25 June 2012

Male French Flight Attendants: A Love Letter

In catching up with news items from the last year, I came across this article about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or as his friends call him, DSK. Allegedly, Air France assigned an all male crew to this alleged sexual assaulters flight. I would imagine male French flight attendants would have no problem wrangling infamous sexual assaulters because they're great at handling toddlers and pregnant ladies.

Adam and I fly frequently with Air France (I think there's a term for that) and I'm convinced all male French flight attendants are hired based on their good looks, wit and ability to swoon me with their nurturing ways.

Here are just a few times I've fallen in love with male French flight attendants.

Heartwarming Interaction #1: About a year ago I was 9 months preggo when I boarded our flight from Kinshasa to Paris. I must have looked like hell. Flying out of N'djili Airport is like running the final gauntlet Congo throws at you. If you are feeling sad about leaving Kinshasa when you pull up to the airport, by the time you've been yelled at by the 5th power-hungry, fakely-epauletted guy pretending to check your passport, you're ready to peace out.

So we board the plane close to midnight and I'm hugely pregnant with 1 year-old Charlotte in tow. Soon the entire fleet of flight attendants gathers round to judge me for waiting so late in my pregnancy to fly. This is where I feel like reminding them they chose to work for one of the only airlines without restrictions on how pregnant you can fly. I don't even mention I'm having a crazy amount of contractions, but they need to deal.

 Baby Charlotte rocks the Air France bassinet.

Just then my future French flight attendant boyfriend (with real epaulettes by the way) walks up and whispers that he used to be a fireman so if I go into labor not to worry. He said he had delivered a baby once before, so he was prepared. I told him I had given birth once before. He said he felt like we were a good team. Blushing ensued. And I managed to make it all the way home without giving birth.

Heartwarming Interaction #2: Once Charlotte was fussing (or maybe it was Adam, I don't remember) and a flight attendant took one look and returned with two plastic cups in which he had sweetly smashed warm, wet tissues in the bottom. He said if you put these over your ears it helps equalize the pressure. And incidentally also makes you look like a plastic ear-cup alien. Because I can't really find anything to corroborate the plastic ear-cup effect, I think it was mainly for the distraction or to make the American family look ridiculous. But it totally worked to calm Adam...err, Charlotte, down.

Heartwarming Interaction #3: Charlotte has been known to freak out about wearing a seat belt. I think it's mostly because she's unfamiliar with the idea of being restrained in a moving vehicle. So when she started screaming from her seat in Franglish, "Pas seat belt! Pas seat belt! Papa! Papa!" on landing, all the female flight attendants told us it was strictly against FAA regulations for her to use a child seat belt and sit on Adam's lap. Just then a man swooped in with that great baby seat belt extender and said she could sit with her Papa because, "C'est comme ├ža avec les filles et leurs papas."

And so hats off, chapeau bas. DSK, you've got nothing on my family and the troubles we cause in flight. Thank goodness for the Jean Dujardins of the air.

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