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Am I the Only One Who Hates Funny Flight Attendants?

July 7, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick

Don't get me wrong. There are few places that couldn't use a little more humor. I'm all for funny people, even the obnoxious ones. If you had to choose between saying something offensive but hilarious to me, and just keeping your mouth shut, go ahead and let 'er rip.

There are exceptions, however, and they include oral surgeons, scary elevator ride guides, and flight attendants. Incidentally this is the same list of people who should never say "uh-oh" while at work.

I was talking to a friend recently who said, "I love flying Southwest because their flight attendants are so funny."

Ugh. I hate funny flight attendants. I actually hate flight attendants who are talented in any way.

I'm a mere 15 years from being deathly afraid of flying. And I'm talking phobic-level fear. Maniacal-laughter-on-takeoff-level fear. Stopping-in-at-the-airport-chapel-level fear. The only way I can get onto an airplane to this day, is that I convinced myself that if I were to survive a fiery plane crash, it would be because that chick in the navy pumps can become Wonder Woman and save my ass.

Whenever someone says, "Oh, flight attendants are just waitresses in the sky," I say, Nuh-uh. Flight attendants are firemen, hostage negotiators, and Navy Seals wearing green berets in the sky. There's no room for humor when you're MacGyver at 30,000 feet. Did you see Halle Berry even crack a smile, let alone a joke, in Executive Decision? No. She was too busy saving the world.

Southwest flight attendants aren't going to be saving anything except a seat in line at amateur night at Cobb Comedy Club. I'm probably the only one who doesn't have headphones on when the flight attendant is doing the safety talk. I pay attention. Even when she shows how to put on and take off the seatbelt, something I've gotten to be pretty good at. When she says, "Find the closest exit and be mindful, it may be behind you," I'm the only passenger who sits up tall in my seat and cranes my neck to the front . . . then the back . . . counting seats between me and that blasted door, so if the cabin fills with smoke, I can feel and grope my way to it.

You can no longer rely on the flight attendant to save you. She's too busy trying to get some passenger's video to go viral and get a guest appearance on Ellen.

My daughter and I flew once with a happy drunk flight attendant. When she first picked up the microphone, I thought she was a recovering stroke victim. She slurred her words, but I thought there must be a medical explanation. A minute later she was belting out "New York, New York" in an Ethel Merman voice, and I thought, "Hmm, I did not know that cabaret singing was a post-stroke side effect." I caught the eye of the other flight attendant - the straight man of the operation - and in between blinking SOS for LET ME OFF THIS PLANE, I looked for signs of trouble from her. She was stone-faced. I took her lack of laughter as a bad sign. LET ME OFF THIS PLANE NOW, I blinked, straining my eyelids.

Once we're safely on the tarmac, flight attendants can feel free to sing, crack jokes, do impersonations, tap dance, juggle or work on any other weekend talents they want to show off. But until I'm grounded, so are they.

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Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here on her website at


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