Galley Gossip: How Being Married To A Flight Attendant Is Great Training For The Job

Photo: Christopher Bailey

Hi Heather, My wife is a flight attendant and for some time now I’ve been looking to make a career change and was thinking of becoming a flight attendant myself. I can see how she enjoys it and has fun with it and I’d like to try it, too. Do you think it would be a good or bad thing to bring up in an interview situation that I am married to a flight attendant or does it matter at all? Obviously being married to one gives me a greater insight and depth of understanding of the job and what it involves compared to many other candidates. I have a degree in Microbiology so I have somewhat of a brain, although my wife might debate that with you. I also co-managed a bar in Ireland before I came to the United States so I know what it’s like to have to deal with difficult and intoxicated customers. I also was an airport screener for a while and I’m a state certified emergency responder. I’d like to think these things would make me a strong candidate. Just curious what you think. Thanks for your time, Brian.

Based on your work experience alone, you sound like the perfect candidate to me! You’re comfortable cutting people off handling intoxicated passengers, you’re familiar with the responsibilities that go along with working at an airport, and you have a pretty good idea of what life is like in the sky. Being a certified emergency trainer will only make you more attractive to the airlines. Your wife, I’m sure, has mentioned that no one ever dies in flight, right? At least not until a doctor can make an official pronouncement. This might be why so many flight attendants have nursing backgrounds. Some are even senior enough to hold a flying schedule that allows them to balance a nursing career at the same time. These are always my favorite flight attendants to work with because when there’s an emergency in flight, they tend to take over. That being said, I truly believe it’s your wife that makes you a standout.

You of all people should know that it takes a special person to be involved with a flight attendant. As you’ve mentioned, you already understand our crazy schedules and what the job entails. Most people don’t realize that being a flight attendant isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it affects everything we do – or don’t do, because we can’t get the days off to do it. This explains why so many new flight attendants either quit a few weeks after successfully completing the training program or last a lifetime. It’s that extreme. Many people can’t deal with our long absences, missing holidays, not being able to make long-term plans, and our ever-changing schedules. Just last week I was reassigned not once, but twice before 10 a.m. on day two of a three-day trip, and then on day three, my three-day trip turned into a four-day trip. If there’s one thing that flight attendants have in common it’s that we always have back up plans A, B and C, because when it comes to working in the aviation industry something is bound to go wrong. It’s why being flexible in terms of scheduling is so important. This is exactly what makes you special. You understand all of this already. I say if you’ve got it, flaunt it! Good luck.

Ten ways to travel like Qadhafi, according to Wikileaks diplomatic cables

So, if you were a Middle Eastern strongman leader, how would you hit the town in New York City? I don’t know about you, but I’d want to do it with a real looker on my arm (and everywhere else). Apparently, that’s what Muammar al-Qadhafi has in mind. According to confidential diplomatic cables recently unearthed by Wikileaks and published by the NY Times, the Libyan leader prefers to travel in style. Specifically, he can’t “travel without his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Klotnytska.”

The Wikileaks-released cable continues:

He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing. His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York. End Summary.

So, what else is on Qadhafi’s list of travel necessities? Well, he makes the likes of Axl Rose seem pretty easy to accommodate. Here are ten of my favorites:1. A plan: Qadhafi doesn’t like leaving details to chance, it seems. Over his 40-year rule, the cable says, “arious proclivities and phobias began to reveal themselves in every logistical detail.”

2. Efficiency: why take a new picture for his visa? Qadhafi noted that he had portraits of himself on “hundreds of billboards” in Tripoli. Surely, one of them could be “shrunken to fit the application’s criteria.” (Eventually, he agreed to have his picture taken for the visa application, though.)

3. Ground floor: Qadhafi “must stay on the first floor of any facility that was rented for him.” I also prefer to stay on the first floor, preferring not to have to wait when I want to get back to my room. I also like a room near elevators when I can’t stay on the first floor.

4. Tents: no, not the kind that happens first thing in the morning when you wake up … Qadhfi actually wanted “accommodations with room to pitch [his] Bedouin tent … as it offers him a non-verbal way of communicating that he is a man close to his cultural

5. Leg-stretching: the Libyan leader is not a fan of long flights and won’t stay in the air longer than eight hours. In fact, he stops in Portugal before heading all the way to New York. Qadhafi reportedly hates to fly over water.

6. His crew: Qadhafi, like most world leaders, doesn’t travel alone. In fact, he “appears to be almost obsessively dependent on a small core of trusted personnel.”

7. His ladies: Kolotnytska, the senior nurse and “voluptuous blonde” isn’t the only girl Qadhafi has in his life. He has a staff of four Ukrainian nurses, but Kolotnytska is his favorite. When problems appeared to be coming because of a late visa application, “the Libyan Government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the Leader during his rest-stop.”

8. Dancing: Qadhafi, apparently, is a fan of the arts. He loves to watch dance troupes, with one visit featuring some from the Ukraine, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. He’s also enjoyed bands from Mexico, Russia and New Zealand, among others. However, Qadhafi has a soft spot for flamenco, once deciding to “stop in Seville (for a “personal trip” according to the Spanish Ambassador here) on his way back to Libya from Venezuela specifically to attend a flamenco dance performance.”

9. Security … not so much: once upon a time, Qadhafi’s female guards were part of his entourage. This isn’t really the case any more, with only one of the lovely ladies accompanying him.

10. Friends: it’s important to communicate with Qadhafi, it seems, because he’s been isolated so long. Like Shaft, the cable identifies the Libyan leader as “a complicated individual”. And, given the nurses and guards, the parallels with Shaft continue … “no one understands him but his woman …”

[photo by StartAgain via Flickr]