Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hartford Redeye

Redeye flights can be brutal -- as a passenger and a crew member. Two nights ago was particularly brutal due to the fact that our total on board was a whopping 28 people, all of whom but one fell asleep. The lack of activity on a flight like this makes it painfully difficult to stay awake, but I managed by reading and walking from galley to galley.

The crew was definitely full of character though. The captain looked like a GI Joe figurine, complete with muscles on top of muscles and indiscernible eye color. The first officer was a self-described hillbilly who referred to himself as "the little fat boy" in third person the majority of the time. The A flight attendant was the largest, most congenial gay man I have ever seen on a plane, or probably anywhere for that matter. And the B flight attendant was a girl about my age who was so tired she couldn't stop giggling.

During our crew briefing before we even left on the trip, the captain announced that he was thinking of going to a nearby restaurant for lunch once we got to Hartford. I was thinking this was a good sign already...I like a man with a plan.

We all napped and met back up at 2 pm for lunch. The hotel van took us to the Maine Fish Market Restaurant where the captain treated the crew to 2 pounds of steamers. Not knowing what steamers were, but suspicious that they might be a pseudonym for oysters, I quizzed him on their biology and preparation.

"No, they're not oysters they're clams, and yes, they are cooked," he assured me. When they arrived at the table, he instructed everyone on how to eat them. "First, you remove the don't want to eat that." Needless to say, this received comment from everyone else at the table, particularly large, congenial, gay man to my left. "Then you swirl it in the broth, dunk it in the butter, and down it," he continued instructing. I ate a couple to be polite. I wasn't choking them down, but they definitely aren't my favorite delicacy of the sea. It was in the spirit of experiencing this new place, so I'm glad I tried them.

I finished my night with the crew at the lounge in the Ramada across the street from our much nicer hotel. Has it ever occurred to anyone else that the yuckier and seedier bars draw people in with promises of free food and not to be beat drink specials? Well, apparently the Ramada bar offered drink specials, but our waitress wasn't playing that game. She flat out denied there were any happy hour drink specials and proceeded to charge us full price for our beers. The nerve!

The rest of the crew continued at the bar in our hotel while I bade them good night. We had a 5:15 am van to the airport the next morning after all. Even though I retired early, it was a full day and confirmed my opinion that I would find satisfaction as a flight attendant through the crews I get to work with. And I had quite the crew of personalities on this trip.

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