Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir by Wendy Sue Knecht

cover LLH5-medium - Version 2Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir

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 just might empower you to seek your own life’s adventure.

Total reviews 26 at this writing (23- 5 star, 2 -4 star, 1- 2 star)


5.0 out of 5 stars The Memoir of a Pan Am Stewardess – Really Good!, March 3, 2015
By Lisa Kearns “Lisa Kearns” TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on March 3, 2015
This review is from: Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir (Paperback)
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.

5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, rare account of the life in the air. Publishers take note. This is what readers want in a memoir., January 19, 2015
By Michael Angliss “MA”
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Life, Love, and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir (Paperback)
It is obvious why everyone keeps on giving this book five stars out of five. Great, detailed first-hand account of what goes on with passengers and crew alike in a commercial airliner of an iconic airline. Both a front- and behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyle of the flight attendant; the adventures, the dramas, the technicalities, the myriad diversities of the world in the air, the comedy, the fun, and the fears–and, too, the sacrifices, such as missing family events on the ground at home, and when the author realises she might have died in the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73, which stands as one of the most brutal hijackings in the history of aviation. Wendy Sue Knecht has a gift for storytelling in a clear and mainstream way. An outstanding memoir which makes excellent research material for anyone who is interested in the air industry, as well as a highly entertaining story. As with all memoirs of this calibre, it is the only one there is of its exact record of certain crucial events in the world–you would be well served to read it to absorb that rareness. Publishers should also pick it up soon, as it’s a hit. Books such as this don’t happen along very often, a fact ensuring it will be a cherished, timeless piece for many people for many years to come.

Purchase: Amazon UK  Amazon US


Wendy Sue Knecht always had a passion for travel, even as a little girl.

After pursuing her degree at the University of Arizona, she became a flight attendant for the world’s most iconic airline, Pan Am. Her rich and amazing career included many humorous adventures, observations, and life lessons. Her story is a mix of hilarious, seat gripping moments, and some tragic times.

A love of writing compelled her to share her story of an era like no other in aviation history.

Since her career as a flight attendant, Wendy Knecht has become an inventor, on-air spokesperson, and product entrepreneur. Wendy has appeared on QVC hundreds of times as the on-air spokesperson for the line of travel bags she designed, as well as numerous other products.

Wendy lives in L.A. with her husband (and avid travel partner), and their four-legged furry son, Murray.       Author Website.



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