6 stories from a veteran flight attendant

In 'Cruising Attitude,' flight attendant Heather Poole shares stories from her years in the air.

6. Working with your mother can be an interesting experience

A flight attendant in 1949 By Chalmers Butterfield

After dreaming her entire life of being a flight attendant, Poole's mother became one in her late 40s – a development that took a turn for the surreal when she began living at Poole's apartment building in New York, the "crash pad" where many flight attendants stayed when not working. On a few flights, by quirks of scheduling Poole and her mother were assigned to work on the same plane, and once when that happened, a ticket agent announced over the intercom that a mother-daughter flight attendant team would be serving passengers that day. "The response can only be compared to that of telling a bunch of kids that Mickey Mouse and Goofy will be on board handing out snacks," Poole writes of passengers' reactions. Once, a passenger got snippy with Poole's mother when she accidentally spilled a small amount of water on the armrest, and Poole was quick to defend her mom. "I am not a confrontational person," Poole writes. "But no one was going to treat my mother like that!.... I stood right there to make sure the guy didn't say anything disrespectful."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

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If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

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We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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