News from Author Wendy Sue Knecht



"Life is not about finding yourself.

Life is about creating yourself."


                                -  George Bernard Shaw


Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir


A High Flying History by Wendy Sue Knecht

Explores the Extraordinary World

of a Pan Am Flight Attendant  


Media Contact: Anne Sweeney

Anne Sweeney Public Relations
732-329-6629/[email protected]

Los Angeles, March, 2015- Independent, intrepid and inspiring, Wendy Sue Knecht was just 22 when the iconic Pan American World Airways set the self-described "na´ve, frizzy-haired college student" on a new flight path. Passing through the airline's rigorous flight attendant training with discipline, hard work and an enviably upbeat attitude, Wendy soon saw that her dream job was more than a ticket to faraway places. It was a chance to create a vibrant, remarkable life of adventure, opportunity and innovation.

Author Wendy Sue Knecht (sixth from left) and her fellow Pan Am flight attendants at their graduation from training in Honolulu in 1979.

The markets of Guatemala inspired Wendy's first entrepreneurial effort, importing dolls. In her new book, Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir, Wendy's adventures are chronicled in a captivating style that showcases the glamour, luxury and fascination of global air travel when the journey was still as wonderful as the destination. The streets of world capitals come alive as Wendy takes us to Sydney, Paris, Kiev, Tokyo and Nairobi. She copes with crusty captains, outlandish passengers, and regales us with stories about the caviar and Champagne lifestyle she is privy to, working for the iconic Pan Am. On the ground and aloft, there are amorous gentlemen keen to connect with an attractive Pan Am stewardess.

Still a a world traveler, Wendy Sue Knecht returns to many of her favorite spots, including the markets of Guatemala City where she started her first import business.

But unlike some airline memoirs, this is not a tacky tell-all. Wendy Sue Knecht realizes that some things are best left to the imagination and that discretion is the better part of storytelling. She has several long-term relationships and finally marries at age 47.   


Wendy takes advantage of the many opportunities her job affords. She uses her trips and spare time to start several entrepreneurial ventures and often brings her mother, Ellie, along on trips and vacations. She takes on PR assignments, and works as a recruiter and trainer, including a stint in Bombay, training newly hired Indian flight attendants based there. It's a charmed life but there is serious turbulence ahead that will challenge Wendy's optimistic spirit and vision.  


Taking a leave of absence, Wendy returns to Bombay to rejoin her American boyfriend, Dan, an executive based in India, whom she met while living there.  She arrives on the very Pan Am plane that in just a few hours, would be attacked on the ground by terrorists in Karaichi, Pakistan.  As she leaves the plane, she greets the oncoming crew of Indian flight attendants she had trained and knew well. No one could imagine that they would be victims of one of the most brutal and deadly hijackings in history. Wendy's account of the attack on Pan Am Flight 73 and its aftermath, captures the anguish and devastation wrought by these vicious terrorists. Her account of the life and heroic death of Purser Neerja Bhanot, a noted fashion model in India, is heartbreaking.

Purser Neerja Bhanot lost her life in the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 73. Neerja was posthumously awarded the The Ashoka Chakra, India's highest peacetime military decoration,
given for bravery, valor and  self-sacrifice.
Image courtesy of Romlee Soughton.
Pan Am finally folds its proud wings and Wendy Sue Knecht reinvents herself again, moving on to new adventures,  traveling, designing products and writing.Today, she works as a consultant, helping companies and individuals market new products. Her good humor, upbeat attitude and appreciation of the life lessons her Pan Am career afforded, are evident in the closing lines of her memoir. 

"Anything is possible. You just have to make your own way in the world, on your own terms, and not care what anyone else thinks of you. As George Bernard Shaw said, 'Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself."

Pan American World Airways may be gone but it is not forgotten by its employees. Wendy Sue Knecht (far right) is active in several Pan Am organizations. Above, she joins former crew members at Air Hollywood in Los Angeles, a perfect replica of the Pan Am Experience.  Phillip P. Keene (far left) of the popular TV show,Major Crimes, is also an ex-Pan Am flight attendant.  

Words of Wisdom from

Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir

Life, Love and a Hijacking is more than a memoir. Wendy shares her tips on fine dining, travel, staying slim on the road, cross cultural communications and how to pack that beautiful bag.

First Class Fare
Pan Am's legendary First Class service included Champagne, caviar, fine wines and French cuisine. Entrees were cooked on board by carefully trained flight attendants. 
Wendy's sense of adventure extends to all things edible and Pan Am was indeed a moveable feast. She samples the best in international food and drink from the original Singapore Sling at the historic Raffles Long Bar to the legendary Orange Pancakes at Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel. These and recipes from Pan Am's fabled First Class service are all found in Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir.

Bag It!
Wendy Sue Knecht designed Beyond a Bag - a chic, versatile line of multi-functional travel totes. The Expand A Pack, above, converts from shoulder, to fanny to duffel bag.

* Never check a bag, use the lightest one you can find.
* Follow the rule of threes - three tops to one bottom, bring no more than three pairs of shoes and don't take anything you can't wear three times.
* Always bring a bathing suit - you never know when you'll need it.

Getting Along All Over the Globe

The image of the Buddha takes many forms and is considered sacred. Wendy Sue Knecht recently visited the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and photographed this ceremony.

Cultural differences were a big part of Pan Am's training curriculum. Wendy reminds travelers:

*Never touch a Buddha statue or the head of an actual Buddhist.
*The number four is unlucky in Japan so hold off serving that fourth piece of sushi, or make it five pieces.
* Use slang and idioms sparely - you may be misunderstood.

Wendy Sue Knecht

A Passion for Possibilities

World traveler, author, entrepreneur, inventor, innovator, designer, trend spotter and TV presenter - Wendy Sue Knecht is above all, an adventurer, in love with life and its infinite possibilities at any age. Adventure called in 1979, when Pan American World Airways opened a brave new world to the 22-year-old, fresh from the University of Arizona.

As a Pan Am flight attendant, Wendy saw a singular opportunity to create a rich and varied life that would take her from the comfort and predictability of a New Jersey suburb to the shores of Australia, the markets of Central America and the dazzling streets of Bombay.
Her adventures are chronicled in her new book, Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir.
Mother of Invention--With over 25 products and numerous trademarks and patents to her credit, world traveler, author, inventor, and entrepreneur Wendy Sue Knecht continues to innovate and inspire.

Imaginative and upbeat, Wendy had a keen eye for the unusual and authentic and her travels ignited an entrepreneurial and inventive spark. She began a successful import business selling dolls from Guatemala, a favorite layover spot. Flying for Pan Am provided ample time off, long vacations and frequent leaves of absence, giving Wendy many opportunities to pursue a variety of interests and business ventures. She parlayed her love of fashion and fine design into a career as a style expert, hosting The Fashion Showcase segment at the nationʼs first shopping network, Shop At Home.

Wendy expanded her designs to include travel bags and licensed many of her product ideas to such major companies as Travelpro and Ricardo Beverly Hills. She designed her own line of travel bags, Beyond A Bag, and later sold the brand to Ganz Inc. Continuing her television career, she sold her designs  and many other products on-air,appearing hundreds of times at QVC and other shopping networks.
Beyond A Bag%20Expand A Pack 2
Wendy demonstrates Beyond A Bag's Expand A Pack on the QVC shopping network.

Always a trend spotter, with shopping      skills honed in the chic boutiques of Paris, the bazaars of Asia and markets of South America, Wendy found a wide range of new and stylish products to showcase. Her TV presentations spanned beauty, fashion, crafts, organization, outdoor products,
travel, home health, household products and personal care. 

As a Director of Television Marketing for a large inventions company, Wendy helped many other people bring their dreams to fruition. Today, with over 25 products and numerous trademarks and patents to her credit, Wendy continues to innovate and inspire. As the principal owner of Connect Concepts, she invents and consults with companies and individuals on new product development, and continues to sell and license her product ideas.
Wendy is also a partner in Wunder Line, LLC, which manufactures and distributes the KareBag. Wendy invented the bedside bag for hospitals to give to patients to keep their personal items safe and easily accessible.

Original, optimistic, she remains true to her vision. "I believe that anything is possible, at any age. It's just a matter of keeping your goals alive, and never giving up."

Wendy Sue Knecht designed the KareBag to provide safe, convenient and portable storage for hospital patients. The versatile tote has many other uses, in the bathroom, on walkers, wheelchairs hospital beds and as shown above, over a car seat.  
Reader Reviews

The Memoir of a Pan Am Stewardess - Really Good!

"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." 

Timeless, rare account of the life in the air....
By Michael Angliss "MA"
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....

Lively look at the life of a Pan Am stewardess
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Back when travel meant you dressed up, and airlines treated passengers like guests, traveling was the epitome of style and fun.....Knecht's book is a great read and I highly recommend her book.

A warm, witty, eye opening, and delicious read!, February 12, 2015
By Castles and Bordeaux
Wendy is a beautiful, honest, and entertaining storyteller who offers the reader a rare and fascinating glimpse inside the airline world during an era when caviar, champagne, and protocol was the norm, unlike today.....Go ahead, curl up with a glass of sumthin' and get ready to enjoy yourself. Seriously hard to put down. Loved this book!!!

Fun Read - Highly Recommend
By maui girl
Great read ! Wendy has a fun, uplifting way of telling about her experiences with Pan Am. Her positive perspective and great sense of humor make this an enjoyable experience. I liked it so much, I am reading it again.

An Insider's View of the Dream Job, December 16, 2014
By sheetrock
Wendy really captured the whole of the Pan Am experience. Her wry humor spiced up details about training, the aircraft environment and the privileged layovers. Her close connection to those involved in the hijacking of Flight 73 in 1986 allowed her to paint an intimate portrait of the heroic crew. You won't be able to put it down!
Life, Love and a Hijacking: My Pan Am Memoir by Wendy Sue Knecht is available at in both softcover and Kindle versions.

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