Sunday, February 06, 2005

Air Canada Idol


My mom found this ad in the paper looking for flight attendants. All I had to do was go to the Holiday Inn in TO sometime between 10am and 4pm with my résumé. Easy, peasy, Japanesey.

My parents drove me in because they wanted to look at the smart car. When they dropped me off I went into the hotel and a security guard directed me to a line-up of a thousand and three people. There couldn't have been more people if they were additioning for American Idol.

I got to the end of the line at 1 o'clock. Immediately, a security guard gave us all applications to fill out. A few minutes later another security guard (or maybe the same one) hollered at us that we'd have a four hour wait. Good thing I brought my trusty dusty science fiction Margaret Attwood with me (Peg should only write SF, IMO, but that really has nothing to do with anything). So I stood, in my uncomfortable interview shoes, reading Oryx and Crake, and moving forward at regular intervals to avoid being trampled by the cows behind me. The next time I looked at my watch it was 3:10.

I got to the front of the line. The cows kept pushing me forward.
"Wait until I call you forward," said Mr. Security. "If you move forward out of turn, you go to the back of the line!"
"Mooo?" said the cows.
It was difficult to hold my ground, but I managed not to get thrown to the back of the line.

Next we got to sit in chairs. Yippee! And a perky flight attendant talked to us about how to fill out the application. At least I think that's what she was talking about. I sat close to the back (not my choice) and could barely hear her. Good thing I had already filled out my application on my knee while waiting in line.

4 pm

Next we got into another standing line-up. What fun! We lined up two-by-two like we were waiting to board the arc.


Six people budded in front of me. Two women looked like they were going to have a fist fight about who was first in line. I was almost trampled again. They seemed to be under the impression that Air Canada was giving out jobs on a first-come first-serve basis. The hirers can see you, people! Who wants to hire an ill-tempered cow?


I got to the front of the line and this woman with short hair and glasses (who I guess was from the glory days of when you had to be tall and pretty in order to be a flight attendant) sat me down in a chair. She told us we weren't allowed to use our cellphones, then every time someone looked at their cellphone or looked like they were reaching in their purse, she would pounce on them "I'm sorry, but if you need to make a call you'll have to step outside."

I chatted with the girl next to me, who had come all the way from New Brunswick to do this fool thing. She agreed that the people were cows. "You're going for a job, not trying to get the last sweater that's left in size medium," said she. The friendly maritimer also scored more applications for us to fill out (because using your knee as a table is not the recipe for neat printing).


I went outside to call my parents because knowing my mother, she was already checking Toronto morgues. I made my Dad promise to buy me dinner because, having not eaten since one small bran muffin that morning, I was super duper starving by this point.


I finally got called to a table where the real interview was taking place. I was interviewed by a Flight Attendant named Heather Graham (no kidding). She asked me about my customer service experience and why I wanted to be a flight attendant. She asked that last question in french to make sure I wasn't lying about the whole billingual thing. She said they'd call me in three weeks.


I found my parents in the lobby of the hotel and we went out to dinner at a Scottish pub. I had the crunchy haddock, yummy stuff (but it didn't have to be, I would've eaten anything).

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