Journey of a Reluctant Air Steward – by Simon J Marton

Book review about flight attendant life

This autobiographical look at a British flight attendant’s (air steward) journey from application to leaving the airline industry is full of detail, self-depreciation, and humanity.

air steward journey British Airways
Air Steward Marton. Photo: Simon Marton.

A self-published book often promises disappointment, a lack of style, and general inferiority. This one, written by British flight attendant Simon J Marton, does not disappoint, as it promises to be unique!

The book is filled with seriousness as well as humor.

flight attendant life
The humorous side of the job is well illustrated in the book. Photo: Simon Marton.

Air Steward Marton doesn’t really have any airs and graces, but he tells it like it is. He is citing anecdote upon anecdote to tell his story which shows a young man’s entry into a role which is so attractive to many, yet is so different once inside the door.

One Air Steward’s journey explained

air steward journey British Airways
British Airways Express. Photo: Simon Marton.

He explodes all the myths he can in 249 pages of reflection, surmising and balanced criticism of the arenas he finds himself in. During a twenty-five year pathway, he leaves the airlines to do something completely different.

Then he re-joins the airline industry to find himself in a foreign world of short-lived disappointment.

Of course, every flight attendant experiences his or her career-journey differently. However, this book offers a very unique insight into the life of one air steward.

British Airways Express flight attendant life
The masked pictures are indicative of the humor of the book. Simon says the masks were a random purchase and somehow ended up in his crew bag. On the subject of the masks, Simon’s book explains how they were used as humor in different settings during his tenure as a flight attendant and as an airline dispatcher. Photo: Simon Marton.

Personal career struggles

Marton describes himself in that time as feeling ‘like a fish out of water’ and realizes quickly that all is not well with the national flag carrier of Great Britain.

But he does what he can to support his family, battling with his own mental health and fatigue, trying to balance home life with working life.

air steward journey family life
Flight Attendant Marton’s family. Photo: Simon Marton.

The book loses a little in momentum at times, but it’s more than made up for with a compelling story laden with authenticity.

Never far from moments of comedy, Marton compares his own haphazard pathway with the crowd and steers his own course.

Some highlights of the book

  • Marton describes seeing himself straying onto a live runway with two military jets waiting to take off.
  • Nearly writing off a Dash 8 because he is too intent on handbrake skids on the ice.
  • Having to show a fellow flight attendant his underwear in a galley just to get the fellow off his back.
flight attendants galley
Humor in the galley. Photo: Simon Marton.

Air Steward professional experience

He’s also adept at showing the reader his knowledge of air accidents. Marton relates his own near-misses to good effect, including systems failures, bullying, as well as death.

airline life, on the ramp
Having fun on the job. Photo: Simon Marton.

Who does the book appeal to?

The book could appeal to so many readers; those in the industry and those outside, including leavers who want a reminder of their times, the queues of hopefuls. It even relates to those interested in what actually occurs behind the scenes of airline life. Things are consistently happening on the ground and up in the air.

“Journey of a Reluctant Air Steward” is a self-published journal, available through It will resonate with – and entertain­­- even the most seasoned veterans. Whether you are an airline professional or a passenger, or just an AvGeek, you may find yourself in familiar territory!

flight attendant Marton, British Air
Simon Marton, Author.

Featured and bottom images: Simon J Marton. Photographer: Artur Lesniak/ | Date: 09/07/2019 | Copyright: Artur Lesniak/Reach


During a conversation with staff at Captain Jetson, Simon summarized his experiences in a way that many of us professional seniors of the airline industry can identify with. Most of us love the airline lifestyle, yet it comes with a backside.

About his post-flight attendant life, Simon says:

I’m doing completely different things now, and I’m glad about the change. No early morning standbys, no night flights across timezones, no irregular lifestyle, and I now look forward to weekends! I do miss being around aircraft from time to time though. I can now put my kids to bed, go to church on Sundays, and have a better relationship with my wife overall.

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