- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (Feb. 5 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312310064
- ISBN-13: 978-0312310066
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.6 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #396,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet Paperback – Feb 5 2003
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“...chronicles the circus of modern air travel...with an entertaining edge...” ―Andrew Essex, Articles Editor, Details
“In this day of air rage, nothing could be a more timely tonic than Elliott Hester's captivating observations...” ―Thomas Swick, Travel Editor, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“...should be required reading for every businessman and woman in coach.” ―Julie Cooper, San Antonio Express-News
“What a great book! Elliott Hester's insider view of air travel is by turns hilarious, insightful and even touching.” ―Larry Bleiberg, Travel Editor, Dallas Morning News
“Hester's witty tales and sensuous, cautionary parables, offer an insider's view to travel, sex, and social etiquette...Indispensable.” ―Nick Charles, Staff Writer, People
“With humor and poignant humanity, Hester confirms what you always suspected:...the flight attendants are thinking exactly what you are.” ―Jane Wooldridge, Travel Editor, Miami Herald
“Hester gives us a window-seat view of what life in the air is '*really'* like.” ―Scott Rosenberg, Managing Editor, Salon.com
“Everyone who's ever flown will recognize at least one character, one incident, one exasperating moment.” ―Marjorie Robins, Travel Editor, New York Newsday
“By turns funny, outrageous, and revealing.” ―Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Traveler
About the Author
Bestselling author Elliott Hester is a flight attendant, award-winning travel writer, and former Salon.com columnist. He writes, "Continental Drifter," a syndicated travel column carried by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, New York Newsday, and other daily newspapers. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida.
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On the leg from Chicago, I was on a smaller plane, second row from the back, sitting beside a fidgety kid. When the flight attendant came around to check before take-off, I asked her, "Have you seen this book?" She said no and looked curious, so I handed it to her. She glanced at it, smiled, asked, "Can I hang onto this?" and walked away with my book.
After take-off, she approached my seat. "Hey, there's a whole row empty at the front. Do you want to come sit up there?" Of course I did. "What can I get you to drink?"
So, I'm sitting in the front by myself, drinking for free, while - for the majority of the flight - this cute, blonde flight attendant with a southern drawl is sitting in her jump seat reading the book, trying to stifle her giggles. She would occasionally do a walk-through, see if anyone needed anything, get me another drink, but she would sit right down again and bury her nose in that book.
Now I'm sitting in first class, drinking for free, I bust out some cards and start showing off magic tricks to the lady behind me. We have a lovely conversation and, also drunk, she's thoroughly amazed by my mediocre card tricks.
Well, somehow word got out that it was the flight attendant's birthday, so one of the passengers passed a hat around and people collected money for her. Someone even wrote her a cheque.
As we approached Memphis, I had a nice buzz on. I popped in my headphones and played Rockapella's soothing version of 'Walking In Memphis'. As she handed the book back to me, I offered her one of the headphones to share the moment. There was even a light misty rain as we touched down. It could not have been more perfect if it was a movie.
Before leaving the plane, I signed the inside of the book, something to the effects of "Thanks for a perfect first flight" and gave it to her as a gift.
I'll never forget that flight, I'll never forget her name. Wherever she is now, thank you again.
Do I recommend this book? Yes. Yes, I really do.
How on earth anyone could, with complete honesty give this book 1 star is well beyond me.
It's certainly not the most brilliantly written treatise on air travel and in parts reads like the cheeziest of tabloid journalism ......BUT..like Jerry Springer....like him or not he's certainly entertaining.
While the author goes to great lengths to tell us ALL the stories are true..."I swear it....just ask ANY cabin crew if it's not", we nonetheless realize early on that many of the stories are little more than urban myths and while he puts a 'personal' twist to them, there is still enough doubt about them to wonder if they really happened......to HIM.
No matter.....they most likely happened to someone.
The author's easy conversational style however is engaging.....and like all great storytelling bartenders you WANT to believe him....and ultimately we do.
There is enough quasi-documentary 'clipping' type evidence to convince the casual skeptic ...others may take it with a grain of salt.
In either case....sit back...put your feet up so they bother the passenger in front of you...turn on the overhead and ENJOY!
But hang on tight....you're in for a bumpy ride!
Recommended as long as you don't take it all too seriously.
Based on the gushing recent review of this book in the New York Times, I eagerly anticipated an uproarious collection of "war stories" from the air. I was again reminded, however, not to attach too much credence to reviews with the "New York Times" imprimatur. This is a very tame, and unfortunately pretty predictable collection of air line experiences, interwoven with whining about hard working stewards and stewardesses, under appreciated by the public and exploited by the airlines that employ them. While initially the observations on the egos and cheapness of pilots were amusing the tune quickly rings flat by being overplayed. There is a bit of cautiously expressed, very non-specific, worker frustration over corporate greed. Yawn.
The book is entirely too safe, too politically correct, and too defensive about why Hester believes passengers should be satified with the food and service that they get. He is very careful not to go out on a limb or risk enough bite to compromise his position (so you kind of wonder to what extent his travel column is reliant on travel industry support). You get the sense that the flight servers view themselves as doing a favor to passengers who, as a whole, they regard as annoying, insufficiently docile, and underappreciative.
My sense was that the exceedingly boring chapter "The Mile High Club" discussing sex in the air was viewed as essential by the publisher to sell copies. While I didn't expect (or what) graphic descriptions, I did anticipate anecdotes that were at least entertaining in terms of being unique and absurd.
I don't believe I laughed out loud once reading this. While generally "okay", in light of the immense potential for such a book, this was a crushing disappointment.
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