Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase podcast host and author Betty Thesky tells us about the life and experiences of a flight attendant. We look at airline seating, airline fees, and pay for flight attendants. Also, a “new” indigenous fighter jet from Iran and an Across the Pond segment on the Light Aircraft Association and general aviation in the UK.
Betty Thesky is a flight attendant with a major U.S. airline, and she produces the Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase podcast, a collection of funny airline and travel stories reminiscent of an old-fashioned radio show. Her job as a flight attendant allows her to indulge in her passion for travel and has taken her all over the world. The popular show launched in 2005 and it is one of the first aviation-related podcasts. Betty in the Sky also spawned several books and Betty has branched off into writing fiction.
Betty tells us how the podcast got started and how her theme song was created. We talk about the life of a flight attendant, how that has changed over the years, and what type of person makes a good FA. Betty also has some tips for travelers that would improve their experience.
As a child, when someone asked Betty what she wanted to do when she grew up, her answer was, “I want to travel!” and that’s exactly what she went on to do. She earned her BA in Communications with a minor in Psychology and was then hired by People Express as a flight attendant. Later she applied at one of the major airlines and has been there for more than 20 years.
When American Airlines installs premium economy on its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, it will cut the number of business class seats to 20 from 28. The seats will be the Zodiac Aerospace Concept D product in a staggered forwards-backward herringbone configuration, rather than the outward-facing B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat on other American 787s in the American fleet. Delta is replacing the Zodiac inward-facing herringbone seats on the Boeing 777-200ER and -LR fleet with the Thompson Vantage XL staggered doored product. United continues to roll out it’s Polaris retrofits, but at a slow rate.
The Senate version of the FAA Reauthorization Act mandates that airlines disclose their baggage fees, cancellation fees, change fees, ticketing fees, and seat selection fees “in a standardized format.” Christopher Elliott asks, “Why is it so hard to figure out what you’ll have to pay for a plane ticket — and what you’re paying for?”
United Airlines plans to start charging more for an economy class seat near the front of the plane than it does for the seats in the back. At the International Aviation Forecast Summit, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said, “We’ve got ‘Economy Plus’ today, which has more legroom, but there are also rows that don’t have more legroom but they are at the front of the airplane. We are now going to let those people select those seats as well for a fee.”
Iran says that it has domestically produced a new fighter jet, the “Kowsar.” but some military experts say the fighter is really a U.S.-made F-5F from the early 1970s. Iran purchased F-5s in 1974, before the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79. Also, Iranian F-5 fighter jet crashes at air base, killing one pilot.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median wage was $50,500 in 2017, with the lowest 10% earning less than $26,860, and the highest 10% earning more than $79,520. PayScale says the average flight attendant salary is $39,022. Glassdoor says the average reported salary is $52,217, with some as low as $18,000.
Across the Pond
In this month’s Across The Pond segment, Pieter talks to Neil Wilson from the Light Aircraft Association about their role supporting general aviation in the UK and he gets a preview of the upcoming LAA Sywell Rally, the UK’s biggest fly-in.
Airplane of the Week
Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.