Tag Archives: pilots

Flight attendant uniforms are about more than just style

get-attachment.aspxI wrote Flight attendants uniforms are about more than style for Mashable.com February 3, 2015

“Have you seen what I have to wear?” a first officer said when she overheard me talking about American Airlines‘ new uniforms. “A scarf,” she hissed. She may have used the f-word.

“Pilots don’t wear scarves, we wear ties. TIES!”

Got it? They wear ties.

Not long ago I wrote about how all anyone really needs is a scarf to look like a flight attendant. A scarf — and gold wings and stripes.

When it comes to stripes, flight attendants have two, first officers wear three, and the captain gets four. That’s one way we can tell each other apart, though it doesn’t mean passengers recognize the difference.

Once a celebrity asked the pilot on my flight for a cup of coffee after he stepped out of the cockpit during boarding. He wasn’t wearing his hat or blazer — but his stripes were visible. Still, he’d been mistaken for a flight attendant. You should have seen his face.

“As soon as we ditch pilot hats in the terminal, we look like ticket agents,” said Chris Manno, a pilot with a major airline.

So do I, and it’s why I don’t stand near the ticket counter. Except for the wings and two gold stripes around my wrist, I look just like an agent — except I don’t have the codes to look up the answers to questions about connecting gates and departure times. Passengers get mad when I don’t have an answer. I don’t know if they don’t see my wings or stripes — or they just don’t care.

But as much as I don’t like being mistaken for a gate agent, I need passengers to recognize I work for the airline. I need passengers to recognize I work for the airline.

I was interviewed recently by the New York Times about flight attendant uniforms, after American revealed their new ones. The reporter wanted to know if it was possible to feel stylish as a flight attendant, or if it is just a uniform, like a mail carrier or a mechanic.

My first thought was: Just a uniform? JUST A UNIFORM?

I’ve never noticed anyone checking out a mailman or mechanic when he walked by, like the way people look at flight attendants when they walk through the terminal. Even I stare at attendants from other carriers, particularly the foreign ones. They look so great.


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A little bit about groping, poking and smacking flight attendants on the plane…

1373691534_731640c452Passenger accused of groping Spirit Airlines flight attendant originally appeared on NBCNews.com.  (NOTE:  They left out a story I shared about a pilot who was smacked on the behind by a female passenger sitting in the exit row. “Woo get some!” she yelled out for an entire airplane full of passengers to hear.  So ya see it’s not just flight attendants who are getting groped, poked,  and smacked.)

Heather Poole, a veteran flight attendant for a majorU.S. airline, has seen her share of passengers acting out on flights, though she says the misbehavior has changed over the years.

“Today, passengers are more likely to get aggressive with us than touchy feely in a sexual way. Not to say it doesn’t happen,” said Poole, author of “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.”

“Recently, a female passenger hit me on the butt hard as I was passing by. She (was) angry because I stepped on her toe.”

A male passenger once asked Poole if he could lick her, she said. “The answer was no. No written warning was issued.”

When confronted with a flier who seems to have amorous intentions, Poole says she stops serving alcohol and removes herself from the situation by sending in another flight attendant to deal with the passenger. Most of the time that’s all it takes, she said.

“Trust me, there are some passengers who might live a lot longer if they keep their hands off certain flight attendants,” Poole added.


[Photo credit:  TheZipper]

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April 10, 2013 · 4:09 pm

Air Force Reservist / Airline Pilot shows off his Cruising Attitude


 Just finished reading your book Cruising Attitude and loved it! Flight attendants are the true heroes of our industry! I have been a pilot in the airlines for 13 years (seven years at a commuter and six at a Dallas based LUV company) and your stories ring true from crash pads to the overnight hotels. What was best about reading your book is it keeps me motivated to return to my civilian job and the industry – despite all it’s hardships I can’t see myself doing anything else.

 I am an Air Force Reservist and my unit was mobilized earlier this year to support Operation Enduring Freedom. I am currently deployed on a 6 month tour to the middle east and flying missions over Afghanistan (not as a pilot but as a mission crew). After 12 years of airline commuting I finally moved to north Dallas so I could be in a domicile and spend more time with my wife and 3 little boys – the irony is I have spent more time away from them this year than in the last 12 due to the military :) The good news is I hope to be home for Christmas and back to my company in January – can’t wait!  Thanks again for a great book and good moral boost! Hope to see you in an airport or on a commute sometime – my treat for coffee! –  B. M. Lt Col, USAFR / First Officer Southwest Airlines

[This letter means so much to me.  And you better believe I’ll be the one buying the coffee – not the other way around – as a way to say thank you for serving our country and keeping us safe.  Seriously, how cool are these photos?  That’s my book on a mission!]



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Letter from a pilot

This is NOT Dave. (Photo courtesy of Caribb)

I love this letter.  I really do.  Not just because it’s from someone who works in the airline industry – although these are always my favorite! – but because it’s from a man, who happens to be a pilot, who decided to give a book about flight attendants a shot, and liked it!  This after reading the chapter about pilots, chapter 13, I think: Dating Pilots (Why I want to say no when the answer is yes, yes, yes!)

Hi there. I saw you on TV about a month ago and thought “why should I buy her book of sensational, inaccurate airline information?” (I fly for one of the other big airlines) so I checked it out of the library and read it. I have only one thing to say – GREAT JOB! I loved it. Great writing, and totally accurate information. Now I plan to buy a few copies and give them to my friends. You know what that means, for a cheap pilot (I guess I wasted at least one word there) to spring for a book. I look forward to your next book. – Dave

PS:  Just in case you never heard the classic flight attendant / pilot joke – “Do you know what a pilot’s primary form of birth control is? Answer: their personality. “Do you know what their back up is?” Answer: their layover clothes.

Think this is what may have given Dave the wrong impression about my book...

Or maybe it was this…


July 22, 2012 · 10:31 pm

Heather Poole & The Secret World of Flight Attendants (my interview with Peter Greenberg)

[This post originally appeared on PeterGreenberg.com]

Every week we report on all the craziness that goes on up in the air, but we rarely get to hear from the first person on the scene—the flight attendant. That’s why we always try to talk to and listen to Heather Poole, author of the New York Times bestseller Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet. Peter sat down with her to find out about her new memoir, her travel tips and her biggest passenger peeves.

Peter Greenberg: Heather, I have to tell you in the interest of full disclosure, I have actually trained in the simulators, both the cockpit and the cabin, so I’ve done what you’ve done. I believe if you can’t appreciate the process, you can’t value the product.

And so I’ve actually worked a couple of flights, and I have to tell everybody it is not an easy job. At the end of that, I needed a vacation for just one cycle of doing these turnarounds. I was done for a week.

Heather Poole: I know, but we are survivors as flight attendants. You have to be to do this job. You are awesome to have walked a mile in our shoes. You should run for airline CEO.

PG:  Let’s talk about your book. It’s great memoir that also has some practical tips in there. It’s packing advice, but also why it’s a bad idea to fall for pilots. Help me out on this one, Heather…

HP: Because of the mysterious lifestyle of the flight attendant, everyone assumes that we’re all getting together with pilots. But you have to remember, there are so many more of us than there are of them. I don’t think it’s happening any more than it happens in other jobs. It’s just that at the end of the day, we end up at a hotel, and everyone’s imaginations run with that.  Remember the pilot looks more like Danny DeVito than he does Rob Lowe. I’m sure pilots feel the same way about us flights attendants in a lot of cases too to be fair.


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AOL’s You’ve Got video series features “the real life of a flight attendant”

It’s not my favorite interview, but it came out much better than I thought it would.  Honestly I was kind of nervous about this one. I can’t tell you how many times we had to stop filming because of cars honking, airplanes landing, helicopters hovering above, or because the wind was blowing way too hard. “I’ve never had such a difficult shoot,” said the producer an hour into it.  He was talking about my hair.  It was all over the place.  Each time we had to wait for the noise to die down, I’d completely forget what I was saying.  I now have an all new respect for reporters who film on location.  Trust me, it’s much harder than it looks.

Description: Writer and flight attendant Heather Poole discusses common misconceptions about air travel. Poole has worked for a major carrier for more than 17 years and is the author of “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.” (1:29)

CLICK HERE to watch YOU’VE GOT HEATHER POOLE.  And find out why love isn’t always in the air – or on the ground.

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For flight attendants, seniority means shorter skirts. Here’s why…

10 Flight Attendant Secrets is featured  in the May / June issue of Mental Floss Magazine.The following excerpt originally appeared on MentalFloss.com May 3

In the current issue of mental_floss magazine (get a free issue!), veteran flight attendant Heather Poole revealed 10 workplace secrets, including this one about the length of her skirt.

Our tenure on the job doesn’t just determine which routes we fly and which days we get to take off; it also affects the hierarchy in our crashpad, an apartment shared by as many as 20 flight attendants. Seniority is the difference between top or lower bunk, what floor your bed is on, and just how far away your room is from noisy areas such as doors or stairwells.

Seniority even determines the length of our skirts—we can’t hem them above a certain length until we’re off probation. Afterward, it’s OK to shorten the hem and show a little leg. Some of the friskier pilots take advantage of the long hems; they know that new hires tend to be more flattered by their advances than senior flight attendants.

[Heather Poole has worked for a major carrier for more than 15 years and is the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.]


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