02 Aug

Something Reeks and I am Al-fraid-o

There is Something Rotten in the State of This Plane

Life is made up of moments. Some big, some small, and some so pivotal you still find yourself transfixed, the reminiscing almost palpable as it renders you unable to do anything but recall every awe-inspiring detail, terrible and wonderful to behold.

Boarding and the Will to Live- Mutually at Odds Since Forever

It’s no secret among flight crew that boarding is always…interesting. At best.

People rampage up and down a narrow aisle, fumbling their luggage and cursing full bins, as we wage the battle of the bulkhead (all your bags have to go up, I don’t make the rules) and it’s just generally not a good time.

It is a grim procession fueled by a constant undercurrent of chaos, and exit row briefings.

It was on such a flight, that I was gifted a memory so mystifying, so unexplainable, I feel it truly reshaped part of my soul.

Can’t wait to endlessly complain about the fact that the seats I personally selected are indeed at the back of the plane.

Something's Fishy

I shower twice a day, but sure, blame me. Everyone else does.

Now despite the fact that I have just stated above that Florida destination flights were normally fraught with circus-like shenanigans, boarding was going fairly smoothly. I remember hanging out in the back as people made their way down the aisle- we were close to being done and we still had room for bags.

I finally exhaled, confident that no one would be forced to trudge up the aisle to check their bag last minute- the true walk of shame.

My relief was short-lived however, as a passenger about 5 rows up from the back, made a hasty push for the call bell. Assuming they were upset with their seating arrangement or perhaps forgot a phone in the boarding area, I steeled myself for potential hostility and made my way to the blue beacon that signaled distress.

It was then, that the odor hit me. Pungent. Sour. Fishy. The entire row informed me that said scent had been permeating since they had reached their seats, and was only getting stronger.

I quickly made my way back and called the captain to inquire about the cargo being loaded onto the flight. It wasn’t uncommon for various shipments (including organs for donation) to be on board, and I wondered if maybe the rampers had a clumsy moment packing a cooler of fish.

It was not the case.

I went back to row to explain that I had no explanation; were we all having small simultaneous strokes?

It was then, the totally unassuming blonde woman in the row behind uttered the words that will craft my nightmares and curdle my day-dreams for decades to come:

“Oh it’s probably just my plane Alfredo.”

“Hell is empty and all the devils (shrimps) are here.” -Shakespeare (mostly)

I stared at the woman, gobsmacked and blinked 1, 2, 5 times doing anything to buy myself more time to process what clearly had to have been a hallucination. Maybe I truly was having a stroke. Maybe I was dead, and this, right here, a perpetual boarding full of cream based pasta paired with seafood, was my hell. After all, I cheated on that test in 6th grade. A religion test no less.

But what kind of vengeful God would damn even the worst someone, to this?

The row of people in front of her gazed on in horror as I pathetically cried out, “Your what?”

“My plane Alfredo. For later in the flight, when I get hungry.”

She said this as if it was obvious. A given. A staple even. Something recommended by Lonely Planet, or Goop’s tips for packing; “Don’t forget your inflight pasta dish, I prefer shrimp Alfredo for the omega-3s but any starch and sauce will suffice as long as you top it with organic, free-range, small-batch donkey feta sourced in the Alps.” (this is a joke, I doubt gluten has graced Gwyneth’s lips in the past 20 years).

How old was this concoction? And why oh why did it stink so much?

It’s me, the surprising remedy to many a malady.

Madame Alfredo gave me permission to search the bin, and check on her -erm- on the go meal. It was upon opening the bin I was loathe to discover the bag upended, open, dripping Alfredo, sauce oozing about, it was a veritable REDRUM elevator situation, with a solid coating on both the bin and bags.

Frantically I racked my brain for any training that would apply in this situation. Cholera outbreak? Orange juice. Diabetic coma? Orange juice.

Somehow I doubted that citrus was the answer to this particular plight.

In retrospect I’m fairly certain that had we reported to the captain before we shut the door, it would have been classified as a biohazard, and we would have had to switch planes.

As it was, the other FA and I just wiped everything down, threw some coffee bags into the bin in a vain attempt to mask the smell, made no eye contact with the various owners of the victimized bags, and we all just dealt with it till we got to Fort Lauderdale.

In conclusion: just say no to pastas in cream sauces as carry-ons.

Posted by | Posted at August 2, 2022 12:42 pm |
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@ ELP Aviation, Inc. 2020

About us

Airlines depend on ELP Aviation because our software improves operational efficiencies, eases crew interactions, and increases profitability. We offer products that provide scalable and agile solutions based on the individual Carrier’s needs. We’re already thinking about how to solve the next problem.

Learn more
Locations

 

Headquarters:  103 W Spring Ave, Conway Springs, KS, USA

Branch Office: Narayana Enclave, Plot No 610, Road Number 33, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad-500033, Telangana, India.

Contact Us
+ 1 (316) 239-6080

info@elpaviation.com

 

Account
If you are an ELP CrewPortal App user please contact your Airline Department for questions.

@ ELP Aviation, Inc. 2020