Told by a stewardess who flew for Pan American Airways for 16 years. From Japan's post-war survival to Pan Am's training school in Florida and around the world, this book covers the 60's and '70's jet-set lifestyle, Pan Am's rise and fall, celebrity and stewardesses stories, all told from an insider's point of view.
Pan Am's stewardesses were called 'Princesses of the Sky'. The TV show 'Pan Am' did not exaggerate the luxury, fun and excitement that the young women had flying for company called 'The Empire of the Sky'. This book captures both the flying history and pop-culture of that era, told by a young post-war Japanese woman thrown into that glamorous whirlwind lifestyle.
The 77 Chapters include: The Reckless Genius, Move Star Passengers, Japan's Cast System, Lindbergh's Waitress Date, Roosevelt Meets Churchill, My Blind Date in London, The Nerve Gas Attacker, Merv Griffin Steals My Shrimp, Employees Invade First Class, Yoko and Jackie, Juan Trippe's Last Flight, Marilyn Monroe's Honeymoon, Pan Am Goes to War, A Bond Girl's Threat, The Shogun Writer and more.
About the author:
Fumiko Takahashi earned her Masters Degree from Columbia University in New York while actively flying for Pan Am. She is the author of 12 books in Japanese. This is her first memoir in English. Recently she helped promote the Pan Am TV series in Japan with appearances on TV and speaking engagements.
It was 1968, my second year as a Pan Am stewardess. I had just finished serving meals in economy class and went into the first class galley to cook my own meal. We were flying from Los Angeles to London on the polar route.
Suddenly this handsome man, with beautiful blue eyes, walked into the galley and asked, "Are you Japanese?"
My English had improved since I first started flying, so I felt more confident talking with passengers. "Yes", I replied.
I had noticed that this passenger's wife was always sleeping and he was always awake during the flight talking with the stewardesses. As we talked, I took my meal over to the lounge area and he followed me and sat down.
The first class lounge had sofa style seats and a table, like a restaurant. This lounge section was rare among airlines.
"You know, you look like Steve McQueen,” I told the man. “He's very popular in Japan. If you go there, I'm sure you'll be popular when people see you walking around."
The man nodded and smiled. "I've been to Japan a few times," he said, "and I really love it there.
Soon, another stewardess sat down and joined us in the conversation. At one point I said to her, "Doesn't he look like Steve McQueen?"
"Fumiko, that is Steve McQueen," she said.
Mister McQueen just sat there with a happy and satisfied smirk on his face.