This morning I flew from Los Angeles to San Diego on United Express (operated by Skywest). Usually I find Skywest flight attendants to be top notch, though this morning professionalism was lacking somewhat.
This flight was operated by a 30-seater EMB120, and the lone flight attendant barked at passengers to turn their phones off when the door closed. As soon as he did the safety demo, though, he walked to the back of the plane with his head firmly planted against the wall, as if he was in time out. I couldn’t tell if he was sleeping standing up or on his phone, but after observing him for a while, it was clear he was texting. He did this until we got to the runway.
The second we took off, he once again started typing away furiously on his phone while in his jumpseat, in full sight of all passengers. Once we leveled off, once again, the flight attendant went to the very back of the plane and again assumed the “position.” You would’ve thought he was sleeping, but I once again saw the light from his phone. He then spent probably five minutes in the lavatory.
This raises a couple of obvious issues. First of all, practice what you preach. Flight attendants should be role models for passengers. Of equal importance, there’s a safety issue when, during taxi, the flight attendant isn’t at the main cabin door if an evacuation becomes necessary. Being in the rear of an EMB120 with your eyes facing a wall (as opposed to the cabin) doesn’t make you all that alert.
On the way out I couldn’t help but comment “I hope your phone has good battery life.”