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The Call

Every member of the airline industry has had to deal with crew scheduling many, many times during their career. They generally get a bad rep for simply doing their job. Now that I’m removed from it I can see it. Not that there weren’t those that were completely uncooperative and rude but that’s also probably from dealing with 2,000 pissed off flight attendants every day. I tried to be nice and cooperative. After all, they controlled my fate all but 11 days of every month. I wanted them on my side. Most of them fade into the background as general crew desk but there were two that stood out. One who I loved, and one who made me want to grind my teeth in hatred.

As a flight attendant it was very hard for me to regulate my sleep schedule. One day I could be on a 5am flight across the country, be expected to sleep all day and then work the red eye home later that night. The next I could be on a plane to Europe and the next on an afternoon flight somewhere. You never could tell. This translated to my sleep schedule being seriously whacked out and staying up half or all night most nights. All the while dreading the call.

The worst was when crew scheduling would call me for a early morning check in in the middle of the night and I was still up. Sally always worked the middle of the night shift and for that I hated her. I’m sure she’s a perfectly wonderful person but since she never gave me good news (ie. a late check-in to somewhere exotic) I got all stabby whenever it was Sally on the other end of the phone.

The conversation usually went something like this.

*crew desk ring tone* (to this day I cringe whenever I hear that tone)

Me- ::siiiiigh:: Hello?

Sally- Hi this is Sally from the crew desk calling for Abigail. Sorry to wake you.

Me- ::in my most sullen voice:: This is her

Sally- I have an id for you. Let me know when you’re ready to write it down.

Usually by this point I was already on my computer looking at the craptastic trip she was assigning me.

Me- I’m ready.

Sally- ID blah blah blah, checking in at ridiculously-early-o’clock, to Somewhere Incredibly Dull.

Me- Ok ::through gritted teeth:: thank you.

The part of that conversation that irked me the most was the sorry to wake you. Generally she wasn’t waking me anyway. I want to think she probably knew that. In my head she took a very sick pleasure in interrupting my sleep to give me a trip that she knew I’d hate. She loved giving out the awful trips. Looking back I realize I might have been a little bit crazy thinking that and she probably was trying to be nice. She also probably hated staying up all night long giving out trips that flight attendants were less than nice about accepting. Poor Sally.

Matt at the crew desk, on the other hand, was my favorite. For the same reasons I hated Sally, I loved Matt. He worked the day shift and always gave me the best trips. Everything from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Narita, Japan to Rome, Italy. You could almost hear the giddiness in his voice when he was assigning those trips. Matt is lucky it’s not possible to jump through the phone because there were multiple occasions I wanted to kiss him right on the lips (Sorry, Joel). Actually Matt assigned me my very last trip out of DC before I transferred to Chicago.

That conversation went something like this:

*Crew Desk ring tone*

Me- ::siiiigh::Hello?

Matt- Hi, this is Matt from the Crew Desk calling for Abigail.

Me- Oh, hi Matt! How are you?

Matt- Just fine. I have an ID for you when you’re ready.

Me- I’m ready.

Matt- (totally stalling for added suspense) By the way I see you’ve had quite the month here so far. First Brussels, then Zurich and now… ID blah blah blah, checking in at some-nice-time-in-the-evening-o’clock to…. Rome!

Me- AH! Are you serious?! I’ve wanted to go there so badly!

Matt- Good! I decided to give you all the best trips this month so you kick yourself for transferring to Chicago.

(Chicago in my airline? Not so much known for awesome trips)

Me- Har, har…

Matt- Well have a great trip.

Do you see why I loved Matt?! I mean, night and day. Literally. Poor Sally really got the short end of the stick and probably became all mean and sadistic as a result of getting bitched out for the hundredth time for a trip she had to give. People aren’t usually their best at 3am when you’re telling them they have to be at work in a few hours to go somewhere they’d rather not go.

Once I transferred to Chicago I didn’t hear from Sally or Matt on a regular basis anymore. I bid a different kind of reserve where I was assigned my trips via computer the night before. I don’t miss talking to anyone at the crew desk really. When I’m assigned a crappy trip I like to have time to seethe and sulk without pretending to be nice to anyone. (I’m not proud of that. It’s just how it is, OK?! Don’t judge me) I did have to talk to Sally once but I don’t think she remembered me. I’m ok with that. I probably wasn’t ever very nice to her anyway.

**Names have been changed. Also? No hard feelings, Sally.**

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2 Comments

  1. isaiah

    did they ever call early for a late check in?

    • Eh, not in the middle of the night. Or at least very rarely. I want to say they didn’t usually call until at least 8am for late check-ins. You knew if you got a 3am call you were going somewhere early.

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