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Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  3,151 ratings  ·  431 reviews
Real-life flight attendant Heather Poole has written a charming and funny insider’s account of life and work in the not-always-friendly skies. Cruising Attitude is a Coffee, Tea, or Me? for the 21st century, as the author parlays her fifteen years of flight experience into a delightful account of crazy airline passengers and crew drama, of overcrowded crashpads in “Crew Ga ...more
Paperback, 1st ed., 262 pages
Published 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,151 ratings  ·  431 reviews

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Start your review of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet
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
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
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
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
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 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
Fun read. I now know a lot more about the airline industry and more specifically, the job duties and lifestyles of flight attendants in general.
Kelly Rice
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Tara Chevrestt
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Trichelle De La Cueva
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had to scrap this book. It was dull and boring. It felt like I was sitting across from someone who was talking to me about being a flight attendant, but the conversation was so boring that you couldn't even pay attention, instead thinking of laundry that needs to be done, or remembering that you need to call your parents back.
I give it two stars because there were moments in the beginning that kept me interested and the author is funny, although she strung her boyfriend along, thus forcing h
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a shallow book. What else can I say? It's basically a likable, long-form gossip column with no depth or substance. Any time it threatens to become substantial or compelling, it wades back to the shallow end. It's a Golden Retriever of a book -- not very smart, but nearly impossible to dislike outright. The epitome of light, insubstantial reading. There is no food for thought to be found between its covers, but you will come away with great empathy for the shitty conditions in which fligh ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Ubah Khasimuddin
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Yichen Wang
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a charming read-through. I didn't have a whole lot of interest in the topic going into it, but the author's charismatic writing and narrative style quickly got me hooked. By the time they made it past flight school, I was on-board (pun intended), and this became my nightly read. Give it a shot if you want a fun summary of what life is like as a flight attendant as well a glimpse on how they think, what motivates them, and what you can do to not be one of "those" passengers.

It's not a l
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!

Paige Fawcett
Feb 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Always one eager to hear juicy gossip, and with a title of “Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet”, this book immediately piqued my interest. If you are going to use a title like this, you better deliver the juiciest, craziest, and most unbelievable stories. While mildly entertaining, the story overpromised and underdelivered.

Majority of the story consisted around the author’s love life, her relationship with her mother, and the happenings of her fellow cohorts, su
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fly a lot. This book was a firsthand account of what flying is like by a flight attendant (for one of the big US legacy carriers). I didn't care much for the "what passengers are like" passenger interaction parts, but "what do flight attendants actually do", how they live, etc. was interesting. I didn't realize just how badly paid most of them were, or how inefficient for their time a lot of the airline meal preparation is (I'd assumed single-serving packaging for business/first meals, rather ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Looking for an insider's look at the life of a flight attendant? This is the ultimate fly and tell book. She talks about flight rules, why they exist, what attendants really think about you and more. Funny and informative.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
So many great stories! Flight attendants sure do see a lot of crazy things.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating memoir describing what daily life for a flight attendant really looks like when the glamour is stripped away.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, memoirs, humor
Cruising Attitude was an easy and fun read, but a bit repetitive.
Nelle Lewis
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great anecdotal read. I'm a frequent flyer and thoroughly enjoyed hearing what an attendant "really thinks" about so many of the quirky, and sometimes downright mad, things I see in the air!
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable quick read about life as a flight attendant in the '90s and early 21st century.
Amie Newberry
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting memoir of a flight attendant. Tons of funny, weird and strange stories of flight. Some of her observations seem a little condescending and snarky which is sometimes off-putting. I think she’s trying to be funny, but occasionally feels just rude and judgmental. Also some of her observations are misleading. She passes things off as ‘industry standard’ when that’s not always the case.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun read
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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2012
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
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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

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You’d think that with, well, everything this year has had in store for us, readers would flock to sweet stories with happy endings. But as...
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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
“I lived a lifetime in three days compared to Georgia. Whenever a trip would end I always felt like I’d been gone for weeks, not just for a couple of days. Though no one on the ground seemed to notice I’d even left. At work my life was on fast-forward, while at home it seemed to come to a complete stop. At” 0 likes
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