Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Prisoners, FAMs, and an Early Release, Oh My!

This last trip, although just a short overnight came with some excitement.

First of all, I was working the back of the plane with the bar cart, so I got to use my new kindergarten scissors I got in my Christmas stocking to cut open the bags of ice...Whoppee!

On the trip out, we had a prisoner aboard. It was interesting -- the first time I had seen a prisoner and his escort on the plane, as a civilian or a flight attendant. I did learn one useful trick through. Since prisoners travel in a stylish leather belt that is attached to their handcuffs in front, carrying a blanket around seems to do a sufficient job covering up your state-issued bracelets.

On the trip back, we had some Federal Air Marshals aboard -- also a first for me. It's a running joke that they're pretty easy to pick out because they're usually big, hulking meatheads that board the plane first with all the screaming babies and decrepit pensioners. However, one of them approached us in the gate area while we were waiting to go down the jetway and I would have never pegged him. I figured he wanted to make sure he had a seat assignment. Instead, he flipped open his badge.

On top of these exciting firsts, I got in at about quarter to eight this morning and was released to ten hours of rest! I was fully prepared to be sent out on a three day trip as soon as I checked in, but I'm off until at least eight o'clock tonight, hence the blogging update.

An American Idol Flies South

"We have a celebrity on the list." The gate agent alerted me. I was in charge of the paperwork for this trip, so I got to see her name, right there on the manifest...Kelly Clarkson.

"It's a common enough name, it's probably not THE Kelly Clarkson," I said to the agent after scanning the crowd for any conspicuously incognito passengers.

Sure enough though, towards the end of the boarding process, two ladies asked me if they could sit in the emergency exit row. I looked up to see THE Kelly Clarkson and a friend waiting in the aisle.

"We were the last ones down."

"Sure, no problem then."

Kelly wasn't wearing any make up and was clad in those velvety track suit bottoms and a vintage tee. From Nashville to Cancun, I don't think any of the other passengers realized she was on the plane with us. It's a good thing too...I think the U14 Nashville Gymnastics team would have done back flips down the aisle to get to Kelly if they had realized she was on the plane.

Kelly and her companion were cordial and down to earth. They traveled like normal people, so they were treated like normal people. As soon as they put their bags away and got settled into their seats, Kelly and her friend pulled out a travel Scrabble game and started playing. If nothing else, it's nice to have proof that Kelly can spell all the lyrics to her songs.

As tempted as I was, I didn't bother Kelly or her friend, even when I had Kelly alone in the back on her way to the bathroom. I constantly kept coming back to the thought that while she may have only spent about $400 on airfare to Cancun, her hotel room could very well be costing ten times that every night. Ah, the price of normalcy.