Fasten Your Seat Belts! History and Heroism in the Pan Am Cabin
Fasten Your Seat Belts! is the first history of an airline to be told from the viewpoint of its cabin crew. Through hundreds of interviews, Valerie Lester encouraged Pan Am's flight attendants to recount their personal dramatic, tragic, comic, and heroic stories, many of which deserve to take an honored place in the annals of air transport history. She includes accounts of the heroic deeds of the cabin crews in such incidents as the 1947 crash in the Syrian desert; the terrorism in Cairo and Rome; the last flight from Saigon; the holocaust at Tenerife; and the siege at Karachi. There are tales of the first stewards and their experiences during World War II; Pan Am's brave and resourceful first stewardesses; the first round-the-world flights (both planned and unplanned); White House Press characters; the advent of jets—and bigger jets; Desert Storm; and Pan Am's final, heart-rending flight.
Until Fasten Your Seat Belts! was published, the important role that flight attendants played in the history of civil aviation had been poorly served. This book redresses the balance.
"Airliner cabin attendants are the focus of this fond review of Pan American's development, compiled by a writer and teacher of classical literature who served as a Pan Am stewardess in the 1960s. Lester writes well and has good material to work with...This is no mere 'coffee, tea, or me' treatment."
"An interesing, informative and different side of the story of the life and death of Pan American World Airways. Well worth the time to read and enjoy this well told historic series of tales. A book not to be missed by any airline history buff."
American Aviation Historical Society
"Even the most learned student of Pan Am will reap a great deal of knowledge from this book....very well written and extremely interesting. It will bring back memories for those who worked long hours in the cabin and add insight for those who enjoyed the service administered by the men and women of Pan Am's flight attendant corps."