Showing posts with label cabin crew history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cabin crew history. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

79 year old Continental Airlines flight attendant retires

Ray Hope (pictured at right) made his final flight as a Continental Airlines flight attendant this past Friday. He thought it was time to retire; he will be 80 years old in August.

According to a Houston Chronicle article about Ray Hope, this is his second retirement. Before he became a Continental Airlines flight attendant 16 years ago, he had a 40 year career as a commercial photographer.

Mr. Hope, whose daughter has been a Continental flight attendant for 22 years, was in his sixties when he applied for the cabin crew job. He told the Houston Chronicle that he had "some good days and some bad days." But the experience taught him patience, he said.

"It's just a good experience of meeting people and communicating with them," Hope said. "I think it's the best choice I've ever made in my entire life. I wish I would have done it sooner."
He called being a flight attendant a "rewarding job" that he hated to give up, but he felt it was the right time to do so.

The almost-80 year old now plans to spend time with friends at a retirement community, making wooden toys for children in Child Protective Services. He jokes, though, about a possible third career as a Wal-Mart greeter.

The Houston Chronicle quoted Ray Hope's daughter, Diane Peckham, who said of her father, "He's not one to relax very easily. He's always one to do something."

Best wishes to Ray Hope for his retirement years.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mimi Abell: A 41 year career at Northwest Airlines

Mimi AbellMimi Abell retired from Northwest Airlines last month after 41 years of service as a flight attendant with the airline. To mark her retirement, The Republican-Leader, her hometown newspaper in Minnesota, ran a feature story about Mimi Abell, accompanied by the photos at right.

The photos show Mimi during her final flight, and as she looked early in her career. Mimi Abell joined Northwest Orient Airlines (as it was then called) in 1967. She was based at Minneapolis-St.Paul for her entire career.

Mimi Abell always has been a very busy person. In addition to her flying career, and being a mother, she and her late husband, whom she married in 1989, owned and operated Mrs. B's Inn and Restaurant in Lanesboro, MN. Mimi also did a lot of volunteer work in her community -- as a Girl Scout leader, an adult literacy teacher, and a volunteer probation officer. In addition, she found the time to earn a Private Pilot's License, and to finish her college education at the University of Minnesota.

Go and read Waiting in the Wings... the Republican-Leader's article about Mimi Abell. It is a story that will ring true to cabin crew everywhere.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Airline Uniform Hats for Women: New Exhibition at SFO

Pan Am Stewardess Hat - 1970If you have an upcoming layover at San Francisco -- or a long sit at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) between flights -- you might want to pass the time by visiting the airport's new exhibition of airline uniform hats for women.

A press release issued by SFO describes the exhibition this way:

The approximately thirty-five uniform caps included in the exhibition illustrate the cap’s role as a practical accessory and an extension of an airline’s company image. Caps on display range from haute couture-inspired looks from the 1940s, and modern designs from the 1960s to retro-influenced styles from the 1980s and 1990s. Among the designers represented in the exhibition are Adolfo, Howard Greer, Oleg Cassini, Stan Herman, Eric Javits, Raymond Loewy, Jean Louis, Hanae Mori, Mary McFadden, and Frank Olive.
The exhibit, which is free of charge and open 24 hours a day, is located landside (pre-security) on the Departures/Ticketing Level of Terminal 1 at SFO. The collection will be on display through April 1, 2008.

Here's a link to a page with images and descriptions of several of the hats from the display.

[Photo Source]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Aloha Airlines No. 1 F/A retires after 50 years

Patti Smart, Aloha Airlines No. 1 Flight AttendantPatti Smart, the Number One flight attendant at Aloha Airlines, is retiring -- reluctantly -- after more than 50 years of service. The woman nicknamed the 'Queen of Aloha' will retire this coming Friday, but she says, "There will be sparks flying from my feet as they drag me down the runway."

Ms. Smart, whose hire date was Jan. 28, 1957, reminisced about her early flying days in an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

A lot has changed since the old days, when people dressed up in hats and bow ties to fly on propeller-powered planes across the Pacific.

"You're supposed to have the same niceness, the same warmth, the same caring. But it's faster now," Smart said. "In the older days, the flights were longer so you had more time to be intimate with passengers and you got to be very good friends with them."
While she must have a million good stories to tell from those 50-plus years of flying, she did share this funny one with the newspaper reporter.
As she was serving pineapple juice to passengers, she spilled it all over her uniform. She changed into a pair of pants and washed out her skirt in the lavatory. When she tried to air-dry the skirt by letting it flap out the window in the cockpit, one of the two pilots snatched it and let it fly out the window.

"I wanted to kill those two. I wanted to get their two heads together and whack them. They were laughing and laughing," she said.

The joke didn't stop there. Another pilot on the next flight out radioed her plane and said he had caught the skirt as it went flying by.
Perhaps that incident happened while she was working on a DC-3 early in her career. She certainly has seen a lot of changes to the airline industry since then -- including the introduction of jet aircraft.

Congratulations and aloha to Patti Smart as her long career in the air comes to a close.

Click here to watch a KITV News Video about Patti Smart's final flight on Aloha Airlines.

Click here for many more photos of Patti Smart, the Queen of Aloha

[Photo Source]

Monday, November 5, 2007

US Airways No. 1 F/A celebrates 50 years service

US Airways No. 1 Flight Attendant Bette NashYesterday was a special day for the Number One flight attendant at US Airways: Bette Nash celebrated 50 years of service. Ms. Nash began her flight attendant career on November 4, 1957.

Here is an excerpt from a news release issued by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) about Ms. Nash and her golden anniversary:

"Bette Nash is a walking, talking history of the evolution of our industry, and we are so fortunate to benefit from her experience each day," said Alin Boswell, fellow US Airways flight attendant and Washington, DC Local Council President for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA). "Not only is she a great flight attendant and mentor, but she is a wonderful person who brings much joy to everyone she encounters."

Ms. Nash began her career the same year Sputnik was launched, and when air travel was an expensive luxury full of amenities. As air travel evolved into what it is today, so has the role of flight attendant. Fifty years ago, flight attendants were forced out of their job after a few short years and the average career span was less than 18 months.

In 1964, seven years after Ms. Nash began her career, the Civil Rights Act passed and with the strength and determine of AFA-CWA, for the first time flight attendants were able to challenge the discriminatory policies based on gender, age, race, weight, marital status, and pregnancy that had become commonplace in the airline industry.

"Bette's accomplishment today is the fully realized goal that AFA-CWA set out to achieve over sixty years ago," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "When AFA-CWA began representing flight attendants in 1945, it was the goal of our founders to turn this 'job' into a full-blown career - a career that would provide for, and support flight attendants and their families. It is a humbling moment to reflect upon Bette Nash's accomplishment and realize how far we have come as a profession. AFA-CWA congratulates and thanks Bette for her years of devoted service. We look forward to celebrating many more milestones with her in the future."
Congratulations to Bette Nash!

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New uniform for easyJet cabin crew introduced

easyJet Cabin CrewCabin crew members for easyJet, Europe's fourth largest airline, are wearing new uniforms. What's most interesting about the uniforms is that they were designed by crew members.

The new designs represent the winning entry in a design competition among the crew members who will be wearing the uniforms. There were hundreds of entries, narrowed down to three for the final competition. Cabin crew at easyJet then voted for their favorite among the three.

The smart new uniforms, designed by easyJet crew members AnnMarie Cuffe, Joanne Todd and Kurt Wilson, replace easyJet's well known casual black pants and orange polo shirt outfit. Now crew members can select from among a number of different pieces such as orange or white shirts, jackets or waistcoats, and mix and match the pieces to suit their own style and comfort needs.

For more photos of the new easyJet uniforms, visit the easyJet Photo Gallery on the company's website.

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

History of Cathay Pacific Cabin Crew Uniforms

I've noticed that whenever I post anything in this blog about flight attendant uniforms or flight attendant history, I get a lot of positive feedback from readers. This interesting video addresses both topics, since it reviews the uniforms of Cathay Pacific cabin crew over the past 60 years. I hope you enjoy it.

If the video does not display or play properly above, click here to watch Cathay Pacific Cabin Crew/Flight Attendant Uniforms on YouTube.

Tip of the hat to YouTube user crazyroom06 for posting the video on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Delta Clipped Wings - 50th anniversary

Delta Clipped Wings logoDelta Clipped Wings marked its 50th birthday last week with a celebration at the Delta World Headquarters in Atlanta. Established in 1957. Delta Clipped Wings is an organization of retired an active flight attendants who have completed at least 20 years of service.

There is a wonderful narrated slide show about Delta Clipped Wings on the CNN website. Featured are images of Delta flight attendant uniforms over the years, and images of flight attendants at work on various kinds of Delta aircraft. In the narration, current and former Delta flight attendants offer their views on how the job has changed over the years. Don't miss Flight Attendants: A Career Evolution.

Congratulations to Delta Clipped Wings for their 50 years of service to the community and for supporting one another as only flight attendants know how to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Flight attendant uniforms around the world

This blog gets a lot of search traffic from people using search engines to look for photos or descriptions of flight attendant uniforms. While I sometimes include pictures of cabin crew in their uniforms to illustrate a story, this blog is about the people who wear the uniforms, not the uniforms themselves.

Nevertheless, since I do know about a superb source of information about flight attendant uniforms, I thought it would be a nice idea to share it: Cliff Muskiet's Stewardess/Flight Attendant Uniform Collection is a showcase of more than 650 uniforms from hundreds of airlines all over the world.

The site is owned and run by Cliff Muskiet, who happens to be a Purser with KLM. He has been collecting flight attendant uniforms and accessories for well over 20 years, and his website is nothing short of a monument. Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Continental's No. 1 F/A: Fifty years service

Congratulations to Norma Heape, the number one flight attendant at Continental Airlines. Today she celebrated 50 years of service with the airline.

According to a press release, published on and elsewhere:

Continental will honor Heape's 50 years of service in a brief ceremony on June 13 prior to her departing on flight CO99 from Newark Liberty to Hong Kong. Risoli will present Heape with a specially designed necklace in recognition of her lifelong dedication to the airline.

With the most seniority among nearly 9,000 flight attendants at Continental, Heape sets a great example for her peers. Not once in her career has she missed a scheduled trip due to calling in sick.
Ms. Heape first signed on with Continental in June 1957, before the airline had jet-powered aircraft in its fleet. During the course of her career, she has flown over 26 million miles on 27 different aircraft types to nearly all of Continental's more than 100 destinations worldwide. She has been based in Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Newark.

Among the "firsts" to her credit: she worked the inaugural flight of the Viscount aircraft in 1958, Continental's first military air charter in 1964, and the first Boeing 747 flight to Honolulu in 1970.

Best wishes to you, Norma. May you have many more happy landings!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mom and daughter become Alaska Airlines F/As

Two of the women who will graduate this week from Alaska Airlines flight attendant training are a mother and daughter. Summer Braaten and her mother Beth both will receive their wings tomorrow.

According to a story in the Seattle Times, this is the first time Alaska Airlines has trained a mother-daughter team together. Matthew Coder, manager of Inflight Services Training for Alaska Airlines said, "We've had sisters together, and husbands and wives, but not a mother-daughter. What usually happens is the daughter goes through the training first and they like their jobs so much, we get the mother later."

But not this time. Here's how the story is being told:

Encouraged by a supportive spouse and friends who are flight attendants, Beth Braaten applied first.

"I wanted to be a flight attendant since I was a little girl. It never went away," said the 46-year-old interior designer. "A year ago I decided to pursue the dream."

About the same time, Summer Braaten, who graduated from Central Washington University in 2006 with a degree in tourism and hotel management, was working in catering. On a job, she met an Alaska Airlines recruiter.

"It was mom's dream, but it sounded like fun," said Summer, 23.

She applied in March, two weeks after Beth. Both were accepted and scheduled for the same training class.
Following graduation, both women will be based in Anchorage.
"I never imagined when I held Summer in my arms my first Mother's Day [in 1984] that we'd ever be doing something like this together." Beth said. "Our graduation is a perfect Mother's Day gift."
Happy Mother's Day, Beth. And good luck and happy landings to the new flight attendants.

To read the entire Seattle Times story about Beth and Summer Braaten, with more photos, click here.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Iris Peterson, UA's No.1 flight attendant retires

Iris Peterson, United Airlines number one flight attendant, has retired after 60 years of service.

Ms. Peterson began her career in 1946, when job restrictions included age, gender, ethnicity and weight. A tribute to Ms. Peterson by the United Airlines MEC of the Association of Flight Attendants notes that Ms. Peterson and her peers helped to destroy these discriminatory practices, advancing the rights of women and uprooting gender discrimination.

Active in her union throughout her career, Iris held various leadership positions and often represented her colleagues in grievances, safety issues and on Capitol Hill. AFA-CWA historian and retired flight attendant Georgia Nielsen tells us that Ms. Peterson was often an integral part of advancing her profession through activity in her union. In 1953, she was the first official lobbyist for the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association. In 1968, the same year that stewardesses won the right to hold the job if they were married, Ms. Peterson participated in safety plans for the first jumbo aircraft. She worked with aircraft engineers and was instrumental in gaining acceptance for 17 safety items, including the evacuation alarm, which is now a standard on equipment worldwide.

"Iris has been a mentor to all of us who've followed in her steps," [United AFA President] Davidowitch continued. "She has spent a lifetime committed to her airline and to improving the profession she has loved for six decades. As her fellow crewmembers, we have been lucky to receive her guidance for 60 years. Iris is an intensely private person, but Flight Attendants everywhere are the beneficiaries of her dedication and commitment to our profession. She is truly one in a million."
Flight attendants and members of the public are encouraged to send cards of appreciation and congratulations to:
ATTN: Iris Peterson
6250 N. River Road, Suite 4020
Chicago, IL 60656
Happy landings, Iris!

[Photo Source]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Remembering the British Airways Concorde

During a recent event at the U.K.'s Imperial War Museum Duxford, several former British Airways Concorde 101 crew members shared their memories of working aboard that historic aircraft. The museum is the new home of the now retired Concorde 101. The aircraft will be housed permanently in a new £25 million AirSpace Exhibition hangar.

Maggie Sinclair, who had worked aboard the Concorde as cabin crew, was among those who shared their recollections. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Ms. Sinclair, published in the Cambridge Evening News:

"It was a very different, a very nice service and very personal," she said. "You had 100 passengers, but you had to give as much attention to them as you could. If they wanted something you got it straight away.

"Concorde was not actually first class, but a mixture. It was a prestigious plane to be on - I loved the ambience of it. I enjoyed the speed, although you didn't sense it. I was brought up in a garage so I was always keen on speed!

"People were always interesting and there were lots of wonderful passengers. Andy Warhol did not speak to us - he had his own man with him - but he wanted to see the flight deck. We had Eartha Kitt and Peter O'Toole. Quite a few who had been to LA together - Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Joan Collins was a regular. David Frost would always sit in one row at the back of the plane and stretch himself out.

"We had Christopher Reeve once. It was always lovely to be able to look after these people.

"I was in the crew that took the Queen once, on a State Visit to Ottawa for the 125th anniversary of the opening of parliament."
Ms. Sinclair noted that she and her colleagues on the Concorde had the same uniforms as the rest of British Airways cabin crew, but "we had to wear our hats whereas other crews didn't and we had special silver name badges."

Cabin crew had new uniforms issued to them for the Royal flight.

The Cambridge Evening News article that features the interview with Maggie Sinclair also includes interviews with three former Concorde pilots. Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A bit of flight attendant history

The Chicago Tribune has an article today about the history of flight attendants that is worth reading. Its title, Skies often were overly friendly, may give you a clue to what it's mostly about: Sexism.

Here's a sample:

In the 1960s and '70s, flight attendants unions used the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to initiate some of the most significant shifts in the profession. For starters, union contracts of the era began replacing the term "stewardess" with its unisex substitute, "flight attendant," reflecting the fact that greater numbers of men were entering the field.

Through negotiation and litigation, the no-marriage rule, no-pregnancy requirement and age restrictions were struck down, and body-weight policies were liberalized.

In the 1960s and '70s, when airlines were competing to lure male business travelers, they sought to capitalize on the attractiveness and attentiveness of their flight attendants. National Airlines launched its sexually suggestive "Fly Me" ad campaign, and Braniff International Airways unveiled its "Air Strip" marketing ploy, which featured flight attendants peeling off layers of clothing in the aisle.

"The '80s and '90s saw the shift back to professionalism in public perception, and after 9/11, I think people recognize that the flight attendant's primary role is safety, not serving lunch," [author Johanna] Omelia says.

"I think the airlines downplayed our safety duties prior to 9/11 so people wouldn't focus on potential dangers," [AFA historian Georgia Painter] Nielsen says. "Heaven forbid that the public think flight attendants do more than serve you the best martini you ever had."
The article winds up with a timeline citing major events in the history of flight attendant profession.

Read it in today's Chicago Tribune.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The age of the glamorous stewardess

If the photo at left catches your eye, you might want to have a look at The Glamour of Flight, a post in blog called Dark Roasted Blend. Blogger Avi Abrams has put together a collection of old photos of cabin crew from the days when everyone everywhere called them 'stewardesses.'

Most of the photos are familiar promotional photos from the likes of PSA and Braniff: mini-skirted and Pucci-clad women posing on or near the aircraft they worked on. A few were new to me. All are a significant part of commercial aviation history -- for better or worse!

Avi says, "There was something in the air in the early years of commercial aviation. Perhaps more excitement, perhaps more glamorous stewardesses... in any case, it's worth savoring once again."

Click here to view The Glamour of Flight.

[Photo Source]