Blue Monster

Posted by at 16:27

There’s one thing I hate about my job: having to wake people up to ask them to fasten their seatbelts.

It’s just not human. You’re overstressed and exhausted and you’ve finally found a way to fall asleep in your seat. And then, at the very moment you feel the tension leaving your body, and just as you’re about to enter dreamland, all hell breaks loose. Seconds before, Vivaldi was guiding you on your way to a nice dream and now the captain is yelling through your headphones that he’s sorry to disturb you, but you’re ‘entering an area of turbulence’, etc. Before you can actually grasp what’s happening, there’s this ‘blue monster’ of a stewardess tapping you on your shoulder and telling you to fasten your seatbelt. I really do understand the glances of disbelief and hatred that I get at those moments so well.

But there is something I hate even more: waking up a mother to tell her she has to take her baby out of the cradle due to turbulence. Here’s a good example.

My flight from Shanghai to Amsterdam was packed with babies and young children. If you closed your eyes, you could have imagined yourself in a kindergarten. Some of the passengers travelling without children were not amused at all. But neither were the parents of two babies, who were seated on the same row. As it happened, these two little ones were giving a lively concert. It’s amazing how much sound comes from such small human beings. Their parents were almost driven to tears, since they’d been travelling a long way already before boarding ‘my plane’. After an endless four hours, the babies finally seemed to get bored and in the end they fell asleep in their cradles. Only one minute later, their parents were sound asleep too. For as long as it lasted. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain from the flight deck, I am sorry to disturb you but we have just entered an area of turbulence.”

Oh, I really hate it – especially as the turbulence (luckily!) turns out to be light most of the time. But one of the things we are faced with during our yearly flight-safety refresher courses are examples of what happens when turbulence becomes severe. That’s why I will always choose to be that ‘blue monster’ instead of the one that leaves you to sleep.

But, er, you could do me (and yourself) a big favour… Fasten your seatbelt visibly whenever you’re planning to take a nap. And then I can see it. Because, as I said, I really do understand those unhappy glances. But I also hate to be hated too.

Caroline

Wake up

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37 Responses to Blue Monster

  1. Kingsley Elliff

    love the music on KLM, Golden Earring rocks

  2. Kingsley Elliff

    love the music on KLM, Golden Earring rocks

  3. Mitch

    Very amusing blog! Nicely written :)

  4. Mitch

    Very amusing blog! Nicely written :)

  5. Raphael

    Last year, flying business back from Jakarta, the whole B/C cabin cringed as this family walked on board into business class with two small children and a baby.

    The kids turned out extremely well behaved, and the baby was really cute and slept all of the way, so flying with children need not be horrendous!
    :o)

  6. Raphael

    Last year, flying business back from Jakarta, the whole B/C cabin cringed as this family walked on board into business class with two small children and a baby.

    The kids turned out extremely well behaved, and the baby was really cute and slept all of the way, so flying with children need not be horrendous!
    :o)

  7. Jjkrukowska

    ok I will be good girl and from now I will fast my sitbelt before nap :)

    but I know some airlines where is just impossible to have nap for so many reasons ….

  8. Jjkrukowska

    ok I will be good girl and from now I will fast my sitbelt before nap :)

    but I know some airlines where is just impossible to have nap for so many reasons ….

  9. Erik

    It’s a good advice which I already used on intercontinental flights, no harsh glances from me :) And if only there was a special, sound-proof section in the plane for those noise-producing kiddo’s… it can really ruin your flight. Even more than a stewardess waking you up over safety concerns.

  10. Erik

    It’s a good advice which I already used on intercontinental flights, no harsh glances from me :) And if only there was a special, sound-proof section in the plane for those noise-producing kiddo’s… it can really ruin your flight. Even more than a stewardess waking you up over safety concerns.

  11. Anonymous

    I always fasten my seatbelt visibly and over any blankets or heavy sweaters/scarves. But somehow, I almost always get woken up! Usually, I’ll point to my seatbelt and even get an apology from the FA, as they aren’t sure how they missed it the first time! I think it’s because I wear a lot of black and grey – I end up matching the seatbelt! :)

  12. Netty

    Last October on a flight from Curacao to Amsterdam we were upgraded to businessclass…
    When we came in the flight attendant noticed that we had a child with us and she came to me and my husband and said: “You have an upgrade but still will get economyclass treatment”
    My husband was about to ask what she meant by that, when I told him to relax and that i was sure she was bummed by the fact that there would be a child in business when she expected a quiet flight.
    My son is 3 years old, and is making 9 ro 15 hour flights since he was 2,5 months old. So he knows how to behave on an airplane as I don’t like children running and yelling in an airplane either… (i still symphatize with other parents)

    I have to say that I did not like the attitude, but have to give her credit for coming up to me after the flight and tell me that she had never seen a child behave like that, watching tv while both parents where sleeping and that she was surprised :-)

    So it would be nice to pass this on to all KLM flight attendants: DON’T judge the parents…

    • Juliana Romano

      I still wonder what she meant by that. For me is hard to imagine why would this be related to your baby.

      I never heard that business or either first class is child free.

    • Juliana Romano

      I still wonder what she meant by that. For me is hard to imagine why would this be related to your baby.

      I never heard that business or either first class is child free.

  13. everywhereist

    I always fasten my seatbelt visibly and over any blankets or heavy sweaters/scarves. But somehow, I almost always get woken up! Usually, I’ll point to my seatbelt and even get an apology from the FA, as they aren’t sure how they missed it the first time! I think it’s because I wear a lot of black and grey – I end up matching the seatbelt! :)

  14. Netty

    Last October on a flight from Curacao to Amsterdam we were upgraded to businessclass…
    When we came in the flight attendant noticed that we had a child with us and she came to me and my husband and said: “You have an upgrade but still will get economyclass treatment”
    My husband was about to ask what she meant by that, when I told him to relax and that i was sure she was bummed by the fact that there would be a child in business when she expected a quiet flight.
    My son is 3 years old, and is making 9 ro 15 hour flights since he was 2,5 months old. So he knows how to behave on an airplane as I don’t like children running and yelling in an airplane either… (i still symphatize with other parents)

    I have to say that I did not like the attitude, but have to give her credit for coming up to me after the flight and tell me that she had never seen a child behave like that, watching tv while both parents where sleeping and that she was surprised :-)

    So it would be nice to pass this on to all KLM flight attendants: DON’T judge the parents…

    • Juliana Romano

      I still wonder what she meant by that. For me is hard to imagine why would this be related to your baby.

      I never heard that business or either first class is child free.

  15. Mo.

    Thanks Caroline, it’s always nice to know what it feels to be on the other side of the counter. Even though I fly KLM often you and I will probably never know we’ve seen this as you don’t know my name and I have no way of recognising your caroline, as your name badge says Purser or Cabin Attendant.

    But that aside, if I ever forget to visibly fasten my seat belt, and if I ever decide to fall asleep with my head phones not the lovely ear plugs you or your colleagues usually give me, rest assured, you will never be the blue monster. :)

  16. Mo.

    Thanks Caroline, it’s always nice to know what it feels to be on the other side of the counter. Even though I fly KLM often you and I will probably never know we’ve seen this as you don’t know my name and I have no way of recognising your caroline, as your name badge says Purser or Cabin Attendant.

    But that aside, if I ever forget to visibly fasten my seat belt, and if I ever decide to fall asleep with my head phones not the lovely ear plugs you or your colleagues usually give me, rest assured, you will never be the blue monster. :)

  17. susanne

    Flying back from Curacao last January, the plane started shaking heavily without any notification of the captain upfront. I think the pilot was surprised as well. In the (luckily short) hussle it was not easy to find and fasten the my seatbelt and the one of my daughter. Having experienced this, I always fasten my seatbelt during the whole flight. It fees much more secure!

    • Dee

      That kind of turbulance is called Wake Turbulance (flying in the stream of another aircraft). It can’t be detected on radar, it occurs unexpected and can be severe, but is in general short of time.

      It is ashame though that people take things seriously only after experiencing it themselves instead of taking advice from cabin crew (who don’t ask certain questions to bother passengers, but to make sure they are safe).

  18. susanne

    Flying back from Curacao last January, the plane started shaking heavily without any notification of the captain upfront. I think the pilot was surprised as well. In the (luckily short) hussle it was not easy to find and fasten the my seatbelt and the one of my daughter. Having experienced this, I always fasten my seatbelt during the whole flight. It fees much more secure!

    • Dee

      That kind of turbulance is called Wake Turbulance (flying in the stream of another aircraft). It can’t be detected on radar, it occurs unexpected and can be severe, but is in general short of time.

      It is ashame though that people take things seriously only after experiencing it themselves instead of taking advice from cabin crew (who don’t ask certain questions to bother passengers, but to make sure they are safe).

  19. Jimbob

    Part of a flight attendants job is to ensure passenger safety, if this means having your seat belt fastened during rough and choppy flight, then there is no inhumane thing about waking a passenger.

    • Gilbert Dalbos

      I completely agree with you.
      Passengers are requested to fasten seat belt for safety reasons and if they don’t do that, it’s the flight attendants’ duty to ensure and to wake up if necessary

  20. Jimbob

    Part of a flight attendants job is to ensure passenger safety, if this means having your seat belt fastened during rough and choppy flight, then there is no inhumane thing about waking a passenger.

    • Gilbert Dalbos

      I completely agree with you.
      Passengers are requested to fasten seat belt for safety reasons and if they don’t do that, it’s the flight attendants’ duty to ensure and to wake up if necessary

  21. mimi

    I’m glad KLM takes the safety of their passengers seriously. Not all airlines do….6 days ago I was on a Delta flight and on the other side of the aisle was a mother with baby. Mum never fastened her seatbelt (not during take-off/landing and warning of turbulence) and the flight attendant never said a word. And this baby did cry for the whole duration of the flight (4 hours).

  22. mimi

    I’m glad KLM takes the safety of their passengers seriously. Not all airlines do….6 days ago I was on a Delta flight and on the other side of the aisle was a mother with baby. Mum never fastened her seatbelt (not during take-off/landing and warning of turbulence) and the flight attendant never said a word. And this baby did cry for the whole duration of the flight (4 hours).

  23. Nick

    I remember my Amsterdam-Stockholm connecting flight last year, that I was already exhausted, sleepy and tired in my long trip from Manila-Amsterdam. So what I did after I found a little comfort in my seat is to put my seatbelt because I know that I might fall asleep before our departure. If in the middle of a long-flight, I think you can also tell the FAs if you don’t want to be disturbed from your sleep. Giving a heads-up from the people that surrounds you might be a big help not to be irritated.

  24. Nick

    I remember my Amsterdam-Stockholm connecting flight last year, that I was already exhausted, sleepy and tired in my long trip from Manila-Amsterdam. So what I did after I found a little comfort in my seat is to put my seatbelt because I know that I might fall asleep before our departure. If in the middle of a long-flight, I think you can also tell the FAs if you don’t want to be disturbed from your sleep. Giving a heads-up from the people that surrounds you might be a big help not to be irritated.

  25. Anonymous

    Hi Caroline, Thank you for sharing this story with us. I recognize this as well. I used to be a flight attendant and this was certainly not a elegant thing to do. Angry passengers not understanding why we would wake them up. I agree, we should keep doing this to make sure we all have a safe flight. Fasten your seatbelt on top of your blanket and nobody will wake you up!!

    It is great to read your stories. Keep up the good work.

  26. Fem31

    Hi Caroline, Thank you for sharing this story with us. I recognize this as well. I used to be a flight attendant and this was certainly not a elegant thing to do. Angry passengers not understanding why we would wake them up. I agree, we should keep doing this to make sure we all have a safe flight. Fasten your seatbelt on top of your blanket and nobody will wake you up!!

    It is great to read your stories. Keep up the good work.

  27. Ibo

    Almost never people get injured by turbulence during flight. But almost is not never. There are people who broke their neck and died during severe turbulence incidences. If airlines were sure that no passenger would file a law suit for sustained injuries during turbulence incidences, they would not bother to warn them so many times. You would get a one time warning and the rest is up to your own judgment. But people regretfully complain both ways. They complain about nuisance warnings and if that rare turbulence induced injury occurs they complain about the fact that nobody warned them in time to fasten their seatbelt. When that law suit is filed, the airline company refers to their operating procedures. When these procedures clearly state, and they do, that passengers should be warned for every turbulence encounter the finger is pointed to the crewmembers. So airline crew: stick to the procedures to protect number one from being blamed.

  28. Card Entrepreneur

    Why take it off at all. I keep my seatbelt on all the time, although a little bit loose so I have some movement.

  29. Card Entrepreneur

    Why take it off at all. I keep my seatbelt on all the time, although a little bit loose so I have some movement.

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