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Flight Attendant's Idea To Make Flying Friendlier Is Taking Off

Illustration for article titled Flight Attendants Idea To Make Flying Friendlier Is Taking Off

Traveling by air can be a pain in the ass. Long security lines, cramped planes, the potential of crashing and the threat of being blown up add to the general feeling of anxiety. Since everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten, shortly after 9/11, Jewel Van Valin, a Delta flight attendant, decided to nudge those traveling on her plane into art projects. "I just put the mats on their trays and threw a crayon down, and the passengers immediately got it," she explains in an interview with the LA Times. For six years, those on Van Valin's flights have sketched and drawn and colored. Van Valin has kept all of the art. "Behind every one of these pictures is a story," she says. The drawings are on display in Delta's employee lounge at LAX. But hey: When did traveling lose its romance?

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Doesn't seem like back in the day, airline "hostesses" were genuinely cheery? These days, when you hear the robotic "Buh-bye. Bye now," at the end of a flight, do you roll your eyes? Why don't more flight attendants act like they give a shit? Getting from place to place is stressful for everyone involved, booze doesn't always help. Safety is important, but traveling is supposed to be fun. (Once I took Song to Vegas. We played an {optional} game in which we all put a dollar in one bag and our boarding pass stub in another. A flight attendant pulled a stub at random and the person sitting in that seat won the bag of dollar bills. That was fun.) Props to Jewel Van Valin for figuring out a way to diffuse a stressful environment. She's actually looking for a place to display her "Just Plane Art." Notes the Times:

A few weeks ago, Delta staffers staged a guerrilla gallery in the terminal's corridors, posting passenger drawings on walls and support columns between Gates 56 and 59. They took down the unauthorized artwork at day's end, however, so it would not be confiscated… Airport officials said they are willing to work with Van Valin to create a gallery, but that there can be no more impromptu displays.

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Funsuckers.

Pretzels, Peanuts And A Sky-Blue Crayola [LA Times]

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DISCUSSION

jennyoh
Stranger Bird

The flight attendants on Icelandair are pretty much the nicest people in the entire service industry ever. Most of the flights I've been on in the last ten years have been transatlantic, where I'd hardly expect personal, cheery service from someone taking care of a 400 grumpy people for 9 hours, but they managed the fine balancing act of professional/friendly extremely well.

The one thing I hate about Icelandair: the introductory safety video shows you the meals they get in first class. It's really more of a torture than an inducement, since if I could afford it I'd be there already.