Galley Gossip: Flight attendant pet peeve #5 – You’re still here?

I’m wearing the blue polyester dress, you know the one, and I’m standing two rows behind you, an arm draped over a seat, a hand gripping the plastic handle of my Travelpro bag. When the lights are turned to bright, I turn around and look at my coworker, and without uttering a word, our eyes say everything that can possibly be said.

Finally you step into the aisle, look at me, and then smile, so I smile at you, and while I’m smiling I watch you dig around inside three different seat back pockets.

“Thanks for a nice flight,” says a voice over the PA, and just like that the voice is gone, along with the rest of the passengers, and crew. It’s just me, my coworker, and you.

When it comes to the deplaning process, there are three types of passengers…

THE ME FIRST PASSENGER: Jumps out of the seat before the seat belt sign has been turned off. If there are other me first passengers standing in the aisle, they will push each other out of the way in order to be the first me first passenger off of the airplane. Don’t you know the first one on should always be the first one off, even when he’s sitting in business, not first.

THE NORMAL PASSENGER: Waits patiently in the seat until the passengers sitting a few rows ahead stand. At this point the normal passenger gathers their belongings, and when the time comes, steps into the aisle, grabs the suitcase out of the bin, and begins to walk to the front of the airplane, not once breaking the rhythmic deplaning flow. Thankfully most passengers are normal passengers – when it comes to getting off the airplane.

THE I’VE GOT ALL DAY (AND NIGHT) PASSENGER – I do hope this is not you. Granted, you are very nice, and quite polite, a dream passenger really, and I did have a wonderful time talking to you in the galley, but the time has come to say goodbye, so buh-bye. Adios time. Look, it’s not forever, we can do this again, but at another time, on a different flight. So go, please, now! No offense, don’t mean to be rude, but the layover is short!

Again I turn around and look at my fellow coworker who is looking at her watch. “Nine hours and twenty minutes,” she mumbles, shaking her head.

Remember, this nine hour and twenty minute layover includes the hour I will get ready for work in the morning, as well as the twenty minutes I need to take the hotel van back to the airport and make my way through security. Which means the layover is more like eight hours. Don’t forget that eight hours includes the ten minute van ride to the hotel tonight, as well as the amount of time it will take the van to get to the airport in order to take us to the hotel, not to mention the time it takes to check-in once we’re at the hotel, after we get in line behind you. Which means that eight hour layover is starting to look more like seven. If you leave now.

While I continue to stand there, waiting, still waiting, I’m wondering why you are just now reaching for your luggage in the overhead bin, and why little Johnny does not have his shoes on, and why your wife or husband or whoever it is you are traveling with is now on all fours looking under the seat, not your group of seats, but three rows ahead, and why oh why are you now standing on the armrest to get a better look into that empty overhead bin?

“I think we’ve got it all,” you say, but before I can breath a sigh of relief, you place your suitcase on the ground and unzip your rollaboard. “You don’t have to wait on us, because we’ll probably be a few more minutes here.”

I’d leave if I could, but I can’t, so I don’t, which is why I’m still standing there, one arm still draped over the seat, a hand still gripping, gripping, gripping the plastic handle of my Travelpro, as a swarm of cabin cleaners make their way to the back of the airplane. That’s when I think I hear, “Mind if I use the bathroom?”

“Oh…umm…sure.” I struggle to move my wheelie bag sideways so you can get by, and as you pass me by, I find myself wondering why? Why here? There’s a much cleaner bathroom in the terminal. Why now? The flight was five and a half hours long. Why me? Don’t answer that!

Okay, here’s what I don’t get. You came to the airport at least an hour before departure, waited in line at security, and then found a place to pick up a few snacks where you had to wait in line to pay, before heading over to the gate area to wait your turn to board. Once on the aircraft, you waited to takeoff, and after we finally took off, a few minutes late, you found yourself waiting for a drink. After enjoying your adult beverage of choice, you spent a very long time waiting to land, and while you waited five hours for this bird to touch ground, you may have found yourself waiting in line to use the lavatory. Eventually we land and you wait your turn to deplane, very patiently, a little too patiently. You’ve finally gotten your things in order, and little Johnny is wearing his shoes, and your wife or husband or whoever it is you are traveling with is no longer crawling around on the floor, so what, exactly, are you waiting for now?

You sling a heavy bag over your shoulder. “I think we’re ready.”

I smile, and this smile is for real, and together we walk to the front of the aircraft. At least I think we’re walking to the front of the aircraft, because you stop, turn around, and look at me. “Mind if I double check one more time to make sure I have everything?”

“Oh…umm…sure, go ahead,” I say, struggling once more to move my wheelie bag sideways, and as you pass me by, I find myself wondering why?