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Flying Frank's Friendly Airline

By Neil A. Cooper

CONTINENTAL Airlines' flight attendants recently went on strike. Since Continental is the sister airline of Frank Lorenzo's Eastern, you can be sure that the call will soon go out for flight attendant scabs.

In fact, The Crimson has picked up a copy of Lorenzo's "Guide to Excellence in Flight Attendants." If you don't mind crossing the picket lines, and you don't get airsick, you can master the following six skills and get a job at Continental with the greatest of ease:

1. Friendly greeting. As the passengers come on the plane, make sure that you put on your Julie the Cruise Director smile and purr, "Hi. Welcome aboard Continental and thanks for busting the union. How are you doing today?" Feign interest until the passenger feels comfortable enough to describe how he ran over his lifelong pet chihuahua on the way to the airport.

As soon as he opens his heart and the tears begin to flow, give him a gentle push down the aisle and turn abruptly to greet the next passenger.

2. Friendly safety tips. Wait until the passengers are starting to nod off. Then rush for the mike, turn the volume way up and burst out, "Z#XWS $%EDFZZ THZZR$$ ZASDFASDF $%&ZZZ!...."

(Translation: Welcome to our friendly airline. Sorry to wake you. We're just trying to make your flight as safe as possible. If the plane rips in half because the Machinists don't care about quality, passengers who can swim should come to the slide in the front of the airplane. Remaining travellers should read the safety card in the seatback in front of you, conveniently printed in Hieroglyphics and Sanskrit. You should then take a long, deep breath...).

3. Friendly flight attendant dance. If one of your fellow flight attendants beats you to the microphone, you'll have to keep the passengers entertained with the world-famous, flight attendant shuffle. First, swing your arms round and round. Point them up and to the ground. Grab a mask and cover your nose. Now it's time to do-si-do!

4. Friendly food and beverage service. Because most people do not like airline food, you should wait until there is a lot of turbulence before you serve the passengers. This is very important, since nauseous passengers do not eat much, and the airline can recycle the unused food. Turbulence is also essential when serving drinks. Make sure to lean over seated passengers when pouring scalding hot tea or coffee.

After a few years on the job--assuming you don't join a union--you will be allowed to drive the beverage cart. Keep both hands on the cart, don't try to pour and drive at the same time and, most importantly, wait until the limbs of sleeping passengers dangle in the aisles before you motor past.

5. Friendly problem solving. In addition to serving food and smiling, flight attendants must also ease the common fears of first-time flyers and those who always worry about the worst-case scenario.

Should a terrorist board the plane, speak in soothing tones to passengers and tell them that they will soon be "set free." Then go to the terrorists and convince them that it makes a greater political statement to execute passengers before the crew. Add that it would be most effective if the victims are card-carrying union members.

Another common problem can develop when passengers lock themselves in the restroom and refuse to come out. When this happens, the passenger is usually a small child who wants attention. You should cajole the child out by offering him candy or a trip to the cockpit. If this fails, threaten to force-feed him six bags of complimentary peanuts.

6. Friendly goodbye. The most important aspect of the flight is the end. The passengers' final impression will determine if they will fly Continental again.

For this reason, you must be particularly sweet when you reveal that striking workers did not load their baggage onto the plane. Tell them that they will get it back "soon," trying hard not to break out laughing.

Finally, passengers may be disturbed by the hordes of picketers outside the terminal. Offer to escort them out and remember to thank them for flying Frank's Friendly Airlines.

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