We all love a good read, especially about travel. I recently read and reviewed the book “Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase” and enjoyed it. It is a collection of trivia and aviation tales compiled in one, easy to read book. You will absolutely chuckle and maybe even laugh out loud because some of the tales and stories are extremely amusing.
This book started with a series of podcasts on http://www.bettyinthesky.net/. Personally, I am not much of a podcast person so I will not be able to tell you if the podcasts are any good. I can understand how those just went on and on, and then someone had the great idea to “why don’t we publish all these stories in a book?” Well, this is that book.
It seems like that Betty has published every urban legend and joke about aviation that she has ever heard. Several of the jokes, or stories as they are called in the book, are easy to recognize and has been around for a long, long time. Here is an excerpt of one of my favourite jokes:
“The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short tempered lot. They not only expect pilots to know gate parking locations, but also how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt Ground Control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206:
Speedbird 206: “Frankfurt, Speedbird 206! Clear of active runway.
Ground: “Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.”
The Speedbird pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: “Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?”
Speedbird 206: “Stand by, Ground. I´m looking up our gate location right now.”
Ground (with arrogant impatience): “Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”
Speedbird 206 (cooly): “Yes, twice in 1944.. but I didn’t land.”
She is right that BA uses Speedbird as their call sign. There are several things that confirms the above story is an urban legend (but still a great joke). First of all, BA206 operates Miami – London Heathrow. Secondly, as to my knowledge BA has not operated Boeing 747:s to Frankfurt. I haven’t researched old BA Time Tables for historical flight numbers or if they have occasionally flown a 747 to Frankfurt. It is also on airliners.net forum almost word by word.
To wrap it up: if you want to have a laugh “Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase” is a great source of short stories. Very easy to read and you can stop and start reading at your convenience. If you want to learn about aviation and the airline industry you should go for “Cockpit Confidential” by Patrick Smith. If you want to learn about crew life, you should read “Cabin Fever” by Mandy Smith and “Cruising Attitude” by Heather Poole.