Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, we dwindled down from a class of sixty to forty-five.We never saw anyone leave - people were there one minute, gone the next....The instructors had to be watching our every move and listening to our every word. Why else did classmates suddenly disappear for no reason during a five-minute bathroom break? (ch. 3)
Title: Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks, March 6, 2012
Comments: Lest anyone is still under the delusion that flying the skies as an airline stewardess is always a glamorous job, Heather Poole's tell-all book on the profession and how she got into it and why she has stayed will reveal a lot that may be surprising.
Grueling training when trainees may be dropped at the slightest hint that they might be unsuitable for the rigorous life of a stewardess, the problem of finding suitable accommodations for layovers in multiple cities, being on call and having to drop whatever you are doing to head for a flight at the last minute, dealing with demanding and sometimes totally crazy passengers, and working holidays if you are a junior stewardess -these are just a few of the realities on the job.
Heather Poole doesn't gloss over telling us about the hard work on the planes, feeding, catering to, and managing and controlling all the passengers all the time. True, there are perks later on in a stewardess's career, such as long layovers in great cities like San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles. Having seniority also means traveling international flights to Paris, Tokyo, the Caribbean, Delhi, Frankfurt. Without the seniority, however, you head for places like Jacksonville or short hops on domestic flights on smaller planes.
"If I made as much money as passengers thought I made, worked as little as my neighbors thought I did, or had as much fun on layovers as my friends think I do, I'd have one helluva of a job!" exclaimed one of my friends after he heard me trying to explain what it's like, really like, to work for an airline without enough seniority to hold the good trips."After all, this is probably why most young people opt for a career with the airlines - the chance to visit cities around the world.
Things changed after 9/11 when the airline world was turned upside down and everyone became more serious, training included karate and other defensive measures. Flight attendants lost jobs, took pay cuts, had shorter layovers, and had to deal with the new reality of cutbacks.
"Even now, ten years later, whenever I hear about any accident involving an aircraft I'm taken back to that day in September. Most people don't have to think about it every time they go to work the way I do."
One of the positive outcomes of Heather Poole's job as a stewardess was meeting her future husband on a flight, shortly after a psychic told her she would. Just four months after seeing the psychic, "he walked on board my flight to Los Angeles." (ch. 15)
Heather is still flying and she says the stories keep getting better.
Heather Poole has been published in The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010. Her regular online column, “Galley Gossip: Confessions from the Jumpseat with Heather Poole,” has received more than two million views and is featured on AOL’s award-winning travel website, Gadling.com.
Visit the TLC Book tour stops for more reviews of Cruising Attitude.
Thanks to TLC and the publisher for a complimentary review copy of the book.
By the way, here's Heather's blog on being a stewardess: http://hpoole.wordpress.com/
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB and asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.