Authors: Christine Churchill
Copyright© 2013 by Christine Churchill
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013931169
Gonos Publishing Company
Vero Beach, FL
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.
Fasten Your Seatbelts:
A Flight Attendant’s Adventures 36,000 Feet and Below.
Edited by: Patrick McCoy
2013 First Edition
This book is dedicated to all the crewmembers I have had the privilege of traveling with throughout my career; they are my extended family.
To my loving husband who has been supportive of this book and the airline lifestyle for these many years. His computer skills were priceless.
Lastly, I want to thank my parents for their unconditional love and for taking me to the airport when I was a little girl. They planted in me the thirst for adventure and the seeds of a dream.
ulfilling, exciting, terrifying and humbling best describes my career as a flight attendant. Despite the many changes in the airline industry, I still love to fly. I enjoy sharing the events of my countless trips around the world with other crewmembers, family and friends and have been told time and time again, “You need to write a book.”
These stories are all true and occur both on and off the aircraft. They are told to the best of my memory and portray my life and career in chronological order. Flight attendants are required to attend annual emergency training classes. We discuss actual emergencies and train for potential ones. I realized over the years that I have already experienced a good portion of those incidents. Fellow crewmembers jokingly say, “Hey, I don’t want to fly with you; you get in too many situations!”
I have participated in some very memorable and frightening events: decompression, revived unconscious passengers,
experienced critical low fuel situations, severe turbulence, lost hydraulics and all types of emergencies, heartbreak and hijinks on and off the ground. So, I am not surprised when I get these comments!
Of course, when I share the escapades of international flying, the wonderful and not so pleasant layovers, unforgettable characters and all the fun and scintillating times with crewmembers and passengers, their reservations are quickly dispelled! All I ask of you now is to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. And by the way, you might want to, “Fasten your seatbelts.”
mmediately after takeoff, the chimes rang signaling the flight attendants to pick up the phone. The captain asked with urgency, “Do you smell anything in the cabin?” A tiny window on the exit door beamed in a ray of sunshine filled with dust particles glistening in the air. The dust began to churn and thicken like fog. I suddenly realized it wasn’t dust: it was smoke. In disbelief, I peered into the coach section and my worst fear came true. A gray haze floated lightly throughout the cabin. I quickly relayed the information to the captain. We’re turning around,” he replied without hesitation. I said, “Terry, you grab the fire extinguishers and I’ll find the source of the smoke...”
n the morning of September 11, 2001, while stranded on the runway for three hours in Chicago, the captain informed
us a gate was finally available, but he would have to call the chief of pilots to brief him on our situation. A few minutes later the phone chimed, “We are a security risk and can’t come to the gate. They are going to storm the airplane from the rear. Disarm your doors in the back of the cabin…”