Here for Your Safety . . . .

When I first was exposed to the airline industry nobody would have known what the hell you were talking about if you said “Flight Attendant”. They were called “Stewardess or Hostess” depending on the airline. Generally the terms were interchangeable.

In the very early days the airlines required them to be registered nurses. This seems a bit silly now but when you consider that none of the airplanes were air-conditioned or pressurized and a coast to coast flight took about 18 hours it starts to make sense.

Here some other requirements, some of which are still in effect:

  • Female
  • 18 to 30 years old
  • Pleasing in appearance
  • Single
  • Never ever “expectant”
  • Height Weight proportioned
  • Able to lift 50 pounds
  • 5’2 up to 5’9
  • High School graduate
  • Medically documented virgin  (only to start out we presume)

As the industry was overtaken by jet powered equipment and the end of the 1960s things began to change. The first real change was the addition of guys to the hostess ranks. This seemed to require a job title enhancement since “boy hostess”, although often correct, just wasn’t right.

Company by company policies changed gradually. Many changed as a result of lawsuits. Many changed as a result of drift in hiring priorities. Some things changed just as a result of decency and  a desire to do the right thing.

As a result the  “Flight Attendant” demographic has changed from relatively liberated young single ladies with no dependants, under about 120 pounds and cute to about the opposite end of the spectrum.

Some carriers are said to prefer hiring older flight attendants since they will presumably quit before reaching the higher end of the pay scale. All carriers (domestic) have dropped weight guidelines. The increased crew weight costs a fortune in additional fuel. Mass = Gas.

Married is fine now. Pesky Federal Law prevents marital status discrimination.

Sexual orientation although presumably transparent to the hiring policy seems at least to favour having too much style for one gender.

Facial hair is allowed for the guys now. Pilots are not allowed to have beards since there is concern that the oxygen mask might not seal properly.

Pregnant is also just fine. I do have concerns about extended oxygen deprivation though, especially in the third trimester. Airplane pressurization is an area most doctors just don’t understand.

So things have changed. It seems fair.  I do wonder where all the pilots are going to find a cute hostess to marry. Mine happened to live next door and didn’t fly very long since she really wasn’t buying into the Barbie ideal. Seems like almost nobody else was either.


2 Responses to “Here for Your Safety . . . .”

  1. Medically documented virgin (only to start out we presume)

    Oh really? Why is this? What am I missing here?

    Dani. 🙂

  2. I suppose Singapore Airlines could explain the policy, they probably ask just because they can. There’s a lot about Singapore that misses me.

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