I’ve found myself lately a little enamored by the ABC show Pan Am (which is supposed to be a little like Mad Men which I never got into so anytime anyone says, “isn’t that the Mad Men copycat show?” I look stupid as heck because I’m not really sure). It’s about the Golden age of flying when it was glamorous to be a stewardess.
Flying in the 60’s was a luxury and it was a coveted job to be a Pan Am stewardess. They signed up and endured weigh-ins and what I think was probably hazing for the opportunity to travel the world. T hey were young, extremely attractive and it was their job to make sure that each guest was thrilled with their flying experience.
A lot has changed since the 1960’s.
First, the name stewardess is no longer politically correct. They are now flight attendants as not to offend anyone and it’s an equal opportunity job as you can be male. And, as my most recent travel experience proves, they no longer discriminate on age (the average age of the crew was upwards of 65. The guy in the seat next to me cleverly commented that he “hoped the pilot was a little younger.” I quickly told him that “if we crashed we were S.O.L. as none of the crew could probably lift him into a life boat.” For some reason, he pulled down his shades and napped after that.)
And, don’t get me started on customer service because there isn’t much. You can easily get water and sometimes a coke, but if it’s more complicated than that you can almost always be prepared for an eye roll or some snarky retort. Here’s an example from the same trip:
Mature disgruntled flight attendant: “Drink?”
Young guy (who obviously hasn’t traveled much): “What drinks do you have?”
MGDFA: Didn’t you listen? We have water, coke, juice…there’s a menu in the front pocket
YG: (frantically searching for menu that doesn’t exist because he’s in the bulkhead): Do you have cranberry apple juice?
MGDFA: “We have cranberry and we have apple. WHAT do you want?”
YG: “Cranberry Apple”
MGDFA grunts and looks impatient. She gets the coke for the gal next to him
Me: “Ma’am. I think he wants a CranApple.”
MGDFA: “Well, why didn’t he say that?” she storms off.
This would never happen on a Pan Am flight. Ever. The young, pretty stewardess would immediately know what the young lad wanted and would even spike it for free with a little Ketel One. Then they’d act interested in his life story before they fell in love with him (but that’s another blog).
Anyone traveled lately? What was your experience?