Our summer countdown continues scary fast. Yes, there are only 66 days of summer left. I did a series of photographs about airplanes and travel which I may share a few in a flurry over the next week.
These days air travel has a bad rap. Delays, being squished into flying sardine cans and being nickel and dimed for perks we used to expect for free. Traveling, unless in first class is no longer glamorous but no matter what: there is something magical about cruising at an altitude of 35,000 ft. and seeing the world from another perspective.
Something magical happened during my flight from Nashville via DC on June 1. While all the other passengers buried their head in digital devices, the flight attendant went through her required safety spiel. Emergency exits and all that jazz. I confess my head was buried in a magazine but I glanced up at her partially out of guilt: an attractive but ordinary, 35 ish African-American woman commanded the microphone like seasoned pro. Imagine doing a speech, demonstration, performance of any kind without an audience. No, worse, a captive audience who collectively ignored your every word. Funtana, yes that’s her real name, put the fun back into a dreary job and inspired me enough to ask for her supervisor’s email. In all my years of flying I’ve never seen anything like it. Call it charisma, star power or positive energy on steroids, she had me mesmerized with every crisply enunciated word. It was as if I was hearing the tired, routine phrases for first time and actually understood why we’re supposed to wear seat belts when and how exactly to put on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency. She put her own spin on a glowing performance nothing less than Oscar worthy. I gave her a double high thumb’s up. Later when she pushed the beverage cart down the aisle I asked, “Have you been doing this a long time?” I expected to hear at least 10 years.
She beamed, “Today is my first anniversary!”
Employees like her are on heaven sent and deserve praise and pay raise. Thank-you U.S. Airways (US Airways Express-Air Wisconsin) and Funtana for restoring my faith in air travel. Now, I will say that heavenly flight turned hellish with a 24-hour weather related travel delay in D.C. but that’s another story.
Whether you go across the globe or across town, this summer try going somewhere you’ve never been before and open yourself to adventure. You just might find a new sense of aliveness. And the next time your flight attendant does her talk, look up smile and say thank-you. Not every flight will be like the Finnair flight to India gone Bollywood but anything is possible. And, I’m reframing my conservative Finnish roots after seeing this.