While listening to one of my favorite Pod-casts, The Stuph File Program with Peter Anthony Holder I heard the interview he did with Betty Thesky. Betty is a Flight Attendant on a major airline and has logged thousands of hours and miles in the sky. Beginning in 2005 she began to recount some of the more interesting moments while flying in a Podcast of her own Betty In the Sky with a Suitcase and recently she wrote a book about some of the more funnier moments up at 30,000 FT.
In a world where lately flying seems to have become a pain rather than pleasure with all the rules, not to mention the time you have to spend at the airport before even getting on a plane. I have to say, it is refreshing to find that humor in the air still exists.
Betty thanks for doing a Candid Conversations interview
B. Thesky: I understand that flying has become more of a hassle but the fact still remains that if you stuff 300 people in a metal tube for hours crazy things are bound to happen!
Cliff T.: Lets begin by getting an idea of what your podcast is about exactly what is Betty In the Sky with a Suitcase about?
B. Thesky: When I first started flying I especially enjoyed the funny stories the senior flight attendants and pilots would tell. When the new medium of pod-casting came about I started digitally recording pilots and flight attendants telling outrageous stories. My podcast is similar to an old fashioned radio show, it became so popular that a publisher came to me an suggested turning the best stories into a book. Life can be so surprising, I was not intending to write a book yet all the sudden I’m an author?
Cliff T.: How long is the podcast?
B. Thesky: I do a thirty minute show once a month. At first I was doing a show a week but quickly realized that since I edit and post the show myself I couldn’t couldn’t keep up the pace and fly full time.
Cliff T.: I bet the hardest thing is deciding what to put into the show as I am sure that you get lots of material, just how often do you get updates on the funnier side of flying?
B. Thesky: Lucky for me people the traveling public are always doing zany things.You would think that after 23 years in the air I would have seen and heard everything... But, people still surprise me!
Cliff T.: You also wrote a book with the same title. Betty how did you decide what material would get into the book?
B. Thesky: My co author and publisher did a lot of the editing. We wanted the book to appeal to everyone including kids, so some really funny stories that were too racy or off color didn’t make it into the book. There may be another book in the works to include them.
Cliff T.: Who would you say is funnier the passengers or the crew?
B. Thesky: Oh that is a tough question. Normally I would say the passengers but, did you hear that last week an Air France flight attendant was arrested for stealing from sleeping passengers on flights from Europe to Asia! I bet when she was saying goodbye and THANK YOU at the end of the flight she really meant it?! So I guess crazy is crazy whether it’s the passengers or crew, and I love the crazy people since they make the best stories!
Cliff T.: Wow that is crazy, I will have to sleep with one eye open if I fly trans Atlantic. Now I got to ask Betty, are any of the stories ones that include yourself?
B. Thesky: Of course! I star in many of the stories, I actually love to make fun of myself.
Cliff T.: Can you give us an example or examples of some of the things that you have seen while flying that is in the book?
B. Thesky: A passenger mistakenly flushing her dress down the toilet, a couple attempting to join the mile high club but forgetting to lock the door and landing in a pile in the first class aisle! A flight being delayed due to a ticking...not a bomb but a ...vibrator! Or general high jinks that the public are never privy too like... Once on a long haul flight to Honolulu, I was chatting with the pilots in the cockpit and the jump seater from another airline was talking about a prank he had seen crews do on a ferry flight (a flight with no passengers) involving toilet paper. You tuck the end tail of the toilet paper roll down the lavatory then unwind toilet paper the length of the airplane, then flushing. The powerful suction of the lav would then suck the toilet paper down, like a kid slurping spaghetti. Well, the captain just had to see this in action, even though we had a completely full flight. He told me to get everything in place and then call him when it was ready. I got one fellow flight attendant to guard the door to the lav in the back of the plane while I walked backwards up the aisle, unrolling toilet paper as I went. It must have looked outrageously insane to the passengers but it was, after all, a long flight in the middle of the day to a vacation destination, so I figured everyone would be willing to play along. I just kept telling people ‘it’s an experiment!’ and that piqued their interest. When the toilet paper was laid out the length of the aircraft, I called the captain and, when he stepped out of the cockpit. I gave the thumbs-up signal to my accomplice in the back and, she pushed the flush button. Well, that piece of toilet paper lifted in the air, waved in the air like a noodle, and SWOOSH! went down the lav. The entire plane erupted into applause and cheers and, the captain said it was the neatest trick he had ever seen on a plane!
Cliff T.: Are you planning a second book?
B. Thesky: Yes it’s in the works, I hope to also include some travel stories in the second book. I do a lot of adventure travel and have great stories, like... jumping of a moving train in Morocco and losing our camels in the Sahara Desert! We may call the next book Betty and the Jets!
Cliff T.: What does the airline think of your tales or have the even commented?
B. Thesky: I never say the name of my airline for fear of getting in trouble. I still really like my job and want to keep it. At one point I got an e-mail from the chief pilot and thought...oh no...I’m finally going to get in trouble! But he was e-mailing me to say how much he likes the podcast! Boy was I relieved.
Cliff T.: Have you had the proverbial hey I know you, your that person with the podcast and book reaction?
B. Thesky: I have managed to stay under the radar on the airplane. Except I did a book signing at JFK airport, I had gone though security in my uniform. Went into the bathroom and changed to do the book signing in a vintage stewardess outfit complete with a pill box hat. Would you believe the book store was right next to the gate I was flying out of...it’s such a big airport what is the chance of that? But, I changed back into my real uniform for my flight home. A passenger said “How did the book signing go” since I try to keep the book and podcast apart from my real job I said “I wasn’t doing a book signing” and the guy said “so why is your hair still pointed like a cone head from the pill box hat?” That was too close for comfort!
Cliff T.: Well it sounds like you have a lot of fun on and off the the plane. Thank you very much Betty for sharing your story I think it's great to see that the funny is still alive and well in the air.
Betty Thesky is an airline employee pod-caster and author. Making her one very busy bee. You can find out more re the podcast and the book at her website which is, www.bettyinthesky.com the link to the pod-casts and her book are on the site. You can also download the podcast in Itunes and the book is sold on Amazon.com
I spoke with Betty who is somewhere in cyberspace, maybe she was on a plane. I don't know. Got an interesting story person you want me to interview or cool gadget that you heard about that you wan the inside track on. Send me an email, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and come back soon.