This post is part of Linda G Hill’s “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” — Click and read, click and join in! Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “naught/knot/not.” Use one, use ‘em all… you know the drill! Have fun!
Ok, Linda, here goes the rant. You have given me the opening. Normally I won’t talk too much about my work here, and certainly not to complain, because I love my job. That being said, I normally love to leave my work at work, and “Forty, C’est Fantastique” is for the stuff I actually work FOR. Discussing work here would come to naught.
However…I have had this on my mind since yesterday when my jaw fell on the floor after a passenger made the most insensitive, rude, thoughtless, disrespectful remark I have heard in a long time. After the tragedy of the GermanWings airplane which crashed in the French Alps last week, there have been many articles and speculations about the last moments of this flight, and the possibility of the pilot in question having a mental illness which drove him to crash this plane full of people. I’m not going to discuss the speculations, not at all. I will only say that no matter what happened, this is a sad situation, not only because so many people lost their lives and their loved ones, but also because the media feels compelled to place blame and cause sensation and fear. The reality is that this was a tragic situation, possibly involving mental illness, that it is not an everyday occurrence, it is not a reason to fear flying, and is not a reason to do what this lady did yesterday.
So here is what not to do after a tragic accident: Yesterday, a woman got on my plane, leaned up towards the cockpit and said in a high-pitched voice, “So…are we all happy up there today?? Nobody depressed or anything up there, hey? ‘Cuz I want to get home safely to my doggies! (hee hee hee)” She actually went on a bit further, but I blocked it out. I heard this, I ignored her, and I seethed. How utterly disrespectful to those who lost their lives and their families. How insensitive to the family of the man who felt compelled to drive that plane into the mountains. How belittling of our profession. How rude. And really, What. The. Heck ??? Who says something like that? Really lady? You need to get home to your…doggies? I have this to say to you, Anonymous Lady With The Big Mouth:
When you bought that airline ticket, you put your trust in a company to get you safely from A to B. If you no longer trust us to do that job for whatever reason, it is on you to return your ticket and find an alternate means of transport. It is not appropriate to insinuate to us on your way onto the plane in a loud voice that we are incapable of doing our job because you have bought into a fear propagated by a sensationalist media about our profession. Trying to voice your fears by making light of a tragedy in this manner is not appropriate, and not amusing. I understand that you may be afraid to fly. It is perfectly fine to voice your fear. It is perfectly fine to ask questions. I would be happy to address any legitimate concerns which you voice in a respectful manner. Do not try to tell me you know anything about what it takes to do my job because you “saw it on MSNBC.” Do not make disparaging remarks about people you do not know who just went through the worst day of their lives.
I’ve heard these things before. Every time there is an airline accident, people read the news, get scared, and make awful remarks. When fatigue was blamed for the accident in Buffalo: “So…we all rested up, up there? You guys get enough sleep? heh heh…”
After the Asiana crash in San Francisco: “So…I need to know…how many hours do you guys have?”
And sometimes just because they see a female “up front.” “ooh, it’s a girl pilot!”
What do you expect me to say? “No, sir, I stayed up until 3am and got up at 5. I’ve had a coffee, so I figure we’re all good to go.” Really? It’s a stupid question. And the hours? First of all, if you had any idea what that even meant, you wouldn’t ask. Again, If you don’t trust me to do my job, I suggest you drive, or fly yourself. As for me being female, well, yes. And we can vote too!
Sorry, guys. Rant over. Hopefully for the century 🙂 I promise to not write any more posts about the insensitive things passengers say. I know it is not becoming. And 99.9% of the time, our passengers are truly fantastic. I realize this lady was probably just scared of flying in general and had no idea how she came across. I promise next time I will try not to take it personally.