Fidgety Flight Attendant Almost Meets the Queen

I’m bad at waiting. It’s not that I mind the wait itself, it’s just that I get very fidgety. The minutes seem to drag on forever and I start getting butterflies in my stomach. I tell myself, why are you feeling so nervous, this is ridiculous, as it can happen in any kind of waiting room or at the bus stop. Have you ever heard of someone getting butterflies in their stomach just from waiting for the bus?! I told, you: ridiculous!

I used to be a flight attendant and the job involved a lot of waiting. I’d fidget and meditate, daydream, read a book or do safety drills in my head. Anything to take my mind off the fact that I was waiting.

One of the regular waits in my work day was waiting for passengers to board. My job was to stand by the exit I was responsible for and wait. While waiting, I needed to survey able-bodied persons to summon for help in case of emergency (bodybuilder alert!) and see that everyone was putting their hand baggage away properly.

Hand baggage, my goodness what drama that could involve! There was always someone who came in late and whose enormous bag was too big for the overhead bins and the person just sat down and left me with the bag like I was a portier at their hotel. Some of my colleagues were brash enough to simply chuck the oversized bag out the door. Don’t worry, it was caught by a cargo handler who would put it in hold where it belonged. The passenger was never happy with that since the bag always contained the Queen’s jewelry or something else utterly irreplaceable which would get destroyed in the cargo department and was obviously much more important than anyone else’s baggage.

That reminds me of an interesting flight I once had, when I almost met the Queen of England. Hah, well I’m exaggerating of course, but nonetheless it was quite fascinating. Mid-flight, a gentlemanly British passenger came to me and asked me to be allowed to deboard separately from the rest of the passengers because he was a royal messenger. He was wearing the quaintest tweed hat, a matching brown tweed suit and bow tie and he was terribly polite.

The purser investigated the matter, no doubt the Captain called ground control, and indeed, the Royal Messenger had a long, shiny, black limo waiting for him directly outside the plane as soon as we parked.

As crew, we had our own shiny, black vehicle waiting for us outside the plane. Not a limo, but a van. When our work day was done, we were taxied off to crew headquarters or a hotel, each of us absorbed in the miniature worlds of our phones, silent and solitary in a group.

During each flight, the crew would consist of different people, but we were all made from the same mold. Once in our uniforms, we became uniform, and there was something oddly comforting about that. It was like I belonged and I loved being a part of something, a member of a crew. How I longed for those flights, a feeling I’ve never had at office work, and looked forward to the people I’d meet, the conversations I’d have. Every day was an adventure.

It was always worth the fidgety wait (even though I didn’t quite meet the Queen).

60 responses to “Fidgety Flight Attendant Almost Meets the Queen

    • I can barely remember that life and it feels like it belonged to someone else, not me! And that’s completely ok. But no, I don’t miss it. I’m very happy I had all those experiences but now I have new adventures of a different kind ☺️ I’m happy you liked it, Peter! Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reading this I can’t help but think of the movie ‘Catch me if you can’ where Leo is living it up with the flight crew attendants. I imagine you’d look very nice on his arm!

    Now why would a Royal Messenger require special treatment in off-boarding? It’s very anachronistic, don’t you think? What was so important in his royal messenger bag … crown jewels? a royal pardon? hot biscuits and tea?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my gosh, don’t get me started! There are soooo many people requiring special treatment at the airport, you just close your eyes and ears to the ”why” 😉 But yes, most probably he was bringing them biscuits and tea!!

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  2. It sounds like you really liked your job, and I can see why. Despite baggage-man it still sounds kind of glamorous.
    I once met Prince Charles and Princess Diana – at a garden party in Australia.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

      • It was years ago – their first visit to Oz, William was a baby. The gathering was for them to meet some Aussie young people (ie late teens to mid 20s roughly). I was the administrator of a dance company (and in my 30’s) and none of the dancers wanted to go so I got to go. There was no special protocol required to speak to them. We all just mingled in the Parliament House rose garden eating yummy snacks and chatting. I didn’t speak to Di tho I could have but there were so many people milling around her that I went to speak to Charles. We talked about (of all things!) fibre in the diet as he took a piece of cake. It was a brief conversation but I’ve never forgotten it.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I read somewhere that people who fidget burn a lot of calories doing so. As someone who’s constantly twitching and tapping, that gave me some comfort.
    I think it would have been interesting to meet the messenger, the sort of position that one kind of knows exists, but in a sort of ‘Bond movie’ way. I also liked your allusion about the royal team getting a better class of transport than the flight team. But I know what you mean about team uniforms. It does identify you, link you with others on the team. Maybe the business world could learn something from that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You may not have met the Queen and you may have had a lot of waiting but it sounds like there were fringe benefits. And the envy of many. Here your position is much sought after and a rigorous selection process ensures that only the luckiest get the job. The messenger sounds cute but why should he get priority over others?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, quite a lot of benefits actually. Back in the day, we had even more benefits when I worked in office work at an airline (or two, actually). One of them was the tickets, but we also got discount from everything, everywhere. I was quite disappointed when I started at my current job (not in the travel industry anymore) and noticed no one had negotiated ANY discounts for staff at all. 🤷‍♀️ I was spoiled and didn’t even know it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know that anyone who works for an airline or travel company got many travel benefits. I was always envious. At that time, I worked for a not for profit company with very few employer benefits. They generously introduced a employer benefit scheme whereby we could save $10 – $20 off our weekly shopping bill and other purchases at many, many stores. You just had to pay through them first and then visit the store to collect your purchase using a voucher of sorts. Sounds good except they used this as a way NOT to give us a pay rise. Our wages had been stagnant for many years and this was a way to shut up the employees. It kind of put me off employer benefits. Yet if you use them to their full capability, you could most certainly save some money. It took a lot of effort though.

        Liked by 2 people

          • No, benefits shouldn’t replace salaries even though they are cost effective for the boss’s balance sheets.
            The trouble is that it affects morale and the organizations cannot retain good staff, who go elsewhere seeking better wages. Those that remain can become disenchanted as well and not have the company’s best interests at heart. That is the real cost Business courses should factor in to their curriculum. Perhaps they do, but it doesn’t translate to real society, in my experience.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great insight into the world of cabin crew! You must have met so many different people and seen so many weird and wonderful things during your time flying! Hahaha, reading that some of your colleagues would chuck a bag out of the door made me laugh out loud 🙂 I spent my childhood surrounded by all things aviation and I wanted to be a flight attendant when I was young because of being around it all…it seemed so glamorous at the time! I always find it so interesting to hear what it’s really like 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Dusty 😀 Why were you surrounded by aviation, your parents’ work maybe? Those things rub off for sure – and now you’re a globetrotter! 🙂 I was definitely influenced by the culture shock of moving across the globe as a kid: never felt like I belonged in Finland, my parents’ home country but a new place to me. It led me to dream of traveling and so I ended up joining the industry. If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em! What about you, were you happy to move back to England? You lived abroad too, didn’t you. How old were you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, I like your attitude of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so true! And I can identify with you saying you never felt like you belonged in Finland, I felt the same about the UK. How do you feel about it now? Yes, my dad worked for an airline, which was why we moved out to the Middle East. Most of our neighbours on the compound where we lived were pilots, with the odd engineer thrown in for good measure, and I found myself on planes quite frequently, or sometimes hanging out at my dad’s work at the airport! I lived out there for the first 10 years of my life. My dad sadly passed away though, so we had to move back to the UK. I did have difficulty adjusting to life back here but the love of travel and new places has never left me 🙂 I’m so very grateful to my parents for giving me such a wonderful experience in my early years! What about you? What took you to the other side of the world (am I correct in remembering it was australia)? Was it the same thing, parents work?

        Liked by 2 people

        • My family moved to Australia for a better life. Finland was, I guess, pretty ”soviet” (though independant for half a century already back then), at least I remember everything looked very bland, grey, and modest when we moved here in -87. And opportunities were scarce and the weather harsh. During the past 10 years, Helsinki has changed rapidly and become much more international and I’m liking it more now. But I still don’t quite feel I belong, for example I’ve always found it very difficult to make friends here. People have a quota for friends and they fill it with daycare and school pals and as adults they don’t need new friends as they already have their circles. Those formative years in Australia really had a big impact on my way of thinking and often I find it hard to relate and notice other also find it hard to relate to me. But things could always be worse! This is a good place for kids and I like my current neighbourhood a lot.

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          • I never realised that Finland was like that back then. I can certainly understand why you moved to Australia then. It does sound like it’s changed a lot for the better now though and I’m glad that you find it a good place to raise kids. These experiences have a huge impact on us don’t they, particularly when they happen when we are children. I can really identify with the feeling of not quite belonging that you describe. It can be difficult for people to relate to us and vice versa. I found it very hard when I got back here, everything was different and no-one had heard of the place I used to live. I still have difficulty with the question, ‘where are you from?’… it’s a conundrum! And little things, like not having the same reference points as others about growing up, e.g. tv shows, toys, etc. In fact I started a post about Third Culture Kids ages ago exploring these factors and never finished it, maybe I should! Anyway, it is what it is and although I will always hanker after sunny warm climates, I think I am sort of used to living in the UK now haha (although I still don’t like the weather and lack of good beaches!!)! As you say is could always be worse 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yes! Finally having this conversation with someone who understands! ”Where are you from” is hard because it implies my answer must be somewhere from Finland since I look Finnish, speak Finnish and my name is very Finnish. So what to answer? The truth? That will make them roll their eyes thinking I’m trying to show off (ridiculous but true, it took me years to understand it sounds posh) or do I just lie or tell a partial truth and be really vague? But then I feel like I’m selling myself short.
              And yes, not having the same reference points! I too started several posts on the topic but I don’t really know how to finish them, they come off whiny and that’s not my intention 😂😂 If you post yours, let me know, I’d LOVE to read it! 🤗 Maybe it’d give me the push to write mine (and ping back).
              What about language, did you learn another language there? I’ve been following discussions online about people with double accents or a multicultural self-image and it seems many people who are not bilingual or who do not have TCK backgrounds do not understand and think those people are fakers. It gives me anxiety! I never know how to introduce myself or how much to reveal 😅

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oh my god yes! I never know how much to tell people, because I feel like it sounds like I’m showing off!! And sometimes it’s just too hard to explain so i don’t bother! I end up saying something vague like, well my family is from London…which is true, but I’ve never lived there! I am definitely going to revisit my post about all of this and see if I can write some more. It does fascinate me because it seems people like us all have so many of these things in common. Growing up in this way is great, but it also brings with it some interesting factors. Unfortunately at the time we were out there, learning another language wasn’t really deemed necessary. They did start after school Arabic lessons eventually which I took, but we left not long after, so I didn’t get very far. That is one thing I regret, I do wish that they had taught us kids the language from the start of school. But it wasn’t something they did back them (70’s/early80’s) which is a real shame. Having the opportunity to learn another language (or two!) I think is amazing, and I think is important if you are living overseas. Plus it’s so much easier to learn them when you are kid!

                Liked by 2 people

  6. Its a beautiful read, how often does one get to hear a story from a flight attendant for whom there is always a different story to tell whenever she makes travels …. would like to know more of your such experiences..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading and for the kind words! I wish I’d been blogging back then, with all the stories fresh in my mind. I’ve forgotten most of them by now. There are a few more posts like this on my blog, and maybe that’s all there will be. Have a good week! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello.

    Wow!!! I love these stories of our memory lanes. Because, I was ground staff, which flew during 5 years, I do not have many stories to be told, but of course, I have some. Now when retired many years ago, I started to think about what I achieved during my life while working for an air line company. I achieved only “Two Letters”. I have told this in my about-me-page and more preciously in the third photo. Today is my birth day and that’s why I remembered it.

    All the best. Matti / Sartenada.

    Liked by 1 person

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