I once caught a plane with Russell Brand, and as I watched him from my seat, with his perfectly messy hair and bag of perfumes and cosmetics, I wanted to run up to first class and sit on his lap.
Not because I wanted to meet him but because he was sitting in first class… he had heaps of bloody leg room!
While most of us are squashed together like sardines up the back of a long distance flight, dreaming of the flat beds up in first class, the rich and famous are being served like a toddler at tea time. Spoon fed and pandered to, in the hope that they’ll soon go to sleep and give the hosts a break.
If you have ever wondered what happens behind the plane’s first class curtain, one ex-Qantas flight attendant has revealed all in his book, Confessions of a Qantas fight attendant – true tales and gossip from the Galley. Owen Beddall has delivered a juicy tell all that won’t disappoint!
Owen worked for the flying Kangaroo for 12 years as a first class flight attendant and he’s travelled to over 40 countries, meeting celebrities like Katy Perry, Venus Williams, Kylie Minogue and Cate Blanchett. He isn’t scared of sharing the secrets of their mile high escapades.
You’ve really gone behind the curtain with this book. What’s been the fall out from it? Has anyone been angry about the confessions you’ve made?
I’ve been treated like Julian Assange in some ways! Some of the other attendants have been in fear of losing their jobs, but look, I got lovely messages from people like Candice Alley.
Apparently there was some kick back from Miranda Kerr for talking about her Mile High exploits, but other than that it’s been quite positive so I’m really pleased.
How many celebrities try and join the mile high club while flying?
It’s surprising, it’s not really the celebrities. I was really surprised Miranda Kerr came out and talked about “sorting herself out” up the front because it’s usually the economy passengers. The younger ones that are heading to Europe on their first Contiki tour.
How do you deal with it?
Well, you see if you can join in, and if not you tell them to take their seat!
Has anyone ever tried it on the first class flat beds?
Funnily enough, when we had Katy Perry and Russell Brand on together, they were really cute but they were amorous together and I thought they’d end up in the bathrooms. But they didn’t, they stayed in the one chair the whole flight.
Who’s the best celebrity you’ve met and who was the worst?
The celebrities I’ve dealt with have all been pretty good. I’d say Katy Perry and Russell Brand were the ones I could really chat to and they were generous with their time, helping me with this book. But I’d have to say, strangely enough, the person who just radiated celebrity was Lily Allen! She just oozes celebrity from the second you see her.
She was in business class and I was in first class and all the young English girls were screaming out, “OMG it’s Lily Allen!” So I went and said, “I hear you’re a singer”, and she said, “Yes, I’m number one all over the world”. I confessed I’d never heard of her, so she showed me her music, which I loved, and I invited her to galley up in first class. I got her lashed on Dom Pérignon and Gin chaser and the next thing we were doing facials together.
There’s a chapter where you say that being an air host is one of the only jobs where gay men can be themselves, which is great. Why do you think that is?
There’s no secret that the job is 99 per cent gay, and I think it’s because gay men don’t have the tie downs straight men do. They’re not married, they don’t tend to have children and they have a sense of adventure.
Do you have secret codes that you use on board?
Oh, of course! BOB means “best on board”, but in my book I call it “batty on board”. I’m more worried about who’s batty than the best. “Lactose intolerant Vegan” is code for “she’s actually painful and annoying so stay away from her!”
You’ve now retired after a workplace injury. Do you miss the job?
I don’t anymore. I mean, I miss the travel and I’d love to do a book on the confessions of a first class passenger, but I was ready to leave. The company has changed from when I started.