If anybody told me this ...I swear....I'd think they were making it UP!!
After hauling my pitful(ly LARGE)BUTT in a coach seat across the flappin' continent to JFK yesterday....all I want DESPERATELY to do is get OFF of this aluminium TUBE and go have a SMOKE before dragging my flightbag outta' the overhead bin and "assuming my position" in the cockpit for my return segment going back ALL the damn way across the continent again (durn near).
Stopping at the jetway door I brief my westbound flight atendants.
As I pass the gate podium I see a younger "company" pilot whom I don't recognize except by uniform and ID badge. We exchange waves and hellos as I rush past. I expect to see him soon enough in the jumpseat since, as usual we are completely full. I turn and bolt for the terminal's front entrance as we are tight on time having pulled into the gate a few minutes late.
Suck......BLOOOOOW! Glance at watch. SUUUck...BLOOOW. Glance at watch again. DAMN! SUUUUUCK..BLOOW..SUUUUUUCK!!BLOW! Glance one last time at watch. SUCKBLOWSUCKBLOWSUCKBLOWSUCKBLOW!!
Now...with a REALLY cheap "high" I race back through security.
About fifteen minutes before push the guy pops his head in, extends a hand and introduces himself. He asks my permission to park one of his suitcases up front as the overheads are already full. He got the last seat in back but no room remains in the overhead.
As customary I agree, wish him a pleasant sleep if he can get some and he heads for the cabin.
An hour out of JFK the First Flight attendant is serving our "meals" and says..."Hey. That JUMPER is one of OUR guys right?" I sez. 'Yeah. Why?"
She says "Boy!! What an ASShole....I mean he's a REAL prima DONna!!
( I know readers...hard to imagine , huh? AIRline pilot - prima DONna???? WHAT are the ODDS!!)
Well, he'd seemed pretty nice to me, and although I know SOME of my bretheran (not ME, of course) apparently ARE capable of putting their pants on two legs at a time (along with leaping tall buildings in a single bound); I was starting to wonder if this was another case of an F/A who just DON'T normally like pilots!! But she had seemed very nice as well so I asked "Well....what did the boy DO, darlin'??"
She then proceeds to tell me the guys been acting an ass since boarding, pouting that he couldn't sit in a First Class seat...."because he's had a VERY tough day" and refused to take his coach seat until the last First Class seat was taken by a passenger "upgrade", whereupon she had to tell him yet AGAIN to go take his seat he was NOT getting in F/C.
Now ALL the airline pilots reading this can smypathize we how he FEELS, but it's how he went about it. These Flight Attendants are certified SAFETY PROFESSIONALS who now carry D.O.T./F.A.A. issued certificates that SAY SO. ONE of them...male or female...gay or straight....MAY have the OPTION someday of saving MY lard-ass! (Particularly now that all the airplanes are equipped with defillabrators to restart the overweight chain-smoking off-duty alcoholic still eating Twinkies within a few years of mandatory retirement Captain's HEART!!)
Hence, I treat my F/A's with the same level of consideration as my F/O's!!
I.E. Or as Gramma' CloudDancer always said...."Never piss off your banker...your bartender ....OR your ex-WIFE!!" To which I'll add flight attendants.
So, as I am about to express my sympathy and concern....while figuring out HOW I'm gonna' deal with the numbskull and STILL convince all three girls NOT to write him up....she interrupts and says "But WAIT! You're not gonna' beLIEVE THIS!!"
'There's MORE" (sigh) I sez.
She continues..."He is laying DOWN in the AISLE!!"
MY co-pilot and I both turn and go 'WHAT!!!" in stereo!!
'Are you JOking me??!!" I asked dumbfounded.
"NO. He is LAYing inthe AISLE!!" she repeats.
I motion her all the way in and tell her to shut the door. (It's already been open a little too long really.)
I ask if she means he's lying in the floor between rows of seats (cramped but not impossible for a smaller guy, as he was)?
For the last time...now exasperated, but understanding the difficulty I am having GRASPING the idea she repeats one more time, as a patient mother explaining the concept of STOVE = HOT!! to a toddler...
"No CloudDancer. He is IN THE MAIN AISLE stretched out in his uniform."
I look at my copilot who, is STILL holding his tray of food in mid-air. He is looking back at me with that look that they give you when mentally, they are sitting back, propping their feet up, putting their hands behind their head and settling in to "see how Big Daddy Four Stripes is gonna' handle THIS one!!"
Shaking my head one LAST time to try to reSTART the hamsters finally works and the little wheels start spinnin' again.
I tell the girl...."Go back there....and lean down....and as sternly as you can do so QUIETLY (maybe the passengers haven't NOticed???) tell the IDIOT that he is to get his ass up front and call me on the interphone IMMEDIATELY!!" and she departs.
Well, a couple o' minutes later the cabin interphone rings....and the guy says "Hey this is *&%$..what's UP??" (He doesn't KNOW???!!!)
I explain to him that the girls have reported to me yada.....yada...
An' he's sez...."Oh YEAH! Well..see. I got this HORRIBLE HEADache!
And the ONLY thing that will help it is to lay DOWN for a while...and well...the plane is FULL you KNOW!!" This is spoken in a tone such as to indicate that
1. I DON'T know WHY I should HAVE to explain this to you and
2. Now that you know I have a perfectly good REAson, what is YOUR problem??
Well, being only one hour into what is a 5.5 hour flight and hoping to maintain peace and order, I choose to sympathize somewhat.
I said. 'Well bub. That can be tough alright...but I 'd really rather not have you laying in the aisle...why don't you grab a couple of pillows and a blankie and come up here and lay down on the floor. (There IS room in the A320 cockpit if you are under six foot which he was.)
"No. I'd really rather not bug you guys. I'm fine."
And I reply well, you can't keep laying in the aisle in uniform.
To which he replies by telling me that he TOOK OFF his stripes, tie, and I.D. badge before "assuming HIS position" so to speak.
With the same tone of voice and patience one would use to deal with a MENTALLY HANDICAPPED PERSON.... I now explain to this....MOE-ron
(while inside my BRAIN I'm telling myself I can't believe this is happening....and I look over to see the F/O giggling at me as he listens in
with one ear still tuned to Cleveland Center)
In a soothing voice I explain that people...."you know.....*&%$ing CUSTOMERS!! MAY need to get to the BATHrooms....the Coach FLIGHT ATTENDANTS really LIKE the convenience of being able to roll their serving carts FREELY up and down the aisle....and generally it's just a little inconvenient overALL and MAYbe slightly disconcerting to at least SOME of the REGULAR passengers to have you in CADAVER MODE in the middle of the %$#@ing aisle so I don't want you to DO that anymore, O.K.??"
Reluctantly, like a scolded child he acknowledges and says he'll return to his seat and I sign off with "Hope you get to feeling better."
Two minutes later I call the forward galley again and tell the 1st F/A to also advise the other girls. "If this guys so much as TWITCHES in a manner that alerts, alarms, or upsets you...I want to KNOW about it."
Like the Chief Pilot at my airline doesn't see/hear eNOUGH about my shenanigans. I alREADY got my own chair with a personalized brass NAMEplate in his outer office/waiting room. And with MY track record, when he hears the story....he'll probably figure it was ME in the damn aisle trying to give him more grey hair and paperwork!!
SHEEEESH!! And I thought the PASSENGERS were NUTS!!
Cloud(Somebody call Maintenance!! This Seat Belt is too SHORT)Dancer
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Laugh'til you cry!!
😀 Great story, nice site!
Brilliant story! Could've been worse you might have had snakes on the plane! 😀