I now take off my flight crew uniform after work – I don’t feel safe in it |  Meryl love

I now take off my flight crew uniform after work – I don’t feel safe in it | Meryl love

WPoor, wet vomit is running down my leg. It looks like the contents of an airline kid’s meal. Noodle pieces, chicken nuggets and what looks like the dripping remains of a candy bar. I’ve already taken my seat for landing, so I have nowhere to go when the kid next to me starts emptying the contents of his stomach as the plane makes its final descent. When the wheels touch down, vomit flows down the aisle like the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The flight was already delayed before takeoff and leaves us stewing in the scorching heat of the runway for over an hour, allowing the smell of half-digested Bolognese to really offend the injury. “Are you going to do something about it?” a passenger asks me in disgust.

Once you vomit enough, it really kills your self-esteem. I don’t have any kids, but I think if one of my kids spills bodily fluids on a complete stranger, I could at least offer them hand sanitizer. But the parents make no such gesture.

This is just the latest happy example of what it’s like to be a cabin crew member in 2022. I am apparently responsible for every bad experience passengers have had with this airline. You put on the uniform and accept the role. It’s a lot like acting; In this particular incident, I have to pretend I don’t want to jump out the window. “Yes, of course,” I say. I bend my leg so the chunks of puke slide onto the floor. “I’ll send for the cleaners immediately.”

Passengers are particularly tense in this summer of travel chaos, and in my cabin crew uniform, I am the physical embodiment of all their flight woes. Frustration over lost bags, delays and canceled flights is compounded by the holidays lost to Covid. They would probably piss me off themselves if they had the chance. People forget that people in uniform are real people.

Staff shortages in the airline industry only increase the likelihood of difficult encounters. On the same flight, a man rushes at me. I know that look. If it were an animated film, steam would be rising from his ears. He tries to calm down before speaking. Like Al Pacino’s seething anger in The Godfather., Controlled anger is sometimes even more frightening than explosiveness. When people get out of control, it’s almost easier to handle.

He enumerates a litany of misdemeanors committed by the airline: lost bags and strollers, delayed flights, a night at the airport while pointing the finger at me like I’m the mastermind planning and orchestrating the whole thing would have. It always amuses me when people talk to me like I’m the CEO: “Your company is a disgrace, how dare you treat people like that.” I wish, mate. I wish. I’m just a very minor player with a very small salary, but it’s part of my job to take it, so I’ll do it.

I listen and try to be empathetic. As likeable as humanly possible, because when a man is as angry as this guy, it’s over if you show even an ounce of cheek. I apologize. I’m really really sorry. I’ve said it so many times lately.

As soon as I step out of the security turnstile, I take off my uniform. I used to leave it on for the way home, but now if you’re anywhere near the airport, you’re an unofficial PR rep for the entire aviation industry.

I’m sitting on the subway and I hope nobody recognizes me from the flight. Finally I can relax and switch off until tomorrow. That is one what’s good about this job, i think you rarely take your work home with you. Then I look down and see a piece of chicken nugget taped to the side of my shoe. Ah, the glamour.

Meryl Love is the pseudonym of a crew member working for an international airline

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