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Aug 28, 2007

Southwest Song and Dance

Southwest Some quotes from last night's Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to RDU:

Amy the Flight Attendant: OK, boys and girls.  There are 26 of you and 130 seats on the plane.  Do the math.  Spread yourselves out.  Lie down and take a nap for me.  I need one.

The Captain:  Greetings from the folks in the front row.  Thank you for flying with us today.  If you come again, please bring some friends.

Amy again: If you're seated in an exit row, you must be at least 15 years old and physically capable of operating the doors in case of an emergency.  If you do not meet these conditions or if you do not wish to fill this role, please let us know and we will find you another seat.  Oh boy.  Those people in the exit row are not even looking at me.  They have no idea.  I'm getting seriously scared.

[upon reaching the RDU gate], Amy again: OK, get out.

I'm glad that Southwest encourages humor, because punchy-tired-Amy would have done  badly if she had to play it straight.  I suspect that many Southwest staff see their FAA-mandated communications as an opportunity to see how well they can amuse themselves, their colleagues, and frequent fliers while staying within the rules.  It's their airborne version of The Aristocrats.

01:00 AM in Quotables | Permalink

Comments

That's fabulously refreshing. So many things are NOT fun about flying these days.

Posted by: Stew | Aug 28, 2007 6:57:27 PM

I was told a story that a flight attendant for Southwest once got the airline sued by singing "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe; pick a seat so we can go." A passenger thought the attendant was being racist.

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Aug 28, 2007 8:13:50 PM

I love Southwest. I just flew to Florida on another airline recently, and it was miserable. I told the boss next time I book my own flight, my own way. If I have to be crammed into a bus with wings, I would rather have a little fun doing it.

Posted by: Don | Aug 28, 2007 9:13:20 PM

Humor would certainly beat what I've seen on Delta lately. Do they recruit flight attendants at assisted living facilities, or what?

Posted by: Doc | Aug 29, 2007 1:35:41 AM

Delta. Ewww.

Re: lawsuit -- Southwest founder Herb Kelleher was famous for saying that the customer was not always right, and that his staff ought feel free to fire the occasional customer.

This blog has some info on how the airline backed up its flight attendant:

http://www.grouchyoldcripple.com/archives/000299.html


Posted by: Phil | Aug 29, 2007 2:08:27 AM

Hey, Phil, I love your grouchy/funny flight attendant. In contrast, when I encounter the saccharine-sweet or Dad-joke goofy SWA flight attendant, I want to trip that person in the aisle just to keep it real. Is that wrong?

Posted by: Lisa | Aug 29, 2007 8:16:28 AM

Delta is not my favorite right now, after cancelling a Friday-afternoon flight and forcing us to take a Saturday ass-crack-of-dawn flight instead. Which shortened our planned trip to 32 hours.

I've had a Southwest flight attendant or captain say "get out" before too. It was cute. Although I didn't like the rowdy dudes spilling drinks on me on that flight.

Posted by: Pinky | Aug 29, 2007 12:00:28 PM

In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king.

Context is a power full tool. I tend to think that the same person, in a similar frame of mind, making similarly awkward comments, in any other context, would not have solicited the same response. However, in that space, at that time, it works.

People are so used to a mundane, annoying, draining traveling experience, to being herded like sheep. When a company goes a little out of their way to make you comfortable, or to remind you that you are human and not cattle, it's so greatly appreciated.

We could all use little reminders that we aren't cattle.

Posted by: adam schultz | Aug 29, 2007 8:40:55 PM

Lisa wrote: "In contrast, when I encounter the saccharine-sweet or Dad-joke goofy SWA flight attendant, I want to trip that person in the aisle just to keep it real. Is that wrong?"

Hmmm... I can't say right or wrong on your feelings, have you seen Dave Chappelle's skits on "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong"?

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-Nq6e9fb3I
2. http://bubblare.se/movie/dave_chappelle_keeping_real/

There's at least one more, but I'm not going to bust my ass just to find it, because I keeps it real.


Posted by: Phil | Aug 29, 2007 9:37:09 PM

Wow, I can't remember the last time I flew on a plane that was less than 80% full.

I have encountered a number of flight crews with a good sense of humor:

Once I experienced both on a short commuter hop with only 4 men on board.

Flight attendant - "Welcome aboard ladies and gentlemen... well, I guess we have no ladies. You, sir, in seat 8B - you can be our honorary lady this evening"

Passenger in 8B - "Oh no! I'm not falling for that trick again."

Posted by: | Aug 29, 2007 11:01:18 PM

Wow, I can't remember the last time I flew on a plane that was less than 80% full.

I have encountered a number of flight crews with a good sense of humor:

Once I experienced both on a short commuter hop with only 4 men on board.

Flight attendant - "Welcome aboard ladies and gentlemen... well, I guess we have no ladies. You, sir, in seat 8B - you can be our honorary lady this evening"

Passenger in 8B - "Oh no! I'm not falling for that trick again."

Posted by: | Aug 29, 2007 11:01:36 PM

oops - forgot to sign my name

Posted by: Tim Edwards | Aug 29, 2007 11:02:53 PM

Heh heh. That's funny. "Not falling for that trick again." Heh heh.

Posted by: Phil | Aug 30, 2007 1:40:48 AM

For a quick and very funny read on life as a flight attendant, check out Around the World in a Bad Mood! : Confessions of a Flight Attendant. My wife (for a little while longer) took a brief break from our initial engagement to work for TWA back in 1985-86. If only she'd found it more to her liking. >-)

Posted by: Doc | Aug 30, 2007 11:50:38 PM

I'd fly more if they actually did an on board performance of the Aristocrats. But there probably isn't enough room to pull it off. As it were.

Posted by: htrouser | Sep 4, 2007 8:17:41 PM

I've been on a lot of PHX-RDU flights on Southwest but they've always been full, full, full. Lucky you!!

Also, I find the flight attendants to be somewhat more subdued since 9/11/01, but still more jovial than those on, say, USAir.

Posted by: minty | Sep 8, 2007 8:29:02 AM

Oop -- more press for Southwest x2.

In the more recent case -- 23-year-old passenger Kyla Ebbert was wearing less than one of the SWA folks thought appropriate for a passenger:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/braun/20070905-9999-1m5braun.html

Where do you draw the line? Here's another case to test you, from November 2006 when a couple was confronted by a SWA flight attendant for some heavy kissing, etc. in flight.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=061114235323.5hvb8xln&show_article=1

I'm so glad I don't work in retail or anything else that requires I deal with a public I can't choose.

Posted by: Phil | Sep 9, 2007 3:02:34 PM

Yet more update on the kissing couple -- the guy was tried and found guilty of

http://www.wwaytv3.com/node/1484 for article and comments at WWAY television in Wilmington.

Article text here:

WWAY News - WILMINGTON -- A verdict is in the mile high couple case. Yesterday a jury found Carl Persing guilty.

The jury had to consider three things.

One: was persing on the plane.

Two: was there an intimidation factor.

And three: did he interfere with the flight attendant's job.

Jurors deliberated for several hours Thursday morning before coming back with the guilty verdict.

The defense says it plans to appeal it.

Thursday, for the first time since the trail started, Carl Persing spoke out about the jury's decision.

Persing said, "All the prosecutors witnesses got on stand, assumed, speculated, did not see or put in any type of detail or sexual activity. I just don't know how they came to this verdict."

The judge dropped the charges against his girlfriend Dawn Sewell earlier this week.

Persing has an August 6 sentencing date.

He could face a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in a federal prison for disrupting the flight.

Posted by: Phil | Sep 9, 2007 3:09:20 PM