Flying today isn't the event that it was years ago. People dressed up for flights and treated the air time like a special occasion. Passengers got a first class experience no matter where they were seated, and Flight Attendants were still glamourous.
These days you're lucky to sit with your family, get any snack at all, reach your destination on time, or feel even close to first class. Flight Attendants are of course still glamourous (no bias there!) but it's hidden under a more casual, sometimes even messy, exterior.
When I'm feeling invisible, like just another face, put in position to transport you from point A to point B, I channel my inner Gwyneth. One of my personally most inspirational movies of all time is View From The Top starring one Gwyneth Paltrow as Donna Jensen, small town girl who will settle for no less than "first class international."
Donna works her way up from Royalty Express, a commuter airline where she takes pride in her "bologna or cheese" inflight service, to a new route where she's takes delight in serving cookies. Finally she earns her place in the First Class cabin from New York to Paris, speaking French and serving champagne and caviar.
As I flew to Hawaii Monday afternoon, serving Chicken Curry, Prawns, and Pineapple bread pudding to my 16 first class passengers, I found the Gwyneth within me.
As I took time to turn every butter patty so the words faced the plate, and carefully placed the silverware, refilling cocktails as I moved through the cabin, I wondered if anyone noticed. Do they see that the flower is never upside down? That if you leave it on your tray, I bring it back with your dessert?
I suppose it's only partly for them though, and mostly for me. If I take pride in what I do and pay attention to detail, I think about Donna Jensen and remember that I'll always remember to smile, even when we run out of bloody mary mix.