Flight Attendant Bad Day Finishing up with an Aurora Borealis

aurora borealis

Sometimes you just have a bad day. It happens to everyone. A recent pairing of mine went just like that, except for the very end… which redeemed the everything. At the start of the day one of my crew members booked off because she was ill. Luckily last minute we were able to snag a crew member coming in on another flight. He saved our butts from a huge delay or possibly a cancellation.

We took over an aircraft that was brought into the city from another crew. In this scenario the crew before us has done all the galley counts. In the galley I confirmed there was a list written by the previous FA of how many casseroles and meal trays there were for each direction. According to the list we had 125 meals and trays for both the outbound and inbound flight. More then enough, Excellent!

Unfortunately, while we were in the middle of service we ran completely out of the trays (known as TSUs). It seems the galley person who I took over from simply wrote down a number and didn’t check if we had the correct catering at all. Later when I looked into it, I realized the numbers written on the trolleys didn’t even add up to 125. So frustrating! In the end we had to give the last 4 rows of passengers the casseroles without TSUs and some cutlery from the trays for the inbound flight. When we arrived at our destination we picked up some extra cutlery to replace the ones we used. It was extremely embarrassing. And all because the flight attendant before me didn’t confirm our catering like he was supposed to.

On top of that, we had very rude passengers. One of my fellow flight attendants claims he was pushed by one passenger. Another FA says a pax made a homophobic comment to him! I was shocked! Being in the galley I missed all of this. But it’s unacceptable! If this were happening to me I would have had warnings issued on each of these incidents. I’m surprised my coworkers simply put up with it.

Once we reached our southbound destination, we learned that due to poor weather conditions for our return flight there would be a change in our flight plan. The original plan went something like this: We’d operate from Holguin to a smaller town in Ontario and drop off most of our passengers. We’d then continue on to Manitoba where we’d drop off the last of our passengers and terminate the flight. However due to a short runway and poor weather conditions in Ontario they needed to lighten our load so we could safely land. The new plan would be to operate the flight to Manitoba first, then go to Ontario and drop off the rest of the passengers, and then ferry the empty aircraft back to Manitoba since it’ll be needed there the next morning.

The passengers for the return flight were in good spirits and didn’t seem too bothered by this change. In fact the return went smoothly. The only problem was simply that the crew was very tired from the flight down. The southbound passengers were rowdy and demanding and it made it extremely difficult to get any work done. Flights like that take a lot out of you. Still, working with these passengers on the return flight made it a lot easier. (In the off chance any of them are reading this post, I’d like to thank you!)

Once everyone was off the aircraft in Ontario, we were back to the skies. After the seatbelt sign was turned off, us FAs in the back went up to the front to chat with the pilots of the rest of the cabin crew. 20 minutes unto the flight one of the pilots says “Guys! Come up to the flight deck and look at this!”

We look out the flight deck windows and see that the skies are glowing. As we get closer we can see it from the cabin. It was the Aurora Borealis. And it was beautiful. It was a perfectly clear night. The starts were shining bright, there were even a few shooting stars. On top of it all we had the northern lights dancing in front of us. It was all just for us. The flight crew alone on an empty jet, we were witnessing something magnificent. I’ve never seen the northern lights before. It was awe inspiring.

I sat in a passenger seat and watched them for as long as I could. The whole time I was thinking to myself. Today was a hard day. We had tough passengers, a flight that was a lot longer than it should have been, and a whole lot of unprecedented set backs. But I realized; those whole time I never stopped enjoying it. Yes I complained. Yes it was extremely frustrating. But I love these sort of challenges! And here I am now, looking at something that so few people get to see, especially from this altitude! I wasn’t standing under the northern lights, I was flying through them!

Despite all the things that had gone awry this day I was thinking to myself, “I love my career.”

2 thoughts on “Flight Attendant Bad Day Finishing up with an Aurora Borealis”

  1. I am delighted to hear that you are still enjoying your new profession. Yup! It is hard work at times. Things (those tray counts etc.) do not always go your way. Still, it is as much fun as you want to make it and you are doing just that. I would be honored to ride one of your flights. As for the missing ‘TSUs’, you and your colleagues managed, one way or another – and learned a great lesson about counting stuff! I know that you won’t make that error again!! you know better.
    As for the Northern Lights – yes, I’ve seen them a few times, but only from extreme norther ground, never at altitude. A sight worthy of comment, to be sure, but what does one say? Lastly, with a brief ‘ahem,’ have you learned to Asile Surf yet? The sport is available only on empty ferry flights, obvously and also requires a cooperative driver. If ferry staff is well prepared, several opportunities can be had. I’ve done it only once, but it was great fun. Happy flying, dude!
    P.S. I am sorry that your colleague had to endure the homophobic stuff. Unfortunatley, it goes with the territory in your businees and my former profession. Roll it off and move on. You are far too young to understand what those assaults were like, just a few decades ago and most fortunate. Chin up and behave like a professional, even if the asshole ought to be tossed out at altitude. Those idiots are very few these days and you can thank a few of the old farts for the reduction. Challenge them when you can, but keep it professional. When you trip on something and lose a drink, aim it well. Nuff said. C.

  2. I love this story. Lucky you!!! I don’t tell many people, but the Northern Lights are way up there on my bucket list. I even try to sit on the north side of the aircraft on winter trans-Atlantic routes, hoping that I’ll catch a glimpse. Someday!

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