Book Review: Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads

Lisa Niver's picture

In Heather Poole's insider memoir, Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, she says, “Just goes to show anything can happen if you just take a chance!” Her story will inspire many to finally take that next step and make their dreams a reality. While her anecdotes are not all of the fairy tale variety, many of her moments along the path to dream come true are sticky in many unpleasant ways! But she does share her hopes, and her disappointments and she does get to live the life she imagined.


Having worked  myself on a cruise ship, many of her tales of life in the air have a familiar quality. Most people imagine being a flight attendant or assistant cruise director is one long party. Sadly, there are moments even when you have your dream job where it is just a job! “Once I watched an entire group of passengers traveling to Haiti put a voodoo curse on a coworker in the middle of beverage service. I’ve seen a woman try to store her baby inside an overhead bin. Not too long ago a drunken passenger grabbed a flight attendant’s butt—right in front of his wife.” It is hard to get this job but don’t give up on your dreams. “Ninety-six percent of people who apply to be flight attendants do not get a call-back!” Even with those numbers, Poole makes it and shares the literal and figurative ups and downs! “Who wouldn’t love working twelve days a month…I did appreciate the flexibility, the freedom, the camaraderie, and the excitement.”


This insider look at turbulence, love in the air, coworkers and their lifestyles is a witty, inspiring, entertaining tale of flying the open skies.As she says, flight attendants “ odd hours and rarely get holidays and weekends off…it isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle…we’re away from home for days at a time.”


One of my favorite parts of the book is in the chapter called Barbie Boot Camp, where Poole talks about her roommate Linda and how she learns literally not to judge a book by its cover. “In fact, she became my inspiration later on in life whenever I met an obstacle that seemed impossible to climb.”  Poole demystifies the airline industry and brings us into a world most of us will never see. This page-turner has moments about hot beds, motor homes, worst flights, private flights with stars, and feeling like you have no life, but then your family reminds you, “Didn’t you just fly in from Paris this morning?” She does share the good and the bad and even her suggestions about how we should have less middle seats and perhaps, “Get rid of the last row.”




Lisa Niver Rajna is the Geography Awareness Editor for Wandering Educators