October 1, 2009

Stocking the aircrafts

You slug yourself into the airport, at the crack of dawn, still trying to wake up for your 7am flight wondering why you booked yourself on the morning flight AGAIN. You board the plane, sit down, strap in and wait for your Flight Attendant to hit the aisle to get your morning jolt of caffiene.

" A Coke please", you say as you pull down your tray table.

"I'm sorry", your Flight Attendant smiles. "We are all out of Coke this morning."

Your jaw drops as your brain registers those words... It is the First flight of the day, how does this even happen?

Let me explain how this may happen. This morning I checked in bright and early for a 4 day trip in JFK. We had the first flight to Charlotte. I arrived early, checked in, got a cup of coffee, saw on the board my flight was landing from Richmond and headed down to the gate.

At my company I am required to be on the aircraft 30 minutes to departure and we generally board 20 minutes to departure. This gives me 10 minutes to do my "Pre-flight" check of the aircraft, the emergency equipment, stow all my belongings, meet and get a briefing from the crew and re-stock the plane with any supplies needed. I can easily get all the above done before the first passenger steps on the aircraft with the exception of getting my supplies... and this is why. (Note- remember I work for a regional airline and supplies are not available at all of our locations... so there is a chance your missing Cokes are the fault of the passengers on the prior flight in- feel free to give any deplaning passengers evil looks just in case. hehe.)

I get onto the aircraft this morning, which has come in from Richmond, and the crew has already sped off home or to the next flight. I meet my Captain and ask him if commissary has come already to the plane which his answer is no. On an inbound flight the Flight Attendant will fill out a supplies sheet and most place it in a hook in the galley. After the plane lands a commissary van drives up, gets the sheet, finds in the van all the supplies needed and then brings bags full of goodies to the plane and leaves it in the galley for the next Flight Attendant. Yes people, at my airline I restock the galley full of all your snacks and drinks. (Remember too that this is before I am being paid... so please don't judge when you get on and I look a little sweaty and disheveled. I have been working hard for free.)

This morning, the sheet was not there. I assumed that it had already been picked up and we were waiting for the supplies to be delivered.
23 minutes before departure one of our agents comes and asks if we are ready to board. I tell him we can board only if he will call commissary to deliver the goods. A minute later as I am getting my paperwork together, I find the commissary sheet in the drawer. Still no commissary.
20 minutes prior, passengers come. We board up, I welcome everyone onboard with my first PA. No commissary so the captain calls again for me. We need supplies.
3, 5, 10 minutes pass and we are ready to leave... but no commissary. We call again and finally 2 minutes prior to departure the lady comes. Finally. She brings the supplies and before the ground personal can yell at me I stuff them in drawers, hand out the paperwork, close the door and off we go.

This morning we had a good outcome... however, it is company policy that we can NOT delay a flight for supplies. So, on other flights I have been forced to leave without Ice, cups, Cokes... etc. Even when I try my hardest to get everything I need, sometimes I just can't account for other people not doing their jobs. So, please next time your Flight Attendant runs out of something don't blame him/her, they have probably done everything they can to get the plane fully stocked. (That is Unless you see them consuming the same item while hiding in the corner of the galley). ;)

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