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Behind the Smile

During the Glamour Years of Aviation


As I entered the hotel lobby, a grenade exploded, shattering glass everywhere. An employee shoved me into a hall closet and locked the door.

Eager to taste adventure at age 23, Bobbi Phelps became an international flight attendant in 1965. It was a more innocent and glamorous time of travel, when passengers dressed formally, smoking was permitted, and the captain allowed in-flight visits to the cockpit.

But there was another side to her profession. It was also hard, sometimes unglamorous, and often dangerous work.

In this memoir, Bobbi shares fascinating true tales that shocked her friends and parents.

Bobbi Wolverton Main points Behind the SmileHarrowing landings in bad weather.

Bobbi Wolverton Main points Behind the SmileUnruly passengers.

Bobbi Wolverton Main points Behind the SmileSexual escapades.

Bobbi Wolverton Main points Behind the SmileBabies born during flight.

Bobbi Wolverton Main points Behind the SmileTerrifying episodes in war zones.


Stories are often set in such exotic locales as Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, and Egypt.

Behind the Smile takes us on a roller coaster ride of laughter and drama, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the joys and heartaches of working in the airline industry during its most glamorous era.

Available in: paperback (5-1/2×8-1/2, 219 pages) $14.95

Bobbi Phelps Wolverton Behind the Smileat Amazon.

For personalized copy please visit my bookstore.

My book is also available at: Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Nook, and as an audio.  

Library and stores can order from Baker & Taylor.

If you are interested in a book presentation, contact me.



I have made an excerpt of Chapter 1 and 2. It is displayed in Calameo below. You can thumb through the pages, enlarge them, and go full screen for a better reading experience. Enjoy!

Memories of the Glamour Days

Interview with Bobbi

How did you come to write Behind the Smile during the Glamour Years of Aviation?

As a flight attendant, I always told tales about my international adventures when I returned to the States. The listeners constantly encouraged me to write a book. I joined a memoir class at our local library and learned how to put those harrowing stories into the written word.

Where did you get the title?

When we were going through flight attendant training, we were encouraged to always smile. Our airline wanted their passengers to have pleasant experiences, and we were to show them that we were happy and accommodating on every flight. Behind the scenes of a flight attendant during those wonderful years of working in the air, however, were not always as they seemed. Some incidents were impressive and extravagant while others were terrifying and shocking.

Tell us about your next book

My next book is titled, Life’s Too Short. It’s a creative nonfiction memoir about my 18-month trip around the world: backpacking, flyfishing, and exploring. Some of my experiences included climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, having my hand threatened to be cut off in Iran, and being charged by a lion in South Africa. During this venture, I also flyfished from Lapland above the Arctic Circle to the tip of New Zealand’s South Island and most places in between.

Where can one buy Behind the Smile?

Behind the Smile is available from Amazon, at some Barnes and Noble locations, and (for a signed copy) from my website. It is also available as an eBook on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Apple iBooks, Copia, Baker & Taylor, Gardner, eSentral, Scribd, and PagePusher.

Reviews on Amazon

Behind the Smile reviews on Amazon

Reviews on Audiofile

Bobbi Phelps Wolveton Behind the Smile

Listen to sample of Audio Book

Behind the Smile Audio Sampler Bobbi Phelps Wolverton

What My Readers Say

Jane D Toupin
Twin Falls, Idaho
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Captures the essence of the era…our adventures and our innocence....

Kathy Kane
Flight Attendant Kathy Kane, Trans International Airways
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Life on the other side of the smile was an education worth more than money could buy....

Peter Friedman
Captain, United Airlines
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Well written by a pioneer in aviation’s infancy. Recommend reading about living life from a mile high....

Paula Moore
Captain U.S. Navy (ret.)
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Delivered on its promise of sex, humor, and terror as encountered on flights during the 1970's....

Cheryl Peyton
Author, Murder on Bedford Island
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Shocking stories about passengers and crews....

Johnny Wiseman
Captain, World Airways
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A must read for anyone with a love of life. Humorous, heartwarming, and exciting. A page turner....

Carla Schulte Reinking
- Flight Attendant , Saturn Airways
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Gripping tales of intense flights and outrageous passengers...

Jerry Sedik
-Captain, American Airlines
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