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Fly Girl: A Memoir

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In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, d In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, deliver a baby, mix proper cocktails, administer oxygen, and stay calm no matter what the situation. In the air, Hood found both the adventure she’d dreamt of and the unexpected realities of life on the job. She carved chateaubriand in the first-class cabin and dined in front of the pyramids in Cairo, fended off passengers’ advances and found romance on layovers in London and Lisbon, and walked more than a million miles in high heels. She flew through the start of deregulation, an oil crisis, massive furloughs, and a labor strike. As the airline industry changed around her, Hood began to write—even drafting snatches of her first novel from the jump-seat. She reveals how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards. Packed with funny, moving, and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, Fly Girl captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height, and the thrill that remains with every takeoff.


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In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, d In 1978, in the tailwind of the golden age of air travel, flight attendants were the epitome of glamor and sophistication. Fresh out of college and hungry to experience the world—and maybe, one day, write about it—Ann Hood joined their ranks. After a grueling job search, Hood survived TWA’s rigorous Breech Training Academy and learned to evacuate seven kinds of aircraft, deliver a baby, mix proper cocktails, administer oxygen, and stay calm no matter what the situation. In the air, Hood found both the adventure she’d dreamt of and the unexpected realities of life on the job. She carved chateaubriand in the first-class cabin and dined in front of the pyramids in Cairo, fended off passengers’ advances and found romance on layovers in London and Lisbon, and walked more than a million miles in high heels. She flew through the start of deregulation, an oil crisis, massive furloughs, and a labor strike. As the airline industry changed around her, Hood began to write—even drafting snatches of her first novel from the jump-seat. She reveals how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards. Packed with funny, moving, and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, Fly Girl captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height, and the thrill that remains with every takeoff.

30 review for Fly Girl: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    LOVED.......EVERY SECOND .....of listening to "Fly Girl"!!!! WHO KNEW.......it could be sooooo interesting to listen to sooooo many details involving being a FLY GIRL (stewardess) during the days --when 'weigh-ins' created fear of being FIRED on the SPOT, anxiety, and eating disorders. WHO KNEW -- how sore those poor women's feet were? WHO KNEW -- how MUCH training it took to become a FLY GIRL in the SKY ... WHO KNEW --who knew? who knew?? ....dozens and dozens of details we learn? ..... These LOVED.......EVERY SECOND .....of listening to "Fly Girl"!!!! WHO KNEW.......it could be sooooo interesting to listen to sooooo many details involving being a FLY GIRL (stewardess) during the days --when 'weigh-ins' created fear of being FIRED on the SPOT, anxiety, and eating disorders. WHO KNEW -- how sore those poor women's feet were? WHO KNEW -- how MUCH training it took to become a FLY GIRL in the SKY ... WHO KNEW --who knew? who knew?? ....dozens and dozens of details we learn? ..... These poor flight attendants --with their lipstick and ready smiles -- were stinky from all the sticky soda splashed on them --and cigarette smoke they left work with -- Try getting the smell out of their uniforms... Oh --and the rules --were ENDLESS.... and the REAL responsibility --SAFETY --(with a smile) --"Want a cocktail, Sir?" The Training was harder (much harder) than getting a 4 year degree -- I BELIEVE IT!!! (this book --Ann Hood -- had me in the palm of her hands taking in all she had to say) oops....Forgot to mention... I LISTENED to this book: ....Audiobook ....read by Ann Hood (Ann is *outstanding*!!!) ....8 hours and 11 minutes You know a book is good -- when you want to (go back) -- and read every book the author has written. I'd love to have Ann over for dinner! I'm a forever fan -- Love this woman -- loved Ann's voice, how authentic she was -her stories - and giving me a chance to look at my own history -reflect on the changes -- etc. For me.....the STANDOUT was ANN HOOD'S personal STORIES....(unbelievable) >> There was once a passenger on the plane who was Breast-feeding her cat. (okay?) -- lol -- Another funny was when Ann asked Richard Gere if he wanted 'nuts' on his ice cream. Too funny! I hope Richard Gere read this book! The stories are endless!!!! (entertaining, engrossing, even reading about holding a coffee pot was interesting) --WHO KNEW that looking through our own lifetime-history -- from the LADIES in the SKY-- could be so FASCINATING... with parts so horrendously injust -- of the way women were treated -(yet most of us didn't give it a second thought of how wrong it was) -- makes me sick thinking about my own blindness in the area of civil rights for women. And.... ..... My feet hurt just imagining walking up and down those aisles in high heel shoes. -I'll never think about flight attendants the same again after this book!!! -- Be it in the 70's or even now --today! Stewardesses had be slinky, sexy, wholesome, tall, have beautiful legs, never look tired (biggest lie of all), and SMILE -SMILE - SMILE ..... making the job look GLAMOUROUS...... I remember the days of flying when the service was better, meals were better, more seat room, ... but the MILE HIGH CLUB?? --- Boy --I am sooo naïve: I didn't even know WHAT that term 'was' until this book.... WHO KNEW????? of all these varied shenanigans of things Ann Hood shares -- Our FLY GIRLS lived a life -that most of us NEVER-REALLY knew!!! Flying to Vegas? -- The Fly Girls were trained in sooooo many odd aspects of what to do, what to say, what never to say, what to wear, what to weigh, how to serve food, and drinks properly, resolve conflicts, handle babies, creepy men, jealous wives, keep everyone safe....etc. etc. etc. and if flying to Vegas --never expect a Flight Attendant to say "Good Luck"... BECAUSE --most passengers lose money… not win! WONDERFUL MEMOIR..... wonderful history to look back on for some of us old farts! Thank you Ann......YOU'RE just TERRIFIC!!!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    The first time I flew, I had just had my 5th birthday, my older brother had his 8th three days after mine, and my younger brother had just been born, and in two days it would be Halloween. It was years before I made the connection between that first trip - to Disneyland with my older brother and my father - that we’d left the day after my mother, and my then new-born brother had come home from the hospital. I remember that flight more than I would remember our stay there, and our visiting Disney The first time I flew, I had just had my 5th birthday, my older brother had his 8th three days after mine, and my younger brother had just been born, and in two days it would be Halloween. It was years before I made the connection between that first trip - to Disneyland with my older brother and my father - that we’d left the day after my mother, and my then new-born brother had come home from the hospital. I remember that flight more than I would remember our stay there, and our visiting Disneyland had it not been for the photographs my father took. What I remember about the flight - on a TWA plane - was that I was sitting next to an older couple, I had no idea where my older brother was sitting, and my father was the pilot. The older couple kept insisting I should be sitting with my parents, and called the flight attendant over. She asked if I knew where my mother was, and I told her she wasn’t on the plane. The older woman huffed at that. Then she asked where my father was, and, in tears, I said he was flying the plane. I was immediately moved to a seat alone by a window. Later on, my father came back to check on me sometime after we’d reached altitude, and after that, I was invited by the flight attendants working that flight to join them in their private space, with a small-ish semi-circular couch. There I was taught the whole ‘drill’ that we all have heard by now, “in case of emergency” etc. When I saw this title and the cover, I knew I wanted to read this. Ann Hood joined TWA in the 1970’s, and began working as a flight attendant during the glory days of TWA, an era when people would still dress up to fly, and flying had become more commonplace than in earlier years. My mother had been an ’Air Hostess’ for PCA Capital Airlines, and although I rarely heard stories about those days from her, somewhere I have a copy of a telegram sent to her by a male passenger, sent via her supervisor at Capital. So I wasn’t surprised to read about the amorous requests for dates from passengers, but there was more to this story than that. Long days, of course, but so much more. I was happily surprised when I read that Ann Hood had also worked as a flight attendant, albeit briefly, for Capital Airlines during a TWA strike. Ann Hood had been obsessed with the idea of flight since she was young. The story of Laika, the dog that the Russians had launched into space in Sputnik 2, and the race to be the first in space was on the minds of everyone. For Halloween, Ann dressed as a space girl, wrapped in a costume made of aluminum foil and pipe cleaners for her antennae. As a young girl, her family would go to watch the progress being made as the new airport in Chantilly, Virginia was being built. It was another era, progress was being made - visibly - in the race for space, as well. When she was eleven, she read a book called ’How to Become an Airline Stewardess’ and was enamored with the idea of being able to have a career flying. At the age of sixteen, traveling with a friend, she flew for the first time. Her first ’great adventure.’ Another dream of hers was to become a writer, and with her belief that all writers needed to experience great adventures in order to have worthy tales to tell. Her desire to fly would, indeed, allow her many opportunities, many places to visit, and many stories to tell. Thus began her love of flying, born in the years before TSA checkpoints, in the years when people could still meet you at the gate upon your arrival, or watch your plane as it taxied away from the gate, and watch as your plane took to the skies. The glamour of flying has faded somewhat over the years, more so after 9/11 and the last couple of years as reports of people needing to be restrained, or flights needing to land so an unruly passenger can find a more appropriate place to remain. I loved every minute of reading this, even though I never dreamed of being a flight attendant, I loved reading her story, and the memories it brought back of the era, and more. Published: 03 May 2022 Many thanks for the ARC provided by W.W. Norton & Company

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    FLY GIRL soars: Ann Hood’s memoir of her experiences as a flight attendant is a love letter to the years when flying was a dream — and the 747s ruled the skies. I was catapulted back in time and savored every second and every story from 35,000 feet in the air.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    When I was a pre-teen I wanted to be many different things, mostly influenced by the books I was reading. At one point, after reading about the Saints, seeing the movie,The trouble with angels,and attending Catholic school, I even contemplated becoming a nun. I would have been a horrible nun! Becoming a flight attendant never entered my mind. Made this book all the more fascinating, I knew so little about this career choice. Reading about Ann Hood, her early career as a TWA flight attendant, and When I was a pre-teen I wanted to be many different things, mostly influenced by the books I was reading. At one point, after reading about the Saints, seeing the movie,The trouble with angels,and attending Catholic school, I even contemplated becoming a nun. I would have been a horrible nun! Becoming a flight attendant never entered my mind. Made this book all the more fascinating, I knew so little about this career choice. Reading about Ann Hood, her early career as a TWA flight attendant, and the reasons why she so badly wanted and made this choice, was a novel experience. Had no idea all these young women had to learn, how regulated it all was, opened my eyes to just how much they were tasked with, the responsibility they carried. Of course, much has changed, but she discusses these as well. Also interesting how her insights into people, all the travel experiences she had, were all used in her current occupational an author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pooja Peravali

    Ann Hood became a flight attendant at TWA in 1978 and worked there for many years. In this book, she recounts the places she saw and the people she met, and how the shifting culture of air travel at the time affected her and her job. I do like to travel, even though riding in economy in airplanes is not precisely a lovely experience. However, I have long been fascinated by the heyday of jet-setting, back when flying places was a glamorous, expensive business. This book is not quite about that, as Ann Hood became a flight attendant at TWA in 1978 and worked there for many years. In this book, she recounts the places she saw and the people she met, and how the shifting culture of air travel at the time affected her and her job. I do like to travel, even though riding in economy in airplanes is not precisely a lovely experience. However, I have long been fascinated by the heyday of jet-setting, back when flying places was a glamorous, expensive business. This book is not quite about that, as Hood became a flight attendant just as air travel was deregulated, allowing airlines to set their own prices and routes. But it was a fascinating read all the same. The author did a great job conveying how being a flight attendant changed her, helping her gain confidence in herself. It was also interesting to learn the nitty-gritty details of being a flight attendant, ranging from what training they received to how they bid on routes to decide which flights they would end up flying. However, I did think the recollections became scattered in the second half of the book, likely because there were just so many things that she could have written about that we dart, bird-like, from one morsel to the next in no particular order. Overall, a nostalgic look back at air travel in the 70s and 80s, told through the eyes of a likable protagonist. Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Ann Hood worked as a TWA flight attendant from 1978 until the mid 1980's. (It was strange reading this book so soon after I read another soon-to-be-published book, The Great Stewardess Rebellion, which detailed the abysmal treatment and disrespect the women endured from the beginning through the late 1960's.) In 1978, the flight attendants had made gains, but could still be fired for going above their starting weight (she was 5'7" and 120 pounds). Ann talks about her love of travel, some of the Ann Hood worked as a TWA flight attendant from 1978 until the mid 1980's. (It was strange reading this book so soon after I read another soon-to-be-published book, The Great Stewardess Rebellion, which detailed the abysmal treatment and disrespect the women endured from the beginning through the late 1960's.) In 1978, the flight attendants had made gains, but could still be fired for going above their starting weight (she was 5'7" and 120 pounds). Ann talks about her love of travel, some of the odd occurrences on her flights, and what a wonderful job it was until greedy corporate raider Carl Ichan bankrupted the airline. Hood has written an entertaining memoir of a time which is long gone. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this advance copy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    I adore Ann Hood’s writing, it’s like sitting with your sister or very best friend and chatting about everything! Ann talks about her early career as a flight attendant for TWA back in the 80’s, right after the deregulation of airlines. Since I’m of similar age to Ann, I remember all the events and facts of that time, and experienced at the same age. Fun facts about airline travel and the industry itself if you enjoy a bit of history. Overall a relaxing, fun and interesting read I really enjoyed I adore Ann Hood’s writing, it’s like sitting with your sister or very best friend and chatting about everything! Ann talks about her early career as a flight attendant for TWA back in the 80’s, right after the deregulation of airlines. Since I’m of similar age to Ann, I remember all the events and facts of that time, and experienced at the same age. Fun facts about airline travel and the industry itself if you enjoy a bit of history. Overall a relaxing, fun and interesting read I really enjoyed. Thanks to Edelweiss and W.W. Norton and Co.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Does as it says it will, an in depth ( occasionally repetitive ) detailed memoir of an air stewardes turned successful author It is, of course, interesting as we travel round the world and see the sights and meet passengers, although less talk and explanations of scheduling would have been better as when not your career only a small section is needed on that before ot becomes monotonous Loved the parts on the ‘Golden Age’ of flying when passengers dressed to impress and it was full silver servic Does as it says it will, an in depth ( occasionally repetitive ) detailed memoir of an air stewardes turned successful author It is, of course, interesting as we travel round the world and see the sights and meet passengers, although less talk and explanations of scheduling would have been better as when not your career only a small section is needed on that before ot becomes monotonous Loved the parts on the ‘Golden Age’ of flying when passengers dressed to impress and it was full silver service all the way and how this rapidly changed due to deregulation As a petrified flyer, even though flown many times I cant stand anything about it from the minute arrive at the airport and am never settled until we leave the airport the other side, journey complete, its fascinating to me how someone can love something so much that petrifies me, in the main well written and enjoyable read 8/10 4 Stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Leone-campbell

    Author Ann Hood has had nothing short of an incredible adventurous and at times heartbreaking life. Fly Girl answers in part where her incredible imagination came from. Even at the young age of six, Hood wanted to travel to places she had always dreamed about, and not just by her family’s station wagon. She wanted to go where the trains would take her, never thinking there would ever be any other mode of transportation. Until one day when she was told to look up and couldn’t believe her eyes. Then Author Ann Hood has had nothing short of an incredible adventurous and at times heartbreaking life. Fly Girl answers in part where her incredible imagination came from. Even at the young age of six, Hood wanted to travel to places she had always dreamed about, and not just by her family’s station wagon. She wanted to go where the trains would take her, never thinking there would ever be any other mode of transportation. Until one day when she was told to look up and couldn’t believe her eyes. Then this incredible mode of transportation was born, called the airplane. It fascinated and excited Hood. So, when she was in High School and told her guidance counselor that she wanted to be a flight attendant and a writer she was told to think more realistically. But in 1978 as Ann was graduating from college and her parents were expecting her to become a teacher, Hood made a bold decision. She wanted to be a flight attendant and travel and write books. In her mind not only would she be able to do two things she loved, but she could get paid for them as well. So, while all her friends were entering workforces at schools and businesses, she was applying to airlines to become a flight attendant. Unfortunately, it was not as easy as you would imagine getting hired into the airline industry. For every one hire there were thousands of applicants. There were many interviews and hoops a person had to go through. But when it finally happened for Hood, she chose to become a TWA flight attendant. And she was ready! After the rigorous training the attendants endured, they were prepared, willing and able to fly the friendly skies. They are much more than the person one sees serving drinks and meals and putting on a show as to where the emergency exits are and what to do in case of a crisis. Flight attendants are therapists, problem solvers, emergency handlers and sometimes even baby deliverers. All with a smile on their face and an I know how to handle this attitude. Thus begins the truly funny, interesting sometimes heartbreaking anecdotes which Hood witnessed throughout her years of flying. From a passenger breastfeeding their cat, yes, read that again, to a man who took such a tantrum because they had run out of lasagna that the plane had to be met at the gate by police, or the man who flew pantless because he had a job interview and didn’t want to look wrinkled. We learn of her romances some of which began high in the sky. But for every funny story, there are some which were heartbreaking. When a man boarded the plane with red eyes from crying Hood consoled him as he told her he had just lost his brother. Hood had no idea in just a few short months she would be the one being consoled on a flight for the same reason. Of course, as one would expect there was sexism not only by the passengers but also some men who worked in the industry. Some thought flight attendants were stupid, or just waiting to meet Mr. Right. Hood to this day corrects someone when they say stewardess. They are flight attendants. But between flights to London, Cairo, Greece, the United States and beyond, Hood wrote when she could. On the plane, going to the plane on layovers. Even when she actually sold her first book she still continued to fly, loving the freedom of air travel so much. Something she still loves to this day. Included in the memoir is an interesting retrospective of the history of stewards flying and how certain ways things are done came to be. Hood’s memoir is wonderfully well-written, funny, sentimental with a glamorous flair of the time period in which she flew. She explains the reason she wrote the book was because her friends would always beg her to tell stories of when she flew and always seemed riveted when she told one. I can understand why. Thank you #NetGalley #W.W.Norton&Company #AnnHood #FlyGirl for the advanced copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krista | theliterateporcupine

    From learning how to apply mascara to mixing drinks to putting out a fire on a plane, being a flight attendant was the ultimate multi-tasking job. It was fascinating to read how sexist the role of "stewardess" was. Women had to be a certain height or weight and have a flirtatious look so that male passengers would want to fly, which caused extreme dieting, mental illness, and depression. Flight attendants were viewed as pretty but dumb, and often looked at as housewife material. It was so common From learning how to apply mascara to mixing drinks to putting out a fire on a plane, being a flight attendant was the ultimate multi-tasking job. It was fascinating to read how sexist the role of "stewardess" was. Women had to be a certain height or weight and have a flirtatious look so that male passengers would want to fly, which caused extreme dieting, mental illness, and depression. Flight attendants were viewed as pretty but dumb, and often looked at as housewife material. It was so common for flight attendants to meet their future husband on a flight, that big name airlines marketed their planes as a matchmaking service in the sky. Throughout her narrative, the reader gets snippets of Hood's personal life and how her career shaped who she is today. As an aspiring writer, she would jot down stories in her notebook on long flights, dreaming for the day that her work would be published. Her career saw many changes in flight services, such as the rise and fall of Pan Am and TWA, male flight attendants, and terrorist hijackings. Ann Hood gives the reader a personal and in-depth look into the world of flying from the perspective of a flight attendant. She admits that it was exciting to be in Cairo one day and LA the next, often with layovers that allowed for time to explore. Hood was able to see cities that most Americans at that time could only read about in books. As a flight attendant, she saw it all, like the businessman who wouldn't wear pants because he didn't want them wrinkled. Her role didn't come without hardships, however. As a TWA flight attendant, she was required to provide hospitality and flirt with the rudest misogynists in first class, cater to every single want of the passenger, and be ready to work at a moment's notice which required staying within an hour's drive of the airport. Hood and her colleagues cooked hot meals in the air while on a time crunch, hand tossed salads in front of passengers, and provided world class service on long and short flights alike. Exhilarating, Bold, and Remarkable, this is by far one of my favorite memoirs. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy of this ARC!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    Ann Hood's 8 years as a flight attendant were coming to an end just as my flight attendant career was starting in 1986. She was lucky enough to be hired when flying was still an elite way to travel and the job was glamorous--or so it appeared! With meals served on almost every flight and other amenities offered that are now gone, we truly worked our heinies off back in the 80s and early 90s. I enjoyed her reminiscences and was keen to compare her experience as a TWA flight attendant with mine as Ann Hood's 8 years as a flight attendant were coming to an end just as my flight attendant career was starting in 1986. She was lucky enough to be hired when flying was still an elite way to travel and the job was glamorous--or so it appeared! With meals served on almost every flight and other amenities offered that are now gone, we truly worked our heinies off back in the 80s and early 90s. I enjoyed her reminiscences and was keen to compare her experience as a TWA flight attendant with mine as an American Airlines flight attendant (of now almost 36 years.) I remember reading a book review of Ann's first novel "Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine" right after it was published and marveling that she'd found a way to not only fly, but found the time to write. This memoir is a love letter to the golden age of flying.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    In 1959 my family flew from Seattle to Hawaii (on a prop, no less!) and I so admired the "stewardesses" that I wanted to be one. Unfortunately, as I grew older and had to wear eyeglasses (plus became a big chubby), I realized it wasn't in my future so I had to revise my career aspirations and became a waitress, then a librarian, so I guess it all worked out. Anyway, since then I love to read about the work of flight attendants (remember 1968's Coffee, Tea or Me? The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Ai In 1959 my family flew from Seattle to Hawaii (on a prop, no less!) and I so admired the "stewardesses" that I wanted to be one. Unfortunately, as I grew older and had to wear eyeglasses (plus became a big chubby), I realized it wasn't in my future so I had to revise my career aspirations and became a waitress, then a librarian, so I guess it all worked out. Anyway, since then I love to read about the work of flight attendants (remember 1968's Coffee, Tea or Me? The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Airline Stewardesses ) I was excited to read about the world of flight attendants during the heyday of air travel as told through the lens of a respected literary author. Hood covered everything associated with the career including expectations (glorified waitress), training (as rigorous as I had heard), appearance (weight and uniforms), passenger experiences, travel around the globe, and how it affected her personal life. For the most part, I loved her writing but I did find it a little repetitive near the end. Readers who enjoyed The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian will find this interesting. Other enjoyable books that involve working in the air are Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am, Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, and Plane Insanity, and to a lesser degree, Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets of a Virgin Air Hostess.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hutchinson

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I have always loved to travel by plane, and even at 60+, it is still my primary form of transport. Fly Girl by Ann Hood is a memoir of her years as a flight attendant during the more glamorous days of airplane travel. I remember when I was younger traveling in stockings, a Sunday dress, and makeup. Flying meant looking your best. Ann takes us through the early years of TWA employment with mandatory weigh-ins, high heel shoes, and the ability to make a mean Mojito. She described the heady ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I have always loved to travel by plane, and even at 60+, it is still my primary form of transport. Fly Girl by Ann Hood is a memoir of her years as a flight attendant during the more glamorous days of airplane travel. I remember when I was younger traveling in stockings, a Sunday dress, and makeup. Flying meant looking your best. Ann takes us through the early years of TWA employment with mandatory weigh-ins, high heel shoes, and the ability to make a mean Mojito. She described the heady experience of walking through an airport with a team of stewardesses getting ready to fly to the next stop. The air travel business has changed dramatically since the 70s, when many attendants were flying solely to get their MRS degree. This memoir was fun to read, and descriptions of TWA’s designer uniforms, training, and international travel sounds so appealing. The author shares the bold behavior of some passengers (the Mile-High club) and the crazy and unusual things that flight attendants had to attempt to control. Ms. Hood’s stories were fun and took me on a sweet journey of a time when travel was grand. #FlyGirl @netgalley @w.w.norton #annhood #airplanes #twa #travel #flightattendant #stewardess (Pub. Date: May 3) ✈️ Thank you to W.W. Norton books, Ann Hood, and NetGalley for this free ARC; my thoughts and review are my own and without bias. #bookaddict #booksofinstagram #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookstagramer #bookshelf #booksbooksbooks #readersofinstagram #reader #booklove #author #instabooks #literature

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    I have several books by the author Ann Hood, but somehow they have never made it to the top of my list. That changes after reading this deeply entertaining and engrossing book about the author's time as a flight attendant for TWA. The author is an excellent writer and I enjoyed every second of this book, feeling all the joy and sorrow and frustration that she went through during their time with TWA. I have always loved travel and seeing new places and thought for a time that being a flight atten I have several books by the author Ann Hood, but somehow they have never made it to the top of my list. That changes after reading this deeply entertaining and engrossing book about the author's time as a flight attendant for TWA. The author is an excellent writer and I enjoyed every second of this book, feeling all the joy and sorrow and frustration that she went through during their time with TWA. I have always loved travel and seeing new places and thought for a time that being a flight attendant would be so awesome, but you know, people and therefore, not a job for me. ;-) After reading all they had to do for training and then all they did on each flight PLUS dealing with said people, made me realize that job would have never been for me. I am in complete awe at what they must know, remember and do for each flight. It is mind-boggling, and people need to shut it when thinking that they are nothing but empty-headed bimbos doing an "easy job". I am so glad the publisher granted my wish to read this; it was one of the most entertaining and informative memoirs I have read in a very long time. So well done. Thank you to NetGalley, Ann Hood, and W.W. Norton & Company for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    My disappointment is heightened by how much I anticipated loving this book. Like so many, I love to travel and miss it in the age of covid. But this book felt superficial and completely unedited. How many times did we have to hear about drinking a glass of chablis, serving Richard Gere, Eero Saarinen's design of the TWA terminal and the fact that some book of the authors was part of a Bantam book launch. These things all have their place (and I love Saarinen!) BUT they did not warrant multiple m My disappointment is heightened by how much I anticipated loving this book. Like so many, I love to travel and miss it in the age of covid. But this book felt superficial and completely unedited. How many times did we have to hear about drinking a glass of chablis, serving Richard Gere, Eero Saarinen's design of the TWA terminal and the fact that some book of the authors was part of a Bantam book launch. These things all have their place (and I love Saarinen!) BUT they did not warrant multiple mentions. I learned little and probably should have DNF'd, but I kept hoping it would get better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Narci Drossos

    Hood has written several best-selling novels, but this is nonfiction about her experience as a Trans World Airline (TWA) flight attendant back in the “golden age” of flying when “stewardesses” wore heels and passengers didn’t wear sweatpants. In 1978, fresh from college, she entered the air when it was “the epitome of glamour and sophistication.” Her flight school experience was grueling; surviving the rigors of the training academy was a feat itself, preparing her not only to evacuate seven dif Hood has written several best-selling novels, but this is nonfiction about her experience as a Trans World Airline (TWA) flight attendant back in the “golden age” of flying when “stewardesses” wore heels and passengers didn’t wear sweatpants. In 1978, fresh from college, she entered the air when it was “the epitome of glamour and sophistication.” Her flight school experience was grueling; surviving the rigors of the training academy was a feat itself, preparing her not only to evacuate seven different types of aircraft, but also to carve chateaubriand (in first class) and deliver a baby. Of course, she learned how to mix cocktails and fend off amorous pilots and passengers, which many of her colleagues married. She opens with her early fascination with air travel, recalling how as a preteen she followed the adventures of Laika, the dog that the Russians launched into space in Sputnik 2 and reading/studying the book How to Become an Airline Stewardess (published in 1964). Hood experienced adventures all over the world and was so often called upon at parties to tell stories about her TWA days that she decided to write this memoir. She actually began writing her first novel from the jump seat. Ultimately, she saw the job change – enduring labor strikes, fare wars, hijackings, and corporate takeovers. Hood relates a riveting narrative, and the trials she weathered in the flying industry are colorful and fast-paced.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is a charming memoir that shares the stories of women working in the airline industry. More importantly, it is a wonderful social history of women’s work after WW II. so, we do get anecdotes, but the book is so much more. I am old enough to recall days of getting dressed up to fly. We all admired tge glamour of stewardesses. Men took pride in dating a stew. Amazing, to think of all the changes. In terms of economic history, Hood recalls the villainy of Carl Icahn and his cannibalizing the i This is a charming memoir that shares the stories of women working in the airline industry. More importantly, it is a wonderful social history of women’s work after WW II. so, we do get anecdotes, but the book is so much more. I am old enough to recall days of getting dressed up to fly. We all admired tge glamour of stewardesses. Men took pride in dating a stew. Amazing, to think of all the changes. In terms of economic history, Hood recalls the villainy of Carl Icahn and his cannibalizing the industry. For me, it was a good reminder of the disruption he caused, since now he is viewed as a great philanthropist. I definitely will recommend this because of all the layers melded into this rich, interesting memoir. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah DeCesare

    I always love Ann Hood's stories and FLY GIRL is full of them. We're immersed into that era and get to fly alongside Ann and her fellow flight attendants with a behind-the-scenes look at their challenges and adventures. So much fun! I always love Ann Hood's stories and FLY GIRL is full of them. We're immersed into that era and get to fly alongside Ann and her fellow flight attendants with a behind-the-scenes look at their challenges and adventures. So much fun!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I was in preschool the year that Ann Hood began her career as a flight attendant for TWA, but I do remember a little bit about what it was like to fly at that time, though I most definitely never got to experience the luxuries of flying first class. Her memoir is a fascinating look at what it took to become and remain a flight attendant in the years when the airline industry was undergoing massive upheaval both culturally--the sexism is nauseating in the extreme--and financially, with deregulati I was in preschool the year that Ann Hood began her career as a flight attendant for TWA, but I do remember a little bit about what it was like to fly at that time, though I most definitely never got to experience the luxuries of flying first class. Her memoir is a fascinating look at what it took to become and remain a flight attendant in the years when the airline industry was undergoing massive upheaval both culturally--the sexism is nauseating in the extreme--and financially, with deregulation bringing both positive and negative changes, and corporate greed causing widespread devastation. My favorite parts of the book were the ones focused on her personal experiences and growth. Hood's recounting of her time at the Breech Training Academy in Kansas City was captivating. I wasn't surprised that they were trained to do all the obvious things like demonstrate how seatbelts and life vests work, but I had no idea the breadth and depth or complexity of their training, from how to carve chateaubriand (they used to do that on airplanes?!) to how to deliver a baby, and a million other responsibilities big and small. I don't know how many of those tasks are still part of modern-day flight attendant training--I'm assuming the meat carving isn't a thing any more--but I have a whole new appreciation for the men and women who have patiently offered me drinks and hot towels on past flights. I also found the history of the airline industry itself to be fascinating, though I struggled with the lack of coherent timeline. Actually, that's true for some of her personal recollections as well--she tends to go off on tangents during anecdotes sometimes. All of which are interesting, but the non-linear detours did make it difficult for me to figure out when various events took place. The overall story arc moved chronologically, but the individual threads zigzagged. One thing that surprised me was that for all the stories of what life was like as a beautiful, young, single woman with an adventurous spirit, and her tales of dating or refusing propositions, there is virtually nothing about meeting or marrying her husband. I thought that's what she was alluding to with her recollection of meeting 47F, but alas, no. Perhaps that means meeting her husband was unrelated to her time as a flight attendant? Perfectly fine to keep that story private, but I admit I was a little disappointed. All in all, I very much enjoyed reading this memoir. 3 1/2 stars, but I'll round up. Many thanks to Bookbrowse and the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paula Wilson

    I was a TWA flight attendant at the same time as Ann Hood, though I was hired in 1977, a year before she was. I was really looking forward to reading this but was quickly disappointed. It was slow moving, not very well written and very repetitive. Did we really need to be reminded over and over how this was her dream job and how proud and confident she felt in her uniform? She also tells a story about being told by the instructors at Breech that it was harder to get hired by TWA than it was to g I was a TWA flight attendant at the same time as Ann Hood, though I was hired in 1977, a year before she was. I was really looking forward to reading this but was quickly disappointed. It was slow moving, not very well written and very repetitive. Did we really need to be reminded over and over how this was her dream job and how proud and confident she felt in her uniform? She also tells a story about being told by the instructors at Breech that it was harder to get hired by TWA than it was to get into Harvard. Really? If you are looking for an accurate account of what life as a TWA flight attendant was like in the 70’s and 80’s this isn’t the book for you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sheran Shepps

    I am always interested in reading about airline travel, having worked for Eastern Airlines in the "glory days". This memoir is a fascinating and sad look at how airline travel has changed and what is meant for flight attendants. It also shows how travel can definitely shape the person you become. I am always interested in reading about airline travel, having worked for Eastern Airlines in the "glory days". This memoir is a fascinating and sad look at how airline travel has changed and what is meant for flight attendants. It also shows how travel can definitely shape the person you become.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    What a interesting memoir of the authors life as a flight attendant wanting to see the world and write about it and how she ended up doing both!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The introductory chapters about the history of flight attendants were not so interesting, but the book really takes flight when the author begins discussing her hiring, her experience working with TWA, and the glamour of overseas flights. Unfortunately, TWA did not stay in business and all airlines were significantly impacted by changes in flight routines due to money management and terrorists.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monica Mac

    You know, when my parents got on their first flight, just after they married in 1960, there is a photo of my mother wearing heels, a hat, white gloves and clutching a bouquet of flowers. So much has changed since then, and it was really nice to read about the author's experiences during a time when flying still meant glamour and excitement. At least for the passengers! I have always known that flight attendants needed to be special people in order to do this job well, and reading Ann Hoods memoir You know, when my parents got on their first flight, just after they married in 1960, there is a photo of my mother wearing heels, a hat, white gloves and clutching a bouquet of flowers. So much has changed since then, and it was really nice to read about the author's experiences during a time when flying still meant glamour and excitement. At least for the passengers! I have always known that flight attendants needed to be special people in order to do this job well, and reading Ann Hoods memoir has certainly confirmed that. I had no idea, however, just how many hoops they needed to jump through in order to get employed!! Wow! I think the most ridiculous thing was the "having to stay within your starting weight"....what if you were particularly thin when you were first employed and with the passage of time, your body changed? The rigours of the acceptance process reminds me, a LOT, of what happened when I joined the Army Reserve. This was back in 1983 so not all that different, on the time scale, to 1978. Fascinating to learn about all the different experiences Ann went through during training and I admire her honesty about her initial few flights as well. It isn't easy looking glamorous when you are working so hard, I am sure! Nice to know that some of the skills she was taught, back in the day, have come in handy in later years as well. I won a flight to Paris when I was 19, on Pan Am, and I still count that as one of the most exciting flights of my life, even though it was a long time ago now and have been on many flights since. Such a shame that that airline is no longer flying. Airlines have changed a lot as well, over the years. Just happy that there is no smoking on board anymore, I am old enough to remember those days! All in all, this was a very interesting book and worth reading. 4.5 stars from me. Thank you to NetGalley and W. W. Norton.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The glory days of flying when passengers dressed up for the flight! When chateaubriand was served and a choice of meals was offered! When thousands of young women competed to be a flight attendant! Fly Girl, by gifted writer Ann Hood, is a memoir of these golden times. After graduation, when her friends were interviewing for jobs or applying to grad school, Ann Hood was training to be a TWA flight attendant. This was 1978, when fight attendants could be fired for weight gain. When they had to be The glory days of flying when passengers dressed up for the flight! When chateaubriand was served and a choice of meals was offered! When thousands of young women competed to be a flight attendant! Fly Girl, by gifted writer Ann Hood, is a memoir of these golden times. After graduation, when her friends were interviewing for jobs or applying to grad school, Ann Hood was training to be a TWA flight attendant. This was 1978, when fight attendants could be fired for weight gain. When they had to be perfectly made up and could not chew gum. When “I’m Cheryl. Fly me!” was a popular acceptable slogan. Hood had always wanted to travel and this job, which she held until Carl Icahn took over TWA, provided the perfect opportunity. While she saw the world, she worked harder than any passenger could imagine. She also wrote and published her first book. Fly Girl is informative, fascinating and so well written. Ann Hood perfectly sums up her experience. “For every honeymooning passenger I treated to a celebratory bottle of Champagne, there was another whose hand I held as they flew home after someone they loved had died. For every love story I heard, there was a tale of cruelty, or a broken heart. I learned that there are misogynists in the world, sure, but that most people are pretty wonderful.” What else but 5 stars? Thank you to NetGalley, W. W. Norton & Company and Ann Hood for this ARC.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    What a great memoir from when flying was luxurious.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Moore

    As someone who travels frequently, I was especially interested in the subject matter of this book. When I was younger growing up in Atlanta we still had Eastern Airline and of course, Delta. I wanted to be a flight attendant because it seemed so glamorous. This is one of the points illustrated in Ann Hood's memoir. I found the inner workings of the life to be fascinating. Nothing is truly ever what is seems. The progression throughout the decades from when she became an attendant in the 70's to As someone who travels frequently, I was especially interested in the subject matter of this book. When I was younger growing up in Atlanta we still had Eastern Airline and of course, Delta. I wanted to be a flight attendant because it seemed so glamorous. This is one of the points illustrated in Ann Hood's memoir. I found the inner workings of the life to be fascinating. Nothing is truly ever what is seems. The progression throughout the decades from when she became an attendant in the 70's to now is glaring and a bit lamentable. The shine is gone. But on the other hand, travel is now open to all people not just the wealthy. Being a flight attendant now does not have quite the cachet that it once did. I found this book fascinating to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    As a long-time fan of Ann Hood, I was excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint. Nobody tells a story quite like Ann Hood. Fly Girl follow's Ann's adventures as a flight attendant during the heyday of air travel. While this is a memoir filled with fun and entertaining stories about her experiences, it also explores what it was like for young women in the late '70's and early 80's to work in a sexist environment just as feminism was emerging. I highly recommend this one for fans of Ann As a long-time fan of Ann Hood, I was excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint. Nobody tells a story quite like Ann Hood. Fly Girl follow's Ann's adventures as a flight attendant during the heyday of air travel. While this is a memoir filled with fun and entertaining stories about her experiences, it also explores what it was like for young women in the late '70's and early 80's to work in a sexist environment just as feminism was emerging. I highly recommend this one for fans of Ann Hood, or for anyone who enjoys memoirs written by women.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lesa

    I’ve read all three of Ann Hood’s previous memoirs, and one of her novels, so of course I picked up Fly Girl. Hood’s just about the same age as I am, so while I was heading off to grad school and my first professional job as a librarian, she was heading to Breech Academy in Kansas City, TWA’s school for its flight attendants Hood’s dreams of travel started when she was young, but her mother’s superstitions and early travel as a young mother meant that the family traveled by car, and had few adven I’ve read all three of Ann Hood’s previous memoirs, and one of her novels, so of course I picked up Fly Girl. Hood’s just about the same age as I am, so while I was heading off to grad school and my first professional job as a librarian, she was heading to Breech Academy in Kansas City, TWA’s school for its flight attendants Hood’s dreams of travel started when she was young, but her mother’s superstitions and early travel as a young mother meant that the family traveled by car, and had few adventures. She decided she would be an airline stewardess when she was eleven, and when it came time to apply for jobs after college, that’s all she applied to do. She says she was the stereotypical type of girl who became an airline stewardess. She was from a small town; loved to travel, and had big dreams. Hood was craving excitement. But, her career as a TWA flight attendance in the late ’70s into the ’80s wasn’t quite what people thought, thanks to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. However, she was a flight attendant for eight years, and she loved her career. If you’re old enough to remember Coffee, Tea, or Me, a supposed account by two airline stewardesses (actually written by Donald Bain), you might think of the job as a job for sexy women who just wanted a man. And, Hood admits the airlines even sold the job to women as a place to find a husband, while advertising airlines as places with gorgeous women. And, stewardesses were a type, forced to maintain their weight, or lose their job. For many years, they had to be single. Hood covers all of that in her memoir. This isn’t a Coffee, Tea, or Me tell-all. It’s Hood’s account of the airline industry, especially the last years of TWA. She covers facts, including training, bidding for routes, and the issues on the jets themselves. It’s actually a fascinating memoir of a small-town girl growing in confidence thanks to her chosen career. Even while she worked as a flight attendant, Ann Hood dreamt of a second career as a writer, and she covers that as well in this book. Fly Girl is always interesting, a well-written account of changes in an industry, and changes in the author herself. As a story of an industry and a career, it may stay relevant after some of the celebrity memoirs fall by the wayside.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I’m sure at some point it gets interesting but I couldn’t get there.

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