Your Ad Here

Crazy Celebs and Corpse Cupboards

Crazy celebrities, passengers with air rage, corpse cupboards - it's all part of a day's work for the brave air stewards who are giving us a glimpse behind the scenes of what it's like to be a crew member in our three-part series.
One downside flight attendants all agree on is nightmare passengers. "You can spot a troublemaker a mile off," says Lycia Pearson. "Often our friends at the check-in desk will warn us who to look out for. There's a woman who regularly travels with us who we call Medusa."
Air rage is something that flight attendants increasingly have to deal with. A recent report by the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority found reported incidents rose fivefold from 696 to 3,529 between 2003 and 2009.
And it's not coming from the cheap seats. "There's a disproportionate number of air rage incidents that take place in business and first class", says Andrew Thomas, author of Air Rage: Crisis In The Skies. "There is an entitlement factor that goes with people who are not used to being told 'no'."
It's even worse when you add a celebrity to the equation. Sarah Purnell has had many run-ins with the A-list during her 19-year career as a flight attendant. "There's one particular British female celebrity who travels a lot. She has a split personality, I'm sure of it. She once threw a tray of food at me because she was so angry that she couldn't order something off-menu. Then, on the next flight, she was as nice as pie. We worked out that her mood was dependent on her relationship with her famous husband. Another time, a famous American singer held up a flight at Heathrow because she wanted to be fake-tanned on the plane, without it moving. I've even had two famous footballers fall out with each other over an arm wrestle 30,000 feet in the air and demand to move seats."
Lycia, too, has had her fair share of celebs behaving badly. "One time a British pop star who was massive in the 90s acted like a total bitch from the moment she boarded the plane. She spent the entire 11-hour flight marching up and down the upper class cabin with her baby, screaming for organic vegan baby food and calling us 'common cows who obviously live off potato waffles'. We couldn't name and shame the culprits even if we wanted to - and boy, do we want to - because we're forced to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of our contracts."
Sarah says she's pretty unfazed by the living passengers; it's the dead ones she fears the most. And finding a corpse on a plane is no rare occurrence. Singapore Airlines has even implemented a 'corpse cupboard' on its 17-hour Singapore to LA flight, to deal with the frequent deaths, mostly from heart attacks. "If someone dies, they are usually travelling with someone, so we cover them with a blanket and mask so that it looks like they are sleeping", she explains. "But if they're alone, you can't leave a body next to a stranger - you have to move them. So we store them in a "corpse cupboard" until the plane touches down."
Dead bodies, long hours, low pay - it makes you wonder why they bother. "Because it's brilliant in equal measures," Katie Campbell says. "It's not so much a job as a lifestyle choice. Yes, it is hard and you give up on having a normal life and definitely a regular romantic relationship, but it's an adventure. I've seen places I never would've dreamt of visiting had I stayed in my home town, and when I work in upper class, it's like having access to my own VIP lounge. I won't do this forever and who knows? I may meet my husband doing this, and he could be a pilot, a celebrity, or just someone rich."
"You can't do this for too long," Lycia agrees. "I feel a bit like I'm in the technicolour part of The Wizard of Oz - everything's great but I have a sense it's not real. One day I'll look behind the curtain - in my case the one shielding first class - and realise it's time to click my heels and go home."


Post a Comment

Hey Guys...
Type your message here...