Monday, April 19, 2010

Attention Passengers

One New Year’s Eve, before I moved to NYC, my friend Jason and I decided to visit my brother Ty who had moved here the year before. We flew from SLC to JFK on a Boeing 757 and the flight was packed. An hour or two into the flight Jason wondered how many people were on the plane. He thought there were less than 200 passengers and I thought there were more. We decided to make a wager. We both guessed how many passengers were on the plane and the loser would buy the winner the first slice of New York pizza. Game on!

We looked around, guestimating. We wrote our guesses on a piece of paper. If I remember correctly his was in the 180’s. Mine was 231. We stopped a flight attendant to see if she could give us an exact count of how many people were on the plane. She leaned over to listened to our wager then crouched down in excitement. “Oh, this is important.” She said, “I’ll be right back!”

She came back a moment later. We had our scrap of paper and she announced the number of passengers on the plane was….drum roll…233! I was just two passengers off! She told me congratulations, smiled, and told us how she had told the other flight attendants about the wager. They had decided on a prize, “You win! Do you prefer a bottle of white wine or red?”

I was so excited! I won a bottle of wine! But wait! What would I do with a bottle of wine? I don’t drink! Ty and his roommates didn’t drink. I kind of stammered for a moment and Jason said, “Sorry, we actually don’t drink.” She paused for just a second and then said, “Let me see what I can’t find!” A moment later she came back with two GINORMOUS gourmet cookies, all wrapped up. She handed them both to me, smiled slyly towards Jason and said “You can share with him if you want.”

At the baggage claim, Jason ran into a friend of his, who, unbeknownst to us, was on our flight. She was a friendly girl, unlike her companion. She turned and introduced us to the man who had been standing rigidly next to her. He held himself with an air that conveyed both a sense of superiority and unease. His comments matched his posture. He let us know he lived in New York and was working on his PhD at Columbia. We all stood by the baggage carousel chatting. Jason and I told the story of the passenger wager and wine-winning.

When we finished, three of us were laughing. I pulled the massive cookie from my bag to show the consolation prize. I said, “…but instead they gave us these First Class Cookies.” Her friend tilted his head back and looked down at my prize. He said in the tone of a British aristocrat, “I was in first class; they didn’t serve us those cookies. They served us sundaes.” Ok, he didn’t have an accent, unless it was PhD, and I admit that for a moment I imagined giving him the economy-cabin-people’s-elbow.

If I could do it over I would have accepted the bottle of wine and found just the right passenger to give it to. The one that catches your eye at the gate and you keep your fingers crossed that you sit next to him.

The stewardess would tap him on the shoulder, lean over and present the bottle of wine. “Sir, this bottle is from the lady seated in 27B.” Who knows what might happen. When he looked over to my seat I would glance up and flash a quick smile before I continued flipping through my Skymall magazine. I would think it wouldn’t be long before he’d make his way over to meet, but to my surprise he might look at the bottle of wine and say, “I hear they have hot sundaes in first class...”


  1. Oh my gosh Brook! You're hilarious. Thanks for making me laugh at the end of a Monday! So fun!

  2. My daughter's baby LOVES to smile and flirt. At Christmas time, my daughter, her husband, and 5 month baby had to be re-routed because of the big December snowstorm here in NY. The flight attendant was so enchanted by baby Rachel that she, too, offered the parents some complimentary wine, which they, too, turned down. Maybe flight attendants have a special radar for the truly first class people, no matter where they sit!

  3. So... did you share the cookies or not?

  4. Boy you're lucky. All they usually offer me is an extra napkin or two once they gave me an extra garbage bag. But it could be that I usually have the three noisiest passengers on board with me (my kidlets).

    Okay, once I got a free meal. :D

  5. Hi Brook. My SIL showed me your blog. This is my first comment, but I love your writing. This post reminded me of when I flew to Italy. We got bumped to business class (which was totally awesome for such a long flight) and one of the flight attendants brought her own silver tongs for serving the first class passengers. It was wonderful to behold, and made me wish for the golden age of flying when it was an Experience, and people were not just sardines packed as tightly as possible.

  6. I love it. Found your blog via my sister Carolyn's comment on FB.

    (Your settings will take you to a dead link--I'm AlisonH at