Danielle Hugh is the author of e-books ‘Confessions of a Hostie’ and ‘More Confessions of a Hostie’. Following the recent launch and giveaway of 10 e-books to readers of the Ad-lib Traveller blog, she kindly participated in the interview below.
1. What was your inspiration to become a flight attendant?
At the age of eleven I took my first ever plane trip. I thought the ‘hosties’ were so glamorous. I always wanted to be an air hostess and on subsequent flights I observed how they acted and what they did. I must say, looking back, I may have been a tad over-romantic in my appraisal of the job, but I often fantasised about the lifestyle. As a young adult I actually went down the university/study/professional career path, but a few years later when I had the opportunity to apply to be a flight attendant, I said “why not…”
2. If you didn’t work as a flight attendant, what career would you have liked to pursue?
I love my job and lifestyle. I’ve rarely thought about ‘what could have been’. I’ve been lucky like that.
3. What motivated you to start writing e-books?
Great question Colleen. Writing is one thing; getting published is another. It is actually really hard to get published. I am so thankful to my lovely publisher for taking a chance on me. That chance just happened with an e-book – and now two. Hopefully there will be a paperback down the track, but as far as the writing process goes, I love it. Most crew get so agitated with a three hour flight delay and being stuck in an airport terminal. Not me – I grab a coffee and then take out the laptop and type away. I am so flattered people read my books and most seem to enjoy them. That is a bonus.
4. Jet lag is such an issue for every traveller. You mention in the first book, ‘Confessions of a Hostie’, that you’re still finding the cure for jet-lag. Having tried water, wine and using double shot lattes to wake up the body, do you have any other suggestions for travellers?
After 20 years of international travel I am none the wiser. My job has no routine, I fly to different time zones at different times. I talk about the effects of jetlag a lot in the books because it is such an issue. Sorry fellow travellers, I have no answers. I wish I did.
5. Many of us think about it, few of us (I think) actually do it. Do you get many passengers asking for a seat upgrade? What’s the best and worst excuses that you’ve heard?
Asking for an upgrade these days is a waste of time. All the airlines I know instruct onboard managers to say ‘no’. If someone is not upgraded for commercial or frequent flyer reasons when they check in, it isn’t going to happen onboard regardless of there being seats available or not. We still get asked though – on almost every flight. I have a fun Facebook page where I list a few of the funnier upgrade requests I have had.
Here they are, the 20 worst reasons for an upgrade:
1) I was told that if I ask for an upgrade you would give me one
2) I have a sore toe and need the extra space
3) My step father’s brother used to be a pilot with your airline
4) I checked-in hours ago
5) I have just joined your frequent-flyer-loyalty program (along with 100,000 other people), so…
6) (only halfway through boarding) I notice there are seats free at the front; can I have one?
7) This is my first flight with your airline, so…
8) I am very important, so…
9) They upgraded me last time
10) I was told that because I missed out on my meal choice last flight, they would upgrade me on the next
11) I fly all the time
12) When I booked my ticket online it would not allow me to upgrade
13) It’s my birthday today
14) (even worse) It’s my birthday tomorrow
15) I have never sat in a seat that fully reclines
16) If you upgrade me I will tell all my friends and you will get more business
17) My brother-in-law works with the company who supplies your onboard cutlery
18) I don’t feel well
19) One of the other flight stewardesses said you would upgrade me
20) They upgrade me all the time
6. Being a flight attendant is such a demanding role. What’s one of the most frustrating aspects of your job?
You’re right – it is a demanding job. Every flight attendant has to deal with things that are not nice. There are so many things that can and do happen at 30,000 feet. It is the things which should not occur that are the most annoying; mainly passengers who are disrespectful, not just to crew, but everyone. I am lucky I get to vent my frustrations in sharing some of those issues in my books.
7. We know that you love to shop. What’s your number one city for shopping and why?
New York. I think most girls who have been to NY would say that. I love a bargain – and there are plenty to be had all through the USA, but New York is so easy to get around. It is called the Big Apple for a reason. Downtown Macys department store is so big it should come with its own postcode. I’m off to New York again in a few weeks time – and salivating at the shopping thought,
8. In your second e-book, ‘More Confessions of a Hostie: The Second Sector’ you talk about your work being a lifestyle, not just a job. What advice would you give to somebody hoping to become a flight attendant?
If they can talk face-to-face with someone in the industry (like me) it is a massive help. Most airlines have websites outlining the criteria for applicants. Often getting the job is the hardest thing. It is about being in the right place at the right time, so it pays to be persistent. More than anything else; they must really want the job first. They must be passionate, not just about the lifestyle, but the job also. If there’s one thing readers should learn from my books, it is that there are a lot of highs, but also lows. One of my favourite sayings about the job and lifestyle is: there are a hundred negatives, but a thousand positives. Not everyone can handle the negatives. It is not for everyone, but if it is… apply, apply, apply!
Many thanks for Danielle Hugh for kindly participating in this interview.
Danielle will be participating in #Girlstravel chat on Twitter on 30th December at 6pm GMT. Join us then to chat about new year travel plans and being a female go-getter for 2014!