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Portland flight attendant draws on high-flying life for novel


A Portland woman has published a novel in which she recounts her adventures as a private flight attendant for billionaires around the globe.

“We used to have to name which airplane it was kind of like a guessing game with my dad. And I loved every minute of it,” author and corporate flight attendant Anne Menke said Thursday during a visit to Bend.

From an early age, Menke loved airplanes, and that love became her passion as she began her career as a flight attendant.

“It’s funny to be here in Bend, because my mentor flies (Nike founder) Phil Knight, and she really just encouraged me,” Menke said.

But the difference between Menke and most flight attendants is that she flew with the rich and famous on private jets.

“I love to fly — I love the smell of jet fuel,” she said. “I love watching passengers when they’re on board that they’ve just had an incredible trip.”

But the life of a luxury flight attendant isn’t always diamonds and pearls.

“Sometimes you’ll get on board and you think, ‘How am I ever going to do this?’ Menke said. “And it all comes together.”

Long hours away from family and friends were rough on Menke, but she had one key secret that kept her going.

“I have a good husband, and that really helped,” she said. “He was so supportive from day one.”

In certain circumstances, Menke and other crew members have had to sign confidentiality waivers, to protect the privacy of some of her more affluent passengers.

“I’ve had the Dalai Lama on board, going into Katmandu– he travels a lot with Richard Gere,” she said.

“A famous celebrity couple was having their first biological child, so they were going into the south of France,” Menke said. “They’re a beautiful couple — they’re as beautiful in person as they are on screen.

“From the Collin Powells to the Bill Clintons. (Jeld-Wen founders) Rod and Carol Wendt. They have endorsed the book. they are the memorable ones. I really saved the best for last,” she added.

With her incredible experiences and success, Menke turned her experiences into a fictional book in which she introduces her heroine, Anna St. James, who departs on the adventure of a lifetime.

“I wanted people to be able to get lost in a book, and be able to experience a little of this world that I’ve seen, but be thoroughly entertained at the same time,” Menke said.

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