Friday, September 28, 2007

Cold Feet

It's easy to forget how things were in the dark days before the invention of the jetway. When external stairs were the only way to enter and exit an aircraft, arriving at very hot or cold destinations could be a very uncomfortable experience for the inappropriately attired passenger as they crossed the tarmac. Equally the aircraft could be very cold or hot while it was loading or unloading with its doors wide open and the air conditioning battling to keep temperatures at a reasonable level.

That's nothing, however, on the plight of the flight attendants when they were working flights at northerly lattitudes. One veteran of many years experience recalls the misery of waiting to greet passengers boarding the aircraft at Fairbanks, Alaska. The cabin crew were required to stand at the foot and top of the airstairs and usher the passengers on board with a smile, despite the extreme cold. They had thick coats and gloves, but sadly their feet were very exposed in light, thin soled shoes. This was especially bad for the female crew members who were in knee length skirts and court shoes.

After one too many close shaves with frost bite, the crew decided to put the available resources to work on the problem, and prior to boarding all put their shoes in one of the aircrafts ovens. Putting aside any concerns about cleanliness in the galley, it seemed an ideal solution; warm shoes to ward off the cold. What they hadn't expected, however, was that the heat made their shoes curl up like footwear from the Arabian Knights. That flight they all had warm feet, but had to suffer the agony of wearing genie shoes for the duration.

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