Use heat packs to avoid clogged ears – Airplane tip

Traditional methods for clearing “flier’s ear” include yawning, chewing gum, and using special earplugs for flying. However, there are other methods for preventing this painful condition, including this unusual, but effective, one:

  • Pack two small heat packs (they grow warm when mashed).
  • Use earphones to hold one over each ear.
  • Keep the earphones’ plug visible so flight attendants will see you’re not using an electronic device.

You’ll get a few weird looks, but it may help. (A pack may last a couple of flights if placed in an airtight bag after use.)

Asian airline puzzled by mysterious mid-air toilet clogs

Any time you put 300 people in a metal tube, the strain on the in-flight toilet system is going to be immense – but Hong Kong based airline Cathay Pacific is having more than just a bit of trouble.

The airline is actually dealing with a huge mystery. Their toilets are so unreliable that a Hong Kong bound flight had to make an unscheduled landing in Mumbai, India when all ten of the bathrooms became clogged and unusable.

The 278 passengers on the “crappy” flight were delayed for 18 hours. But to be honest, I’d rather spend 18 hours in Mumbai than 18 minutes on a plane with no bathrooms.

In other incidents, two other Hong Kong bound flights had to refuse boarding to a substantial amount of passengers when all the bathrooms on one side of the plane stopped working.

All these incidents are on the Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, and Cathay Pacific is said to be working overtime to figure out what is causing the problem. A Cathay Pacific spokeswoman suggested that passengers may be to blame.

‘You would be amazed at what we find in the pipes when we clean the system – not just face towels but medicine bottles, socks and even children’s stuffed toys,’

Until the real reason is uncovered, engineers are carrying out deep cleaning treatment and replacing pipes.


“Passenger created” toilet clogs delay flight for 10 hours

Remember those signs in the airplane bathroom that politely request that passengers refrain from throwing anything into the bowl (other than the usual stuff)?

Well, apparently passengers on Biman Bangladesh airlines saw it, but either ignored it, or decided to see what would happen if you stuff it full of bottles, cups, paper and sanitary napkins. And they didn’t do this to just one of the toilets, but all five of them.

The major clog in this airplane plumbing resulted in a 10 hour delay in taking off from Dhaka. The plane was London bound, and the plumbing job only took 2 hours, but by then they would have arrived at London past its nighttime curfew.

Wing Commander Asaduzzaman, who is in charge of engineering at the airline, blamed retuning Bangladeshis for clogging his toilets.

This crappy problem (pardon the pun) is just another blow for the airline, since the United Nations recently advised their own staff to avoid flying them because of safety concerns.


Galley Gossip: Stew Shoes (the search continues…)

Ever wonder what flight attendants talk about in the galley behind closed curtains? Oh I bet you do. Most days you’d probably be sorry you asked. For real. It can get a little crazy back there. But recently I had a conversation on-board a flight that was tame enough to share, a conversation that I think all flight attendants at all airlines would be interested in hearing, and it started out something like this..

“I’m sorry,” said Diane, my fellow coworker, as she sat on the jumpseat and quickly looked over her shoulder into the dimly lit coach cabin to make sure no one was listening. No one was listening. No one was even there. All of our passengers were actually in their seats with their seat belts fastened. Most likely because we’d already finished the last beverage service of the night, the in-flight movie was just about over, and in less than an hour we’d be touching down in Los Angeles (And on our way to the layover hotel.) That’s when Diane leaned in close and half whispered, “But I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

“Oh my gosh, me neither!” I exclaimed, hopping off the jumpseat in order to grab a glass of water for a passenger who’d stumbled smack dab into the middle of our conversation. I smiled. He smiled. Diane smiled. We all smiled. And then he thanked me for the water and disappeared. Sitting down on the jumpseat closest to Diane, I added, “Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I wish I could do it, really I do, but I can’t. I just can’t do it. I don’t know why.”

We began giggling when the super cute one with the bleached blond hair dressed in navy blue polyester pants and a starched white button down shirt sauntered into the back galley with a full bag of trash in hand, because he had, in fact, actually done it. He’d done what Diane and I could not bring ourselves to do. Not in this lifetime. What the heck did he do? The Dansko clog of course!

In case you haven’t been on an airplane in the last ten years, the Dansko clog is to the flight attendant what the Tumi bag is to the frequent flier. Next time the beverage cart makes a stop at your row, go ahead, take a look, I bet they’re there. They’re everywhere! Just not on my feet.

What happened to be on my feet the night I found myself giggling away with Diane on the jumpseat in the back of coach on a 767 was a brand new pair of shoes that, after one six hour long flight, had turned out to be a huge mistake killing my feet. They needed to be replaced. And fast! So, once again, the search for the perfect flight attendant shoe began. It’s been ongoing for years. Thirteen years to be precise.

All I want is something cute enough to wear through the terminal and comfy enough to walk up and down the aisle, that’s it. But that, I have to say, as most flight attendants already know, is next to impossible to find. Oh I’m done with the whole high-heel-change-into-a-flat thing. Done carting around an extra pair of comfortable shoes in my already overstuffed tote bag that I have to change into as soon as we hit our cruising altitude . I mean all I want to do is put on a pair of shoes before I leave the house and be done with it. That’s it. I’m over it.

Which now brings me to three distinct types of flight attendant shoes (for women) I’ve encountered working the line over the years…

THE NEW HIRE HEEL. These clickity clackers can be seen from miles away, because they’ve probably been paired with a skirt that’s just a tad bit too short, as they strut through the airport terminal. Trust me, there is no freakin way these babies can work a flight, which is why they’re usually the opening act for the Dansko clog. Yes, this is the flight attendant fantasy shoe – for men. (And I’m not just talking about the men in drag.) Add another inch to this heel and these, to me, scream available! At least on the airplane they do, because in real life I…well…maybe, sort of, kind of, like them…kind of, maybe, sort of. Okay okay, so I actually own a pair (or two), so what! I only wear them hidden under a long jean. Not on the airplane. Nor in the terminal. Why? Because they say, “is there anything else I can get you, sir?” (Wink Wink). They belong to Cockpit Connie. Not you. Or do they belong to my flight attendant friend Steven? Or was it me! Jeez, I can’t remember.

THE OVER IT SHOE: Those of you who do not pick up trash at 35,000 feet for a living probably think this shoe belongs hidden behind the cart, or in the back of a closet, or at the bottom of a trash bin, and you’re probably right, but ever since our work days have gotten longer and our layovers have gotten shorter (layover, what layover?) this is the shoe for me. Remember, I’m over it, and because I’m so over it (the shoe, people, not the job!) I can’t even properly explain it. In fact, I don’t even know if it can be explained, whatever it is I’m trying to explain. Or perhaps I’ve just been flying too much.

THE SENIOR MAMA LOAFER: Can you say retire already so I can finally get a little seniority and fall off the reserve list before I’m 50. Seriously people! Believe it or not, the person who now wears these sensible comfy loafers once wore those sexy white patent leather go-go boots with a hot little mini skirt. She did. Really she did. And maybe, just maybe, he did, too. Hey, you never know. So when you see a pair of these tired looking loafers walking down the nasty carpeted aisle, remember where they’ve been. What they’ve seen. And all the things they’ve done. (That you haven’t. And never will.) And don’t forget to aways – ALWAYS – respect the loafer!

What will I be wearing on my next flight? Check out these babies from Beautiful Feel, which I purchased from The Walking Store earlier this week. No, they weren’t cheap, but if they can make my feet feel beautiful while I’m picking up trash at 35,000 feet, feeling oh so not beautiful, I’ll pay whatever it takes. And more.