Galley Gossip: Attention Sharon Stone, GIVE ME THAT BAG!

Perhaps you’ve been on an airplane and heard the following PA, “Ladies and gentleman, all the overhead bins are full, so if you’ve brought on board a bag that does not completely fit underneath the seat in front of you, please bring it to the front of the aircraft to be checked.”

Here’s the thing about that little PA, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, the bag will be checked – even if you’re a celebrity. That includes you, Sharon Stone.

Perez Hilton recently reported that Sharon Stone made a “scene” when she refused to check two bags on a Delta flight from Kalispell, MT to Salt Lake City. There are very few details to the story, but Stone’s rep, Paul Bloch, said that Sharon was allowed to take two bags onto the airplane, but a “stewardess” on board “screamed” at her not once, but twice, that she couldn’t have the luggage before the actress surrendered the bags. I’m not exactly sure how or when Stone made the “scene,” because again, the details are lacking, but Stone was met by security at the end of the flight. Her rep states that they were “private security” hired by Stone.

Now for a little advice. If a flight attendant tells you that you’re going to have to check your bag, just check the bag. Don’t make a scene. Don’t tell the flight attendant how many miles you’ve flown or try to explain who you are. It doesn’t matter. No, I will not take someone else’s bag off the airplane so you can keep yours! And no, you can not stack your bag on top of the bags in the closet! FAA doesn’t allow it. FAA rules are FAA rules and nothing is going to change that. Flight attendants don’t make them up. Nor are we “abusing our power” when we enforce them. We’re just doing our job. Did you know that by not enforcing those rules flight attendants can lose their job or get a hefty personal fine by the FAA? So unless you’re willing to pay that fine or hire a flight attendant, release the death grip on the bag, please.

Back to Stone. Who knows what really went down on that Delta flight. What I do know is last year I had Sharon Stone on board a flight. While she sat in first class and kept to herself, she was always courteous when interacting with crew. What stood out the most about her was not her striking beauty or stylish outfit, but her well mannered traveling companion who always made a point to say please and thank you. The adorable young man, Stone’s son, looked to be about three of four years-old at the time. He had to have learned those wonderful manners from someone, right? And while that doesn’t prove anything, really, it does say a lot about Stone, because a polite child is a direct reflection of the parent.

As for the flight attendant who apparently “screamed” at Sharon Stone, I don’t believe that for a second. I’ve been a flight attendant for fourteen years and I have yet to hear a flight attendant scream. Take that back, there was the time it was announced prior to boarding that Hugh Jackman would be on our flight and my coworker Sean had a mini freak out, as did I, but that’s it! The one and only time I’ve screamed heard a flight attendant scream. We might bark, snap, or get firm when we’re trying to make a point, a point we’ve more than likely been trying to make multiple times without success, but screaming? I don’t think so. I just can’t see it.

The problem with the Sharon Stone incident boiled down to two different people, both of whom work for the same airline, giving Sharon Stone conflicting information about her bags. Who wouldn’t be annoyed by that? But some things can’t be helped. Because I’m guessing it was the gate agent who told Stone it was okay to take both bags down to the airplane. In defense of the agent, agents usually don’t know what the overhead bin situation is like until it’s too late. There’s no way for them to know what’s going on unless a flight attendant calls the gate and informs the agent that all the bins are full. But by the time a flight attendant is able to report that all the bins are full, there are usually a handful of people already in the process of walking down the aisle with rolling bags in tow. That’s when the PA is made, you know the one.

“Ladies and gentleman, all the overhead bins are full, so if you’ve brought on board a bag that does not fit completely underneath the seat in front of you, please bring it to the front of the airplane to be checked.”

Just do it. Don’t fight it. And whatever you do, don’t hide the bag because we will see it under your legs. And next time you fly and you’re seated in first or business class, arrive to the gate on time and board when your row is called. If you’re in coach, try booking a seat closer to the rear of the aircraft and that way you can be one of the first ones on and avoid the situation altogether.

Photo courtesy of (Sharon Stone) siebbi, (passengers) Telstar Logistics