Turbulent Skies is an intimate portrait of the author’s professional life over a period of nearly four decades. It describes from an insider’s perspective the thrill of being in one of the most exciting career fields for women in the 1960s and 1970’s — an airline stewardess. It captures in a unique way the fun and glamour of a lifestyle, which the author has dubbed “the wave” — a wave of freedom and excitement that carried those lucky enough to be chosen for this profession forward through the years.
But times change, and the author poignantly chronicles the toll of time as business realities forced changes in the airline industry and transitioned the job from “what it was” to “what it is” today. She further captures the national tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001 and details the impact that terrible day had on the industry most directly affected by the events. She offers a deeply moving personal tribute to the flight crew heroes on those tragic United and American flights.
The years following 9-11-01 saw crisis after crisis in the airline industry, which eventually resulted in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for United Air Lines, one of the world’s largest commercial airlines. The difficulties brought on by the changing business times are chronicled in the lives and attitudes of those who labored in an industry fighting for survival.
The author dissects her own physical and emotional agony over the course of the next two years that culminated in a premature retirement from the airline — an action driven by a combination of physical ailments, a deteriorating work environment, an adversarial relationship between labor and management, and a concerted effort by the leadership of the bankrupt airline to drive out senior employees to achieve cost savings. She chronicles in a very personal way, the process she went through in coming to grips with this agonizing decision regarding the future and how she dealt with the significant life transition she subsequently endured.