Tag Archives: stories

A flight attendant Christmas story

My roommate & I working on Christmas Eve

I graduated from flight attendant training on the 8th of December in 1995. Two weeks later, on Christmas Eve, my roommate and I were called out to work a trip – together. The crew scheduling God’s must have been smiling down on us that day because it’s not often a flight attendant gets to work with their roommate who also happens to be their best friend on reserve. Although we were scheduled to layover in Buffalo, or maybe it was Albany (I can’t remember), we knew we were lucky. By the way, that’s us in the photograph.

What I remember most is glancing out the window and seeing rooftops and – Oh. My. God! – we were seconds from landing and I still had first class meal trays out in the cabin! I ran like crazy to collect everything and lock it up in the galley before we touched ground, barely making it to my jump seat in time. The Captain never made the prepare for landing PA, even though he swore he did when I called him on it later, which is why I had no idea how close we were to landing. As if that weren’t stressful enough for a new-hire, things went from bad to worse (at least in my head it did) real quick.

As we taxied to the gate, I began to make an announcement, you know the one. “Ladies and gentleman, welcome to….to….to -” Oh no…where the heck are we?! For the life of me I could not remember. My brain was shot after having flown to so many cities in just two weeks on the job. With my heart pounding like crazy, I frantically searched my pockets for the flight itinerary


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One of my scariest flights ever…

One of the scariest flights I ever worked also happens to be one of the first flights I ever worked for an airline called Sun Jet International Airlines. I lasted three months before moving on. Sun Jet is no longer in business. I’m going to guess this had a lot to do with gimmicky $69 flights to cities like Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, and Long Beach. While cheap tickets attract a lot of passengers interested in saving a buck, they don’t always cover the cost of maintenance and upkeep of aircraft for smaller airlines. At least that’s what I assumed based on the fact that I quickly became accustomed to the FAA meeting our flight in Long Beach, California every Tuesday afternoon and taking the equipment out of service. And this had nothing to do with all those duct taped armrests or the black plastic garbage bags some passengers had to sit on after they discovered their seat cushions were soaked with urine. Because that’s what happens when you mix cheap tickets, a quick aircraft turn-around on the ground, and seventeen unaccompanied minors on a previous flight! Hey, better a damp seat than no seat. Unfortunately that was the only alternative most of the time, because our flights were always full.

I should have known when I boarded it was going to be a strange flight based on the aircraft lighting alone. Throughout the all-economy class cabin the side wall lights were on the blink and flickering in the dark. This made the airplane feel less like a disco and more like a haunted house. But it wasn’t until we hit severe turbulence half an hour before landing in Dallas that the creepy mood lighting actually became a problem. It started to freak the passengers out. At one point even I began to feel like I was starring in my very own Stephen King horror movie at 30,000 feet.

“Flight attendants take your seats!” boomed the Captain’s voice over the PA.


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Celebrity passenger claimed to have “special powers”

Tom Cruise.

It’s not often I get to start a Galley Gossip post with that name! But that’s the name several readers mentioned after I asked if they could guess which celebrity passenger offered to assist an unconscious woman with his “special powers” on the airplane. Honest to God, I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as this!

It’s interesting to note that Gary Busey, Depak Chopra, Uri Geller, and the Director General of the FBI were also mentioned as celebrities possibly possessing a very unique power. Tom Cruise, however, won the poll by a landslide with twenty-three votes. I wonder if Mr. Cruise is even aware that so many people believe him to be to powerful?!

“Tom Cruise has one power, jumping on Oprah’s couch!” said a reader named Jeff after I posed the question.

Another reader named Neil said, “It’s true. Tom Cruise had special powers over my wife at one time. She’s outgrown him though.”

Now that I’m thinking about it perhaps Tom Cruise does have – or had – special powers! Then again maybe I just have a lot in common with Neil’s wife! Whatever the case, I do know that the celebrity passenger in question was not Tom Cruise, or any one of the other people mentioned above. Unfortunately I am unable to name the passenger (I’d like to keep my job), but I will tell you exactly what happened. Just remember this is Galley Gossip, first class 767 galley gossip to be precise. That said I’m fairly certain the source is a reliable one.


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(Photo courtesy of Cristilive)

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Chapter 11 – Dating pilots: why I want to say no when the answer is yes, yes, yes!

An excerpt of the first draft…..

Commercial pilots make good money.  At the majors they start out at around $25,000, but once off probation their salaries skyrocket with many topping out around $200,000.  I’ve even heard of some making closer to $300,000.  And yet they’re known for being cheap.   This might have something to do with the fact that so many will dig around inside seat pockets for discarded newspapers after a flight.  Or they’ll wait around to eat whatever is left after the flight attendants get first dibs on first and business classs passenger leftovers.  I can’t figure out why they refuse to purchase food and reading material in the terminal when Dockers and Florsheim shoes are usually on sale somewhere in the US.  Some flight attendants will joke that they have to support a girl in every port, while others will just assume they’re paying for alimony, child support and a boat.  Then again it does cost a lot to own your own expensive airplane. 

One of my flight attendant friends dated a pilot who took her to a McDonalds drive-thru so they could get to an event in time for free parking.  Then he threw a fit when they didn’t find it.  Another flight attendant dated a pilot for eight years and said he would  have rather walked barefoot uphill in a snowstorm before paying for the convenience of valet parking.  That same pilot looked for a coupon to take her out to dinner on her birthday.  A different pilot wouldn’t buy ice cream for the flight attendant he took out on a date because the store had a minimum amount for credit card purchases.  He went to search for an ATM machine but then refused to take any money out because it charged a fee. 

Even I have had quite a few experiences with cheap pilots.  One guy, I call him Captain CZ, couldn’t understand why a woman would prefer a diamond to cubic zirconia when it was impossible to tell the difference.  He even bragged about giving his mother a used CD and a cheap bottle of perfume from the grocery store for Christmas one year.  After dating him for three months, we broke up in Deauville, a picturesque seaside resort in the South of France, after he refused to give me a bite of his ham sandwich.  I actually took a photograph of that damn ham sandwich.  That way I wouldn’t forget and make the same mistake twice.  Okay okay so it may have been more than twice, so what!  I blame Captain Gary for that.  First impressions count and he really was a great guy.  The point I’m trying to make here is I learned my lesson and never dated pilot again! 

(Guess it might be important to point out I have yet to run into Gary again either.)     

Photo courtesy of Ti.Mo


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Funny flight attendant book – Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase!

Ever since reading the book Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase: Hilarious Stories of Air Travel by the World’s Favorite Flight Attendant, written by Betty N. Thesky with Janet Spencer, I’ve been tempted to do a spin in the middle of the aisle as soon as I’ve finished serving my three rows to alert the flight attendant working on the other side of the cart that I’m ready to move. Normally we’ll patiently wait for our partner to finish serving or we might fill a few cups with ice, restock the cart or offer to make a few drinks, but in Betty’s hilarious book two flight attendants add a touch of disco pizazz to the boring beverage service routine. One of these days I’m going to do it – the spin.

If you’re looking for a book full of funny stories about flight attendants, pilots, ground crew and even passengers this is it! Reading it is like going to dinner with your favorite crew on a fun-filled layover. The crazy stories just keep on coming! While the book is full of laughs, there’s a lot to learn, too. Throughout the book Betty answers common questions asked by passengers every day. For instance…

The reason you have to stow your carry-on items and put away your computers is to avoid the possibility of having them act like airborne missiles.

The reason you have to return your tray table to its upright and locked position is so you won’t impale yourself on it if the plane crashes

The reason you have to return your seat to its upright position is to make evacuation easier in event of a disaster, to minimize whiplash, and to prevent you from slipping under your seat belt in the event of a sudden stop.

By far my favorite thing about the book is all the interesting facts at the bottom of each page, and there are 139 pages!


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Traveling brides – it’s all about the dress

“Cinderella dresses belong in fairytales, not on airplanes!” 

Oh yes I did pack this dress inside my crew bag!

That’s a line from the Galley Gossip post I wrote giving advice to brides travling with a wedding dress that inspired the formation of the flickr photo group Traveling Brides – it’s all about the dress!   The group was also inspired by a few tweets about airport bars…


DeAnnSmithkc: I was very very lucky. I flew Northwest with my dress (bought in Ark, flew home to KC) & dress got a whole row to itself.

hdavis: I carried my wedding dress on all the way to Fiji from Ohio. Almost left it in a bar at LAX, but I digress

Heather_Poole: Attention brides, do not leave the dress in a bar at LAX, like hdavis ALMOST did. Might be a good idea to skip the bar just this once.

JennaSchnuer: Wear the dress to the bar/on the plane

gray_hardy: You may get free drinks that way, too! (wearing wedding dress to air-bar)

Heather_Poole: I hereby declare today wear your wedding dress to a bar/on the plane day! (Free drinks for everyone!!)

muftopmommy: Ever try to tinkle in a wedding dress? I’d rather buy everyone drinks!

Heather_Poole: Brings us back to less is more – no more poofy dresses!

Everywhereist: Can I gush about my wedding dress? So easy to pack – it was supposed to be wrinkly! (Photo posted on flickr group Traveling Brides)

Heather_Poole: Beautiful.  Now you’ve got me thinking.  Let’s start a flickr photo group and share our photos!

So that’s what I did.  I have yet to add my own photo, but I will soon. 


1 . Go to Traveling Brides and post a photo of your wedding dress
3.  Tell us exactly how the dress traveled to your wedding
4.  Share your wedding dress travel tips
5.  Feel free to link back to your own blog

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