tower of power


Tower Air was maybe the worst airline in the history of the world. Flights were routinely delayed for hours with no explanation. At the New York terminal, the X-ray machine sat in the middle of the room, where it would violently eject baggage directly into the wall. Employees routinely engaged in shouting matches with travelers and with each other.

Tower had nothing going for it at all besides rock-bottom prices. Both they and their customers knew it. The disinterested, confrontational service seemed to say, "If you had any money or self-respect, you'd have flown with someone else."

From Wikipedia:

Early in its history and certainly by the mid-1990s, Tower Air became notorious for poor service and questionable maintenance. By 1995 it ranked fourth in the number of complaints per mile among leading U.S. airlines. The 1997 Zagat Survey placed Tower Air 59th out of 61 ranked carriers, only edging ahead of Valujet and Aeroflot.[1] In February 1998, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed two civil penalties totaling $276,000 for continuing to fly aircraft that required maintenance action.

My favorite Tower memory came on a flight back to San Francisco in 1999. They'd made us wait for an hour and a half on the ground in New York, and something else delayed us for another hour in the air - turbulence, or wind, or a tear in the duct tape holding on the wing, or a pig getting loose in the cabin. To make up for the delay, the flight crew decided to waive the charges for cocktails, much to the delight of the Canadian tourists behind me. They proceeded to get wasted and beligerent during the in-flight movie, shouting Canadian things at one another and falling out of favour with our crew.

When the flight finally landed in San Francisco, two Asian passengers stood up while the plane was still rolling toward the gate. They politely nodded when the flight attendant asked them to sit down, and more politely when the captain stopped the plane and came on the intercom to demand they sit down. They even nodded politely when the Canadians started heckling them: "Sit the fuck down, John Woo!" "Jackie Chan! Plane's still moving, eh?"

Finally the head flight attendant walked up to restore order. "Let me handle this," she said, moving her frazzled comrade aside. She stood a foot away from the nodding, confused Asian men, and proceeded to clarify matters.

"YOU NEED TO SIT DOWN!", she shouted.

Unfortunately, the added volume did not overcome the language barrier, and only some creative sign language from another passenger kept the Canadians from going Flight 93 on their asses. I walked off the plane, confident that I would never fly Tower again. At least not for more than $225, round-trip.


is Pigs on a Plane going to be the sequel, you think?

"captain, they're eating the pre-packaged snacks!"

"god DAMN it! no one is going without peanuts on MY watch!" (takes chainsaw out of regulation size carryon.) "it's time to start slicing me some bacon."

I loved Tower Air! My favorite memory: sitting on the plane during a 2 1/2 hour delay at SFO waiting to fly to New York when all of a sudden the oxygen masks for one row in the middle (5 people) came down out of the ceiling as they would with an unexpected change in cabin pressure (although on Tower I wouldn't necessarily count on that happening.) The flight attendant came by, and kind of just stuffed them back up into the ceiling, commenting "oh, don't worry, this happens pretty regularly." great way to make you feel at ease before takeoff.

I WAS TOWER AIR FLIGHT ATTENDANT FOR THREE YEARS and in that time I was in over 4 emergency landings. I was only 21 when I became a Flight Attendant and did not know any better. When I was much older I ran into a former Tower Air Mechanic. He asked me "Did you know what we called you girls"? I thought maybe skywaitress. He said NO "FUTURE VICTIMS", Do you know how BAD those planes really were? Thank God We all survived Tower Air. I miss all the great people that worked there and wish Morris when he dies and goes to hell - That his he will be riding one of his planes for ALL eternity!!! GOD BLESS ALL OF MY FRIENDS AT TOWER AIR AND IAM STILL WONDERING WHO WILL PLAY ME IN THE MADE FOR TV MOVIE??? Remeber kids that when you walk through a terminal "THATS THE GLAMOUR PART OF THE JOB"!! SO WORK IT GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!

debbie, you made my morning. tell it, girl.


my name is shelly oberman (ross) and i was a tower flight attendent in the late 1980's.

i am trying locate people who flew for tower air during the same time.

does anyone here communicate with any of them, or know anyone i can contact to find them?

many thanks,


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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on August 18, 2006 5:02 PM.

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