Saturday, November 23, 2013

Party Line.

Remember what the representative from the flight attendants' union replied to Matt Lauer when they were emoting together about how Victorinox penknife key fobs were a bigger threat to the friendly skies than misplaced MANPADS?

She said:
"No. I'm a flight attendant; I'm out in the cabin. I'm a first responder and the last line of defense..."
Well. I certainly feel safer huddling behind Rebecca Anne and Chip, who have traded their youthful skin for cheap airfare and the glamor of waiting tables in a crappy restaurant at FL350*.

Anyhow, with the proposal to allow talking on cell phones in the air, the flight attendants' union has released their official position, and right in the opening paragraph of their statement you see:
"Flight Attendants, as first responders and the last line of defense in our nation's aviation system..."
Sweet Wilbur Wright on a steam-powered unicycle, is that the only thing that comes out of your little cakehole when your string gets pulled anymore?

Look, I could understand if you came out and said "Hey, people, this job is migraine-inducing enough without everybody yammering away like we're on a bus to a glossolalia convention. Can we get a couple of hours without being crammed in a communal phone booth? Some of these people are trying to sleep." Instead, you know nobody will take you seriously unless you somehow tie it to Safety on Airplanes, which equals terr'ism, so we can't be having any phones on planes because shut up citizen!

I'd like to use the flight attendant who came up with that "last line of defense in our nation's aviation system" as the last line of defense against an incoming SAM by setting her on fire and throwing her out of the plane to spoof the IR seeker.

34 comments:

The Freeholder said...

Flight attendants are reason #2 (TSA is reason #1, obviously) why I no longer fly unless it's a matter of life and death. Airliner as cattle car is #3.

I remember when we used to joke about fly Piedmont in the Southeast. "Hey Tom, there's a pasture we haven't landed in lately!" and in we go for a 3 point landing. But at least we had room to stretch out, the service was good and I could get from Louisville to Greensboro without flying through O'Hare.

I wish I had the money to own my own plane and use it to fly my happy arse from A to B. Instead, I drive or stay home.

Erich505 said...

My cousin put up a pic of the new WTC building on his FB page this week, with a caption along the lines of "F You Osama." I had to comment that UBL must be chuckling with every pair of shoes that drops into a tub at every airport in the country. (He removed my comment.)

Anyhow, it's kinda funny when an eight-hour drive is almost preferable to a one-hour ride on a plane, even with the costs being identical.

As to the flight attendants, just as there are plenty of good teachers who don't truck with the nonsense spread by their unions, I'm sure most of them aren't subscribing to this cabin commando meme.

Tho I bet they dread the end of quiet flights just the same as the rest of us do. Hey, it'll give the airlines an opportunity to sell upgrades to "quiet class" - good for the stockholders.

fillyjonk said...

I will say, the request as you phrased it ("....some of these people are trying to sleep.") would fall largely on deaf ears. Because no one is THAT person who talks loudly and unnecessarily on their phones, no, their call is TOO IMPORTANT and overrides the fact that some might like quiet. Because everyone is SPECIAL.

Actually, I see an opportunity for airlines here: when buying a ticket, people can request (and pay some small amount extra for) a seat in a "quiet row." The number of "quiet rows" could vary with demand. Of course, there'd have to be some kind of curtain or something to block the cell phone noise which would float as freely through the cabin as cigarette smoke once did.

Alternative: put the loud cell phone talkers next to the crying babies.

The Jack said...

Here's the thing that gets me.

The Cellphone ban was placed with the ostensible reasoning of "Hey these EM output of these devices may interfere with avionics and other systems."

Now amazingly the .gov went and found out "Oh, these devices don't interfere at cruise."

And more amazingly they've made the logical leap of "Guess we can undo that ban."

And now people are screaming "Noooo! You've got to keep the ban! It's the only way we can have quiet!"

Never-mind that the stated justification turns out to be invalid, they want big-old-pappa state to come in and tell people what to do because it's a convenience.

Heaven forbid an airline makes a policy decision to not allow cell phones in flight.

I mean that's why the movie theaters had to lobby to get cell phone use classified as a fire hazard.

They couldn't just *tell* their customers "Before you buy a ticket know we don't want you to talk in here."

gunfreezone said...

"Flight Attendants, as first responders and the last line of defense in our nation's aviation system..."

I worked in a hotel for 5 years and we had crews coming in every night. The Maginot line was much more effective against the Wehrmacht that these idiots (and I don't use the word lightly)can be against a cabin threat.

They would get so drunk, it was no unusual to see them wandering around the hotel at 2 am am searching for their rooms and we were called to help them only to find out that they were in the wrong hotel and the imbeciles could not remember where were they staying. If we could get their names, Front Desk would get on the phone and call other hotels to see where were they staying and send them on a cab ride. We had some of the males thinking they were in a bathroom and aiming at the toilet...but they were in the lobby watering a chair. And these are the same people who had to be up and ready 3 hours later to go back to the airport and be the "Last line of defense."
Only one stewardess in all that time actually was safe: It was also late at night, requested security escort to the room and asked me to stay by the door while she checked the room with her Surefire.

og said...

Filly: No.

People should pay extra to talk on their phones. I should not be penalized because I want peace and quiet. Otherwise, I'm with you.

I have a special set of "Airplane earplugs" which I connect to NOTHING, to make it clear that I don't want to talk to ANYONE.

The issue I have with the "Last line of defense" is that the "First line of defense" appears to be a bunch of foam helmeted window lickers who like to feel up old broads.

Tam said...

The Jack,

"The Cellphone ban was placed with the ostensible reasoning of "Hey these EM output of these devices may interfere with avionics and other systems.""

Actually, the cell phone ban is FCC and not FAA and isn't for the reason most people think it is.

OldTexan said...

The simple solution I use for the noise dilemma is to put on my Beretta noise protectors and I avoid eye contact with fellow passengers. I am sure that once folks can use their cell phones the noise in the cabin of the plane will sound like the Monkey house at the zoo. Especially if you are the lucky one sitting next to a wide body baboon.

I remember going to college in the old days on tail dragger DC-3's with nice comfortable seats and beautiful stewardesses and bouncing all over the sky with ears popping and people puking. I kind of liked the early jet travel which was not cheap and every seat had an ash tray and we all dressed up in suits and ties and felt kind of important with a sense of adventure.

The good old days were not always the greatest but air travel was special. As stated above, now I will also make a fairly long drive to avoid flying and time permitting I try to avoid interstates.

Divemedic said...

"I'm sure most of them aren't subscribing to this cabin commando meme."
One only has to google the terms "Arrested", and "interfering with flight crew" to see just how many of them enjoy the authoritah that comes with being a first responder.

Tam said...

I'd like to use the flight attendant who came up with that "last line of defense in our nation's aviation system" as the last line of defense against an incoming SAM by setting her on fire on throwing her out of the plane to spoof the IR seeker.

Critter said...

Air marshalls? Is that still a thing?

Robert Fowler said...

Tam said... setting her on fire on throwing her out of the plane to spoof the IR seeker.

Can I carry my zippo when I fly now? It's been so long since I have flown...

fillyjonk said...

Actually, og, you're right. Make the talkers pay extra for their section. I guess I've been so browbeaten into the "but noise and self-centered people are the NORM" that I'd be willing to pay more for a quiet place.

I don't fly, but that's mostly because I only want one pelvic exam a year, and that from an actual MD...

staghounds said...



Tam's response is better written and far more persuasive than the official one.

jim in houston said...

I'm going to have to send you the next bill from the doggie psychotherapist. Both the border collie and the pit-pointer are very stressed over Daddy's hysterical laughter. "Sweet Wilbur Wright on a steam powered unicycle, let's use the stewardess as a flare!" Perfect wordsmithing.

However, on topic - petty regulations are the least of reasons I do not go armed on public transportation, which I often use, especially when my destination is a Parking Hell such as Downtown Houston or the Medical Center. The main reason is that while I've got an outstanding record of using minimum force as a last resort but... idiots who have nothing interesting to say and do so loudly the whole time they are on the bus make the devil on my shoulder whisper "they are asking you to shoot them." 15 minutes on the downtown bus is bad enough; I can't imagine 3 hours in a plane listening to some bozo talking about who he is (sleeping with) and who has the good smoke.

og said...

Filly: I practically dare TSA to frisk me. And I make damned good and sure they get a good handful of something.

I'm sure there are at least twelve agents, right now, who are sitting in a dark room in their underwear, drinking heavily, trying to forget.

Steve Skubinna said...

The original reason for the cell phone ban was that they blanketed the cellular network. From thirty thousand feet they hit every tower in a zillion mile radius.

So I wonder why that's no longer an issue. Better switching and traffic management software?

AuricTech said...

I have no issue with TSA* gropers and flight attendants portraying themselves as the first and last lines of defense, respectively.

That's because history in the post-9/11 era has shown that passengers are the effective line of defense.

*"They Sexually Assault" (as if any reader here needed me to explain the acronym's actual meaning...)

Anonymous said...

Y'all do realize you can't get a signal on most cellphones much above 10 to 15,000 feet anyway right? At least mine won't, and I do this kind of thing for a living. At FL350, the baboon's cell isn't going to get a signal enough to talk anyway. Maybe text, that's about it.

Snap

Stephen said...

This right here. This post and comment thread? That's why I've come back every day for years. Thanks Tam.

Alien said...

I make the run between (top secret location) and FL a few times a year, and it's always by rental car, never by air. Given Southwest's occasional cheap fares, the rental costs more in transit, but not total, since I'll need a rental on the FL end anyway.

The big differences? First, since I never take my gun off, I'm my own "first line of security," and the only idiot yammering on a cell phone is me when the client calls to ask when I'll arrive.

Scott J said...

That is some outstandingly good snark. I just hope it doesn't make your next flight extra interesting.

The Jack said...

Whoops. My mistake.

Still, I doubt the FCC banned 'em because they thought all that chatter would be annoying up in the sky-tube.

Mike_C said...

I think AuricTech beat me to it, but clearly Dutch filmmakers are this nation's last line of defense.

>People should pay extra to talk on their phones.
Agree. But IMO better yet, they should just STFU for a few hours.

Old NFO said...

I can see the violence in the cabin coming... When the asshat in 4B won't shut up in the middle of a red-eye...

Robert Fowler said...

Old NFO said...
I can see the violence in the cabin coming... When the asshat in 4B won't shut up in the middle of a red-eye...

The "Knockout game", coming to a airline soon.

Kristophr said...

The Jack: See the comments above about blanketing every cell tower in LOS.

Anonymous said...

IIRC there's still some concern about the effects a whole bunch of cell phones might have on some kinds of aircraft electronics. But all I've seen are anecdata, because no one wants to spend the $$$ on in-flight tests. Yes, the ban is/was FCC, not entirely FAA. (Although, I almost invited a pax to step out at 2000' AGL when I suddenly heard "Look! Over there on your left!" from behind my seat and began evasive maneuvers only to discover that he'd turned on his cell phone and called his wife to go to the porch so she could see us fly over. Grrrrrrrr)

LittleRed1

Anonymous said...

I think it was President Bill Clinton who said during any international crisis, he would ask: Where are the Flight Attendants?

Or was it aircraft carriers? I get confused sometimes.

Gerry

Sport Pilot said...

One of the nastiest aggravated assaults I worked involved a P-38 can opener used to slice open a beautiful black teen aged girls face. She still won the fight and kicked ass too, scarred but not beaten. As to fear of pen knives on airplanes? Please!!! A newspaper of magazine properly adapted and used is surprisingly effective.

Steve Skubinna said...

Actually anon 4:44, it was every President since 1945.

Though back then the question was "Where are the stewardesses?"

Shakes said...

I'm a flight attendant. My purpose on board an aircraft is to serve in several capacities, including, but not limited to, passenger safety.

Union leaders, a lot like politicians, exacerbate problems so they can be seen to solve them, while drawing attention to themselves and maintaining the view that they are necessary.

Unfortunately, some of my co-workers forget the "serve" part, and take the union message a little too much to heart. Please don't think we are all like that.

Ian Argent said...

The physical layer may as well be magic carrier pigeons for all I deal with it in my day job, but I'm given to understand from loose talk around the watering hole that most cells will now basically ignore UEs attempting to connect from "too far" away, and that the 20-mile-radius boomer towers are passe, anyway

Goober said...

I'm 6'4" tall and weigh over 300 pounds, and I'm not a fatass. How any flight attendant could see a man like me get on a plane and think "I'm here to protect this man" and be honestly serious about believing that, I can't imagine.

Fact is, once they hardened cockpit doors, and once terrorists made it clear that you no longer have a chance of surviving a hijacking by going along to get along and hoping it all works out, there is just simply no way to hijack an airplane anymore.

There are too many guys like me, who knowing that waiting it out for a peaceful resolution isn't going to work and will arm themselves with whatever ad hoc weapon we can get our hands on and fight back.

That is the last line of defense and it is apparently effective, because in spite of the utter ineffectiveness of the tsa, there haven't been any hijackings in over 12years now.