We finally made it home about two hours late. It was a typical triumph for commercial passenger aviation in the U.S. today: we made it through the trip with our bodies intact but our spirits demolished.
The one bright spot on the last leg of the trip was the flight attendant in learning.  The little jets we fly out of Santa Barbara generally have just one flight attendant.  This evening’s trip had two: the veteran and the new guy.
The new attendant – it was his first flight – was a nice looking and incredibly personable young man who was clearly excited to be there.  He made all the announcements about how to buckle a seatbelt and what to do if the oxygen masks come down, etc.  Before he made the announcement he informed us that it was his first time and to be patient with him if he stumbled a little.  He made it through and the entire planefull of passengers gave him an ovation.
If only the rest of the U.S. Air employees could be as kind and gracious as the passengers it would be a much better airline.


  1. It seems to me the Misadventure of Flying US Air could be made into a best selling childrens book, complete with cartoons. Ever give it a thought?
    If I thought it could earn me enough money to be able to fly private jets everywhere I need to go, I would write it and illustrate it tomorrow.

  2. Glad to hear you both got home ok. The ovation given the new guy was sweet. Hopefully he’ll not be infected too soon with the general lack of moral that the others have.
    My mom was a stewardess from the late 40’s to 1956 when she was grounded on her 30th birthday. (Yes indeedy, in those days a woman over 30 could not fly as a stewardess.) She then ended up working in the executive offices of KLM. She tells great stories of what it was like in those glamour days when taking a trip on a plane was considered a special event. It sure isn’t like it used to be.
    Yep, back in the good ol’ days one always wore a jacket and tie when flying.  Boy, how things have changed.  Today you probably see people better dressed on the bus than on a plane.

  3. I’m glad at least one flight attendant is excited. the veterans certainly aren’t.
    Recently I was asked by our dentist to take a job-share position two days a week in his front office because his wife, who has the front office position, was going back to her 28 year flight attendant career for one year to secure her retirement benefits (incl lifetime health insurance) and not owe for her medical insurance ($20+K, I think) while on inactive status the past six years. It fit a my “mom” schedule perfectly and was only a year so I took the offer and trained a few days before she started flying again. She called me after 2 of her 3 LAX-JFK trips and said that she wasn’t going to continue after that, it was so awful. So much has changed in the six years (post 9/11) while she was inactive. And she is one of the nicest and most cheerful people I know (I would love to have her as a flight attendant). I guess the retirement benefits and lifetime health insurance and no bill for the past 6 years of health benefits just wasn’t worth the aggravation and hassle. So if the airlines can’t keep flight attendants like her, I guess they take who they can get.
    I wonder how long that new flight attendant will stay excited to be there?
    On the other hand, my husband flew Southwest this week (he usually sticks with AA because of international flights and FF benefits) and was pleasantly surprised at how great the crew was compared to other airlines. If Southwest can do it better, why can’t the others?
    Glad you both made it back safely.
    We fly Southwest whenever we can’t avoid it and always have a pleasant experience.  The flight attendants are always great; the planes are almost always on time; and the price of tickets always low.  Why don’t we fly them more?  Because I hate not having an assigned seat and I hate the cattle call that is the boarding process.  It has become an honor among Southwest frequent fliers to be first on, so people start queuing up a full hour before the flight.  If you get to the gate 30 minutes before the flight, you are at the back of the line and risk having the only seats left be middle ones, which would mean MD and I can’t sit together.  I’ve discovered that you can book online and usually get a boarding pass for the first group, which is how we do it now when we fly Southwest.  But Southwest doesn’t fly out of Santa Barbara, so that limits our access.
    We’ve had great experiences on Jet Blue.  The staff is as friendly as the staff at Southwest and they have assigned seats.  But, as with Southwest, they don’t fly out of Santa Barbara.
    This July we’re flying to London on Virgin Upper Class.  I don’t know how she did it, but MD managed to pull it off with miles.  I’m looking forward to see how Virgin’s service compares. 

  4. Mike, The solution to your travel problems is easy: 1.Have MD write a best selling book. 2.Have the royalties sent to you. 3.Buy a share in NetJets. Problem solved!
    Why didn’t I think of that?  I’ll get right to work on it.

  5. The funniest thing is that Google has been displaying ads for US Air for a few days now… :))
    I hope you clicked on every one.

  6. Hi Dr. Mike!
    I’ve posted about the disaster we called a trip at http://lovinglowcarblife.blogspot.com/2007/04/fly-not-so-reliable-skies.html
    As you said, misery loves company. :0)
    Hi Amy–
    Sounds like your disaster was worse than mine, especially with the guy upchucking.  Sadly, it’s an all too typical day of flying.  No wonder everyone dreads it.
    Maybe we’ll both have better luck next time.
    BTW, looks like you live in St. Louis.  I lived in Jefferson Barracks for several years when I was a kid.  My mother was a nurse at the VA hospital, and, as a consequence, we were housed in the old barracks.  Two parents and five kids in a two bedroom, one bath downstairs end unit.  And I had the run of all the woods surrounding the place and used to walk through the giant veteran’s cemetery on my way to go swimming at the National Guard pool.  I took MD back there several years back, but the old barracks were torn down, but at least I got to roam through my old school – Jefferson Barracks elementary – which is now a maintenance building.  Upstairs, however, everything is pretty much as it was when I was there in 5th and 6th grade.

  7. I do hope next time will be better for both of us. I used to love to fly, now I’m much less enthusiastic.
    We just moved to St. Louis 6 months ago, so I’m still learning my way around. Sounds like you had a wonderful place to explore and play as a child. I wish I could offer that much room to my children. We don’t live in the best area of St. Louis right now, so they aren’t allowed to roam much farther than the backyard.
    Glad you got to take MD back for a visit. It’s always nice to go back to your childhood for a visit now and then. I think it’s good for you. :0)
    Take a trip over to Jefferson Barracks sometime.  It’s some kind of a park now, I think, but when I was a kid I had the run of the place.  We roamed through all the woods and down to the banks of the Mississippi.  If my parents had known what I was doing while they were both at work, they would have been apoplectic. 

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