Solo, So High.

A story popped up in my feed about a guy who, because he waited eighteen hours for a flight, got to be the only passenger on a plane. Never mind the details of how it happened or even what he did on his, if not exactly solo, then at least solitary flight. I think this is one of those What Would You Do? scenarios that no one ever thinks of because it’s such a completely bonkers thing to even imagine, let alone something that really happens. So what would you do if you were the only passenger on a flight?
I think most people would say they’d want to see the cockpit and maybe talk to the pilots, maybe even try their hand at flying the plane, doing some barrel rolls. Not me. I’d want to hang with the flight attendants.
That’s not a joke. I’m not putting down pilots. Flying a plane is an amazing feat, but flight attendants are to airlines what nurses are to hospitals. The doctor may get you through surgery but think about who’s bringing you meals and changing your bedpans at 20,000 feet. Pilots face the weather but flight attendants face the passengers who can be the scariest part of a flight.
Every flight I’ve ever been on has in some way been made nicer by flight attendants. There was the time I was on a flight with serious turbulence. I had my nails dug into the armrests and my face was whiter than a 1200 thread-count king size sheet from Macy’s. A flight attendant put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Hey, it’s fine.” I felt better after that. Then there was the time I was on a mostly—but not entirely—empty Tuesday morning flight and the attendants made a comedy routine out of the safety talk. “Should the cabin suddenly lose pressure stop screaming and let go of the person next to you long enough to put the oxygen mask over your face.”
There are also a hundred things flight attendants do that most of us never see that make a flight more enjoyable. How do we repay them? By heaping abuse on them and turning them into a stupid SNL joke. If you are or ever have been a flight attendant I want you to know, seriously, how much I appreciate you.
If I were the only passenger on a flight I’d want the attendants to sit down, put their seats back, and let me bring them drinks and as many bags of nuts as they wanted. And with all their experiences dealing with people I’d bet they’d have some great stories to tell.

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  1. mydangblog

    My favourite thing featuring flight attendants is Foo Fighter’s video for Learn To Fly. But yes, flight attendants are worth their weight in gold!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      How could I have forgotten that video? The Foo Fighters are so great. And so are flight attendants.

  2. M.L. James

    Chris, I saw that story about the one passenger on the news and thought it was great. The passenger said he and the flight attendants were having a good time trading insults and joking around. All clean fun! Glad they were able to accommodate him. Of course, he had to wait 18 hours for his flight, but all’s well that ends well. I don’t know if you ever read David Sedaris, but he has a story or two about flight attendants. In one particular story, he regales us with how these hardworking souls who have to put up with so much get even with unruly passengers. Like you, though, I’ve only found them to be helpful and reassuring. Of course, the last time I flew anywhere was in 2017, so it’s been a few years. Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve read several things by David Sedaris and yet somehow none of his writings about flight attendants stick out in my mind! Go figure. I’ll have to go back and reread him. In fact I even once went to a live reading by him here in Nashville. I haven’t flown since 2014 myself. It was shortly before my cancer diagnosis. Totally unrelated to flying, or flight attendants, or the fact that I’d been in Florida.


    Thanks for taking care of us, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thanks for caring enough to drop by.


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