Page 30


Fifty minutes later, I pushed my way to the front of the city bus and nearly ran into a family of four attempting to get inside the airport. I headed straight for the crew line at security—holding up my badge as the TSA agents waved me through.

Please don’t let me be late. Please don’t let me be late...

I rushed from terminal to terminal, adjusting my neck scarf with every step, frantically counting down the seconds in my mind. By the time I made it to the conference room, I had exactly one minute to spare.

There were twenty other flight attendants inside, all dressed in the same Elite Airways issued navy blue blazers and skirts. Every set of lips was stained in the same shade of Chanel red, every bun was perfectly coifed and positioned to the right, and every wrist bore the official glittering bracelet with the company’s signature charms: A white dove and a globe.

I spotted an empty seat near the back of the room and made my way over. Before I could ask the girl next to me if she’d received a phone call this morning as well, the door opened and a beautiful African American woman walked into the room.

Dressed in a form fitting navy blue dress and dark grey heels, she flipped her long, wavy hair over her shoulder and glanced at her watch. Her hazel eyes scanned the room as she took her place at a centered podium. Her lips were stained in a light pink, and from the way she smiled her set of pearly whites, she reminded me of the picture perfect models in all the Elite Airways commercials.

She took a folder out of her bag and looked directly at us. “Good morning, welcome to the meeting, and shut the hell up.”

The room fell silent.

“My name is Alicia Connors and I am a fifteen-year veteran and senior purser for Elite Airways,” she said. “I’ve been flying for the airline since I was fresh out of college, and although I enjoy it very much, this is honestly the one part of my job that I couldn’t care any less about. That said, since I am the only flight attendant here who has ever—” She suddenly stopped talking and stared at something across the room.

Taking a deep and exaggerated breath, she walked over to a woman in the front row and tapped her on the head. “Excuse me. You. Yes, you. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I was...” The woman’s face turned red as she looked up. “I was sending one last text to my boyfriend.”

“In the middle of me talking?”


“Does your boyfriend cut your checks at this airline?” Miss Connors asked. “Is he the one holding this meeting right now?”

“I’m...I’m sorry...”

“Yes, you are sorry.” She snatched the woman’s cell phone and held it up to her face, reading the text aloud. “Hey, baby. As soon as you get out of your meeting, have your pussy ready for me. Make sure it’s soaking wet...” She shook her head. “Yes, I can definitely see why this message was far more important than what I had to say.”

She tossed the phone into the trash can and rolled her eyes. “You are on my shit list for the rest of this session,” she said. “And since your sexting was so important, you’ve just cost this entire class my very interesting and in-depth background story that would’ve landed you on my good side. At least, temporarily.”

“I really am sorry.”

“Save it.” She rolled her eyes. “Mindless repetition does not impress me.” She returned to her place at the center of the room and silently counted us, writing a few words down on her clipboard. “Does anyone have any idea why you were asked to be here today?”

She looked around the room, but no one raised a hand. “Interesting. You’re here because you’re the least important employees we currently have on the payroll. You are the bottom feeders and the trolls, but since we have successfully completed the buyout of three mid-sized airlines, we are finally upgrading last year’s pond scum from reserve attendants to full time flight attendants.”

There was a brief buzz of excitement that filled the room—a couple of whispered yeses, a few murmurs of “Finally...”

“Within the next ten days,” she said, “If you’re interested in staying with us, you’ll receive an updated line, i.e. your new schedule that will tell you when and where you’ll be flying over the next few weeks. And before you ask, yes, I’m more than aware of how scheduling is done at other airlines, but this is not other airlines, so spare me your thoughts and unwanted opinions. If you have another job, I suggest you put in your notice to quit it ASAP. You won’t have time to hold it anymore. Any questions?”

A few hands flew into the air.

“Good. No questions.” She shrugged. “Unfortunately, due to some recent events and incidents I’d not care to discuss, all flight attendants are being retrained on every single aircraft in our fleet. To streamline this process, each of you will be paired with a designated senior flight attendant for the next few months who will share your same line. These months will serve as your full-time probationary period. Any questions about that?”

More hands flew into the air.

“Good to know.” She hit the lights and tapped the wall, forcing a screen to slowly drop down from the ceiling. The airline’s white globe logo appeared onscreen, and then the words, UNOFFICIAL REMINDERS, appeared in bold.

Without prefacing anything, she clicked through all of the slides—speaking so fast that I could hardly understand what she was saying.