Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant: Interview with Owen Beddall

August 13, 2014

Have you ever wondered what happens at 30,000 feet? What do the flight attendants get up to when we’re asleep or behind that curtain? When I was at school I wanted to be a flight attendant myself but for various reasons, it was something that was beyond my reach. But not for Owen Beddall!

In his debut novel, he spills the beans on his high-flying career, his relationships and the famous passengers he was lucky enough to meet. Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant delves into the stereotypical high glamour job as Owen provides us with hilarious anecdotes, observations of the people he encounters (famous and not!) and a tour around all the cities that he is lucky enough to be based. 

Owen, who is from Australia, initially began studying law before opting for a career in the sky. He has travelled the world and spent time in Thailand and London, where much of the book is set. Unfortunately, he broke his spine in a training exercise and whilst being “grounded” the book began to take shape as a form of therapy. 

We we’re lucky enough to catch up with Owen to get the gossip on his career and find out what he has planned for life on the ground. 

Where was the best place you visited on your travels? 

My favourite place to relax is Thailand. I love the shopping, the food, the people, the beaches. It is just paradise but for inspiration and buzz I love New York. Its so inspiring and I always feel like I’m in an episode of Sex in the City

Obviously you have travelled all over the place but are there one place that you would love to visit?

I would love to do the cruise from Alaska to Canada taking in the wild life of the polar region and the ice sculptures and environment. I’ve heard its absolutely breath taking.

Now that you can’t be a flight attendant, do you wish you’d continued your studies? 

(Laughs out loud) Ha. Well, it would be helpful with my work place injury and negotiating all of the entertainment and publishing contracts I’ve been looking at but NO!. I love a good argument but law was just so dry and so segregated. I found it very dull, with all due respect to lawyers. It was no Ally McBeal

Where did the idea come from to write the book? 

I had been collating stories and pictures and memorabilia from flights for years but it was more of a picture book. I have some wicked photos from all over the world but it didn’t leap out at publishers. When I had my injury, I was grounded (pardon the pun) for a year and I had an intertwining theme for the story to unfold. It was also very cathartic and helped me get through a dark period when I felt everything and everyone was against me. This book is really proof that when life hands you lemons (even if it’s a whole bloody truck load of lemons), you can make lemonade.

Out of all the celebs in your book, who were you most excited about seeing getting on your plane?

I was very excited to see Katy Perry and Russell Brand come onboard and especially as it was unannounced and unexpected. It was their first weekend together and they were in love and very amorous. But I was also very excited to see Venus Williams in the flesh as Id been at the tennis the day before and I really admire her and her story but you know, Lily Allen, Cate Blanchet and Kylie Minogue were pretty cool too (rye smile)

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How do some of the celebs feel about you spilling the beans? 

They have all been fine, as far as I know. I’ve had some messages of support from them and even the wife of a sports star I told an unfortunate story about, thanked my for being so kind and understanding. So I’ve been pretty chuffed. Also we did make an effort to contact the public figures prior to the book going out.

What are you working on at the moment? 

Hahahaha! Well, I’m not at the airline. I am promoting my book, looking at negotiating a second one but I am aiming to do that in London and I’m in talks for the TV and film rights in America and a TV show in Australia.

You mentioned you’re working on a TV show in Australia, which celeb would you most like on your sofa? 

Probably Oprah. I find her so inspiring and I’d love to turn the cameras on her. If not, Id love to do Kate Moss. When I was a lad, I had a picture of her on my wall in the CK ads and my brother had his wall littered with football players (laughs out loud).

As a frequent flyer myself, I love watching what the flight attendants get up to! How does it feel for you now when you’re the passenger?

It annoys me. I know all of the tricks when I ask them something; I also know when they are taking the piss too. Probably wouldn’t be so annoying if I was travelling around in first class but no, seriously it’s funny to watch.

If we looked into your suitcase, what are your top travel essentials? (Apart from your secret medicine!) 

An adaptor for my appliances (and I mean computer, phone etc.…Not Samantha appliances from Sex in the City) I always have jeans, and a jumper for any occasion and my travel insurance. Oh, and my passport (laughs).

Quick Fire questions: 

Favourite film? It was Philadelphia but I watched Dallas Buyers Club on the flight here and it really moved and disturbed me.

Favourite book? April fools Day and of course Confessions of a QANTAS Flight Attendant (laughs)

Favourite food? A nice English roast

Favourite drink? Bloody Mary spicy

Favourite fashion designer? I love Burberry coats and ponchos

One beauty product you couldn’t live without? La Prarie Moisturiser

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You can follow Owen on Twitter @owenbeddall or Facebook – Owen Beddall and the book is available to buy a limited supply here or through amazon for kindle or http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/owen-beddall/confessions-of-a-qantas-flight-attendant-true-tales-and-gossip-from-the-galley-9780857982193.aspx

By Emily Parker

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