Wacky airline adventures are "first class"

"Flight attendants should get hazardous duty pay"

By Salon Staff

Published June 21, 2000 7:43PM (EDT)

Out of the Blue: The delinquent-flier upgrade

One of the most entertaining features in your 'zine is Elliott Hester's column/travel article. I've flown many miles on many airlines all over the world and can completely relate to his "from the other side" experiences. He is simply a delight to read. You should seriously consider giving him premium pay for his efforts. Like the airline I suspect he flies for, he's something special in the air. Thanks for continuing his first class feature even if it is in the Business section.

-- L.L. Woods

Elliott Hester's "Out of the Blue" hit home again. Boy, can he write! As a "freakin' flyer," I have often been the recipient of the oh-so-coveted Up Your Seat Upgrade. I confess: I am now a first class junkie. I can see why Hester, as a flight attendant, would want communism in the sky, and no doubt the proletariat would completely agree with him. But not my leather seat-addicted ass! Before I taught my children to tie their own shoes (OK, before I showed them how to Velcro their own shoes) I taught them to never, ever "go behind that curtain." I did so as a lark, but now I've noticed their arms and legs fly out and stiffen every time they get near the "door" into coach class -- forgetting that they can easily be inserted in sideways. So, I can only applaud Police Dog Hester for ferreting out the Delinquent Flyers who, left unchecked, would love to weasel seats away from the truly deserving Freakin' Flyers. But that was me demanding another bourbon, so shut up.

-- Rex John

As co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, I spend a lot of time in planes, observing passengers and flight attendants alike. My conclusion is that flight attendants should get hazardous duty pay, overtime pay, pay above and beyond what any human should have to deal with. Whether in first class or coach, passengers seem to regard flight attendants as personal servants. Forget road rage -- air rage over lack of overhead space, bad food, small seats and late planes, is all directed, not at the CEO of the airline, but at the flight attendant. In addition, passengers seem to regard a plane as equivalent to their bedroom: Shoes and socks come off (I watched a seat mate floss before he began to munch on salad and fried chicken that he had brought on the plane), greasy bags and napkins get thrown on the floor. Add to this the yellers -- people who get on their cell phones and roar on about business deals, stock options, personnel and personal matters. The skies are not so friendly anymore.

-- Pat Harrison

Salon Staff

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