Flying the funny skies with flight attendant comic strip

In one cartoon, a passenger rings the call button to ask for
a Coke while flight attendants are frantically administering CPR and oxygen to
a passenger who is sprawled in the airplane’s aisle. 

In another cartoon, a cranky flight attendant says to a
passenger who has grotesquely overfilled the overhead bin, “Please tell me you’re
blind.”

And in a third, a flight attendant who is setting her work
schedule from her laptop hurriedly attempts to cancel a selection after she
sees whom she’d be crewing the flight with.

“Repost!!! Repost!!! Abort!!!” she screams. 

Those are just three examples of the approximately 700
cartoons that Kelly Kincaid, a Seattle-based flight attendant for an airline
she preferred not to name, has drawn for her “Jetlagged Comic,” in which she
lampoons the everyday challenges and frustrations of crewing commercial
jetliners. 

“Human behavior is fascinating,” said Kincaid, who has
worked the increasingly crowded aisles of U.S. airlines for a dozen years. “And
being a flight attendant and a cartoonist is fascinating because I get a chance
to witness that behavior and exploit it in a comical way.”

Indeed, while any traveler can attest to the challenges of
commercial flying, few experience the ups and downs of air travel as frequently
and intimately as flight attendants do. It’s no doubt a job that is fertile
ground for the comically inclined. 

But Kincaid, a self-taught cartoonist, said she actually
tried to stay away from work-related subjects when she began publishing in
2008. Her perspective on that subject changed after she took a one-day class
with Hilary Price, author of the widely syndicated comic strip “Rhymes With
Orange,” during a 2010 layover in San Francisco. Price told her eager pupil
that she should draw what she knows. 

“Jetlagged Comic” was born.

“It was the right choice because it made so many people
laugh,” Kincaid said. 

Per her own description on Jetlaggedcomic.com, the strip “follows
the lives of flight attendants Bev, Wanda, Rob and Kitty as they muscle through
crowded aisles, target knees and elbows with the beverage cart and teach
passengers how to open the lavatory doors.”

Kincaid explained that Bev is the no-filter, grizzled
veteran who says the things Kincaid would like to say if only she could. Rob, a
perfectionist peacemaker, is based loosely on Kincaid’s husband, Robert, a
flight attendant whom she met on the job. Wanda, frazzled and often attracting
chaos, is a caricature of the many working-mom flight attendants. Kitty, a
millennial, is the naive newbie seeking adventure and still delusional that the
job is glamorous.

“That’s probably me when I first started,” Kincaid said.

Strips are drawn from actual incidents that Kincaid has
experienced.

Take, for example, one she drew last month that depicts a
passenger screaming into her cellphone about feeding the pets, much to the
annoyance of surrounding flyers.

“It happens all the time,” said Kincaid, who went on to
describe passengers receiving calls while she is doing the safety
demonstration. 

“You’d think they’d decline the call,” she said. “Instead,
they pick up to say, ‘I can’t talk right now,’ and then they go on to have
these long conversations.”

Kincaid emphasized that she’s not trying to use “Jetlagged
Comic” to pit flight attendants against passengers. Rather, she’s taking on the
type of passengers who also aggravate other passengers.

The strip also pokes fun at Kincaid’s flight attendant
colleagues, who are often guilty of such behavior as obsessing over seniority,
lazing on the job and just generally being difficult. 

In one strip, titled “Beverage Service Play,” several flight
attendants sit in front of a chalkboard where an instructor lays out the day’s
strategy for aggressively blocking access to the lavatory. 

“You meet people for the first time, and they say ‘I’m going
to be easy to work with,'” Kincaid said. “Whoever says that is going to be
extremely hard to work with.” 

Ultimately, creating “Jetlagged Comic” helps Kincaid release
job frustrations. 

“It shifts perspective, being able to draw about it,” she
said. 

Along with Jetlaggedcomic.com, the strip can be found on the
“Jetlagged Comic” Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. Kincaid has also
produced two “Jetlagged Comic” books and sells a variety of other products,
such as calendars and mugs, online.

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