Quickly I walk to gate 40B dressed in navy blue polyester, a tall latte in one hand, pulling my suitcase on wheels with the other hand. I flash the crew ID hanging around my neck at the frazzled agent manning the counter. Even though she’s sorting out a problem with a passenger, she crosses my name off a list and barks over her shoulder “We’re going to board in ten minutes!” I punch in the security code and swing the heavy jet bridge door open. Down the long ramp I go where the 767 awaits.
The first thing I do is introduce myself to the crew. “Hi, I’m Heather. I think we may have flown together before…a long time ago. I’m working in business.”
Each of my coworkers will then tell me their name, whether or not they think we’ve flown together, shared a Kew Gardens cab or hung out around the pool on a layover…a long time ago, followed by the cabin they’re working in.
After I stow my bags in my official crew bag storage location (an overhead bin in coach), I check my emergency equipment to make sure it’s there and working. Then I do something the others on my crew will not do, something I always do five minutes after I board the aircraft. I head straight for the closet and count the hangers. Why? Because I’m hanger girl. Regardless of the time of year, there are always coats to be hung in business class and the last thing I want to do is run out of hangers, which is why I count – one through fifteen – just in case I need to call cabin service for more.
Over the years I have become quite obsessed with the number of hangers we have on board the aircraft. Maybe it’s because I usually get stuck working in business class, the most junior position on the airplane, and hanging thirty black and blue coats during boarding is my least favorite thing to do. There’s nothing worse than being trapped between business class and coach with thirty adult passengers standing in front of their cushy business class seats looking at me as if I’m not doing my job.
“Can you take this!” they often say, impatiently waving a coat at me.