When air hostesses used to shop for passengers groceries

NEW DELHI, Nov 24:
What would you say about the idea of flight attendants picking up passengers from their homes on the way to the airport, and then making another stop to buy the meals that were served on board?
Can you imagine all air hostesses bringing their own bed linen to flights and at the end of the day cooking dinner for pilots and themselves? And the cabin crew chief sleeping with the money from in flight sales under her pillow.!
And above all, how about the Finnish cabin crew dancing to the tunes of Bollywood on India’s Republic Day that too on board a flight from Delhi to Helsinki. Yes, the dance video has more than 4.6 million hits on You Tube.
All these instances may be ‘humorous to be believed today’ but they comprise true anecdotes compiled in a 256-page book titled “Airborne: Tales from a thousand and one flights.”
Compiled by the cabin crew of Finnair, a Finnish airline, the book chronicles stories about interesting experiences of the staff during more than 1000 flights over the last five decades.
From the encounters of the air hostesses with ill-mannered passengers and well-known celebrities to the salacious details of washroom hook-ups, drawing on contemporary anecdotes as well as on decades of flight attendant history and lore, “Airborne…” is a collection of true stories written by customer service professionals of the sky.
The sequence of stories began spontaneously with one of our flight attendants sharing her experiences of jet lag on Facebook, followed by numerous similar accounts, cabin crew member Riitta Kiiveri writes in the book’s foreword.
It was on the occasion of the airline’s 90th anniversary that a team of 8 customer service professionals including Riitta Kiiveri, Noora Kunttu, Pirkko Saari, Christina Strandberg, Meriitta Ahtikari, Kati Kaivanto, Lene Malmstr√∂m and Tony Pokkinen thought of compiling these experiences into a book.
“Within two months, we had collected over 600 stories. Retired flight attendants joined in the reminiscing of flying with Aero,a n late Finnair, from as early on as the 1950s. One of the flight attendants we interviewed began her career in 1953,” says Riitta Kiiveri.
We received treasured photographs, newspaper clippings, and certificates of honour. The grapevine extended outside of Facebook, with several current and retired flight attendants contacting us and offering stories, she says.
These stories from five decades illustrate how the world and commercial aviation have changed, yet how flying for a living still continues to offer a fast-paced life full of excitement.
The trip from our crew centre to the rear galley is filled with stories of our divorces, illnesses of our family members, troubles of our teenagers, happy moments, work history before Finnair, studies, summer cottages and boats. We might not meet each other in next flights but we remember these stories forever, shares a flight attendant.
Hilarious incidents about how a flight attendant was looking for a passengers’ contact lens when it was still an unknown thing in Finland, how a company nurse showed up on her doorstep to check if she was actually ill when she called sick on a national holiday.
How the air hostesses had plans of shopping curtains in Stockholm and chocolates in Amsterdam while they were flying and how they would give directions to fasten the seat belts even when asleep, are few of the interesting anecdotes shared in the book, the profits from which will be donated to the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health.
“There are innumerable stories about flying, and as it has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation, reaching further and farther into all corners of the world, these stories have become increasingly vivid,” says Riitta. (PTI)


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