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Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir

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Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir is an insightful, hilarious, sometimes seat-gripping look at the adventures of an ebullient flight attendant, who flew for the world’s most iconic airline, Pan Am. With the world at her fingertips, anything was possible...even the improbable. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read as Wendy Knecht recounts the experiences of her li Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir is an insightful, hilarious, sometimes seat-gripping look at the adventures of an ebullient flight attendant, who flew for the world’s most iconic airline, Pan Am. With the world at her fingertips, anything was possible...even the improbable. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read as Wendy Knecht recounts the experiences of her lifetime. Travel with Wendy as she transforms from naive, frizzy-haired college student into a wined-and-dined, weight-checked woman of the world. After rigorous, eye-opening training and an aerodynamics lesson called PFM, she progresses to rich experiences around the globe. Fly along as she tells stories about a cockpit swimsuit competition, working the world’s longest flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and all the perks, discoveries, and personal growth that came along the way. It wasn’t just a party, and world politics were always part of the Pan Am experience. An interview by the Secret Service details a threat on President Reagan’s life, and an assignment in India leads to personal involvement in the shattering, deadly 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73. Single until age 47, Wendy’s Pan Am story of her “life of freedom” is thought provoking and peppered with celebrity, adventure, tragedy, and a lot of laughter. Life, Love, and a Highjacking might just empower you to seek your own life’s adventure.


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Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir is an insightful, hilarious, sometimes seat-gripping look at the adventures of an ebullient flight attendant, who flew for the world’s most iconic airline, Pan Am. With the world at her fingertips, anything was possible...even the improbable. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read as Wendy Knecht recounts the experiences of her li Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir is an insightful, hilarious, sometimes seat-gripping look at the adventures of an ebullient flight attendant, who flew for the world’s most iconic airline, Pan Am. With the world at her fingertips, anything was possible...even the improbable. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read as Wendy Knecht recounts the experiences of her lifetime. Travel with Wendy as she transforms from naive, frizzy-haired college student into a wined-and-dined, weight-checked woman of the world. After rigorous, eye-opening training and an aerodynamics lesson called PFM, she progresses to rich experiences around the globe. Fly along as she tells stories about a cockpit swimsuit competition, working the world’s longest flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and all the perks, discoveries, and personal growth that came along the way. It wasn’t just a party, and world politics were always part of the Pan Am experience. An interview by the Secret Service details a threat on President Reagan’s life, and an assignment in India leads to personal involvement in the shattering, deadly 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73. Single until age 47, Wendy’s Pan Am story of her “life of freedom” is thought provoking and peppered with celebrity, adventure, tragedy, and a lot of laughter. Life, Love, and a Highjacking might just empower you to seek your own life’s adventure.

30 review for Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Pan Am did a lot of oddball things that by today's more progressive standards would be making headline news, to put it lightly. I wouldn't say it was a bad company, in fact it was quite innovative for its time, but I still come across memoirs such as this from former staff who recall everything from pilots flying whilst hitting the bottle, blatant sexism that went way too far and even secret affairs. Nevertheless, any Pan Am staff member always seems to have retained a certain fondness for the i Pan Am did a lot of oddball things that by today's more progressive standards would be making headline news, to put it lightly. I wouldn't say it was a bad company, in fact it was quite innovative for its time, but I still come across memoirs such as this from former staff who recall everything from pilots flying whilst hitting the bottle, blatant sexism that went way too far and even secret affairs. Nevertheless, any Pan Am staff member always seems to have retained a certain fondness for the infamous airline company, coupled with a strong sense of camaraderie with their old colleagues and return passengers. Knecht's book too chooses to take a more comedic approach to this topic in her memoir, and Life, Love and a Hijacking takes readers into what is described almost like its own world. Odd as the environment of Pan Am was, Knecht describes not only the fun she had and the experiences that shaped her as an adult for better or for worse, but also the many things she learned along the way. Contrary to the rumors of sleazy people and outdated standards, she brings up some great wisdom regarding not just travel, but also confidence, culture and finding one's own place within their career. While there are plenty of bizarre mentionings of things such as weigh-ins for female flight attendants and strict rules on dress and demeanor, the book looks back at it lovingly and with fun, and shows that no matter your career, there will always be things about it you'll remember.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and am very thankful. This was a very well written and fun memoir to read as I used Pan American when I was younger going back and forth from boarding school, as I lived in Guatemala. The author gives a wonderfully detailed account of what it was like to work for Pan American, from their Idiosyncrasies, (such as their weight charts, to needing to be single) but also their sage advise,(on how one should comport themselves in different cu I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and am very thankful. This was a very well written and fun memoir to read as I used Pan American when I was younger going back and forth from boarding school, as I lived in Guatemala. The author gives a wonderfully detailed account of what it was like to work for Pan American, from their Idiosyncrasies, (such as their weight charts, to needing to be single) but also their sage advise,(on how one should comport themselves in different cultures, learning a language, etc). It was fun to read about how airlines used to be, from wonderful food, to dress codes and much more. The author lived a very rich and exciting life, while working for the airline which had many perks and which quenched a thirst she always had for travel. This book even mentioned her love of Guatemala and she actually talked about a person I know as well, so that was a lot of fun. This book is definitely worth reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Angliss

    Excellent. A timeless and humorous memoir of substantial quality. Its rareness readers will absorb for many years to come. Well done, Wendy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    William Morgenstein

    I flew many happy miles with Pan Am and I knew some of the "Shoe" people that Wendy had worked with but even if I didn't and not known some of the same people I would have found this a great book to read.It is a 'fast read' page turner. Wendy crams in great humor, insight and pathos into the book.Pan Am attracted dedicated, talented and really fine people in its hey day and after reading Wendy's adventures you can see why. After reading this you will not only have respect for one of the finest a I flew many happy miles with Pan Am and I knew some of the "Shoe" people that Wendy had worked with but even if I didn't and not known some of the same people I would have found this a great book to read.It is a 'fast read' page turner. Wendy crams in great humor, insight and pathos into the book.Pan Am attracted dedicated, talented and really fine people in its hey day and after reading Wendy's adventures you can see why. After reading this you will not only have respect for one of the finest airlines of the past but also for an unusual and very talented woman. Amazingly Wendy coupled her love of travel with business acumen saleswomanship and loyalty to friends, company and family.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorian Pacheco

    A good insider's account of the airline industry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Kearns

    I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and lived overseas for many of those years due to my father's job with the State Department. We flew Pan Am almost exclusively, and seeing that blue logo on the airplane tail fin always gave us a jolt of American pride and homesickness. Flying in those days was a much different experience than it is today - everyone dressed up (you never saw passengers in pajamas or dirty sweatpants), and the meal service rivaled that of a fancy restaurant. I can remember my sister I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and lived overseas for many of those years due to my father's job with the State Department. We flew Pan Am almost exclusively, and seeing that blue logo on the airplane tail fin always gave us a jolt of American pride and homesickness. Flying in those days was a much different experience than it is today - everyone dressed up (you never saw passengers in pajamas or dirty sweatpants), and the meal service rivaled that of a fancy restaurant. I can remember my sister and me going up a tiny spiral staircase to play in the "cocktail lounge" on 747s during overnight flights, and I fondly recall that the bathrooms were stocked with real towels, cologne and fresh flowers. We got to know quite a few Pan Am stewardesses over the years, and hardly a Christmas or Thanksgiving went by without having a stewardess or two at our table so they wouldn't be alone in a hotel during the holiday. Sometimes one of them would bring us things we missed from home - current newspapers, celery, peanut butter, and once some asthma inhalers that were out of stock at the Embassy health unit. I remember that even in their free time they were always well dressed, lady-like and were ambassadors for Pan Am. I was very sad when Pan Am went bankrupt, and I compare modern airlines (unfavorably) with Pan Am every time I fly. Gone are the days when passengers were treated like valued guests, meal service is gone altogether on most flights, and gone too are most of the friendly, professional and crisply dressed flight attendants. I'm sad that none of my kids were ever taken into a cockpit to meet the captain (during the flight!) and given a set of wings to pin on their shirt. Wendy Sue Knecht has written a wonderful, entertaining book about her years as a Pan Am stewardess, and I enjoyed it more than I can say. I loved the glimpse she gave me of "the other side of the story" of those elegant, well dressed ladies who served us on board our flights. She added just the right amount of humor, celebrity stories, insider knowledge and anecdotes to keep me up late turning pages until I finished the book. Some of her memories are sad and sobering. She had personally trained the Indian stewardesses who were hijacked on Pan Am 73 in Karachi, Pakistan in 1986 - an event that left a hundred people wounded and 20 dead. She was also friends with many of the crew on board Pan Am 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988, killing 259 on board and 11 people on the ground. Even after these horrible tragedies, she continued to fly for Pan Am, and later for Delta Airlines. If you like reading memoirs, are old enough to remember Pan Am, or just enjoy a well written book, you will love this one. I received a complimentary copy of Life, Love and a Hijacking directly from the author. I wasn't asked to leave a positive review, and I wasn't otherwise compensated. My honest opinion is that this sincere, entertaining and well written memoir is worthy of five stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Knecht

    Reviewed By Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite Life, Love, and a Hijacking by Wendy Sue Knecht begins with the great elation she felt at her selection by Pan Am, the joy of flying and the greater joy of clearing the bone caliper test. Getting nicknamed goodie-goodie for her adherence to rules, falling in love with her job, how the sweet aroma of travel as well as the fun of living with pools made this a remarkable life to lead; how each of the lands she frequented had their own distinct olfactory Reviewed By Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite Life, Love, and a Hijacking by Wendy Sue Knecht begins with the great elation she felt at her selection by Pan Am, the joy of flying and the greater joy of clearing the bone caliper test. Getting nicknamed goodie-goodie for her adherence to rules, falling in love with her job, how the sweet aroma of travel as well as the fun of living with pools made this a remarkable life to lead; how each of the lands she frequented had their own distinct olfactory experience - like the pungent spicy smell of India or the smoky Turkish aroma of Istanbul - find description here. Missing out on planned events by unscheduled stops and delays, as well as her most idiotic move, a solo visit to Africa on an eight-day off, add anxious twists to this page turner. Life, Love, and a Hijacking by Wendy Sue Knecht is a collection of memories rich in its variety and content. The excitement of the glamorous life the high flyers lead comes alive in these pages. Though in this book she mentions a condition, OCD, obsessive cleaning disorder, I think it is more likely that she has ORD, obsessive recollection disorder. I can tell that there aren’t many opportunities for entertainment or celebrations associated with a flying career that are not mentioned here. An excellent read, it held my attention from the moment I started till I turned the last page.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I absolutely LOVED this book, from beginning to end! It was quite entertaining, especially when Wendy spoke of her adventures traveling around the world, and the famous people that she had met along the way. I would have loved to read more about the places in which she had visited, specifically in regards to the sites, food, and people that she had encountered. When Wendy spoke about the hijacking and the Lockerbie disaster, I felt empathy for those directly impacted, especially the flight atten I absolutely LOVED this book, from beginning to end! It was quite entertaining, especially when Wendy spoke of her adventures traveling around the world, and the famous people that she had met along the way. I would have loved to read more about the places in which she had visited, specifically in regards to the sites, food, and people that she had encountered. When Wendy spoke about the hijacking and the Lockerbie disaster, I felt empathy for those directly impacted, especially the flight attendants that Wendy had trained personally. After reading Wendy's adventures, I feel inclined to travel as well; although I would not be able to reap all of the benefits that Wendy had experienced! Such a wonderful book, which I read in about four hours as it was THAT good, I wasn't able to put it down. I loved how Wendy included her favourite recipes at the end of the book, along with the short chapters, which made it easier to read. I hope to be able to read more about Wendy's adventures in a possible sequel, which I hope will come out soon!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nahree

    This was a simple book with chapters that were short and sweet. Though it was fascinating to learn about the etiquette, weight, and other job requirements, the details started to feel repetitive. The chapters pertaining to life and love were light and entertaining, so the hijacking chapter was jarring and disrupted the pacing of the anecdotes. Also, she was not even on the plane during the hijacking, so it's very misleading and disappointing to end up reading just a bunch of conjecture pertainin This was a simple book with chapters that were short and sweet. Though it was fascinating to learn about the etiquette, weight, and other job requirements, the details started to feel repetitive. The chapters pertaining to life and love were light and entertaining, so the hijacking chapter was jarring and disrupted the pacing of the anecdotes. Also, she was not even on the plane during the hijacking, so it's very misleading and disappointing to end up reading just a bunch of conjecture pertaining to the India flight. I also wished that she went into more detail on Pan Am's influence and significance on airline history. It's a easy read and the travel tips and airplane food recipes are a fun touch. Just don't expect anything too deep.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kel Crist

    I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review. Reading about Wendy Sue’s life as a Pan Am stewardess was interesting from the interview process to the exotic locals to the end of Pan Am I enjoyed the journey. Some areas were a little dry, but it’s a memoir… life isn’t always a wild ride. I did feel though that her accounts did show the ups and downs of her time with Pan Am and even after. I’m grateful I was provided a copy of this e-book, I especially enjoyed learning ab I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review. Reading about Wendy Sue’s life as a Pan Am stewardess was interesting from the interview process to the exotic locals to the end of Pan Am I enjoyed the journey. Some areas were a little dry, but it’s a memoir… life isn’t always a wild ride. I did feel though that her accounts did show the ups and downs of her time with Pan Am and even after. I’m grateful I was provided a copy of this e-book, I especially enjoyed learning about the hiring process and her early years in flying.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gillian Ashton

    This book was a very easy to read book and It was OK. Just Ok. I found a lot of repetition in the chapters and that was off putting. I found some areas highly amusing, particuarly the Pam Am obsessions with weight and flyers dress codes. If I am honest I hoped for more from this book, whilst I did find it amusing at times, I felt it lacked the full hilarity and adventure that working in a worldwide customer focused role like this would deliver.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    I received this book as a First Reads Give away by the author, Wendy Sue Knecht. It was a simple read that contained some interesting details about the ascent of Pan Am airlines (plus it's ultimate descent), from the employees perspective. Unfortunately, it lacked the anticipation factor as it was predictable, bland & saccharine sweet. Wendy Sue may have lead an 'adventure of a life serving Pan Am' for 2 decades but it did not come across in her book/life story. It only deserves 3 stars. I received this book as a First Reads Give away by the author, Wendy Sue Knecht. It was a simple read that contained some interesting details about the ascent of Pan Am airlines (plus it's ultimate descent), from the employees perspective. Unfortunately, it lacked the anticipation factor as it was predictable, bland & saccharine sweet. Wendy Sue may have lead an 'adventure of a life serving Pan Am' for 2 decades but it did not come across in her book/life story. It only deserves 3 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dipika Kumar

    I received this book as part of the giveaway done by Goodreads. This book was an amazing journey into the life of a Pan AM air-hostess. The description of life, colleagues and passengers were showcased in a very detailed and descriptive manner. The reader will be able to visualize the scenarios presented and will thoroughly enjoy them. Overall, a good read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trina Knittle

    Goodreads win. Will read and review once received. This was a very enjoyable read. I found it to be quite excellent. It was a quick read that took about a day and a half to read. I found it hard to put the book down during certain parts of the book. The book was pretty original and was a rare gem of a book. I would definitely recommend this book to just about anyone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Farmer

    I enjoyed the story. It is a great book to read if you are having a kind of "I am depressed day." It was a cheery, my life was wonderful kind of story. I was waiting for the conflict to pull me in but there really wasn't any. I did finish it but I didn't have any soul stirring moments during the book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I received this book free through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I thought it was well written and entertaining to read. Although the majority of it was about her Pan Am experience which I found fascinating, I'd love to read more of her travels. Perhaps a travel memoir is next up?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Blakely Brown

    I got this book from Goodreads first reads. It was a quick read. Kne th never got bogged down in on topic, but she didn't really hit points with great detail either. Over all her stories were cute.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Constanze Kratel Roman

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  20. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  21. 4 out of 5

    turney12

  22. 5 out of 5

    Softie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erika

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather Vogt Khosla

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Opalko

  29. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

  30. 5 out of 5

    Megan

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