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The Air Stewardess in Advertising 1934-1989

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Who says air hostesses have to look like this... TWA says they can look like ... Girls! 1969

Who says air hostesses have to look like this… TWA says they can look like … Girls! 1969

The first female ‘flight attendant’ was a 25-year-old registered nurse named Ellen Church. Hired by United Airlines in 1930. Other airlines followed suit, hiring nurses to serve as flight attendants, then called “stewardesses” or “air hostesses”, on most of their flights. The British airline Imperial Airways were the first to have “cabin boys” or “stewards” and in the US Stout Airways was the first to employ stewards in 1926 with Western Airlines (1928) and Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) (1929) the first US carriers to employ stewards to serve food.

According to wikipedia, in the United States the job of ‘flight attendant’ was one of only a few in the 1930s to permit women, which, coupled with the Great Depression, led to large numbers of applicants for the few positions available. Two thousand women applied for just 43 positions offered by Transcontinental and Western Airlines in December 1935. Female flight attendants rapidly replaced male ones, and by 1936, they had all but taken over the role and were selected not only for their knowledge but also for their characteristics. A 1936 New York Times article described the requirements:

The girls who qualify for hostesses must be petite; weight 100 to 118 pounds; height 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches; age 20 to 26 years. Add to that the rigid physical examination each must undergo four times every year, and you are assured of the bloom that goes with perfect health.

Three decades later, a 1966 New York Times classified ad for stewardesses at Eastern Airlines listed these requirements:

A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration). 5’2″ but no more than 5’9″, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.

23 years old... and what popularity, Capital Airlines, November 1950

23 years old… and what popularity, Capital Airlines, November 1950

 

KLM suggests you choose a 'steady', August 1969

KLM suggests you choose a ‘steady’, August 1969

 

American Airlines, September 1940, Let me show the way to go home

American Airlines, September 1940, Let me show the way to go home

 

luxury in the President Special, Pan American Airlines, 1949

Luxury in the President Special, Pan American Airlines, 1949

 

Singapore Airlines, As you were asleep we decided not to stop, April 1986

Singapore Airlines, As you were asleep we decided not to stop, April 1986

A Journey should be enjoyed not endured Japanese Airlines, March 1989

A Journey should be enjoyed not endured Japanese Airlines, March 1989

 

Welcome to the two worlds of JAL, January 1963 Japanese Airlines

Welcome to the two worlds of JAL, January 1963 Japanese Airlines

 

The way people feel about American Airliines depends on the way they feel about me Victoria Getz, April 1976

The way people feel about American Airliines depends on the way they feel about me Victoria Getz, April 1976

 

What airline tempts your taste the most, United Airlines, c1955

What airline tempts your taste the most, United Airlines, c1955

 

SAS Happiness on the menu with SAS worldwide, date unknown

SAS Happiness on the menu with SAS worldwide, date unknown

 

Continental Can, Serving America, January 1954

Continental Can, Serving America, January 1954

 

Why people like to fly United, July 1950

Why people like to fly United, July 1950

 

People keep stealing our stewardesses, American Airlines, June 1965

People keep stealing our stewardesses, American Airlines, June 1965

 

on first name terms with her customers, North Central Airplines, December 1964

On first name terms with her customers, North Central Airplines, December 1964

 

She speaks your language, Happy talk, Japanese Air Lines, January 1969

She speaks your language, Happy talk, Japanese Air Lines, January 1969

 

PIA now fly to Paris, etc, January 1967

PIA now fly to Paris, etc, January 1967

 

KLM airline, you're in for a king size surprise, January 1967

KLM airline, you’re in for a king size surprise, January 1967

 

This One Ticket covers Everything, United Airlines, April 1949

This One Ticket covers Everything, United Airlines, April 1949

 

The Story behind your flight, United Air Lines, June 1940

The Story behind your flight, United Air Lines, June 1940

 

It's wise to smoke extra mild FATIMA, September 1954

It’s wise to smoke extra mild FATIMA, September 1954

 

Don't be fooled by a pretty face. We're Not. Alitalia May 1965

Don’t be fooled by a pretty face. We’re Not. Alitalia May 1965

 

Casanova, KLM offers you a choice of stewardesses uniforms, June 1969

Casanova, KLM offers you a choice of stewardesses uniforms, June 1969

 

CIAO, Alitalia , June 1965

CIAO, Alitalia , June 1965

 

This KLM Stewardess walks 8 miles, June 1963

This KLM Stewardess walks 8 miles, June 1963

 

She's an artful conjuror, Japan Air Lines, 1970

She’s an artful conjuror, Japan Air Lines, 1970

 

A typical insincere American, TWA January 1964

A typical insincere American, TWA January 1964

 

The Crave for Candy, an airhostess speaks 1947

The Crave for Candy, an airhostess speaks 1947

 

Salon above the clouds, Boeing 1950 for major airlines

“Salon above the clouds!” Boeing 1950 for major airlines

 

Happiness is on the Menu with SAS worldwide, c1974

Happiness is on the Menu with SAS worldwide, c.1974

 

Timesaving Transportation and Flagship Hospitality, American Airlines March 1945

Timesaving Transportation and Flagship Hospitality, American Airlines March 1945

 

She even took the trouble to remember my name, American Airlines, Al Parker, April 1958

She even took the trouble to remember my name, American Airlines, Al Parker, April 1958

 

Dale Robertson smokes Chesterfields, 1952

Dale Robertson smokes Chesterfields, 1952

 

Eastern Airlines ad 70s

Eastern Airlines ad 70s

 

Braniff Airlines

Braniff Airlines

BRANNIFF INTERNATIONAL 1965

“Introducing the Strip” – Branniff International, 1965

 

1969 BUA British United Airways Advert VC10 Stewardess

1969 BUA British United Airways Advert VC10 Stewardess

 

United Airlines stewardess 1968

United Airlines stewardess 1968

1956 BOAC ad

1956 BOAC ad

Just a working girl working. 1969 ad for Delta Airlines

Just a working girl working. 1969 ad for Delta Airlines

United airlines Come Back Soon copy

Old Maid - 1967

Old Maid – 1967

United Airlines Aer Lingus Stewardesses 1971

United Air Lines What Airline made Courtesy a career 1955

  • njguy54

    “Our stewardesses are courteous, sexy… and best of all, they won’t beat you up and drag you off the plane!”

    • Mudgutz

      I wonder if they scream like that little biatch too?

  • tillinger 2.0

    Is that Ali McGraw front and center in the Eastern Airlines Presenting the Losers ad?

    • Barry Rivadue

      sure looks like her