Galley Gossip: 10 gifts for flight attendants (and frequent fliers)

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is job security, being able to hold my first bid, two weeks vacation, a raise, longer layovers, more wide-body flying, faster flying times, grateful and polite passengers with a sense of humor, more ferry flights, a cockpit that appreciates who’s on the other side of the reinforced door, and a fun crew

Florence, the flight attendant

Something tells me that ain’t happening. So what can you get that special flight attendant, pilot or frequent flier in your life for Christmas this year? Glad you asked. Here’s my 2009 holiday gift list…

1. AVIATION CRAP STUFF - If there’s one thing flight attendants have in common, it’s the airline museum hiding in the guestroom closet. So if you see something with an aviation theme buy it, wrap it up, and send it to me. I’m talking things like vintage airline posters, sassy bag tags, airplane pajamas, flight attendant dolls, even an airplane Christmas ornament – anything really!

2. HAND LOTION - Flight attendants have always been addicted to fruity smelling antibacterial hand lotion. Now that the flu season is here with a nasty H1N1 scare to top it off, we’re going through germ killer like business class passengers go through wine and bottled water. Bath and Body has a wonderful selection of travel size lotion to stuff a stocking with. Also, we’re constantly washing our hands with harsh airplane soap, so hand lotion with shea butter is a must. Beth, a coworker and friend, swears by Gardners hand therapy cream by Crabtree and Evelyn.

3. CAFFEINE - Three reasons your flight attendant might not be smiling; 1. Long work days. 2. Short layovers. 3. They’ve given up their expensive Starbucks addiction in order to cut back and make ends meet. Every flight attendant deserves (and needs!) a decent cup of Joe, especially when working long hauls, early sign-ins, red eyes, or multiple legs. I’m sorry, but airplane coffee just won’t cut it. While a Starbucks gift card might be nice, a couple packets of Via Ready Brew would work well, too.4. READING MATERIAL - Flight attendants are like vultures when it comes to scavenging seat back pockets for discarded newspapers and magazines after a flight. While I love to score a copy of US, Star, People, ya know, the kind of magazine you can flip through quickly between beverage services, it’s Vanity Fair I can’t commute to work without. What flight attendant wouldn’t love a magazine subscription or a gift card to Barnes & Noble? Or take it a step further and give a Kindle. You’ll help lighten the load.

5. DESIGNER EYE WEAR - Maybe it’s because flight attendants wear polyester for a living, or perhaps it’s because there aren’t too many ways to express our personal style while wearing a uniform, I don’t know, but whatever it is, flight attendants love designer eye wear. Whether it’s a pair of chic sunglasses or trendy eyeglasses, you’ll make a flight attendant go from feeling drab to fab in a matter of seconds. REMEMBER: When you’re flight attendant is happy, passengers are happy. Come on, make flying a more enjoyable experience for all.

6. SHOES - You’ve heard of cart toe, haven’t you? When it comes to flight attendant shoes, we’re always looking for something cute and comfortable – not always an easy combination to find. Go with a gift card to DSW for the picky flight attendant who loves to shop and Zappos.com for the no nonsense gal/guy who knows what they want and wants it now! My next pair may just be one of these – Taipei or Diamond Sparkle

7. COMPUTER – Flight attendants spend half their lives on airplanes and at airport hotels. Is there a better way to stay connected, bid, do trip trades, Skype and read Galley Gossip than with a netbook? One of these tiny laptops won’t weigh a flight attendant’s tote bag down, leaving plenty of room for more important things, like snacks. I love my Acer.

8. FOOD - Really, who loves airport food, and who can even afford it on a regular basis! That’s why flight attendant Henry loves the banana saver. I can see why. No one wants a bag full of mush. As soon I saw my colleague whip together a Cobb salad, using a hard boiled egg container to protect a key ingredient, I knew I had to get one. Which is the exact same way I felt when I saw a flight attendant pull a stainless steel lunch box out of a tote bag and place it directly in the oven – twenty minutes later, VOILA! A home cooked meal.

9. VIDEO GAMES - Not every flight attendant loves doing crossword and Soduko puzzles, including Travis, a commuter with a lot of time to kill. What’s on his Christmas list? The PSP 3000.

10. A LIFE - One that doesn’t include airports, airplanes, passengers, and nonstop complaining. In other words, a day off. Just a day off with a home cooked meal prepared by someone else. That’s it. Just a day off with a home cooked meal and maybe a massage. Nothing else. Just a day off, a home cooked meal, a massage, and…oh….I don’t know…maybe an ionic travel toothbrush sanitizer because a friend just pointed it out and now I’m a bit obsessed.

Photos courtesy of Heather Poole (Me!)