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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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“Are you Behaving Badly?” Not Diana!

Category: SOF Divas’ Diaries ®  |  Permalink

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012


Lesson Six

SOF Attitude, Manners and Etiquette

"Are you Behaving Badly?"

As many of you already know Cate Clarke and I were flight attendants when flying was still fun and glamorous. Yes my dears, there was actually a time when the rich and famous, movie stars and politicians were all flying our carrier. We were the carrier of choice!

People were in awe of us. They would actually follow you with their eyes in the concourse. We traveled the world meeting and greeting all. Did we work hard? Yes! But the perks were worth it.

There were those times that tried ones patience though! Now this is totally true. Fasten your seat belts now because it is going to be a bumpy ride!

The day started out as a non event until the gate agent got on the plane and said that a Red Coat (our slang for PR person) would be bringing on Diana Ross and a friend of hers. Wow! Now the day was shaping up to be more fun. Or so we thought.

The Red Coat arrived with Ms. Ross and her BFF and seated them in row number two. Ms. Ross was actually sitting in the aisle seat, not the window. This is an important detail which you will understand in a minute.

Everything was going swimmingly. Ms. Ross couldn't have been more pleasant and down to earth. We had passed out menus, yes menus, because we were going to serve many courses. Remember this was in the day when flying was glam!

Now I'm in the cabin taking orders. I had taken Ms. Ross's order and her friend and then turned to an older couple who was seated across the aisle in row two. I greeted them with a Good afternoon, my name is Alexandra, have you decided what you would like for dinner.

What did I hear!!! "I want to tell you something young Lady. Make sure you serve us first before you serve those N------ over there." I almost fell over. My heart started to race and I could feel my palms perspiring. I know I must have cringed and was thinking OMG, I hope that Ms. Ross didn't hear that!

I leaned over and said very quietly to this man, "You will be served first." Now you have to understand if this had been today we would have had his derriere taken off the plane. But this was the era of just make nice! Cover the company's derriere at any cost! Smooth over everything!!

After all of my orders had been taken I told the flight attendant who was working the galley position about this whole sordid mess! Then I said, I wanted to make sure that we reversed the service. Instead of serving for example 1A and 1C first we would just reverse it and serve 1D and 1F. The passengers would never know the difference and the lets be frank here the Bigot would be served first .

So off we go, 32,000 feet in the air. Everything is fine, until this happened. The galley flight attendant made up the entrée dishes for Ms. Ross and her girl friend, before the Bigot's and his wife. OMG, now what? I made an executive decision and said, "Everything is going just fine and I don't want their food to get cold so I'll just go ahead and serve them while you make up the Bigot's meal."

So serve Ms. Ross and her friend I did. I then proceed to take out the Bigot's meal. What does he do? He throws his glass salt and pepper shaker into the aisle and yells, "I thought I told you to serve us before those N-----!"

Now I went into action. I quickly went back to the galley, got rid of the meals, ran back out into the cabin and started picking up everything off of their tray tables. Wine glasses, bread and butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, table clothes. GONE!

I threw everything down in the Galley as my flying partner stood there looking stunned and asking what was going on? I told her all Hell has broken lose. Just continuing serving and give the Bigot nothing! I'm going into the cockpit to speak with the Captain.

Well, do you want to know what the Captain said when I told him what was going on out there and I wanted one of them to come out and tell this guy to shut up now! He looks at me and says the following: "Alexandra, I'm sure you can handle it. We won't be out."

I at this point am in a controlled rage and replied, "If I could handle it, I wouldn't be in here asking for your help!" Needless to say my exit from the cockpit was followed by the door slamming shut!

Now what to do? It was obviously all up to me now. I went back to Ms. Ross and her friend and said, "I am so sorry about what has just happened. On behalf of every employee with our company I would like to express our sincerest apologies. I am so embarrassed now I really can't express how I'm feeling."

Ms. Ross took my hand and said, "Don't be, you have handled this beautifully." I wanted to cry but we still had other passengers to serve and a dessert cart to bring out. No time for tears now!

So we completely ignored the Bigot as if there were two empty seats. And they didn't try to talk to us either. Now out comes the dessert cart filled with cookies, ice cream, cheese and crackers, and cordials. We got to row two and what happened? He stands up and starts spitting on the dessert cart! Yes you just read right! Spit, spit, spit!

I calmly looked at my flying partner and said, "Excuse me, I will be right back. Can you take this cart back to the galley please and continue to serve coffee to our passengers."

Trust me I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Calm in the cabin and when I went into the cockpit I turned into a screaming maniac! Yes, screaming! The conversation went something like this, "O.K., the SOB is spitting on my dessert cart now. When are one of you going to come out here and tell this old coot to stay in his seat and not say another word to anyone!?"

I left the cockpit and returned to my passengers as if nothing had just happened. And then what to my wondering eyes finally appears. Our Flight Engineer. And what was truly satisfying about this was he was African American. Tall, handsome and African American! He walked down the aisle, stopped at the Bigot's row, just stood there for what seemed an eternity and stared at him. He then turned around and addresses Ms. Ross with, "Hello my name is ______. We met at a party a few years ago but then you probably don't remember me. "

Oh it was a delicious moment in time. Our Flight Engineer chatting up Ms. Ross and the Bigot sitting there with a deer in headlights look on his face! He was stunned!

Needless to say, we had no more problems. And what was really nice to see was after the service many of the passengers in first class got up out of their seats and went over to Ms. Ross and her friend and were apologizing for this man's appalling speech and manners.

A Red Coat needless to say met our flight. He came back and told us that Diana Ross thought we were all wonderful! And he also told us that the Bigot and his wife would not be flying on our carrier ever again!

Too bad we hadn't written The School of Flaunt Handbook yet. I could have given him a copy!

So all was not glam at 32,000 feet! And sometimes it was definitely a bumpy ride! And yes I do love Diana Ross!!


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