Monday, April 30, 2012

My take on: Cruising Attitude

I don't know what airline Heather Poole works for, but if I'm ever on one of her flights I will make sure to be extra nice to her. Why? After reading her book Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 feet, I know she has some good stories to tell.

Before I delve into the book I have to tell a little story. Ten years ago, maybe more, I was on a morning flight to Orlando. In coach of course because I don't think I'll ever know what first class is like. In coach we were fed a bagel with some hard cream cheese and some juice. It came in a plastic bag. Classy, right. Why, am I telling this. Because at the end of our food service I saw a flight attendant eating some delicious food. It definitely wasn't coach food. It was first class food!! When she noticed my mother and I staring at her, she turned the other way. I was mad. Why couldn't we get the extra food?!?!? After reading Ms. Poole's book, I know it wasn't a dig by the flight attendant and I have a greater respect for flight attendants.

As an outsider, being a flight attendant seems very glamorous. Jetting from city to city, country to country. You get to see so much, but it turns out that you need seniority to go to those glamorous places. Without seniority, you're stuck on domestic routes. When Heather switched to a larger carrier, she was just scraping by. The native Texan was based in New York and her living arrangements (a.k.a. crashpad) in Queens were on the scary side. Lecherous landlords and rotating roommates were the norm. The bathrooms weren't the cleanest and money for food wasn't easy to come by. Extra food from a flight is apparently a hot commodity if you're struggling financially. Years later when Heather had the opportunity to work a private flight for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, she cobbled the extra food together. She thought that was great, but the pilots looked at her like she was nuts. I had to laugh at that part. All the money goes into rent and carfare to get to the airport. If she ever had a flight leaving from Newark instead of LaGuardia or JFK, she was in trouble. Like 60 bucks a pop for a cab to Jersey.

I think you need a degree from M.I.T. just to understand the scheduling for flight attendants. I read those parts twice and I still don't understand it. I could never be a flight attendant because I would probably miss my flights every day. All of this I found fascinating, and I haven't even gotten to the ungrateful passengers. Some people apparently think flight attendants are their personal servants. The woman who actually turned her back to Heather, expecting Ms. Poole to remove her fur coat for her. The nerve. I tried to figure out who the celebrities she was gossiping about were. But, it was a little hard. I think one was P. Diddy a.k.a Sean Combs. I think!!

The book overall feels like you're having a conversation with Heather. She's talking right to the reader. It's like a conversation with an old friend. She's telling you about the good and the bad parts of her job. A job she still holds today. She even met her husband on one of her flights. What was the attraction? He was eating a delicious-looking sandwich. I found that to be such a cute story. Maybe that can work for me one day!!

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) in exchange for an honest review.

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