Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Shirley King

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board. This is Kelly, your flight attendant, speaking. Please take your seats and fasten your seat belts. Put your seats in the upright position. Raise your tables and secure the latches. When the cabin sign goes off, if it ever does, you may move about the aircraft. But not until then.

Smoking is prohibited. No smoking in seats and none in the lavatories. None whatever. This is punishable by a humongous fine and serious jail time.

Question about boarding? Oh, very well. Chaotic? Well, why wouldn't it be? Not our fault. First we tried boarding by rows. Well, you know how that went. You people shove, you bellow, you stampede, ignoring all row decorum. Next we tried whimsical boarding, based on hair color, shoe size and team-logo-ed tee shirts. But arguments ensued. Should Atlanta Braves fans board before Arizona Diamondbacks?

Yes, alphabetically speaking, Arizona does come before Atlanta. On the other hand, Atlanta is merely a city while Arizona is a state. Surely you see the dilemma -- I beg your pardon?

Yes, our rules remain in force. If you even look as if you might behave strangely, we wrestle you to the cabin floor and send you to prison. Understood? Good. Remember, Ladies and gentlemen, you have been warned.

No more questions now. We are preparing for takeoff.

Please turn off all cellular phones, computers, pagers and listening devices. Do not beg for food. We no longer serve food. You should have made provisions earlier.

Questions are now allowed. They may or may not be answered. "If you become a flight attendant what are your duties?" Oh, thank you so much for asking.

You will schlepp drinks across several time zones, confiscate many personal possessions, date married pilots and deal with rowdy passengers. The upside? That is the upside.

Sir? Another question? Why the long delays, why the lack of concern for passengers? Excellent questions. You see, Unfriendly Airlines detests passengers. They also detest flight attendants. I'm only here because I haven't found a job with people who care. Why donít I complain? Right. You know what that would get me? Kicked out without a parachute. Oh, did I forget to mention Scramble Time?

Now and then you will all change seats. This prevents circulatory problems while providing an opportunity to bond with others. You will learn all about everyone's family problems, secrets and bank balances. This is important information. Use it wisely.

All right, ladies and gentlemen, the cabin sign is off. Grab those carryaboards and step lively. People? What are you waiting for? Go, go go! Scramble! † ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

First published: May, 2008
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