Dumpy Gilby related the time we had just debarked from the crew bus
in Honolulu when she went into the lobby snack shop to buy a soft
drink and two black ladies approached her and said "I thought
you just left". She said no, she was a member of the incoming
crew; they must be thinking of someone they had seen boarding the
bus as the outbound crew. They said "well you all look alike
to us, so it’s an honest mistake".
From Linda Austin:
The cabin crew on Flight 501 to HNL will never forget a trip with
Mary Moffett as Senior Flight Attendant. A female passenger seated
in the First Class lounge asked Mary for a needle and thread to fix
a button. Mary gave her one from her purse; with that the passenger
whipped off her blouse and sat in stark nudity while she sewed her
blouse! For once, Mary was speechless – she asked the cockpit crew
what she should do and Capt. Longino replied "he wouldn’t touch
that with a 10 foot pole" – but Mary could feel three pairs of
eyes through the cockpit peep hole! The other passengers in the lounge
kept their composure but what tales they must have told in Hawaii!
From John Olson
When Pappy Reed was being questioned for wanting too much fuel, Pappy’s
logic was, "You can’t have too much fuel – unless you’re on fire".
One of our more outspoken hostesses once commented that
spraying Pine Sol deodorant in the blue rooms only made them smell
like poop in a pine tree!
Racing to finish her P.A. on a Convair flight between
DAL and SPS, a harried hostess told her passengers they had an entree
choice of "feet or mish". (That was the one time they all
In the 1950’s training classes we all wondered why Miss
Moffett warned us about crew members Lockey, Brockie and Steen – –
now we know.
We all remember Capt. Lee Abbott and how reserved he
was. He was in Houston and became impatient to deplane before the
stairs were rolled up to the DC-6. Unlatching the emergency rope in
the door frame, he grabbed it as he went out the door and promptly
drilled himself into the tarmac. (The rope was not spring loaded,
you see). Needless to say, the ground crew was in shock. Capt. Lee
brushed himself off and continued on to the Ops office as though nothing
Only Shirley Brans could ask passengers to "fascinate
their seat belts" – one too many South Texas shuttles in a day
From Betty Engle:
As I was boarding a DC-6 from ORD-DAL, this tall, tall man came walking
out to the tarmac to board. That was in the days we wore the black
penguin uniform and stood at the bottom of the stairs. Well, when
this giant reached the bottom step, I uttered, "Golly, Sir, with
your height, have you ever considered playing basketball?" He
looked down at me and said, "Young lady, with your pretty face,
have you ever considered being an Airline Hostess?" That tall
son of a gun was George Miken from the original Lakers world-winning
basketball team. I actually saw and served him at a nice restaurant
in Minneapolis after our demise and when I recognized him between
rounds of drinks, I reminded him of our original meeting and we both
had a great laugh 25 years later. By the way, he left a gigantic tip!!!!!
And now my most favorite story and it ACTUALLY DID HAPPEN
just the way I tell it…Once again, boarding Flight 50 from DAL-MSP,
this limo pulled up onto the tarmac and out popped Senator James Connelly
and a small pin-stripped suited little man with a cane and straw hat
walked over to board my plane. Senator Connelly was assisting this
person and when they reached the top step, I recognized the gentleman.
He spoke to me and said most cordially, "Good Evening, young
lady, and how are you?" I smiled and replied ever so nicely,
"Republican, Mr. President and how are you?" It was Harry
S. Truman and a nicer passenger I never carried. He called me "Sis"
all through the trip to MKC and when he departed, he thanked me for
a wonderful trip on Braniff Airways. (In all honesty, I told him at
the door that if he were running again for office, I would definitely
break tradition and vote Democrat). He flashed that million dollar
smile, shook my hand and preceded down the stairs in MKC.
More from John Olson:
Carrying animals on an airplane used to be highly precarious, for
the animals that is. We’re sure you remember some flights of yours
when you had animal cargos on board. The usual consignments of cats
and dogs were to be expected unless they had been boarded by Billy
Freeze. There is an account, which is believed to be true for who
would ever tell something about Billy that wasn’t gospel? History
has it that Billy threw a stray cat in the baggage bin of a DC-3 bound
for Corpus Christi. It was a message for the station people in Corpus
who Bill felt deserved a lesson in manners. You know the results of
this prank don’t you? The hapless agent who opened the bin was overwhelmed
by a terrified feline who leapt for the first sign of light right
on the man’s head. The next instant both the agent and the cat were
setting speed records in opposite directions.
One DC-6 crew said never again would they accommodate
baboons in the cockpit. These babies, the baboons that is, have nasty
habits and are not reluctant to dispense all kinds of biological functions
at frequent intervals. The results of such conduct after a two hour
John Olson (continued)
flight produced aromas that only another baboon could endure. Can’t
blame these asphyxiated aviators for registering a solid "never
again" can you? Once an enterprising theatrical man conned one
of our ticket agents into selling him a ticket for his partner in
the act. The unfortunate agent was to learn that passenger Chuck Chimp
was indeed a Chimp and in spite of his coat and tie that qualified
him for 1st class the agent should have known better. There was the
usual amount of smuggled pets in the cabin. One resourceful passenger
wrapped her furry dog around her neck insisting it was only a rare
fur piece. It almost worked until a tiny bark suggested something
We even had a pet mouse on Fat Albert. Any attempts
to trap it were met with failure. Soon, as unbelievable as it would
seem, the flight attendants would feed it and after weeks of flying
back and forth to London he became tame, sleek and at home. One day
at Gatwick, Chick Smalley was doing his F/E preflight in the cockpit
when a member of Her Majesty’s royal sanitation service presented
himself. "I understand you have a mouse on board", he challenged.
"We have an English mouse on board" Chick replied in his
slow Texas drawl. "How do you know it’s not a Texas mouse"
barked Her Majesty’s servant. Whereupon Chick turned slowly in his
seat saying, "because I can’t understand him any better than
I can understand you. Three hours later, after a Royal edict delaying
the flight, the Queen’s agent triumphantly marched off the plane displaying
a mouse hanging by his tail. Chick took the delay.
I have one story that was told to me by a former flight
attendant. Years back when Braniff flew a converted DC-4 on night
cargo flights, a shipment of parakeets, often called love birds, was
loaded on a flight bound for Chicago with an intermediate stop in
Kansas City. These birds were in the usual cardboard containers, perforated
with holes around the sides to provide sufficient air. These boxes
held anywhere from 24 to 36 birds. A cargo handler was loading some
boxes when he accidentally stumbled forward and stubbed his toe through
the side of one of the boxes. He reasoned that if he put the box snug
up between two others the birds could not get out as the flight was
close to running late and he had better do so. The cargo door was
closed and the DC-4 soon was on its way to MKC. On the climb out it
encountered some moderate turbulence causing the cargo to shift and
the container with the birds moved apart from the two boxing it in
sufficiently to allow 36 parakeets their freedom. They flew wildly
about in the dark cabin completely bewildered. Shortly after leveling
off the copilot left the cockpit to go to the blue room leaving the
cockpit door open. The light from the cockpit attracted the birds
like a magnet and they swarmed forward. You can imagine the chaos
as the crew was overwhelmed with these frightened darting birds. They
swatted at them as if they were mosquitoes trying anything to rid
the cockpit of this menace. To make matters worse the captain was
allergic to feathers and his sneezing added all the more to the disaster.
The crew finally turned the lights down, shooed the last bird out
and eventually made the first stop at MKC. The baggage crew was particularly
speedy this night and before a word of warning could be said they
opened the cargo door to be attacked by frightened birds
John Olson (continued)
looking for safety. The surprise scattered the baggage handlers in
every direction. This eventful trip was thereafter named the Love
Bird Express and the crew was teased for being members of the Bird
From Jacquie Copeland Coen (MKC)
One of my most unforgettable events was on a rough flight. On the
planes then, we had quart ice cream cartons that fit under the seats,
that we affectionately called "urp cups". Ten passengers
used them that flight and one man lost his upper false teeth in the
cup. I had to go through five before I found his teeth in the sixth..I
will leave it to your imagination how I got them out, but I did..
washed them off and gave them back to him. At that point, I was ready
to "urp" myself.
More Humor (source not identified)
The traveler, agitated to the utmost, wrote Customer Service to complain
that the Captain of her flight had been speeding. . as evidence, she
stated that the flight arrived 10 minutes early!!
A nervous traveler, after hearing a pilot reading out
football game scores over the PA system, urged that the company consider
the safety aspects of allowing a TV set in the cockpit.
An infrequent traveler wrote to the Company as she was
concerned over the bird droppings on the wing..she wondered how much
of such matter is allowed before it becomes an issue of safety.
A travel agent reported that one of her customers was
distressed by the term "Saturday night stayover required",
which she took to mean she had to sleep in the airport overnight.
As you may recall, Miss Brindley was known to use the
term "we" in addressing her employees, as in "we need
a haircut, don’t we?" YOU knew it was YOU who needed to get to
the beauty shop at once. However, when she asked Purser Bob Tennison
"Have we shaved today, Bob?". He replied "I don’t know
about you, but I’ve shaved".. she had no comeback.
Marianne Snyder Gwinn loves to tell the tale about the
little old lady on her Convair flight who tried to mail her letters
in the air-conditioning slots!!
Another Bob Tennison story, which is supposed to be
true, relates the time on a DC-6 that a haughty lady boarded with
a full length mink coat; Bob offered to hang it for her, but she said
she didn” want it out of her sight..the upshot is that Bob wore it
during the flight.
Airplane Steaks Always Gave Me Indigestion And Flying With Judy
Shepard Would Always Get You Into Trouble
by John McFarlane
It was a late evening departure on a DC-8-62 charter
from New Orleans to Rio. I was working the back galley, carefully
counted my meals, and found the 144 steak sandwiches and breakfast
trays that I was suppose to have. When the boarding process began,
almost immediately I found myself the victim of a very angry passenger,
who rudely complained that this isn’t a 747 like advertised by the
tour operator. I explained that I had nothing to do with the type
of aircraft on the flight and referred him to the tour director.
On take off I looked across the aisle to find that the crashing noise
I heard to be 15 meals flying out of the oven because the door had
come open. You know that "reserve" must have forgotten to
lock it. (Wasn’t that who always got the blame?) Since we were full
I didn’t know what to do. (You know if they had just fallen on the
floor we would have served them anyway, but these had broken glass
in them.) We proceeded with our service hoping for refusals. No such
luck! However, we did manage to feed everyone. How you ask? I’ll get
to that later. Shortly after the meal service I was enjoying a cup
of coffee following the stowage of trays and hosing the galley down
with a can of club soda.
At this point the man who had been so rude to me came
back to apologize. Just as I took a big swig of coffee, he said he
wanted me to know that was one of the best airline meals he had ever
eaten! I immediately choked and began to spew coffee all over myself
and the galley! My co-workers quickly ducked into the lavs laughing.
What this passenger and the last 15 others served didn’t know was
that they had eaten reheated leftovers off of other passengers entree
Judy Shepard and men’s hair pieces
On this trip Judy was in the dog house! On a previous
charter Judy, during her departure announcement, had stated, "If
you would please now give your attention to the semi-masculine flight
attendants standing in the aisle they will demonstrate the safety
features aboard our DC-8". This produced roars of laughter as
Ron Dean, Walt Brindell and John McFarlane stood in the middle of
the aisle red faced. John always was a firm believer in Karma and
told Judy she would get hers and boy did she!
On a trip after the charter Judy was in the aisle on
a 727 with a full beverage tray in her hand. A very impatient passenger
asked her for the magazine in the rack next to her. With her free
hand she tried to grab it and proceeded to pass it to the gentleman
seated next to the window. (Does anybody remember those black binders
with the clear plastic covers? Remember the metal rod in the middle?
Judy will never forget them!) As Judy
John MacFarlane (continued)
passed the binder over the man’s head seated in the middle seat, she
did not know that the metal rod had fallen out and had completely
removed the gentleman’s hair piece in the middle seat. Once the passenger
started laughing, they all started. Guess who stood in the middle
of the aisle red faced this time?
(Note: At Judy’s Southwest interview, they asked her
to tell one of her funniest flying stories. The above was it. She