agent” will not be replaced by robots.
This job is ranked #143 out of #702. A higher ranking (i.e., a lower number) means the job is less likely to be replaced.
Whew! That’s a relief. But what is the job most likely to be replaced by robots I wondered ….
Right on top of the list – TELEMARKETERS…. well I am not sorry but I do feel a bit bad for those who might lose their jobs.
Other aspects of travel that we don’t want to be replaced by a robot would be hotel check in. Now I know it is a nuisance sometimes when you get to the hotel and there is a big line up for check in. This is particularly common when everyone arrives from the airport on the free shuttle (maybe a reason to shell out for a taxi). However how can you explain to the robot that you absolutely hate a connecting door in your room? Yes I know you can put in that as a request when you book your hotel but we all know that no-one reads that kind of thing. How many times have you heard “Yes we know you wanted a king bed but it does say that this is on a request basis only”. No, give me a person any time. You know why – you can smile at a person, be nice, be chatty, (honey attracts more bees than vinegar) …. you can’t do that to a computer!
I wonder how often a flight attendant has wanted to scream – “Come on people – Shut up and listen. I am not doing this for fun!” I challenge you – look around you on your next flight and see how many people are actually listening to the safety briefing. I have seen people sleeping, reading, chatting – anything but actually listening to the instructions.
I wonder why? Do they think that this will never happen to them? Do they think that they know it all already – after all they have been on lots of flights before and all this babble is SO BORING …
So how many times have you seen this on a flight
And you listen – right? Of course you do.
Until you get your picture snapped during an emergency on a flight. See how many people below are not covering the nose with the oxygen mask?
You see my thoughts are that if you cannot follow basic instructions about how to use the oxygen mask then how the heck are you going to get out of the emergency exit. This is why airlines think of ingenious and funny ways to capture the public’s attention regarding the safety briefing. Air New Zealand’s air safety videos are famous by now and worth a watch even if you aren’t going on a flight. This is their latest ….
When airlines don’t have this sort of entertainment flight attendants have been known to make up their own with some hilarious results. I am sure you have seen them on youtube.
What do flight attendants really think about having to make these announcements and most people on the flight are blatantly ignoring them? Here are some candid thoughts of one particular flight attendant –
Nuralia Mazlan, a flight attendant for Air Asia –
“Personally, when passengers didn’t pay attention to the safety demo, i like to take note of their seat numbers, in case of an emergency, i would know which passengers would be at a disadvantage as they didn’t listen to the briefing.
As cabin crew, we’re trained to be alert and vigilant at all times. It offends us, but there’s nothing much we can do if you refuse to listen. We’re paid for your safety so we take extra precautions just in case. But that can’t be said for all of us, only certain. Sometimes i don’t care as well, and leave it to these passengers to use their wits (if they think they’re smarter than us, then that’s ok) to save themselves in an emergency.
For example, Flight Lion Air 904 that overshot Denpasar airport’s runway crashed straight into the ocean at the end of the strip, most passengers evacuated from the aircraft without their life jackets on. When asked by the authority most of them admitted they were clueless of the location of these jackets as they didn’t pay attention to the safety demo and most of the passengers are not first time flyers either. The life jacket is just under the seats in front of you and if you paid attention, you would know.
Luckily the water was shallow, but what if it overshot and crashed into deeper water? That’s a good example of why you should pay attention to the safety demo. It doesn’t take even 5 minutes of your time to pay attention. This can save your life.”
Well that’s telling them Nuralia. Keep smiling buddy!
Maybe some of you out there can recite the air safety briefing with your eyes closed. In fact if you travel a lot you probably do close your eyes when you hear it. It’s funny because you can usually tell the newish travellers on a flight. Those are the ones who are paying attention, reading through on the safety card and checking out the exits while the rest of us seasoned travellers tune out. Bear in mind if something did happen on the plane it would probably be those people who paid attention who would be able to get off first.
Good job kid!
You will be prepared – unlike this guy…
This is perhaps the reason that some airlines have started making their safety briefings more interesting and even entertaining. A good example is Air New Zealand. Their Hobbit safety briefing was so popular and has been refreshed year after year
I bet nobody falls asleep during this one.
Other airlines are following suit – some with really good results. I really liked Delta’s take on things. They use humour to remind passengers e.g. putting carry on bags in the overhead bins
If you have time take a look – it’s quite funny. C’mon. The boss is away at a meeting just put your headphones on and pretend you are doing a webinar ttps://youtu.be/noE1YzvfA08
In fact there are several versions – Delta has been quite busy poking fun at these procedures
So next time you get on a flight hopefully it will be a funny and amusing flight safety video. In fact one can almost feel sorry for the in flight staff because the competition is high. Nowadays it seems to be a flight attendant you not only have to be a server, a paramedic, a midwife and a mechanic – you also have to be a stand up comic artist! Not an easy job at all.
How do cruise ship workers keep a straight face when asked these sort of questions –
-How does the captain know where to go? -When the captain is sleeping, who is steering the ship? -How many fjords to the dollar? -I am married, but can I still come to the singles party? -Do I put my luggage out before or after I go to sleep? -Is an outside cabin outside of the ship? –
Ice carving What do you do with the beautiful ice carvings after they melt?
Is this island completely surrounded by water?
Are you sure that our oceanview cabin will be above the waterline of the ship?
Why don’t inside cabins have a porthole/window?
Can I use American currency in Alaska?
I want to be on the port side of the ship! That way I can always see the port!
Do you have to leave the ship to take a shore excursion?
Cruise photographer – Many people ask what we do with unsold photos after the cruise. We say to them that we put them on walls in our cabins. A lot of them laugh but some of them get shocked.
My favorite one is the couple wandering around the photo shop saying ” how do we tell which photos are ours?”
Flight attendants don’t get it any easier either – Some comments from our hard working waiters in the sky –
We ask, “would you like cream and sugar in your coffee?” and they hesitate like it’s a difficult ‘Jeopardy’ question.
On today’s flight to Belfast, a customer asked me to help her locate her missing tooth in her luggage. When I refused to get into her bag and search for her missing tooth, she has asked the captain for a complaint letter!
I had a woman in first class take off her pants in the aisle (though she was standing next to the lav) and ask me to hang them up for her, while she stood there in her pantyhose!
And the stories go on and on. Everyone working in the service industry has tales to tell which can shock us, make us laugh and even amaze us. What have your experiences been?
We have had commercial flights for 100 years now with the first paying passenger on a flight on 1st January 1914. KLM is the oldest airline starting back in 1919. In its first year of operations it carried 345 … in a whole year! That’s as much as one plane carries today. And don’t we know about it? We love to complain about air travel but it really is amazing how it has opened up the world for us.
How is this old beauty?
Flying in those days was very different. First of all you get dressed up in your Sunday best. My first flight was back in 1967 when I left England with my parents to go and live in South Africa and although it was a 14 hour flight (in those days) we dressed up to the nines. My brother (who was 8) and my father both wore suits with collar and tie. Big difference from today when flight attendants sometimes have to enforce dress code just to protect other passengers.
In those days being a flight attendant was a dream job. Today you have to wonder how some of these flight attendants get through the week. It only takes one difficult passenger to create a major headache for the staff and the other passengers. That’s not to mention pushing those heavy food and drink carts down the aisle (they can weigh up to 400 lbs) and then there is always someone who decides to use the bathroom in the middle of the service.
Further grumbles from passengers surround the whole paying for baggage issue, the size of your carry on, inflight entertainment, meals on board…. and on, and on, and on. But let me not go on…. the comedian Louis CK … sums it up best at how much we take things for granted in this great little clip from the Conan O’Brien show
Those people who have to work over Christmas. While we are lying on the couch watching Seinfeld and digesting turkey there are a whole host of people who have to work over Christmas – either for financial reasons or because they are in essential services. Here’s to them!
Thanks to the doctors, the nurses, the fire fighters, the police and all those who work over their Christmas Day to make our lives safer and take care of us all.
Yes our Calgary fire fighters are pretty hot!
Thanks as well to the pilots, flight attendants, check in agents and all those who work at the airports moving our luggage (sometimes losing our luggage – sometimes finding our luggage), explaining why flights have been cancelled and why they have been reinstated, trying to fly through turbulence, explaining how the seat belt works when nobody is even listening to you. To all of you a big thank you.
You know everyone is ignoring you…..
And thanks to all those hard-working people including temporary foreign workers who keep Tim Hortons and MacDonalds running so that (God forbid) we don’t have to go without our coffee and big macs even on Christmas Day! “Would you like fries with that?”