The (drunk) air up there

Vanessa Gomez

If I’ve learned anything from my years as a flight attendant, it’s that parachutes don’t come standard on commercial jets. So when passengers decide to drink their asses off mid-flight, we have no choice but to cut them off and try to contain their erratic behavior.

In training, I was informed that drinking an ounce of alcohol at 40,000 ft was the equivalency of two ounces on the ground. They advised us to follow the simple rule of thumb of only selling passengers one drink an hour.

Now everyone loves to party, and many are under the belief that vodka can heighten those good times, but after years of catching passengers passing out in the back galley, I’ve learned to cut myself off.

A 40-year-old woman once broke into the liquor cart even after we locked it. One Las Vegas passenger was asked to deplane even before takeoff because he boarded intoxicated. When he found out Sin City would be his final destination, he told the supervisor to f*** off. Vegas Metro didn’t respond well to that, and actually tasered him and drug his body kicking and screaming off the aircraft. The video was on You Tube for months.

The most intoxicated disturbance during my time at the blue jet? That would have to be the time we carted more than 50 members of a wedding party from New York to Los Angeles, still dressed in all their cupcake gowns and penguin suits.

The exhausted bride was being escorted from an earlier ceremony on the east coast to the official ceremony on the west coast. The majority of the wedding party took advantage of the undersold flight and passed out. A select few continued their early morning debauchery and kept the good times rolling. Around this point in the story is where I met a drunk, 62 year-old man I now refer to as Dirty Uncle Sal.

Shortly after takeoff, I realized Uncle Sal was completely tanked from the morning brunch festivities. We immediately decided against serving him any more liquor, but that didn’t stop him from pouring his own from his secret stash.

In about the span of one hour, Dirty Uncle Sal sloshed whiskey on my uniform, made a pass for my breast and asked if I knew “how much p**** he got in the ’70s because he looked like Julio Iglesias?” I declared to him that he had crossed a line and that we had to confiscate his liquor. He laughed and said that all us “bitches are too uptight about sex.”

Thankfully, my male counterpart stepped in and swapped his Jack Daniels with apple juice and made it very clear to the others in the wedding party that he would likely be met by authorities upon landing. He quickly “fell asleep” and was rudely awaken when he was marched off the plane by police.

What happened to Dirty Uncle Sal? Who knows. Even though he made me feel disgusting and uncomfortable, he taught me an important lesson: don’t let your drunken selfishness ruin someone else’s night. Not only can overindulging make you horribly hungover, but it can make others question your self-respect. It’s definitely not worth holding your hair back for.