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Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet Paperback – February 5, 2003


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Plane Insanity: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet + Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet + Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (February 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312310064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312310066
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's hard to believe that the stories in Plane Insanity, the hilarious book by Elliott Hester, are true. But they are. Before you read even a single page, you know you're in for a wild ride just from the subtitle: A Flight Attendant's Tales of Sex, Rage, and Queasiness at 30,000 Feet. Hester has encountered just about everything in his 15 years of flying the skies or "riding tin," and he recounts these laugh-out-loud encounters with plenty of attitude and self-deprecating humor. Not to spoil the fun, but a few juicy tidbits include Hester as the hapless victim of a child's projectile vomit, chasing a sparrow around the cabin, mistakenly putting a woman on the wrong flight, and recalling the unfathomable account of an inebriated man defecating atop a liquor cart, to the horror of passengers and crew. Just when you think the stories can't get anymore outlandish he outdoes himself with the titillating antics of amorous couples who vie for membership in the infamous Mile High Club. And did our Mr. Hester himself ever become a member of this elite club? You'll have to read the book to find that out. Believe me, you'll be glad you did--this is the one of the year's funniest reads. --Jill Fergus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In his debut book of hilarious essays, syndicated columnist Hester expertly recounts "lowlights" from his 16-year career as a flight attendant for major U.S. airlines. Like an angrier, more street-wise Dave Barry, Hester zeroes in on bad trips, in-flight fighting, intolerable co-workers and airline procedures, broken airplanes, bad layovers and sex on airplanes (aka the "Mile High Club"). Addicted to "travel by whim," Hester isn't complaining "The ability to fly for next to nothing is the reason I took this job." He's just sharing: "I once saw a drunken couple puke on each other until they looked as if they'd emerged from a pool of oatmeal. I watched a smug-faced man receiving high altitude fellatio from a woman he'd just met on the flight," as well as "full-blown airplane brawls, passenger stampedes, a flight attendant in the midst of a nervous breakdown, passengers in various stages of undress, and stressed-out flyers attempting to open the emergency exit six miles above the Atlantic." These and other stories (an onboard robbery in which $500,000 was stolen on a 727) will be a revelation to anyone who has flown; Hester's careful, well-paced descriptions show that what happens behind the scenes is worse than one could imagine and that modern attendants take this craziness for granted. Hester also provides a wide assortment of various other true-life airline shenanigans taken from newspapers and wire service reports, which adds to his book's lurid charm. 7 b&w illus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It was an easy read, and hard to put the book down.
Winsong
I fly frequently and have always wondered what kind of fun story's flight attendance have.
P. Hubble
Hester writes with great humor and a very entertaining style.
D. Clancy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michael T. Rognlien VINE VOICE on July 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on a layover in Phoenix and didn't put it down until I was finished. As a very frequent business and personal traveler, I've seen many of the "nightmare" passengers described with such wit and humor by Mr. Hester.
It's always amazing to me how flight attendants are frequently treated like sub-humans by passengers, and how many people seem to lose all sense of tact and personal dignity once their boarding pass is taken. Having witnessed air rage, carry-on's the size of Texas, drunks, brawls and a million other human failings, reading Mr. Hester's flight attendant perspective confirmed what I've always suspected - they deal with a LOT, they're in a thankless position, and they're never appreciated until some heavy turbulence hits.
HIGHLY recommended, whether you're a frequent traveler or not - the humor is universal.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Maloney on January 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Question: What happens when you combine from 100 to 350 human beings, confine them in a cramped space for hours on end, and move them around the earth at 500 miles an hour at an altitude of 30,000 feet?
Answer: You create a laboratory for the observer of psychological pathology- or more plainly, you have the antics that occur on a typical airliner on most days in any year.
In" Flight Insanity", Elliott Hester provides the reader with "highlights" of his sixteen-year career as a flight attendant.
Having traveled a fair amount in my life, I know firsthand that flying is nothing exotic. Increasingly, air travel is an uncomfortable trial to endure -- it's "what we have to go through" in order "to end up where we want to be".
Hester's book is rollickingly funny! A breezy read -- detailing incredible, yet entirely believable stories as viewed from the plane's galley.
While I have heard all kinds of flight attendant joke, and laughed at quite a few, by the end of Flight Insanity, I had a new respect for the challenges of this beleaguered profession. The attendants get the last laugh!
Through his stories, Hester provides some great detail into odd tidbits of factual information on air travel and the industry itself. The human beings - passengers, pilots and attendants themselves, are a curious mix at high altitudes. If you travel by plane at all, I highly recommend "Flight Insanity."
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
PLANE INSANITY isn't insane ENOUGH. You hear about wilder and wilder doings on airplanes nowadays. The most famous being when a businessman defecated on a serving cart. (The runner-up might be the high-school kids who had a wet T-shirt contest on a flight.) It's those ludicrous, bewildering stories that you expect to hear in this book. But it's not really what you get. The tales of passengers freaking out, having a little midflight sex, growing belligerent over a lack of overhead space, getting ill -- it's all very mild and routine. Stuff you've probably seen yourself. You'd think with sixteen years in as a flight attendant, this author would be able to expose fantastically improbable moments of jaw-dropping stupidity/insanity/hardheadedness/etc. Doesn't happen. A few of the stories make you laugh, but nothing really socks you over the head. This is a book for anyone who wants to nod his or her head in agreement that plane passengers can be a tough lot to please. (One "outrageous" scene is described like it's the zenith of Sadean debauchery, and all we're hearing about is two women who strip to their undergarments.)
For a flight attendant, this guy can write. His metaphors are a bit broad, but they are amusing.
Anyone expecting the "Kitchen Confidential" of the flying business will be disappointed.
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43 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. McKeon on February 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Since misery likes company, I was interested in reading this as I fly a good deal. Additionally, my philosophy is when things are incredibly tedious and frustrating the best tactic for maintaining your sanity is to mock absurdity and celebrate the outrageous.
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.
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