Michelle Morse is a fellow traveler and adventurer. Our friendship is new, however, her energy is an aura one can’t miss.

Michelle is a Flight Team member with one of the leading private jet charter companies, let’s hear her perspective from the other side of the cabin. Notice I wrote Flight Team not Flight Attendant or, God forbid, “Stewardess”. Before we get to the questions, for those of you not awake, lacking manners, or who have lived in a cave or under a rock for the last 10 years, the term stewardess is synonymous with the objectification of women. They aren’t assets and the age of “long legs and short skirts” has passed. Now, where were we?

Michelle Morse

Okay, I’m not known for pulling punches or being bashful, let’s come out swinging. Of the probably thousands of things travelers do, what is your biggest pet peeve? The one thing that makes you want to shove a passenger out at cruising altitude.

Above all other things, any type of violence or abusive language towards other passengers or myself will NOT be tolerated. Being on a plane is like a being in a bubble eco-system once the main cabin door closes. Every action has a reaction that influences the overall environment on board. Violence can have a catastrophic reaction. When a passenger’s behavior has the potential to affect every other passenger on board I have ZERO tolerance. I will ask for the plane to land at the earliest moment and have law enforcement officers waiting on the ground. In today’s world, taking chances is not an option.

There was a time, admittedly there was objectification when your role was considered very glamorous. Do you feel it’s still glamorous?

There are 100% moments when it is still glamorous! Having A-list celebrities on board, or even B/C/D list, that you happen to admire is always exciting. Once, I had ‘Shooter McGavin’ on board, for me, this was pretty damn exciting. There are other times when guests’ show genuine appreciation or care for you and that is also very rewarding.

The other 95% of the time, however, it is less than glamorous, to say the least. For example, cleaning up after a sick passenger or the bathroom because some people still can’t seem to aim their stream. Yes, we clean the plane. So whatever you are leaving behind in the seat back pocket is not going unnoticed. (tooth flossers, chewed gum, dirty tissues, half-eaten food, a bag of vomit….you name it, we’ve found it. Don’t be that person.)

You have arrived in your favorite city in the world thus far, you have time for only dinner.  What city are you in?  Where and what are you eating? And why?

My initial thought is Dublin, but since I only have time for dinner I’m going with Barcelona. Sorry Ireland, but when it comes to food you are not in my top ten.

Cured meats, cheeses, and wine oh my!! The salty, savory, tinge of herbs and spice of a well-cured piece of meat followed by the cool creaminess of a great cheese makes my mouth water. Followed by a swish of a bold red…well now I’m in heaven! To push the envelope even further I’d be in a vibrant café style deli that is half full of people having slightly too loud conversations in sexy tongues. Ok ok, might have to skip the wine if I’m working. We have a strict no-drinking policy within 10 hours of any flight.

Living in Vegas I’ve encountered more than one scenario where someone has asked me to do something illegal. Be it an attempt to rig a game, drugs, hookers, you name it. In your experience on a flight team have you had anyone solicit you into illegal activity?

This hasn’t happened to me personally, but I have heard stories. The most that I’ve encountered is under aged passengers asking to be served alcohol on board. Silly kids, don’t you know I review the flight manifest prior to takeoff and everyone’s birthday is listed. Just don’t try it, I will call you out loud enough for other passengers to hear and embarrass you for asking.

What are the best and worst airports for private travel?

Most of the private airports that I fly into are quite small and ill-equipped for much more than hot beverages and some cold refreshments. The more remote the location the less creature comforts you will find. Las Vegas does offer a bit more comfort for both passengers as well as flight crew. They have a few restrooms with beds and shower facilities; these are clutch when weather or life has you delayed for hours.

Of all the places you’ve traveled, were you to be stranded at any one of them, which one would you prefer and why?

I am always happy to be stranded in New York City. 24-hour access to great food, drink, and things to do! I can easily kill an afternoon or entire week in NYC. In a city where you are surrounded by millions of people going in all directions it is easy enough to find your own direction and just walk that way. Lunch in a great bar, wander around china town, people watch in the park, catch a show, go shopping, the options are truly endless.

I’m an aisle kind of guy, what are you? Aisle or window? Why?

Window, 1000%. When I fly I like to settle in and rarely get up. Being on the aisle I get very annoyed when I need to move around, get up, pass drinks over and generally interact with the person next to me. Leave me to gaze out the window and get lost in my weird daydreams, shows on my iPad, music, or a book.

What has been your creepiest or scariest travel event so far?

I’ve been very fortunate to not have any really scary events happen on board any of my flights so far (quick, find me some wood to knock on) but as for creepy I have one that stands out. I was a passenger on a flight to London and a lady in her late 40’s sitting next to me engaged me in conversation. As you know, I’m not a fan of much social interaction when I’m a passenger. This particular lady was transporting her dead father in the cargo on board (this is not an uncommon event) so for her to share that info wasn’t too creepy. The fact that she was talking to him the whole flight was. Like talking to him as if he was sitting between us, a one-sided conversation that included jokes, crying, and long-winded stories. Really hard to tune out and I couldn’t exactly turn to her and say, “Hey lady, your dad is dead. You are clearly dealing with things but please and put a sock in it I’m trying to sleep” without coming off as insensitive.

On a lighter note, what are a few things you cannot fly or travel without?

I bring a book and my Nintendo Switch everywhere. Entertainment for times I have power and times I don’t. I also always travel with a few oil bath bombs from Lush. They have such amazing scents and travel can really take a toll on your muscles and dry out your skin. So it’s a triple whammy: relax, soothe, and moisturize!

What is something great or remarkable a passenger has done or said?

Just recently I flew a family to Disney land for a weekend and also flew them back after the weekend, they gifted me with a pin from the park. However small the gesture was, it was so very thoughtful. Now I wear that pin on my flight bag and I think of the family each time I see it. Seeing that small token is sometimes just the bit of motivation and encouragement I need on harder days.

Receiving kind words or emails to our corporate office is always amazing, I feel like all too often we do not get any recognition for our efforts from the corporate office unless a passenger is willing to take the time to write an email or make a phone call.

On a final note, tips are great too! We work long hours, without breaks or regular meals daily. We also don’t make that much money when you break it down per hour, so yes! Tip your flight attendant for the free drinks and food you are enjoying! I guarantee they will really, really appreciate it!!

Happy Flying!!

In Michelle’s own words:

Gypsy. Nomad.

Salt of the earth with a dash of pepper type of vibe.

How can I change your world or maybe just your mind?