Come Fly the World – Published 2021
“Required to have a college degree, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3″ and 5′9″, between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire. Julia Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few black stewardesses of the era, as they embraced the liberation of their new jet-set life.
Cooke brings to life the story of Pan Am stewardesses’ role in the Vietnam War, as the airline added runs from Saigon to Hong Kong for planeloads of weary young soldiers straight from the battlefields, who were off for five days of R&R, and then flown back to war. Finally, with Operation Babylift—the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon—the book’s special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.” – Goodreads
Wow. It is truly incredible what these women went through and experienced during their time as Pan Am stewardesses. I thought this was a really interesting audiobook, and I am fascinated with how much air travel, and the planes themselves, have changed over the years.
In addition to fitting a certain body type, upholding a specific image, and sometimes being harassed by passengers, these women were also sometimes the last kind faces soldiers saw before entering a war zone. They kept babies alive during an evacuation of Saigon.
Very interesting read, especially for resistant nonfiction readers like me!