flights of fancy

[flight] n.1. the act, manner, or power of flying. 2. swift movement, transition, or progression: the flight of time. 3. a soaring above or transcending ordinary bounds 4. an imaginative, or unrestrained exercise or display

The “Hello Moment”

I’m going to back into my “hello” with the goodbye…

Recently re-inventing myself, I’ve returned home full-time after living out a Bucket List Adventure as a flight attendant. (Really.)  It was the most  fun, frustrating, rewarding and story-filled chapter of my working life, but changes in the industry (the “norm”) and the realization that my kids will be leaving the nest all-too-soon forced me to reevaluate the worth of adventure at 34,000 feet versus adventure in my own backyard…for the time being, anyway.

As a flight attendant for a great regional airline, I enjoyed the frustrations and rewards of flying as the only cabin crew on many of my flights (most often 50 passenger jets and 34 passenger props). While a little intimidating at first, I came to embrace the freedoms and opportunities of  creating my “own little world” on each leg; I was responsible for setting the tone in the cabin on each flight I worked. In spite of  the popular belief that  air travel and travelers had to be/were miserable, I decided not to let irritable, rude or inattentive passengers define my experience or day. In fact, I was convinced there were lots of interesting, kind and helpful people boarding my flights all the time.

In training, we were taught that “the hello moment” was the most important moment on a flight; it only takes a person a few seconds to determine how a flight, or other experience, will go (on either side of the equation). Creating a rapport with people, communication style and establishing leadership are some key elements that can be determined in that simple, little “Hello!”  Even though it sounded too simple (and even corny) at first, I found it to be true: on the plane, at the airport, in another country or in my own neighborhood. Seriously, I didn’t believe it myself when I heard that…

Taking advantage of the freedom as the only Inflight Goddess (as well as upgrading my job title?), I loved visiting with all those potentially fascinating people on my flights. One of my favorite things was to ask a “random question of the flight,” listening to people’s answers as I waited for the Diet Cokes to stop fizzing. After hundreds of flights, I landed on “the” question that consistently provided good, easy conversation (even with the initially grumpy ones): What simple things in life make you smile? That question became “my thing.”  I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to share all the really great stories people shared with me as a result of that simple question, but they did inspire me to spend more of my time focusing on the positive things in my life. Or day. Or hour.

So, “Hello!” I hope you’ll find something in my blog that makes you smile…


4 comments on “The “Hello Moment”

  1. lelvsdgs
    August 5, 2011

    This is awesome… and you are so right. That simple word makes or breaks who things are going to go. If you want to be treated in a friendly way, you have to treat others the way you want to be treated. I know that an open smile and a friendly hello can smooth the way almost every time…

    • Kim
      August 5, 2011

      Thanks Lee! I hope people will recognize this as a “much of the time” approach, rather than a naïve or Pollyanna thing…Think I might add a “grumbles” widget?

  2. Earthdog
    August 5, 2011

    great job. just the thinking about what makes me smile is bound to make me smile. I’m sure that approach helped your passengers smile and set the tone form many happy flights.

  3. Kim Tarras
    August 5, 2011

    I LOVE LOVE this story Kim! You have a unique and talented way of writing….how you face the minutes of each day. Wouldn’t it be great if we had this wisdom earlier in our lives??? One of the items you mentioned about treating each person as a potentially fascinating individual and treating them this way. Best gift you can give someone. We never know how that simple honest interest we place in someone (with your smile and hello) can change their lives. Literally, that person might have been on the brink of personal pain, and needed that small comfort to clear their mind. Or, it might just put a smile on a face that didn’t have one. I’m looking forward to reading more…..Thank you!

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This entry was posted on August 5, 2011 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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