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Cruising Attitude: My Life at 35,000 Feet

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  2,257 Ratings  ·  341 Reviews
Flying the not-so-friendly skies...

In her more than fifteen years as an airline flight attendant, Heather Poole has seen it all. She's witnessed all manner of bad behavior at 35,000 feet and knows what it takes for a traveler to become the most hated passenger onboard. She's slept in flight attendant crashpads in "Crew Gardens," Queens--sharing small bedrooms crammed with
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Petra Eggs
Comparisons, it is said, are odious. How do you rate a thoroughly enjoyable book that is just light reading, that has no depth or insight whatsoever and where the prose is, to use a hackneyed phrase, 'serviceable, at best'? Can it be compared to a book that is written by a master of language, where the characters have a life of their own outside of the pages and the sociological insights illuminate a period of history that might otherwise be too dry to read? I'm talking about Burmese Days (view ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're thinking about an exciting career in airborne customer service, this is the book for you! If, like me, you are not considering becoming a flight attendant, it is hard to explain why you would even pick this book up, much less read quickly through it in fascinated excitement, as I just did.

I guess this book answered a question that we all must have asked, but never really pursued, as we are served a diet coke or commanded to take our seats. Who are these people? What are their lives lik
Will Byrnes
Most flight attendants are not exactly high fliers. The pay is far from lofty, they are faced with work restrictions and requirements that only a union-buster could love, and then they have to put up with the likes of you, me and much worse in the course of a normal day. Heather Poole walked the mean aisles of our (mostly) national airways for fifteen years and has some tales to tell. She writes in a breezy, easy-to-read style, and does try to keep it light. But there is enough material in the u ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had just finished Heather Poole's memoir, Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, when the news broke about the Jet Blue pilot who had a breakdown on his flight from New York to Las Vegas. After reading Heather's book, you kind of understood how this happened.

Poole began her career on a regional airline, SunJet, that offered a $69 flight from Dallas to Newark, Ft. Lauerdale and Long Beach. The airline was often filled with unattended minors shutt
I don't know what I expected, but it certainly wasn't a book that reads more like a mass email Christmas letter. I'm sure Heather Poole is a nice enough person, but she relates her story in a way that kept reminding me of those books about girls who make bad decisions all written by John Benton and serving as book commercials for the Walter Hoving home. Everything is hands up, finger flapping SCANDALOUS ... but not really. She tries to drop bits of gossip about "celebrities in first class" but t ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-about-work
Heather Poole tells you what her life is like as a flight attendant. Some details were very enlightenting. For instance: flight attendants only get paid for time they are actually in the air. (So when our plane is stuck on the runway, they are bummed out about that, too.) Other aspects of this book were news to me, but just seemed odd. Like how anxious the author was about getting the drink service right. There are practically whole chapters devoted to her drink service anxiety. Lady, I do not c ...more
Jim Dooley
Jun 21, 2017 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one pleasantly surprised me with its warmth and impressed me with its depth. Although I’d had the title on my “To Read” list for a while, I thought that it would be a series of vignettes and “nightmare” stories about various encounters with the air-traveling public. To be sure, there are some of those moments. However, the majority of the content is so much more engaging.

First off, if you are expecting a “tell all” book recounting the outrageous antics of the rich and/or famous, you won’t f
Feb 09, 2017 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun peek into the world of flight attendants. From the training to the plane, Poole describes her adventures and kooky incidents with passengers. I was kept interested throughout the stories and yet there was nothing really "groundbreaking" about the book. Written well, this is an easy read and entertaining.
Oct 28, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know, these days I read travel books with a whole different eye. One, I’m usually reading them in an airport or a hotel. Two, the situations and places in the books seem very familiar to me now. That’s one of the reasons I was so interested in Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet – I see a lot of flight attendants in the course of a week’s work, and it looks like an interesting, exciting job. Like most jobs, though, it’s not quite what it see ...more
Tara Chevrestt
What a great book!! Though it's a memoir, it's well done. The narrator SHOWS us and transports the reader into the airplane, crashpad, terminal, bar. There's no telling here. I was thoroughly entertained and I was laughing so hard during much of it that my husband demanded to know what was so funny, and I had to read passages aloud to him.

Just some of the content: her early days as a flight attendant with an airline that actually used duct tape on the seats, flight attendant training, skirt leng
Sep 06, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ladies-writin
I enjoyed this more for the technical stuff about flight attendant training than for the stories of Poole's personal life. It's interesting to remember that flight attendants aren't just sky waitresses; they’re actually there to save us all in the event of an emergency. Or throw pop cans at terrorists, as one of her colleagues would have it. It's also interesting to wonder where along the line as a people we decided it was acceptable to treat people as badly as we treat these folks. Screaming th ...more
Erin Martin
This book was just so-so. I got confused by her writing at times. It was most annoying when she changed the names of people half-way through their stories. But it was fun to read about the crazy things people do on flights. I'm a fearful flyer and this book actually made me feel better about flying. She seems like a very sweet flight attendant. I just wish there were more like her.
Sep 22, 2012 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want all my family and friends to read this book. It's my life! I have either experienced most of these stories or had coworkers survive to tell us all. I love it!

Kathleen (Kat) Smith
I'm sure most of you have flown before and have had the opportunity at sometime to interact with a flight attendant. I think there are quite a few details we, as passengers, never consider when flying and that's just how hard of a job, flight attendants actually have. It takes more than a nicely dressed attendant who smiles graciously as you enter and sets about to make sure your flight is enjoyable.

In the book, Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole, a reader is taken on a behind the scenes tour of
Mar 07, 2012 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone who “doesn’t read memoirs”, I’ve picked up more than a few this year. This one drew my eye because I enjoy flying, and had absolutely no idea what a flight attendant’s job was like.

After finishing the book, I’m fairly certain that I would never want to be a flight attendant. I never would have imagined a super-strict book camp, or the fact that for a long time, an attendant makes so little money they are lucky if they can afford to rent a room of their own, let alone an entire apartm
Abby Moe
Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole is about the life of a flight attendant... Sounds boring right? Think again. Heather Poole wrote this memoir on her life in becoming a flight attendant. She never planed on that to be her career, but her mother insisted, and it just stuck.

Becoming a flight attendant is competitive and a small percentage of people who actually apply do not make it. Heather was one of the lucky ones. Before she attempted to become one of the big shots on international planes f
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Apr 09, 2012 Julie - Book Hooked Blog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crewe Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet is exactly what it sounds like - an insider's look at what it's like to work for an airline. Heather Poole is a veteran flight attendant who started by posted her stories on a blog, and has now collected them into a book.

I was actually really pleased with the author's writing. She is incredibly funny and her stories were collected well and written in an engaging way. I felt like I got to know her as a
Mar 22, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once when I was sitting in the first row on a connecting flight, the jump seat was broken so the flight attendant took an empty seat next to me. She was very chatty and told me all sorts of things about what it was like to be a flight attendant ("We can't take many sick days or we get fired."), terrorism ("If people knew what I knew, no one would be allowed to bring a carry-on on the plane."), and free passes ("My son -- he's 21 -- just loves Thailand!").

What I liked about this book is that it
Dec 22, 2016 Zazzu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mildly entertaining, but tabloidy-emaily in the quality of writing. Needs to be cattier to be a wicked entertaining has a whiff of that, but doesn't really fulfill that promise.
Mar 20, 2012 Alla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Cruising Attitude” by Heather Poole chronicles her adventures as a stewardess, including unruly passengers, flight attendant school, questionable living arrangements, dangerous flights, and crazy co-workers.

From a passenger willing to voluntarily switch her first class seat to the very worst seat on the plane just so she could see the movie screen better, to a fellow crew member who purposefully rammed his cart into a passenger’s seat, to encountering celebrities like Howard Stern and Oprah on
Ubah Khasimuddin
This is a great and easy read, a tale of how a lady becomes a flight attendant and the ins and outs of life as a flight attendant for a major American carrier. I found the book flowed seamlessly from one chapter to another, from her training woes to being the junior flight attendant to finally finding love in the air.
Poole's self-depreciating humor makes the story very personable, as if a good friend is talking to you instead of reading a book. Having worked for a major airline in customer serv
Tiffany Hawk
Sep 14, 2012 Tiffany Hawk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Believe it or not, I read this book while I was in labor. I know that’s a strange thing to put in a review, but when I tell you I finished it within a few days, you’ll see just how compelling I found it. I had been looking forward to it so much that I packed it in my hospital bag just in case I had a moment or two to peek. Anyway, a quick peek turned into “I couldn’t put it down,” so between contractions (early on), while the post c-section morphine made me itch so bad I couldn’t sleep, and pret ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received this in e-galley format from Edelweiss.

This was an extremely informative report on life as a flight attendant. It's a far cry from the COFFEE, TEA, OR ME days (never really sure they existed) and I discovered lots of interesting tidbits about the training and life of today's flight attendant. At first I feared it would get into too much detail (a section on how the drink carts operate turned out to be much more interesting than I first thought) but I was soon riveted. There was also the
Dec 23, 2012 Mtbike40 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
This was a fun and interesting read if you enjoy the continuing struggle of the aviation industry or fly a lot. Heater gives a fun and interesting perspective to life as a flight attendant. The glamor has certainly fallen away from flying and ever since 9/11 being a traveler has left me wondering what the heck is going on with the industry.

I fall into the category of a business traveler who has become tired of the near retirement, grumpy flight attendant that always seems to be on the flights I
Ashley Nelson
My respect for flight attendants just went up tenfold after reading this witty memoir. I honestly don't understand why anyone would want this job: the pay is low, the work conditions are horrible, the scheduling is a nightmare, the training is brutal, the requirements are picky and sexist. I believe the travel benefits used to be the main lure, but in post 9/11, those have all but disappeared. I enjoyed the behind the scenes feel and the almost too crazy to be true stories told from Ms. Poole's ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if this would be a book people who aren't flight attendants would particularly enjoy. As a flight attendant myself this was an enjoyable read as it's such a unique job that you can never really understand until you're living it and when you are there's something really comforting in talking to others living it as well or in this case reading their experiences. I work for a regional airline and Heather has mainline experience that was really interesting to read as far as what is the ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Now I know the training it takes to be a flight attendant--and I know I'd never be able to do it. I also couldn't live in those "crash pads", which is their term for apartments housing 5 or more flight attendants, temporary sleeping quarters for those in between flights. And it's also comforting to know that she had to put up with (and be sweet as pie to) nasty, obnoxious, ignorant people masquerading as passengers. I, too, have a customer service oriented job, and I get a lot of, ahem, "challen ...more
Ann Fisher
Sep 17, 2013 Ann Fisher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another blogger turned author who turns out an even better book than her insanely popular blog. This is another of those books that is better than it needs to be. It would be enough to have her stories of living in slum housing with other flight attendants and enduring the terrors of the probationary period, but this is all that plus a well-written and thoughtful account of the world of flight attendants. A fun read.
Alice Paterra
Amateurish, immature, juvenile. We are reading the author's blog or diary, in which she whines and complains and bitches about her job, her co-workers, her bosses, her customers (passengers). If I thought that every flight attendant thought the way she does, I would never fly again. Poor customer service, only whine whine whine.
June Schwarz
Aug 22, 2012 June Schwarz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this, but it was just appallingly written. It could've been funny, or interesting, but it read like a cross between a mediocre local newspaper column and a bad blog. It simply screamed, this is what ghostwriters are for!

If I hadn't found it in a bunch of free books, I'd be outraged.
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HEATHER POOLE has worked for a major U.S. carrier for more than fifteen years. Her work has been published in The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010, and her column, “Galley Gossip: Confessions from the Jumpseat with Heather Poole,” can be found on AOL’s award winning website, She has been mentioned in or on People Magazine, Good Morning America, 20/20, Fox and Friends, The Weather Chan ...more
More about Heather Poole...

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“Keep in mind that I have a lot of experience serving Diet Coke. You might find it interesting to learn that it’s the most annoying beverage a flight attendant can pour for a passenger in flight, because in the time it takes us to fill one cup, we could have served an entire row of passengers. For some reason the fizz at 35,000 feet doesn’t go down as quickly as it does for other sodas, so flight attendants end up standing in the aisle just waiting to pour a little more . . . and a little more . . . and a little more . . . until passengers sitting nearby become impatient and begin shouting out drink orders I can never remember.” 0 likes
“Flight attendant Sherly needs Prosac, Valium, and a shot of vodka after just thinking about working the trip.” 0 likes
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