Interview with Danielle Hugh about being a hostie and her books

When you travel a lot, especially as a kid, you may dream about the wonderful job of being a hostie. After all, you may be one of them as well, with all the time spent in airplanes? The real life of a hostie is completely different, but I did not have any idea before reading Danielle Hugh’s first and second Confessions. Let’s start with the bad side of the stories: a lot of jetlag, difficulties in building up families, no family time for the holidays, difficult times when dealing with even more difficult passengers. The good news is that you have an office with the view to the sky, you can make the tour of the world at least three time in your life and some fancy shopping in Singapore or Hong Kong, and New York of Frankfurt are a more welcomed reward. Plus, think about the chance of meeting celebrities, and handsome men and interesting people. Danielle’s books are easy to read, preferably when on the plane, with an authentic touch that make the writing valuable and interesting. Every chapter is starting with a wise saying and has some lesson to think about it, even though it is told in a very simple way.

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As I am a curious nature, I wanted to know more about Danielle’s secrets and in-between flights, she was kind enough to answer my questions.

If not a hostie, what job you would have liked to have?

As a young adult I actually went down the university/study/professional career path, but I love being a hostie – there are no regrets.

What are you recommendations for a young girl dreaming to be a hostie?

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. There are a lot of highs, but also lows. One of my favorite 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.

 ‘Sometimes being close to world events is exhilarating; sometimes it is heart wrenching’

In your career, do you have a big event that you will always remember?

There are so many memorable things I have seen and done as a direct result of the job and the opportunity to travel. Being in New York days after 9/11 was humbling. Flying into Paris on the day Princess Diana died was sobering. Landing in Dallas hours after tornadoes had ripped through the area was eerie. I was recently in the Philippines just after the deadly typhoon hit. Only days ago, I was in South Africa when Nelson Mandela passed away. Sometimes being close to world events is exhilarating; sometimes it is heart wrenching.

What is the dark side of being a hostie?

Wow Ilana, that is a deep question to answer. The books I write recount a combination of funny incidents as well as some of the difficulties we, hosties, face. It is a job of varying moods. Not everyone can handle those variations. It can be lonely at times, and the jetlag… don’t get me started on the jetlag…

How often do you travel for fun? Where? When you travel on your own, do you like to do it by plane?

I love to travel. I get cheap airfares as a result of my job, so plane travel is fast and cheap. For the average person, airfares are generally pretty cheap anyway. Much of flying on a plane is about attitude, not altitude. Of course it helps to be sitting in a comfortable seat and drinking French champagne, but I actually don’t mind being a passenger. To sit in relative peace and be able to read a book, or watch a movie, and be waited on with food and drink… it beats the alternatives.

I have done a few cruises – and loved them. You need time to cruise the world, which I don’t always have, but for sheer decadence while traveling, it is hard to beat.

Danielle loves Krakow

Can you recommend a travel destination that you are always in love with?

As an international hostie, I fly all over the world, but our destinations are major cities, hubs. What I like at work is different to traveling on my own agenda. Of the big cities I, like most, love New York, Paris, London, Sydney, Rome, San Fran, Rio, Budapest, Cape Town, Prague, Amsterdam, etc. – there are so many fabulous cities.  Of the lesser known, smaller cities and regions, I love Krakow (Poland), Interlaken (Switzerland), Bruges (Belgium), San Sebastian, (Spain), all of Tasmania (Australia), the Bay of Islands (New Zealand),  Santa Cruz to Monterrey incl. Half Moon Bay (South of San Fran, USA), the French Riviera, the Amalfi coast (Italy), Tuscany (Italy – in fact anywhere in the world where they grow wine!), the coastlines of Scotland and Ireland, the Greek Islands, Petra (Jordan); there are just so many places. It’s a big world out there and so much fun to explore. I want to jump on a plane and go somewhere right now!! 

I received free copies of Danielle Hugh’s books but the opinions shared in this article are, as always, my own. 

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