In many ways the illusion of the flight attendant job as a a glorious world traveler role has worn off for me. I see the people they have to put up with (like me!), the tough hours and many of the other bad parts of the job. Still, there are some good pieces to it. Sitting in my hotel lobby yesterday afternoon I witnessed a cultural meld, as the Cathay Pacific and Austrian airlines crews crossed paths. The Cathay crew was arriving and the Austrian crew departing and their moods reflected the difference. The Cathay crew was all over the tour desk to get maps and started discussing where they were going shopping. The Austrian crew was rolling their matched luggage out to the bus and sitting around – not particularly sad, but obviously not as happy as the Cathay crew.
Particularly interesting to me was the process the Cathay crew was going through. There was someone from NYC there to manage the check-in process for them rather than having the hotel doing so. And the check-in envelope included not only a room key, but also the crew’s per diem, in US Dollars. I suppose that this helps preclude the need for them to change money and such, and maybe all the airlines have a similar plan for their crews at foreign destinations, but I get the feeling that is not the case. It certainly was fun to watch them with the guide maps and their new found wealth, plotting their assault on the NYC dining and shopping options.
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