Galley Gossip: The Bachelor – pilots, fashion & a few pilot fashion tips

Women love pilots. What’s not to like? Even men have a thing for pilots. Think Brad Pitt. He fell in love with one. The word itself conjures up images of Richard Gere (Officer and a Gentleman), Tom Cruise (Top Gun), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator), Andy Garcia (When a Man Loves a Woman), John Travolta (pilots his own 707), and Jake Pavelka.

Jake Pavelka?

Jake Pavelka. Ya know, The Bachelor this season. Rumor has it he’s a Captain for ASA.

It’s true. I really do watch reality TV. I wish I could tell you the reason for this is because I’m a flight attendant and flight attendants have erratic schedules which makes it nearly impossible to keep up with regular sitcoms, but you’d probably mention something about TiVo and then I’d have to admit I already have it, which pretty much ruins that excuse. The simple fact is I enjoy bad TV. I crave drama, even though I refuse to work the New York – Miami route, and that’s why I hope Vienna and Ali continue to stay in the running.

I like Jake. He seems like a nice guy. This is why I’m afraid he may be in over his head. The women have been fawning all over him. I don’t blame them. He’s a handsome pilot who looks dreamy dressed in a tux! But that tuxedo got me thinking. Would they have given him a second glance if they’d seen him say passing through the lobby of a hotel – not dressed in his uniform, nor in a wardrobe chosen by a professional stylist for a popular television show, but in his (gasp) “layover clothes?” If you’re a flight attendant, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Pilots and fashion. I’m not sure you can even use the two words in the same sentence since they go as well together as orange juice and toothpaste. Ask any flight attendant if they can easily spot a pilot in civilian “layover clothes” and they will emphatically say yes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying…

Luckily not all pilots are created equal. Take for instance Bob, the singing pilot, whom I met in the travel section of Barnes and Nobles. There I stood flipping through a couple of books on Italy, Croatia, and Portugal, trying to figure out where I wanted to go to next, while he scanned the shelf looking for a place to sail his boat. Somehow, I don’t know how, we started talking, and soon Bob had me cracking up. He’s a funny guy. He’s also a very well-dressed guy. So imagine how shocked I was to learn that Bob actually worked for a major US carrier.

Me, too!” I exclaimed, clutching a copy of Frommer’s Italy to my chest. “I’m a flight attendant.”

“Pilot,” he said matter of fact.

I looked him up and down. I didn’t believe him. How could I? He wasn’t wearing acid washed jeans or khaki pants paired with a polo shirt, or even worse, a Member’s Only jacket. Nor did he wear Top Gun style Raybans with a brown leather bomber jacket. Bob was just a regular Joe who looked pretty darn good in dark fitted jeans.

I had to know, so I asked flat out, “Why are so many pilots such bad dressers?”

The problem, according to Bob, is that pilots spend too much time looking for tools in the Sears catalog and then accidentally stumble into its clothing section. “It’s not so much that being a pilot causes one to be fashionably challenged, it’s just we tend to be better at things like engineering, checking the car’s oil, fixing things around the house, and not asking for driving directions,” he explained. “This as opposed to fashion design.”
Made sense.
Truth be told, I like a man who can fix things around the house. I would really hate it if I had to fight with my husband, a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy, over hangers. Honestly, I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as closet space. That’s mine!

As I stood there in the bookstore with Bob, I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something. What pilot wouldn’t appreciate a little fashion advice from a fellow pilot. I scribbled my email address on a piece of paper and asked Bob if he’d be willing to share a few tips. Two days later I received an email from him. It was three pages long! Like most pilots, Bob takes his job very seriously.

  • Wear anything black. If they invent a darker color than black wear that.
  • Dark blue-ish / grey-ish jeans in a boot or regular cut are best. (nothing tapered)
  • Linen is your friend. It’s cool, comfortable, and looks great…even if wrinkled.
  • Fitted shirts. If you can still pull them off. Otherwise stick to shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns.
  • Brown leather bomber jacket. It screams “look at me, I’m a pilot…on a layover…in a bar…drinking.” These are only fashionable in pilot lounges or near military installations
  • Tank tops. Keep America beautiful
  • Tube socks. Socks should never go above your ankles. Nor should they be worn with sandals.
  • Shorts. Especially in Latin countries where it’s considered effeminate. If you must, go with cargo or hiking styles
  • “Douche bag” shirts. Nothing screams midlife crisis, desperate for attention, I have a prescription for Viagra like a bold patterned, colorful dress shirt commonly seen worn at clubs or in Vegas.
  • Uniform items outside of work or on layovers. No thin belt. No black shoes. No black or blue pants. NO!
  • Pleats. Unless you have the physique of Lou Costello and it’s 1939 just don’t.
  • Khaki. Enough already! And for God’s sake, no pleated khaki.
  • Golf clothes. Not unless you’re on a golf course.
Photos courtesy of The Bachelor and Hoodrat

Galley Gossip: Seattle – it’s all about kids, trains and food!


  • DAY 1: New York – Seattle
  • DAY 2: /
  • DAY 3: Seattle – New York
  • As soon as I saw that long Seattle layover on the bid sheet, I knew I had to have it. I can’t even remember the last time I had a whole day anywhere, let alone a layover with enough time to eat, sleep AND shower! This layover, I knew, would be like the good old days when flying was fun, which is why, I’m sure, several of my colleagues laughed when I told them I had bid for it.

    “You’re going to need at least twenty years seniority to hold that!” three different flight attendants informed me.

    Undeterred, and with only fourteen years at the airline, I bid for it anyway. Not only did I hold it, I held the princess position – coach aisle! As soon as bids were finalized I sent out a tweet to announce the big news. Two seconds later someone tweeted back, “Want to meet for breakfast?”

    The invitation came from mommy blogger extraordinaire, Debbie, of If you have kids and love to travel, but would rather skip the Disney vacation, do yourself a favor and check out her blog. She makes traveling with kids enjoyable and easy.

    And that’s how the layover began. I met Debbie, as well as two of her three adorable kids, for breakfast at Belle Epicurean, a charming spot known for their freshly baked pastries and buns. As I sat outside waiting for Debbie to arrive, I couldn’t help but notice all the people popping in and out before heading off to work. Not that I was surprised, considering I’d done a little research early that morning and knew the place was going to be great. I also knew exactly what to order – a potato rosemary brioche bun ($3.89). It did not disappoint. Of course the coffee was fantastic, as well. The company, even better!

    Everest, a bright four year-old, has a passion for trains, so he could not hide his excitement when I asked about his favorite thing to do in Seattle. If not for him, I wouldn’t have known about the ride on the rail to Sea-Tac airport starting in December. After Everest told me all about the underground train system, he offered to take me on a little tour…

    After the train tour, we made a quick stop at Daiso, a Japanese dollar store, where I could have spent the entire day just staring at everything inside the store. There was so much to look at! Thank goodness Everest was there to help pick out a few items for my three year-old son, because I was quite overwhelmed. And I had no idea that mini soy sauce bottles could make a good toy. But Everest assured me they would. Guess what, he was right! My son not only loved the tiny squirt bottles, he spent half an hour playing with them – along with everything else that somehow, I don’t know how, ended up in my basket….

  • Bento box (for school lunches)
  • Glow in the dark bracelets
  • Animal / number stickers (for our long flight to Hawaii next week)
  • Kids apron (to protect clothing while cooking and painting)
  • Fire truck spoon and police car fork
  • plastic cups (to make Play-Doh cupcakes)
  • Star cutter (to make pancakes and eggs a little more exciting)
  • Because Everest had to get going to space camp later on in the afternoon, we said our goodbyes and I walked down to Pikes Place Market. You can not visit Seattle without visiting the market and grabbing a cup of clam chowder, which is exactly what I did after wandering around and taking in the hustle and bustle on the waterfront. If you’re looking for something else to do, try jumping on the ferry to Bainbridge Island. I highly recommend the 35 minute scenic ferry ride. Just don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to photograph all that beauty surrounding you.

    In case you can’t tell, travel, for me, is all about finding great places to eat. When I mentioned on Facebook I’d be laying over in Seattle, Flo, a flight attendant on my crew, reminded me that Bob, the singing pilot, had recommended the restaurant Black Bottle a few months ago. We decided to check it out.

    Now Bob isn’t like most pilots, he’s got style. I’m not just talking about his layover outfit. Which is why I knew I wouldn’t end up at a sports bar, like so many pilots do. That said, I was a bit shocked to find that not only does Bob have great taste in food (at affordable prices) he appreciates a cool modern vibe. The food is served family style. Flo and I shared bacon lemon scallops and frizzled kale ($12), roasted vegetables verjus ($9), and fresh arugula, tomato, and pesto flatbread ($8). After that amazing meal, it is I, not just Bob, who highly recommends the Black Bottle next time you’re in Seattle.

    Like all good things, the layover came to an end, and before I knew it we were flying back to New York. I can’t wait to bid for the trip again! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually hold it – 20 years seniority or not.

    Black Bottle photo courtesy of Bacon Sandwich

    Galley Gossip: A question about traveling with car seats and strollers

    Dear Heather,

    Okay, so how bad is to have a one-year old on a plane without an actual ‘seat’? Please tell me it’s not the worst thing in the world????I wanted to bring a car seat on board, but they won’t let us because we’re not buying her a ticket. Also, should we check the stroller on the plane? We have a bugaboo, and I hate for it to get ruined, but it breaks down very easily. We could get a bag for it? Do you know if they make specific bags for strollers? Any advice please????????????


    Dear Marlo,

    It’s not the worst thing in the world to have a one-year old on the airplane without an actual seat! Now take a deep breath and relax, Marlo, because you are a good mother, whether you buy that seat or not, and you’re going to need all that nervous energy in flight entertaining your daughter. Trust me, I know. Whenever I travel with my little one, regardless of how well behaved he is, I always end up feeling completely drained by the end of the trip.

    As a flight attendant, it is my duty to tell you that it is safer for your daughter to travel strapped into a car seat that has been secured to an airplane seat. But let’s get real for a minute, because that, I know, is not always possible for some to do, particularly in this day and age when people are just struggling to survive. With that said, I must tell you that I have traveled with my son, along with my guilt, minus the car seat, on the airplane one or two times. My advice to you is to keep your seat belt fastened during the flight while you hold your daughter in your lap, because turbulence happens, even when the seat belt sign is not on.

    You stated that you want to bring your car seat on-board, but the airline won’t let you because you are not buying the extra seat. I do not know which airline you are traveling on, but if you were traveling on the carrier I work for, I’d tell you to take the car seat with you anyway, just in case there is an open seat available. If there’s not an extra seat, the airline, at least my airline, would then gate check your car seat. Key word is gate check. Gate check means you are checking the item at the gate. Once at your destination, the car seat (or stroller) will meet you at the aircraft door, not at baggage claim.

    If you do bring a car seat on-board the aircraft, please please please make sure it is approved by the FAA and do read the installation instructions before it is time to install the thing. I can not tell you how many times people come aboard and do not know how their car seat operates and get angry at me when I can not tell them how THEIR car seat works. There are hundreds of different makes and models produced each and every year, so unless you come across a flight attendant who has a child that uses the exact same model as you, chances are that flight attendant is not going to be able to help.

    When traveling with a lap child, try to get an aisle seat. With so little leg room, it is impossible to get anything out of the diaper bag when the seat in front of you is reclined and there’s a baby sitting on your lap. If you are in an aisle seat, you’ll be able to swing the diaper bag into the aisle in order to grab whatever you need out of the bag – bottles, diapers, toys, etc. Just make sure to check and see that the drink cart is not rolling in your direction beforehand. And if there is a drink cart parked at your row, ask the flight attendants if they can spare a few plastic cups, “stacking cups”, in order to keep baby busy for a good five minutes. Hey, every minute counts when you’re on the airplane with a child.

    As for the stroller, I also own a Bugaboo (as well as a BOB for jogging and a Maclaren that I keep in New York) and I can not say that the Bugaboo breaks down easily, not when you’re in a hurry and you’ve got your hands full, nor can I imagine lugging that thing with me anywhere, except to the mall, and perhaps to the beach for a nice leisurely walk. Keep in mind that if you do decide to check the Bugaboo, most likely you will have to pay a checked bag fee, and add that fee to the price you’re going to pay for the Bugaboo transport bag, and you’ll be paying close to $200. While I do love my Bugaboo, I don’t love it THAT much. And I would not want to be the passenger standing behind the Bugaboo family at security. When it comes to travel, think light, think easy, and think disposable. Whenever I travel with my son, I use a cheap umbrella stroller I bought at Target. What I like about the stroller, besides the fact that it was cheap, is that I can attach it to my rollaboard, if the kid feels like walking, or hang it in the closet, so that I don’t have to check it, and if I do have to check it and it does get ruined, big deal, I’m out $25.

    Hope that helps!

    Happy travels,