Moving from coach to first class – probably not going to happen

Dear Heather,

I love your blog, I always wanted to be a flight attendant but was told by many I’m probably too short so now I’m going for an Air Traffic Controller job. But I do have a question for you. On the past 4 flights I was on I was stuck in the middle seat because no window seats were available and I can’t sit in the aisle. But I was stuck in between to large passengers that had to keep the arm rest up because they were to large to fit in the seat with it down. There were open seats in 1st class and none in coach on all the flights but on all the flights but one the flight attendant said there’s nothing they could do. Was there really nothing they could do or did they just not want to deal with it, and I should add these were not short flights, 2 were Chicago to Phoenix and 1 was Phoenix to Charlotte, and the one the flight attendant did move me to 1st was JFK to Phoenix.

Melissa

Dear Melissa,

I’m so happy to hear you like the blog. Thank you. First I must congratulate you on choosing an amazing career path in the aviation industry. I’ve always been in awe of those who work in air traffic control. As for being too short to become a flight attendant, height requirements may differ between airlines. The airline I work for requires a flight attendant to be tall enough to reach into the overhead bin and grab the emergency equipment located inside.

Your question brought back memories. I had just started my career as a flight attendant when I found myself walking down the aisle on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, after pushing back from the gate, only to find two passengers standing up and fighting over the same seat in coach.

“You need to take your seats!” I’m sure I had said.

“There are no other seats!” one of them probably said, because it was a full flight and what I didn’t know at the time was we were one seat short.

Remember, this happened before we had that computer in the terminal that scans your ticket prior to boarding, which explains why we not only had a seat dupe that day, but why we also had one passenger too many onboard the aircraft. Did I happen to mention we had already left the gate? We were moving on the tarmac! Immediately I called the flight attendant in first class, who spoke to the captain, who told the flight attendant in charge to tell me to move a passenger up to first class and fast! There were open seats available.

“Oh, okay,” I remember saying, as I thought to myself, WOW, I’m about to make someones day!

Quickly I walked up the aisle, looking for someone, anyone, dressed nice enough to sit in first class. Don’t forget, this was thirteen years ago and people dressed a tad bit better, and ticket prices were more than a tad bit expensive, and we were taxiing out on the tarmac, remember! So I was feeling a tad bit panicky. I stopped at the first passenger I found wearing a business suit. What can I say, he looked the part.

As we made our way to first class, I noticed a few flight attendants and passengers looking at us curiously. “Here’s your seat,” I told the nice man, who had become even nicer upon finding out he’d be traveling in first class.

After takeoff the phone rang. It was the Captain. He wanted to speak to me. In person. Oh god, I remember thinking, what now?

To read more, go to GALLEY GOSSIP: A QUESTION ABOUT MOVING FROM COACH TO FIRST CLASS WHEN THERE ARE SEATS AVAILABLE on Gadling.com.

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Heather Poole View All →

Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Touche! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all be bumped but when you think about how much it devalues the product, and how much some of these people (or their businesses pay for these seats) you have a better understanding as to why it is not so easy anymore to upgrade.

    😀

  2. Once had to break up a near-fight between two pax… because one overheard the other saying how he got his fare on sale for over 50% less…. uh oh… :S

  3. From time to time I read your blog – and what do I know, a photo from my Flickr posted on your blog! I got a laugh out of it.

    Happy flying to you! :c)

  4. From time to time I read your blog – and what do I know, a photo from my Flickr posted on your blog! I got a laugh out of it.

    Happy flying to you! :c)

  5. JASON – I have looked at so many of your photos on flickr it isn’t even funny! 🙂 thanks for reading the blog, and keep on taking those photos!

    Heather

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