Please, tell me about the time you paid $8 for a toothbrush

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Somehow the words “I am a flight attendant” can often be translated to “Please share with me every bad experience you have ever had in the airline industry.”

In fact, it happened just a couple of weeks ago while eating dinner at a small restaurant in France. After discovering the nature of my occupation, the American couple sitting beside me proceeded to inform me of all their travel woes spanning across the past century…and then some.

“Well, we once flew to Paris, our flight was delayed, and our luggage got lost. So we had to spend $8 on a toothbrush. The fools at {insert airline here} didn’t even try to refund us.”

I smiled and calmly took a sip of my red wine, hoping a little liquid courage would soothe my rising blood pressure.

First of all, let’s take a moment to reflect upon all of the things that must fall perfectly into place before, during, and after every single flight.

The plane must arrive at the airport on time. The cleaning crew and caterers must make their appearance and work their necessary magic. Then the flight attendants and pilots must arrive at the aircraft. The emergency equipment must be checked, and every piece must be in perfect working condition. The maintenance crew must check the aircraft. The pilots must check the aircraft. The baggage personnel must load all luggage into the cargo hold. The gate agents must present the pre-departure paperwork, while simultaneously answering 400gazillion questions from impatient passengers. IF everything is in perfect working condition, everyone is in their proper position, and all necessary food, equipment, etc is in place, THEN we can begin to board all 250 passengers.

Are you tired yet? I am.

Of course, once everyone is on board, there is more paperwork, safety checks, arming procedures, etc. Not to mention everything that is going on in the flight deck during this time, which I can’t even speak to because I am clueless in that regard!

Finally, after we pushback from the gate, we taxi out and then proceed to hurtle down the runway at roughly 300mph and then…somehow…miraculously…the giant metal tube weighing thousands of pounds glides into the air. An astronomical feat, I tell you. 

And 9 hours later, we land in a different continent on the other side of the world.

So please, tell me again about the time you paid $8 for a toothbrush?

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