CRAIG BROWN: Raging nymphomania on the Airbus A340 and how to spot a …

June 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

16:00 EST, 14 June 2014


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16:00 EST, 14 June 2014

Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets Of A Virgin Air Hostess

Mandy Smith with Nicola Stow         ★★★★★

Few professions come under quite such public scrutiny as that of the air
hostess.

With nothing to do on a flight except guzzle, worry and stare,
one’s eyes are inexorably drawn to the young lady in the tight costume
and generously applied make-up as she bustles up and down the narrow
passageway doling out, in no particular order, safety instructions,
plastic food trays, smiles and duty-free goods.

Who is she? How does she get on with the other hostesses? Is she
enjoying her job, or hating every minute?

From the very start, the experienced reader will be able to tell that Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets Of A Virgin Air Hostess is not the latest novel by AS Byatt

These are the questions over
which most of us mull as the hostess offers the fat man across the aisle
a choice of tea or coffee.

While female passengers wonder whether the hostess is having an affair
with the pilot, their male companions may well be wondering: might she
have an affair with me?

Mandy Smith (no relation to Bill Wyman’s child bride) was a hostess with
Virgin Airlines for ten years, so is well-placed to answer all these
vital questions, and many more besides.

In 1999, we find her working as a
planning support officer in Virgin’s engineering department in Crawley,
West Sussex, perhaps not the most auspicious start to an autobiography.

Her boyfriend Neil is an IT consultant for Virgin.

‘He was a sexual
firecracker,’ observes Mandy, ‘and I swear my orgasmic yelps could be
heard all over Crawley.’

From the very start, the experienced reader
will be able to tell that this is not the latest novel by AS Byatt.

Sadly, Neil turns out to be a psycho, beating Mandy black and blue. She
interprets this as a ‘wake-up call’, and time for a change.

A trainee
pilot called Jonathan advises her to apply for a job as a hostess.

‘With
your looks they’ll snap you up. It’ll get you out of this place and the
perks are the same as here – plus free travel every week with your job,
and lots of partying in five-star locations,’ he says, or at least
that’s what Mandy says he says: it would take an actor of the calibre of
Simon Russell Beale to read that little speech out loud and make it
sound realistic.

Before long, Mandy and Jonathan are having ‘contorted sex on the back
seat of Jonathan’s little silver S-reg Renault’.

Fortunately, Jonathan
is ‘extremely good with his hands’. There are times when Mandy sounds
almost eerily similar to Steve Coogan’s feisty female alter-ego Pauline
Calf.

Mandy sails through her first interview for the hostess job, and offers
this handy tip to those who wish to follow in her footsteps: ‘Don’t say
you want to travel the world, say, “I love working in a customer-based
environment, with new challenges every day.” ’

Before her first flight, Mandy Smith attends lessons from ex-SAS officers on how to spot a terrorist and how to deal with hostage situations

Having completed her training, she accompanies Jonathan to a Wings
Ceremony and after-party at Richard Branson’s country mansion.

‘That
night Richard joined us all for a singalong by the campfire.

‘A bevy of gorgeous trolley dollies fawned over him as he attempted to
play Oasis riffs on a guitar, consistently stopping and starting as his
fingers struggled to find the right chords.’

A gruelling introduction, then, but also a valuable preparation for
similar ordeals ahead, such as passengers suffering heart attacks, or
planes plummeting to Earth.

Before her first flight, Mandy attends
fire-safety lessons from ‘muscle-bound firemen’, and further lessons
from ex-SAS officers on how to spot a terrorist, how to restrain
aggressive passengers and how to deal with hostage situations.

‘Obviously for security reasons, I cannot divulge these secrets,’ she
adds.

Might they involve the deterrent threat of Richard Branson
brandishing his guitar?

Finally, she attends grooming lessons given by two ‘bitter-faced women
in black suits’, who teach the new intake Virgin’s ‘incredibly strict’
grooming rules, including ‘probably the most important rule on the list:
never, ever be seen in uniform without sporting lashings of red lippy.

‘This rule came with its own set of sub-rules. It couldn’t be any red
lipstick; there was a list of acceptable shades from top-of-the-range
brands’.

Her first flight as a hostess is to New York, or The Big Apple as she
inevitably prefers to call it. ‘I was a vision in red, immaculate and
glamorous.’

Once aboard, a veteran hostess, Leanne, ‘utterly miserable and angry…
with chunky wrists and ankles’, lowers the tone with another little tip.

‘Oh, did they not explain the wind problems during training? Well, get
used to it. Flying as many hours as we do makes your stomach swell up
like a balloon. You’ll be a walking cesspit, farting like a trooper.

‘Never in the galley, though. Let it out down the aisles, over the
passengers. It’s called crop-dusting.’

It’s these little snippets of insider information that make all books
about professional lives so interesting: I’m no expert in the field or
aerodynamics, but at least I now know how planes stay up in the air.

Over the next ten years, Mandy encounters her fair share of in-flight
emergencies – a man has a heart attack, a woman has a miscarriage,
another man’s 5in wound bursts open midflight, and she has to restitch
it – but most of her dramas are sexual rather than medical.

One chapter
is called The Mile High Club, and comes with yet more tips for those who
want to join it.

‘Many crew often popped into the Premium Economy
toilets for a quickie. It’s the most spacious toilet on board an Airbus
A340, with a handy fold-down baby-changing table to rest your bum on.’

Mandy herself chooses something a little more roomy. And vroomy:
Jonathan the Pilot takes her up in a Cessna. It does the trick.

‘My body
felt like an erotic solar panel, drenched in sexual energy… I
couldn’t wait to tell the girls.’

The girls – her fellow stewardesses – include Suzy, ‘busty with masses
of long blonde hair, she looked a little like Abi Titmuss’; Paula ‘a
raging nymphomaniac’ who, as they say in court reports, performed a
sexual act in the air on a boy-band singer; Felicity (‘Who can blame her
for showing off her size-eight figure and gigantic GGs?’); and Stacey,
whose favourite pastime involves flashing her boobs at the back of the
aircraft while the passengers are busy staring ahead at the safety
instructions.

Upon arrival at their destination, saucy parties seem to
be de rigueur.

‘Nearly all of the dares involved getting naked and
running around hotel corridors.’

Mandy herself is no slouch.

After dumping Jonathan (over-protective mother), she dates first a Qantas pilot (‘orgasms with Brad were euphoric, explosive and earth-shattering’), then a doctor called Stephen (‘I writhed like a porn star’), then a posh rower called Tarquin ‘who counted Kate Middleton among his friends’, then a banker called Andre (‘we even did it Fatal Attraction-style on the edge of the kitchen sink’), then a randy plumber called James (‘I am a very tactile person,’ I said, ‘but that doesn’t mean you can shove your hand up my skirt on our first date’) and then, most disappointing of all, a flight officer called Mike, who may have had ‘a great sense of humour’ but presses all the wrong buttons when he asks Mandy to dress up as a Nazi guard and spank him.

Over the course of her ten years as an air hostess, Mandy serves a fair number of celebrities, among them Robbie Williams (‘very down to earth’), Patrick Swayze (‘adorable’), Courtney Love (‘she really opened up to me’) and David Hasselhoff (‘always up for a laugh’).

She never actually dates one, though one of her colleagues goes out with Russell Brand, and describes their relationship as – guess what? – ‘a rollercoaster ride’.

In her 30s, Mandy yearns to settle down so takes voluntary redundancy.

She moves in with a rugby player called Glenn, to whom her book is dedicated, and in 2010 they get married in a country church.

Most of their wedding guests were Virgin cabin crew.

Let’s hope as Mandy walked up the aisle, her old instincts failed to kick in, and she managed to hold back on the crop-dusting.

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