Guten Tag - An "On Time" Departure

Posted 12/08/04

by Emil Schoonejans

I do not recall the names of any of the other characters in this tale. One salient point is, the First Class Flight Attendant (at that time also known as "A " Hostess) spoke with a German accent and it was she who would report any cabin problems to the Captain.

The Place: New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

The Scene: TWA 727 cockpit.

The time: About one minute before scheduled departure time.

The Action: Weight slip on board … gate agent bids farewell and closes the cabin door. The "A" Hostess reports through the open cockpit door, loudly and with authority, "CAPTAIN … VE CAN’T GO YET I NEED KOTEX … NOW !!!

There was no doubt in my mind, nor in the minds of the Captain and the First Officer, that this was indeed an urgent situation. The Captain told me, "call the ramp," as he and the F/O redirected their attention to the bug juice on the windshields.

The "A" Hostess, very pleased with the attention her problem was receiving, stood right next to me as I called the ramp on the company frequency. I identified us as to flight number and gate location and told them, "we need sanitary napkins … now!"

With that she exploded saying, NO, NO, NO, VE DON’T NEED SANITARY NAPKINS! VE NEED KO-TEX, YOU KNOW THE SMALL PAPER TEX ZAT VE PUT ON ZEE COAT HANGERS MIT ZEE PASSENGER’S SEAT NUMBER ON ZEM!

The Reaction? The Captain, having released the brakes said " let’s go!" I told the ramp to simply "disregard our last request."

We departed on time … but without coat tags.

Emil Schoonejans (1949-1985) worked in Technical Services/Line Maintenance as an aircraft mechanic and fueler at EWR and LGA, and in Flight Operations as a flight engineer and international relief officer based at JFK and LAX.

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