Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole
Author Heather Poole offers an insightful look at the career of a flight attendant and many any who will pick up this book will learn something new about the world of flying the friendly skies. Poole offers many amusing experiences starting from chapter one where she wonders who will be the "crazy" passenger on the flight. In her words, there is always one and the one she describes is quite a doozy.
As she describes flight attendant training, she gives up how strict rules had to be followed and how classmates would start disappearing once these rules were not observed. But it's what happens after graduation that is the most surprising: the life of a flight attendant is nowhere as glamourous as many of us would think. She describes how on many flights the food on board was only for passengers and crew would hope that there would be extra trays of food for them. She minces no words about the very low starting wages and how it was nearly impossible for them to enjoy a good meal and their free time without worrying about money.
One amusing observation she makes is about the difference between first class and business class. She mentions flight attendants like working first class because most of these passengers just sleep during the flight. She adds that business class has the most demanding passengers. This is exemplified by a story about how a flight attendant offers spoons to business class passengers which each one takes only for the same flight attendant to just collect the spoons afterwards without offering anything else or any use for the spoon.
Poole doesn't mention the airline for which she worked for during most of her career (I've come to learn it's likely American Airlines) but it's probably best she didn't so we can identity her as possibly the flight attendant we may have met once. Reading the book I'm recalling the many flight attendants who have worked the planes I've flown over the many years. I can only appreciate the smiling face they offer knowing now what kinds of things can happen behind the scenes.
The book does get bogged down in the later chapters when she talks about working with her mother who also became a flight attendant. But for the most part the book is a fun read. Pick it up and see if you don't start saying thank you more often to a flight crew.
"Cruising Attitude" by Heather Poole is available in softcover. Click the adds below to purchase a copy or Kindle version from Amazon. Click HERE to purchase eBook from iTunes.