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Youse Got My
Word On It

by Stephen Lautens


January 5, 2001

As predicted, Air Canada announced that it had met and exceeded its goals for improved service - or maybe the long lines at the check-in have kept you from noticing.

Whatever they've done, it still seems like the equivalent of a bus service run by the post office.

Still, I suppose it's better than a flight a friend of mine took in Asia where the pilot after stretching his legs in the aisle came back to find he was locked out of the cockpit. No problem - the people in first class (meaning no goats or chickens) were treated to the sight of the pilot chopping down the cockpit door with a fire axe.

Now that's flight deck security. What chance has a crazy hijacker got of grabbing the controls when they won't even let the pilot inside?

Then there was my recent telephone call to another foreign airline to enroll in their frequent flyer program. I was told that they had all the frequent flyers they needed, thank you, so stop bothering them. Silly me - I thought frequent flyer programs were designed to attract business and customer loyalty. They've obviously been taking lessons in customer service from the banks.

And you might have missed it in the news, but just before the holidays the flight attendants at Air Canada Regional voted to join the Teamsters Union.

The Teamsters suffer from somewhat of an image problem - undeserved I'm sure. It might have something to do with Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa having been permanently "misplaced".

Although the Teamsters represent working men and women in all walks of life, I still have trouble picturing them as flight attendants. I keep seeing two guys who look like Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro walking up and down the aisle handing out pretzels and doing the safety instructions:

"We'd like to welcome youse all aboard Air Canada flight 32 to Moncton. Your pilot today is Joey 'No-Nose' Tedesco. My name's Vinnie, and I'll be looking after youse.

"Foist of all, I noticed some of youse wiseguys grabbed more than one pillow. I want you to know I got my eye on you, and the perpetrators had better put them back pronto before I starts crackin' heads. We can do this the easy way or the hard way - it's all the same to me.

"And unless you wanna find out what it's like flyin' without wings, ya better learn to keep yer feet and bags outta the asile.

"Since this is a domestic flight there's no duty free - however, if anyone wants to buy a really nice watch, feel free to make me an offer on this beauty right here. We also have cartons of cigarettes below retail - don't ask me how. All I'll say is I have a cousin in the business.

"The in-flight movie is a comedy. It's called 'Goodfellas' and we'll be happy to provide you with headsets for the special price of five bucks, with a modest surcharge for the widows and orphans fund. Lets call it an even fifty. Anyone have a problem with that? I thought not.

"So let's make a deal - you don't give me any lip, and we'll get along just fine.

"And by the way, in case of an emergency just remember - you didn't see nothin'."

© Stephen Lautens 2001

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