It was bright and sunny in Puerto Rico on Saturday. In fact, the only dark clouds that crossed my path during my visit to my physiatrist wore American Airlines flight attendant uniforms.
This trip made up for all of the problems we had during my last two visits to my physiatrist, and then some. Great weather, no long waits anywhere, and we were in and out of the doctor’s office so fast (I was his only patient that day) that we were able to get back to the airport in time to catch an earlier flight back home! Making that flight cut two hours of waiting time off of our trip and got us home before dark You can‘t beat that with a stick.
Everything would have been perfect had we not been forced to deal with two obnoxious flight attendants -- one working the flight to PR, and the other deadheading our flight home.
Bitchy Flight Attendant Number One (BFA1, for brevity) was no stranger to me -- she worked a flight I took six months ago, and earned her moniker then. On that trip, she and I engaged in a battle of wills over where I would sit -- she was adamant that airline policy dictated I sit in the window seat (so my gimpy body doesn't keep my able-bodied husband from accessing the aisle and saving himself in the event of an emergency). I knew that was not policy, and I refused to move from my aisle seat (partly in principle, but mostly because it's not physically possible for me to drag myself in and out of window seats). I stayed put, and she's been pissed about it ever since -- she hasn't even made eye contact with me since she stormed off down the aisle when it was clear she'd lost the battle.
BFA1 recognized me as soon as I boarded the flight last Saturday, but continued to ignore me -- until it was time for me to get off the plane.
The aisle chair escort in San Juan was the evil opposite of the woman who helped me board the flight. He didn't speak with me -- he talked to my husband instead. He didn’t listen to my protests that I wasn't seated properly before starting to strap me into the chair. And he didn’t respect my personal space -- he kept grabbing my arms and trying to force them where he wanted them to go, even if it was physically impossible for me to move that way. BFA1 sat a few rows up, watching intently, as if my use of the aisle chair was the latest movie release and she was Roger Ebert on a deadline.
I was getting frustrated, fast, with my aisle chair escort and it showed -- those who know me well that I don’t suffer fools, gladly or otherwise. After my fourth attempt to make him understand he was not to force my elbows against my body, I decided that since he wasn’t listening to me when I used my normal tone of voice, I’d make sure my escort heard me. So I raised my voice, and stated unequivocally that he needed to stop grabbing at my arm *now*.
And that’s when BFA1 said it, under her breath, yet as clear as could be. “What a bitch.”
I let it pass. Her crappy attitude was not going to ruin my good day. The HipHubby wasn’t as quick to let it go -- he wanted me to report her immediately. (I didn‘t, and don‘t intend to.) Given how upset he was over her inappropriate comment, I really admire his restraint when he encountered Bitchy Flight Attendant - The Sequel (BFA-TS) later that afternoon.
By the time we were ready to board the flight home, our moods were positively buoyant. We’d been taken off stand-by and guaranteed seats for the earlier flight -- the only issue now was where those seats would be. The gate agent listened to my explanation of why I needed to sit in the second row from the rear, but refused to reassign anyone, so we decided to do what we always do in these situations -- take the seats that work best for me when we preboard, then tell the passengers assigned to those seats to take our assigned seats instead.
There was only one tiny, little flaw in this plan. The person assigned to my preferred seat was BFA-TS, and she was already settled in to it by the time The Hubby got on board to help me transfer when I made it onto the plane a few minutes later.
Although I didn’t know about this until we arrived back in St. Croix, it seems The HH had quite the encounter with BFA-TS. After getting past the shock of seeing someone already sitting where I needed to be, my DH asked BFA-TS if she would please move a few rows up so his disabled wife could sit here. She said no. The HH explained that sitting in this row would allow me to avoid the long, painful trip up and down the aisle on the poorly-driven people dolly. She continued to refuse, and no argument or appeal to her compassion would sway her. After all. she already had already taken out her papers. So I wedged my way into the very back row, and my DH wedged himself in next to me, and BFA-TS and her paper sat all alone, directly in front of us, where she could hear every whimper and word that left my lips.
I got a good laugh out of it when we landed and my DH filled me in on how self-centered BFA-TS had been. I had mentioned to The HH several times during that flight home that this was a perfect day except for that bitch of a flight attendant, and I know BFA-TS heard it all. Even though we both knew I was talking about BFA1, I’m really hopeful she thought I was talking about her.