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

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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 Gardens” Queens and finding love at 35,000 feet. The popular author of Galley Gossip, a weekly column for AOL’s award-winning travel website Gadling.com, Poole not only shares great stories, but also explains the ins and outs of flying, as seen from the flight attendant’s jump seat.

262 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Heather Poole

3 books104 followers
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, Gadling.com. She has been mentioned in or on People Magazine, Good Morning America, 20/20, Fox and Friends, The Weather Channel, Ricky Lake, New York Times, NBC New York, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, MSNBC, USA Today, The Times online, The New York Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, Woman's Day, Cosmopolitan, Martha Stewart Weddings, CondeNast.com Frommers.com, and more

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5 stars
544 (16%)
4 stars
1,043 (31%)
3 stars
1,274 (38%)
2 stars
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1 star
71 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 446 reviews
Profile Image for Petra X played the long game - and won.
2,383 reviews33.9k followers
June 23, 2015
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 . What do the books share that can be used to place them at the same point on the rating scale? Enjoyability is what. Each in their different ways was a 4 star read. But still, it is kind of hard to equate this book with Burmese Days and Heather Poole with George Orwell.

The author, as a flight attendant (I nearly said, 'air hostess' with all the Asian airlines 'fly me' connotations) was guiding into her seat a blind, wealthy old lady who said she wasn't a psychic but had 'the gift' and thence commenced to tell her all about how wonderful she was and what a great life she would have and become a famous writer. How come psychics never tell people that they are petty thieves, can be mean-spirited and think that people should sit quietly and give Hostesses of the Skies all the respect that such an elevated profession deserves?

So anyway, knowing that fame awaits her, she writes Stewardeath which at some point she realises is crap and decides to scale down to a blog which gets picked up by Harper Collins who commission her to write a book. It has to happen to someone! That has to be a fairy tale come true for a blog writer. Her blog is entitled ""Galley Gossip" and that's what this book is. It's all about life as a flight attendant, from the mega-arduous and difficult training college - knowing exactly how to serve a coke and how to work a plane with one or two aisles needs apparently three months or more training and refresher courses every year. Really?

Apparently flight attendants are very poor indeed, much more so than the average person going about their daily job. They need to steal sandwiches to eat and stock up on freebies from layover hotels. They are literally so underpaid even tights to wear with their uniforms are a major consideration. I know lots of flight attendants and they all have one thing in common without any exception whatsoever (even the author admits to liking a bevy or two) is that they all drink far more than any other group of people I've ever met. They pay their bar bills too. Perhaps that's why they are so poor?

The author really does like first and business class people, less keen on cattle class, but so am I, not that I have much choice. The year my mother spent dying I was flying back to the UK for a 3-week on stint and then back here for 3 weeks. 5000 miles each way. AA were very decent to me and gave me a letter giving me late, priority check-at the business desk which meant I usually got upgraded as well and I have to say you meet a better class of snack in business than coach.

Life as a flight attendant seems to be all about living in dreadful places, working with really annoying people and with luck finding a stunning attractive passenger or pilot to date. There is scarcely any talk of flying to exotic climes - she says you need seniority to be able to get those jobs, but when she does have the seniority she chooses NY to Vancouver and then Seattle, wtf?

This is the first ebook I have finished. I'm also reading The Colonel, the most depressing book I've ever read so obviously not night-time reading. Cruising Attitude is ideal for relaxing with at bedtime. I'm reading it on my new 7" phablet. It was only $70 but sends me Chinese advertising every now and again, ah so, read the location advertisers!

Fluffy + Light = Flighty. Exactly.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,284 reviews119k followers
July 5, 2021
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 unpleasantness these men and women have to cope with that she offers an eye-opening view into what it means to actually be a flight attendant. It begins with a seven-week Barbie Boot Camp that reminded me a bit of Cool Hand Luke. No box involved, but many, many ways to be invited to take a seat outside the facility. Fall asleep in class, you’re out. Late for class, you’re out. Look out an exit the wrong way during a drill, and buh-bye, and so on. She also offers slight views on her co-workers, ranging from disappointment to admiration. Poole is far too perky to really dish dirt and fess to despising anyone. If you are looking for juice on famous passengers, you might have to change seats to row Z, the one in the hangar behind the plane, ‘cuz that sort of thing just won’t fly here. She does offer a few instances of no-names-please oddities among the well-known set, and does have some kind things to say about a few celebrities. No name phobia there. She was particularly taken with how kind Mark Cuban was on her two shifts working his private jet, and gushes about the excellent manners of the members of his basketball team who were on one of those flights.

description
HeatherPoole - image from Medium.com

There are some amusing tales of how the ladies cope with living on fruit-picker wages, while having to find housing in not-so-fruit-picker rental markets like NYC.

You will learn a lot about the actual work involved in tending to passengers on a flight, about the hierarchy within the profession, and some surprising details about flying. Hint: ask for your own can when getting diet coke. For some reason it holds its fizziness long enough to take forever for your attendant to pour.

There are dating tales here, but nothing actually steamy. And some passing refs to some unnamed mile-high-club members. You will pick up some terminology that may or may not come in handy. My favorite was the term "air mattress," which refers to "Cockpit Connies" who have been issuing an excessive number of boarding passes.

And if you have it in mind that many flight attendants get into the profession in order to elevate their marriage prospects, you get a free upgrade. But others are there for the travel benefits primarily. And when your attendant is boasting about her grandchildren I doubt she is hitting on you.

In short, this is an informative, fun, enjoyable book. It will make you appreciate more what the attendants on your next flight have to put up with. Be nice to them. So put your book into an upright position, turn on your reading light and enjoy your flight.


=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to Poole's personal, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages

You should know that her FB page was last updated in 2015

Items of Interest
-----Quartz - February 27, 2020 - “A lot of us are suffering”: The dark side of the flight attendant lifestyle - By Natasha Frost - The skies are remain so friendly. Life's a bitch and then you fly.
-----Buzzfeed - June 28, 2021 - Flight Attendants Told Us The Wildest Things They’ve Had To Deal With by David Mack
Profile Image for Miles.
254 reviews14 followers
September 10, 2012
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 like?

Heather Poole provides the real deal, the inside scoop on the glamorous flight attendant life style. And, man, is it ever not glamorous. Who would do this work? And why?

You know how much flying sucks? OK, now imagine that it's your job, and you do it for 30 or 40 hours a week, and have to smile and pretend you like it. Then imagine you get paid really badly, and have to hot bunk it (share a bed) in dingy flop houses spread around the country where fellow attendants come and go at all hours of the night. Now imagine the passengers, the whining, complaining, needy, rude mass of humanity, who hate flying as much as any sane person would, and who you must passify, calm, and herd. Then imagine the polyester uniform you must wear, and the hair and makeup codes you must conform to.

If you do this kind of work, you do get travel benefits. Sort of. But they don't sound very generous, and of course every time you use them you have to do what? Get on another stinking aluminum tube and fly. No, ladies and gentlemen, this is a truly awful way to make a living, and we can only shake our heads in wonder at Ms. Poole's excited telling of adventures and misadventures over her 15 year career in the sky. Good on her, for creating a very readable memoir. She's got some real war stories. I loved the awfulness of the life she described. But I don't think she thinks her life is awful. I believe that she thinks it's been a rollicking good ride.

I guess that's what you'd want your flight attendant to feel - that this is a pretty good life, all things considered. So it's all good. Thank you Heather Poole for sharing your experience of work.
Profile Image for Diane.
734 reviews97 followers
April 3, 2012
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 shuttling back and forth between parents and grandparents, and one flight Poole flew had 12 unattended minors. She joked that the planes were literally held together with duct tape on seats, in the galley, etc.

She eventually moved on to a bigger airline, and she gives the reader a fascinating insight to the world of flight attendants. The first step was flight attendant school, or as Poole called it 'Barbie Boot Camp', which lasted for two months. Each day, fewer and fewer people would be at school; it reminded me of Demi Moore in the movie G.I. Jane, where recruits would disappear without a word.

Poole made a good friend in Georgia, a gorgeous Southern belle who had always dreamed of being an flight attendant. Her roommate was a Texas gal named Linda, who was a grandmother. Heather had her doubts about Linda, but they became friends too.

I learned many interesting facts about flight attendants. For example, they do not get paid until the plane backs away from the gate. While you're boarding and they are welcoming you and helping with your bags, they are not being paid. I think that is just plain wrong.

They must find crashpads to stay in, usually rented rooms in homes near their base airport. Heather and Georgia lived in a home owned by a Russian cabbie, where they shared a room with four other women, and there were three other bedrooms set up in similar fashion upstairs. And only one bathroom. It sounds almost like living on a submarine to me. (In fact, some people did have a bed-sharing agreement, like a submarine.)

There were even some flight attendants who lived in RVs in the employee parking lots at JFK airport.

Poole attempts to explain the reserve system, which sounded like the equivalent of hospital residents on-call system, but I didn't quite understand all of the intricacies of it. It is very involved, and the first time Heather was called to work on reserve, she messed it up and almost got fired, as she was on probation and could be fired for any small infraction.

In the 1970s, flight attendants averaged 18 months of employment, because they must be single and childless. Today, they last either a few months or an entire lifetime; there seems to be no middle ground.

Most attendants take the job for the travel passes; the ability to fly for free or for a very reduced rate. They can also have a few family members or friends fly for free. For the low pay and sometime abusive conditions, I'm not sure it's worth it. (Some of her stories of horrible passengers made me cringe. How can human beings act like that?)

Poole is a terrific writer; her book reads like a good novel. She tells her story with humor and pathos, and there's even some tension thrown in for good measure. I raced through the book, and it gave me a new appreciation for flight attendants.

One thing she said that stuck with me is that flight attendants appreciate hearing a "please" or "thank you". I think that it is only fitting that I end by saying 'thank you' to Heather Poole for writing this informative and entertaining memoir.
Profile Image for Kate.
392 reviews58 followers
August 23, 2012
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 care. Keep your four ice cubes and three splashes of Diet Coke.

But despite my feeling that some of her drama was trivial, I finished this book with a stronger understanding of why we need flight attendants. It's not because passengers get thirsty, or need to be reminded to fasten our seatbelts. It's because you can't put any group of 100 adults in a confined space without there being some kind of problem(s), and somebody needs to be the playground monitor. Sad fact.

Profile Image for Kelly Rice.
Author 6 books5 followers
May 1, 2012
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 the shocking revelations aren't shocking and the descriptions are so insanely vague that it all rings ... perhaps not entirely made up, but certainly exaggerated.

It was a fun read to pass the time on the bus though and I've been bowling tonight so I'm in a pretty good mood. We'll give one star for short chapters, another for her cheesy breathless writing which makes me want to read Sherri (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37...) and Debbie (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37...) again. Finally the third ... well, just to be nice I guess. That's what a night of bowling and beer will do to a book review.
Profile Image for Tara Chevrestt.
Author 26 books293 followers
February 3, 2012
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 lengths and what they symbolize, why you shouldn't date pilots, her own dating experiences with pilots, flying standby (been there!!!), flight attendant breakdowns, problem passengers, finding a place to live in NYC, the horrors of flying the Miami/New York or the Vail flight full of fur coats, and last but not least, working and living with her mother.

Full review and funny quotes on Book Babe:
http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2012/...
Profile Image for Erin Martin.
466 reviews
May 1, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Jim Dooley.
784 reviews41 followers
June 21, 2017
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 find what you want here. The only times that the writer will name-drop is when the story is favorable. So, Robert Redford is mentioned by name, along with how pleasant and unassuming he was during his flight. Others who are rude and expect non-stop star treatment have their antics described, but the identities are left for the Reader to contemplate. In fact, although the writer has experience as a flight attendant on two airlines, only one is mentioned by name (as it is no longer operating). There are many clues as to the identity of the larger carrier if the intrepid Reader wishes to pursue them, though.

The book really shines in three areas. The first is the “servant mentality” view held by much of the air-traveling public about flight attendants. Essentially, the behavioral attitudes roughly equate to those I’ve seen toward the wait staff in most restaurants. A very high percentage of flight attendants are college graduates and a fair amount are career changers. Although there may have been an early fantasy of living the part of a glamourous world traveler, those folks who are so out of touch with reality would be weeded out very quickly. Those who stay appreciate a lifestyle of flexibility as opposed to one of static routine. I took special note of the writer’s comment regarding how few passengers will look her in the eyes during conversation, and the rarity of the words “Please” and “Thank you.” When I was growing up, that was simple etiquette. It is a sad commentary on the American air-traveling temperament.

The second area is an intriguing … and nerve-wracking … overview of the hiring and training process. It is astonishing how easy it is to be released from employment as a flight attendant, especially during the training process. Many of us outside of the airline industry worry about layoffs. Flight attendants can worry about forgetting a key step in a procedure or notifying a higher-up in exactly the right manner. I’ve received many kudos for my performance over the years, but I don’t think my poor brain would take me through even two weeks of flight attendant training. These folks have to be sharp (and I mean in much more than appearance).

The third area is in helping us to understand the lifestyle. If a person wants to make a career as a flight attendant, there is very little ability to make plans with any level of security or certainty. The writer makes the case that it is almost the same as being an on-call doctor. Maybe you’ll have a full night’s sleep. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll be there for your sister’s wedding. Maybe you won’t. For someone outside of that system, it is very difficult to understand the inability to plan. Many of us would interpret it as trying to reach someone who doesn’t care. That is also why it is such a challenge to have on-going, meaningful relationships. Without seniority, there is not a lot of certainty.

Many people still have the view that the life of a flight attendant must be a sexual free-for-all. After all, they can have their pick of the desirable passengers after every flight, can’t they? And what about the “crash pad” dorm room settings where the sexes can mingle? Well, for those who want more of those stories, my suggestion would be to look at back episodes of the British television series, MILE HIGH. Although there are hook-ups, the writer is quick to assure us that regulations, fear of stalkers, and just plain being tired are deterrents to such frequent frolics. (Once again, my mouth dropped open as I read that there are passengers who complain that some flight attendants are not attractive enough … to the flight attendants! I don’t think that type of behavior would be tolerated in a Playboy Club!)

CRUISING ATTITUDE is definitely a book I recommend. It isn’t an apology, and it isn’t attempting to paint flight attendants as being better than their peers. At the very least, you’ll come away with an appreciation and more respect for the people who work to see that we arrive at our destination safely. At the most … well, at the end of my next flight, I have every intention of meeting the gaze of the flight attendant at the door and sincerely intoning, “Thank you so much.”
Profile Image for Ellis.
1,196 reviews130 followers
November 20, 2014
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 that someone has "ruined your vacation" because there are no more eggs, hurling obscenities because there's no more room in the overhead bin. Really?
Profile Image for Trichelle De La Cueva.
107 reviews24 followers
December 29, 2020
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 him to break up with her instead of her doing it herself, which irked me. She actually complains about him being a nice guy. All in all it was long and drawn out and not what I was hoping to read.
Profile Image for Lisa.
196 reviews16 followers
October 28, 2012
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 seems.

Author Heather Poole was encouraged by her mother to apply for a job as a flight attendant — the job her mother had always wanted. That first interview was a complete failure, but after college and a few years spent designing watches, she tried again. Her stories of flight attendant training school were really surprising — they are tough on those students! The whole thing seems designed to wear them down and weed out the weak. That’s probably a good thing because the job itself is not for delicate flowers. The hours are long, the schedule is unpredictable and the people you meet are crazy.

Poole does a great job of working in stories about crazy passengers and other flight attendants without giving too much away:

“I may not remember her name, but on the descent into New York she told me all about her ex-husband, a pilot who cheated on her numerous times with other flight attendants, and whose former mother-in-law is trying to get sole custody of the children using her job against her. There was another man who never told me his name, but I do know his first sexual encounter took place with a man twenty years his senior and now he only has a thing for older men — with red hair. Just like the man sitting in 22B. I couldn’t tell you their names, but I do know they’ll be spending the night in jail because he punched her after she scratched his face for daring to call his wife in her presence as soon as the flight touched ground.”

It’s like a soap opera in the sky!

And, of course, there are the celebrity encounters for the folks working in first class. That has to be one of the more interesting parts of the job. Poole talks about her time working on a private jet, the rich and powerful men that she met (and occasionally dated) as they were sitting in first class, and there are celebrity stories that read like gossip column blind items:

“So, here’s the galley gossip. He was one of the biggest pop stars of our time, and while he wouldn’t breathe the air at 35,000 feet without wearing a face mask, he had no problem scarfing down two first class meals…This actor known for having a thing for supermodels fell asleep with his hand down his pants in first class…The comedian who got kicked off of one of daytime tv’s hottest talk shows asked the pilot not to make any more announcements because her baby was sleeping…A Canadian who shot to the top of the music charts for her scathing lyrics wouldn’t allow a passenger in the window seat to pass by her in order to use the lavatory until quietly meditating with her first.”

I was really interested in the stories about the schedules and workload. As much as I travel now and the crazy schedule I keep, hers is so much worse! What they put flight attendants through ought to be criminal. The crazy hours, the backbiting, the competition for good flights — it’s all insane and one of those jobs you really have to love to put up with all of that.

This is a fun read for anyone who travels a lot. It gives you a whole new respect for the people serving your beverages (although after what she says about Diet Coke, I’ll feel guilty about asking for it!) and pretzels. It’s certainly an enlightening read for anyone interested in a career in travel. I could have skipped a lot of the stories about her love life and personal life in favor of more travel anecdotes, but it’s generally a pretty good balance.
Profile Image for Lisa.
272 reviews10 followers
May 25, 2014
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 continued this conversation. As a somewhat frequent traveler, I have always been interested in what it would be like to be a flight attendant. Turns out, it's a completely different world, and, well... it sounds mostly awful.

At times, though, the serious subject matter was presented so lightly that it seemed borderline ditzy, especially the chapter called "Barbie Boot Camp" in which the author described the horrifyingly gender normative training undergone by flight attendants. I think she probably wanted to keep the subject matter light, but it didn't quite work all the time.

After I read this book, though, I immediately embarked on a two-week business trip, and I did look at the crew differently. I wondered about the hotels they stayed in, which meals the pilots chose, etc. I even complimented the pilot on a very smooth landing because I learned that this is a meaningful compliment. Therefore, I'll call this book worth reading if not very intellectually or philosophically challenging.
Profile Image for Ubah Khasimuddin.
419 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2016
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 service, I enjoyed getting a flight attendant's perspective, as we often found flight attendants difficult to work with. Also, as a frequent flyer it was wonderful to know why certain things are done on a plane, why flight attendants are doing certain things and why sometimes they might be surely. Her funny passenger stories were interesting as well and allows me to see why perhaps after encountering such people so often flight attendants don't seem so happy and friendly.
For anyone who travels on planes a lot, this is a good book, it is not long and could probably be finished on a red-eye from LA to DC. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Yichen Wang.
14 reviews3 followers
August 28, 2017
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 literary masterpiece, but rather a really interesting conversation you would hear at a high-end bar or at a nice dinner from a charismatic person. Overall this was an entertaining read from cover to cover.
Profile Image for Kara.
5 reviews3 followers
October 5, 2012
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!

Profile Image for Kathleen (Kat) Smith.
1,612 reviews81 followers
March 7, 2012
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 what it takes to make it to a flight attendant. From the long and grueling training most don't pass, to the crazy stories of some of the things passengers expect while flying. Not to mention just where do they go in between flights, what happens when flights are delayed and what are some of the perks about being a flight attendant.

Heather Poole has been a flight attendant for various airline companies in the past fifteen years and has seen it all. Things we would never think about but that people have tried, done and some have been arrested for. She shares some celebrity encounters without mentioning the names of just how some use their status and some are strictly just like us as passengers. I think for me the most unusual story is that flight attendants don't get paid until the plane leaves the gate, which means, when faced with delays, they aren't getting paid to hear our complaints. Another crazy story is one passenger who packed his deceased mother in a garment bag to get her to her final destination to avoid the exorbitant fees to have her shipped any other way.

This book is packed with amazing and down-right shocking stories of just what a career in being a flight attendant really is like and for me, makes me appreciate what they do a whole lot more. Never will I see them the same after reading this great book. I received this book compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and LOVED it! This one rates a perfect 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and look forward to sharing this one with my readers. If you're a frequent flyer or are just interested in what it takes to be a flight attendant, you'll definitely want to check this book out.
144 reviews12 followers
March 20, 2012
“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 the airplane, to pilots two-timing their flight attendant wives and girlfriends, and other flight disasters and passenger confrontations.

This book is also informational for anyone wishing to pursue the career of a flight attendant. The author had spent decades as a stewardess and recounts a vast amount of stories—anything from the army-style training that flight attendants have to go through, to airplane near-accidents, the pitfalls of dealing with creepy passengers, and airline lawsuits.

This book is also interesting for anyone who ever flew on an airplane and wondered about the behind-the-scenes life of the staff. And as someone who did precisely that, I found this book particularly entertaining.
Profile Image for Tiffany Hawk.
Author 3 books36 followers
September 14, 2012
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 pretty much anytime my husband and son were sleeping, I continued to plow through it. As someone who used to be a flight attendant, I loved it for transporting me back to those early years, but I think anyone who is interested in the inside scoop on an crazy career will really enjoy the down and dirty details that are so accurate and the overall scope of what it’s like to fly. Poole’s voice is fresh and snappy and she just nails everything from how flight attendants immediately spill their life stories on the jumpseat to what it’s like to date when you’re never home to all the antics of a crowded crashpad. Must read!
Profile Image for Linda.
Author 17 books15 followers
April 17, 2017
For anyone who wants to become a flight attendant, or anyone who thinks this job is easy or glamorous, this book is for you. This book is more than what the title suggests; it's a very good look into what women and men go through to become those cheery, helpful servants of the sky. Training is tough, being a new recruit tougher, and if you think once their flight is over, that your crew bunks out at lavish or even 3 star hotels, think again. This book is an eye-opener, and you'll never see flight attendants in the same light. They work hard and train harder for the money, baby. A fascinating read start to finish.
Profile Image for Jen.
843 reviews
September 23, 2015
Loved it! I especially appreciated learning more about the flight attendant lifestyle. I, like so many others, thought about it as a career in my youth. I know now it definitely wouldn't work for me, but I have a greater appreciation for the hard work they do!
Profile Image for Mary.
495 reviews
October 7, 2017
I had no idea the life of a flight attendant was so chaotic! I've always respected airline employees, but knowing what they have to go through to get those positions brings even more respect. A very well-written, entertaining, illuminating memoir. Be kind to your flight attendants!
Profile Image for Madison McVeety.
98 reviews3 followers
May 1, 2013
Great book about being a flight attendant and what you might experience... Poole is an excellent writer and hopefully comes out with another book ASAP!
Profile Image for E.M..
Author 1 book2 followers
August 28, 2018
Page turner!

Everything you always wanted to know about the life of a flight attendant! Funny and interesting, I couldn't put this book down!
Profile Image for Paige Hayden.
64 reviews1 follower
February 12, 2019
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, such as author’s roommate “Dee-Dee”. I picked up this book to hear about the outrageous things people do while flying- not to hear about a random lady named “Dee-Dee”. No offense to Dee-Dee, but I just don’t care.

The stories that WERE about the passengers I found hard to follow and lackluster. People are inherently crazy, yes.. but I want to hear about bottom-of-the-barrel people. The fact that business-class patrons will take a tissue if offered isn’t the jaw-dropping drama I was looking for.

I did take away some learnings about flight attendant life. For example, flight attendants are only paid for their hours actually in flight, meaning that delays and cancellations impact them just as much as travelers, if not more. While interesting, the entire book was written so poorly that it was difficult to diegest. This book read like a first draft or perhaps a diary entry instead of the polished tell-all I was promised.
Profile Image for Ryan.
1,139 reviews143 followers
September 9, 2018
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 than bulk-pack and being separately plated).
Profile Image for S..
Author 5 books66 followers
April 24, 2021
Poole probably deserves the fourth star, but I'm going to go with the herd here and place it at 3.5. the text did flow, and Poole is pretty cool to hangout in Goodreads, but like Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter (which Poole herself only gives a 3), the material is not quite as fascinating as for lead dog of the pack.
Profile Image for Marika.
385 reviews42 followers
June 16, 2018
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.
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