Book Review: Confessions…and More Confessions of a Hostie – by Danielle Hugh

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I was given complimentary  PDF files of these books to read. All thoughts and opinions are my  own.

As everyone is getting ready to travel this holiday season to see their families I thought it would be appropriate to share a book review about travel! Danielle Hugh, a international flight attendant for more than 20 years tells about her her time traveling the skies. She travels the globe and shops the most glamorous cities in the world, but also has to wipe down urine-soeaked seats and occasionally physically restrains unruly passengers! A heck of a lot goes on at 30,000 feet that you may not know about, but in her two riotous books, “Confessions of a Hostie”, and “More Confessions of a Hostie” Danielle spills the beans!

Being that I have 3 kids and don’t travel much I had my husband who travels ALL of the time for work read these books, as I knew he would really connect and appreciate them. The following review was written by my husband David Steinberg:

As a frequent business traveler, I am always intrigued by travel stories of others.  I enjoy the escapades of fellow business adventurers, or tales of those who cater to us and support our daily grind on the road and in the air.  Since I have been on many 100s of flights, I have a strong appreciation for the flight attendants who help make my air travel safe, efficient, and comfortable.  These hard-working individuals have interesting lives that deserve to be shared with others.

These autobiographical books tell the anecdotes of an international flight attendant, “Danielle Hugh” (all original names in the books were changed to protect the identities, but she promises the stories are based on factual events and real people).  I will review both books combined here, as they flow into a continuous story.  But it would be fine to read either one independently and get the overall impression.

Danielle uses an open and honest approach in explaining her motivations for becoming a flight attendant and the strong appreciation she has for her job.  Clearly it takes a special individual to handle this task, and Danielle is indeed special.  She loves to help people, and lives freely by having exotic experiences all over the planet.  She attempts to stay focused on her personal relationships between flight-attendant and “earthling” friends, and tries diligently to find consistent romance.  This is a task that she explains is often quite elusive to international hosties, and frequently results in alcohol-induced one-night stands or tales of infidelity.

As she works on-board with younger flight crew members, she is reminded of their antics and how the challenges of this career path can lead to indulgence and loss of inhibitions once grounded temporarily in a faraway place.  Back on board the aircraft, she and her colleagues are driven by a combination of professionalism, adrenaline, sarcasm, and the intrigue of meeting new and interesting people.

When I began reading, I anticipated a collection of stories dealing with chaotic passenger mishaps.  This aspect of her job was obvious, and the episodes were amusing and stressful.  She is successful in allowing the reader to identify with her emotions, whether she is supporting an ill passenger vomiting continuously (beware … there are many vomit references), managing people who are stuck next to passengers with profuse body odor (or those with said odor), and handling drunken outrageous individuals.  There are stories of sudden onsets of menstrual cycles, details of intense flatulence at 30,000 feet, mile high clubs, naked stoned passengers, and did I mention episodes of projectile vomit?  Rude passengers and the hosties’ responses make up a fair share of the entertainment value, and the graphic nature of her anecdotes should be noted as funny and educational as well.

Danielle is also successful in allowing her readers to understand her ability to find a social life.  This is often blended between many opportunities for hotel room parties with other flight attendants, while trying to maintain her wits in a terrible state of jetlag.  She loves her sleep-aid medicines (4 hours of solid sleep is about all she seems to ever get), drinking her Starbucks lattes to get some brain cells firing in awake-mode, and she absolutely adores shopping.  In fact, shopping is a major theme in this series, and I wondered at times if the titles should have been “Confessions (and More Confessions) of a Hostie and Shopaholic”.  If I had to guess the target audience, I would probably select female business travelers who love to shop for designer clothes and drink Starbucks coffee.  But I also understand the loneliness on the road and desire to hang on to a hobby while maintaining relationships back home.  She does her best at these things and prides herself in her efforts.

In the first book, she explains how she falls for a coworker flight attendant (Danny), who is happily married.  They never date or engage in an inappropriate behavior, but she dreams of him as the perfect husband and lover.  Her occasional dates while on travel are raw and comical, especially when she explains fine details of her lack of clean sexy underwear or warm clothes due to a quick reassignment for travel from Singapore to Frankfurt over Christmas.

In the 2nd book, Danielle meets the man of her dreams (Dean) as a passenger on one of her flights.  Ironically and perhaps a bit too coincidental, he turns out to be Danny’s brother.  This becomes a long-term relationship which is discussed in detail.  She usually attempts to go on a date with her man while severely jetlagged, and feels embarrassed and ashamed at her lack of wit and composure.  Her drive to be out in a normal dating environment while quite exhausted is admirable, but the reader feels her pain.  She knows that the cycle repeats with each trip, and will push her each time.  Danielle explains to the readers that each meeting with her man or friends is a difficult decision after a trip, and she usually presses on and attempts to be fun and coherent.

Danielle highlights her strong friendships and takes vacation trips with the chosen ones whenever possible.  It’s always squeezed in between work activities, and she states her appreciation for travel as a passenger to be catered to.  Being treated well in the front of the airplane is a real pleasure for her and her friends, so this perk is discussed in detail (although it seems to be a rarity).

The flow of each chapter was fast-paced enough to allow continuous reading and some desire to get to the next chapter.  It seems that she has written in a tone of “Woe is me!  I have a hard life and a hard job…  But I love it.”  The message is a bit confusing at times.  It left me wishing occasionally for more humor, since I try to find the irony and comedy in my personal business travels.  I would recommend this book for people who appreciate auto-biographic tales of anyone in the service industry.  For readers who travel often, it was a fast-paced and interesting book to read.  However, it had some teeth-gritting moments that left me somewhat stressed rather than entertained.