This column is devoted to Paris Hilton’s younger brother, Conrad Hughes Hilton, who made the news recently because he assaulted some flight attendants while onboard a plane from London to Los Angeles. So hear me out, Mr. Rich Dicktard: Your flight attendant is not your waitress, your servant, your handmaiden, your punching bag or your wet nurse. On the contrary, your flight attendants deserves your respect for the following reasons:
They are trained to negotiate with terrorists. Yes, the day ISIS finally sneaks a hijacker onboard a full passenger plane, who do you think is going to put herself between you and the plastic firearm probably made from a 3D printer? Not the pilots. They’re trained to stay locked inside the cockpit no matter how many hostages are getting whacked on the other side. No, it’s your flight attendant, who is trained to intervene in that situation. Case in point: In 1985, TWA flight attendant Uli Derickson sustained a roundhouse kick to the chest, constant threat with an active grenade, a pistol-whipping and 55 hours of total terror while negotiating the safety of her 139 passengers. Because of her bravery, 138 of them survived.
They can bring you back to life. Passengers drop dead on planes all the time. In fact, it’s so common that flight attendants must attend manual training every year to assure their knowledge of CPR and other medical procedures—such as the use of onboard defibrillators—to bring your dead ass back to life should the need arise.
They can carry your drunk, passed-out ass off the plane during an evacuation. In the event of a crash landing, flight attendants are trained to stay onboard the burning fuselage until the last passenger has evacuated. In the event you’re incapacitated, they are trained to carry you off on their backs. So the next time you call a flight attendant a “glorified sky waitress” to her face, just remember to thank her for not leaving you to fry like a pork rind should the plane crash into a corn field.
They’re badass. Your flight attendant may be little, or portly, or old or whatever, but know this: she is trained to incapacitate those passengers who keep their craziness under wraps until midair, where all the police and other emergency services are nowhere to be found. Since 9/11, flight attendants have been trained on all the Bruce Lee techniques to drop you with a single chop to the jugular, kill you with a Q-Tip or blind you with boiling coffee.*
They are fire fighters. Fires break out on airplanes all the time, on account of passengers being idiots and throwing their sneaky cigarettes into the lavatory trash and such. In fact, recently a fire broke out on a KLM flight due, it was speculated, to a lithium battery in the overhead bin. A flight attendant calmly extinguished the fire within moments. Since fires only take 90 seconds to burn out of control, you can say with fair certainty that she saved the lives of those passengers, seeing as how flames, if they’re out-of-control, tend to crash airplanes.
Lastly, She Does All This With A Smile. That is until you become belligerent, in which case you can expect her to drop you like a drunk moose.
*For all you know.
Hollis Gillespie writes a weekly travel column for Paste. She is a writing instructor, travel expert and author of We Will be Crashing Shortly, coming out in June. Follow her on Twitter.