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amostcivilpilot 11th Oct 2009 07:28

Are you a stewardess or a flight attendant? Young or aged? Discuss the article below

I don't know if this has been posted before but this popped up on my email this morning. Being married to ex cabin crew and having the greatest respect for our cabin crew colleagues, I won't mention my wifes opinion of the article :mad:

So opinions please, are you one of the "attractive women in their twenties" young and blond or aged and "waspish grandmothers" :confused:
The authors original photos are reproduced.

For some reason he doesn't mention stewards.

Link to the original story at Like the Dew - A Journal of Southern Culture and Politics :rolleyes:


Authors web page: Robert Coram | Main Page

Bring Back the Stewardesses
by Robert Coram Jun 16 09

The biggest airline in the world, Atlanta’s own Delta Airlines, is in serious trouble: a $125 million hit this quarter, reduction of system capacity by ten per cent this year, and the loss of 8,000 jobs in the past 12 months. But I know how to fix all this and, at the same time, advance western civilization: bring back the stewardesses and impose on them an upper age limit of 30.

One of the most bizarre marketing ploys in history was when the airlines dropped “stewardess” and picked up “flight attendant.” It seems that “stewardess” was demeaning and that “flight attendant” more professional. The job did not change, only the attitude. Think nose dive. And by the way, how do you attend a flight?

Stewardesses were attractive women in their twenties.


Many were from small towns and believed that flying was the greatest job imaginable. They could sashay up an aisle in their high heels and tight skirts and the men onboard wouldn’t have noticed if the pilot performed three loops, two snap rolls, and a hammerhead stall. Stewardesses brought sparkle and joie de vivre to their work. They laughed and joked with passengers and did not take themselves too seriously. The job made it all worthwhile and they usually were married and gone before they were 30.

Stewardesses were trained in emergency procedures but had enough sense to know they could fly for years and never use the training; they were airborne waitresses and their job was to be bright and perky and to take the passengers’ minds off flying. That was okay. They loved their work.
They loved their work.

Then they became flight attendants. The twenty-somethings became waspish grandmothers more concerned with where they are going to shop when the plane lands rather than with service to passengers.


They go into the galley and read newspapers and chit-chat with each other. And the real reason there are fewer flight attendants than there were stewardesses is not because airlines are downsizing crews, but because today’s flight attendants usually are big ole girls and a jet aircraft can carry only so much weight.

In recent years my work has necessitated extensive air travel and I have learned a little about flight attendants. First, I don’t know about all airlines, but on Thai Airways, British Airways and Lufthansa, I saw no vinegary flight attendants, I saw stewardesses.

Second, if you fly to a relatively exotic location, say Hawaii or Bangkok, you can be assured that the most senior flight attendants (read, the oldest, the most burned out, the most burned out) will be aboard. Nine hours-plus in the air does not improve their dispositions.

Three, if you are in an aisle seat, the closer you sit to the front of the aircraft, the greater the danger of being maimed by a flight attendant. These dreadnoughts come up the aisle like a battleship pushing through the Panama Canal. By the time they reach the front of the cabin they have worked up a full head of steam, and in their wake, shoulders, elbows, arms, and knees are knocked aside like rowboats.

A moment before impact there is a half-second warning that sounds like an intermittent chain saw. This is the rasping sound of oversized thighs packed into too-small pantyhose. If you don’t move quickly, a hip the size of Rhode Island will do the moving for you.

Today’s flight attendants have forgotten how to smile. But wait! Maybe this is because they trowel on so much makeup that they are unable to smile.

They complain about the rudeness of passengers yet they think serving food or drink is beneath them, something to do in a hurried fashion so they can rush back to the galley and talk about the merits of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. The dark mood of the flight attendants, like their Wal-Mart perfume, settles over passenger cabins like a miasma of gloom. It is little wonder that passengers are so ill-tempered. Being cooped up inside a confined space with these harridans would curdle milk.

Stewardesses were sexy. Very few flight attendants have enough sex appeal to budge a hermit off a rock ledge.

Flight attendants may work themselves into a lather over such an assessment. They want you to believe they are highly trained personnel ever alert for nuclear weapons or laser beams from outer space; that their medical skills enable them to cope with everything from tennis elbow to a prolapsed uterus; maybe even brain surgery.

Right. In the meantime, could you please bring me a drink without spilling it?


Bringing back the stewardesses will do nothing about crowded flights, diminished service, late arrivals, and heightened security. But it will make all those more palatable to business travelers, many of whom are men, and who are the largest single revenue source for the airlines.

Let it not come as a surprise that for middle-aged businessmen, being waited on by a young woman is preferable to being waited on by the wicked witch of the west.

Thus, contrary to what you have been thinking, my suggestions about stewardesses are not sexist drivel. I’m talking good business practices.

Air travel will never again be the great adventure it once was. But stewardesses can make us feel better about it. Young, blonde, smiling stewardesses will make air travel more endurable.

Hey, Delta, are you listening? Bring back the stewardesses.

Pegasus747 11th Oct 2009 07:53

yeah you usually find the people that write these sorts of things on the flights going to the sex trade capitals of the world hoping to snag #56 and bring her home and marry her, so he never has to cook dinner again.

amostcivilpilot 11th Oct 2009 08:17

yeah you usually find the people that write these sorts of things on the flights going to the sex trade capitals of the world hoping to snag #56 and bring her home and marry her, so he never has to cook dinner again.
Thats pretty close to what my wife said :ok:

Capetonian 11th Oct 2009 08:45

It's a childish, ill informed, provocative piece of gutterpress 'journalism' written by someone with a chip on his shoulder, perhaps some social inadequate who tried his luck with a FA and was rebuffed.

On the other hand some of the descriptions do remind me of a girl I used to 'date' (euphemism) who was a stewardess for the national carrier of a certain Southern African country whose racial policies made it unpopular with the rest of the world - no names of course.

I had the excuse that I was in my early twenties so it didn't matter if there was nothing to talk about over a meal after 'what will you have then?', or that she failed an interview for promotion because she was too stupid to work out 10% of 100 without a calculator. All that mattered was that most of my friends were insanely jealous, until they tried talking to her, at which point they realised that brains were not her greatest asset.

She was utterly boring and devoid of personality, humour, or intelligence. My labrador was better company, and now I think of it had better table manners too!

lowcostdolly 11th Oct 2009 10:01

amostcivilpilot :D:D:D:D......this is going to be a great thread!!!

I'm CC niether young or aged. I thought the article :yuk: and I can't wait to see some of the reactions.

I wish I could have seen your wife's reaction :uhoh:

olster 11th Oct 2009 10:46

I flew on Continental some years ago and the cabin crew were about as charmless a bunch of miserable geriatrics as it gets.I won't say I agree wholeheartedly with the article but it is not completely without truth either.Married to former cabin crew before the flak hits.

Mari 11th Oct 2009 12:35

Most of the airlines offer worse contracts than before and a lot of them only offer temporary contracts. As the pay is quite low, mostly very young people apply for this job and the majority quit after 1-5 years. I think that's the situation in Europe now. I don't think that it's an attractive career nowadays.

There is a huge difference between an "old" (before 9/11) and the "new" contract at the major carriers. My good friend at Lufthansa (43, has two kids, flies part-time to the Americas) told me that she wouldn't apply today for sure as the starting salary is around 1100 euro netto. My friends have permanent contract at EasyJet, however the company offers only temporary contracts nowadays. My collague who used to work for Ryanair loved it: he bacame Purser after a year, didn't pay for the training and made more than 2000-2500 euro when he left in 2001. Now: they make around 1200-1400 euro per month, pay for the training and you might be on agency-contract even after 2-3 years without basic salary.

We will only be seeing young people soon.

Weight control should be stricter and grooming standards higher in general. Look was always important in the service industry. It's sad that some people just let themselves go over 30.

Brain: you don't have to be a extremely clever to become a flight attendant, you don't need college or university degree. It's an easy job.

I saw a very shocking thing once in a Shanghai hotel. We bumped into the American Airlines crew. The purser was around 50, tall, good-looking, excellent make-up and grooming: she could be a role model for everyone. On the other hand I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw one of the crew who looked around 70 with white hair and curved back. I felt so sorry for the poor lady as she hardly could walk... Amazing that she was able to perform her duties...

Glamgirl 11th Oct 2009 21:10

I just laughed when I read the "article". I just can't take it seriously. If someone's really of that opinion about crew, then good luck to them. I won't waste my time worrying about it. I feel secure in what I do and how I perform my duties at work, so I'm not going to worry about this person's opinions.


UKSqueeze 12th Oct 2009 02:43

There are enough airlines in the world that do cater to this type of passenger.

amostcivilpilot 12th Oct 2009 06:55


Well some interesting answers so far!

I believe that this individual is of a particular sort of pax, the type who can never be pleased, constantly finds issues with everything and believes it is perfectly accepable to impose their idea of an ideal on others and I do wonder how he can equate his writing with and the pictures posted in the original "article" with the claim of the paper which published it to be a "A Journal of Southern Culture and Politics".

Both the standard of writing and pictures he has chosen to illustrate with strike me as somewhat uncultured and inappropriate.

However, I would also have to say that the points made by Olster, Mari, Glamgirl and UKSqueeze about individual standards of crew (ground, cabin and flight deck) can be supported.

This comes across in all aspects of this industry from the cockpit to the catering and all in between.

There are at all levels certain types who let the side down even though as a pax I have encountered more attentative and professional crew (both on the ground from checking in and to the experience while airborne) than un-professional.

We have all had to work with such individuals, those who are blatantly rude or dismissive, those who have simply lost interest in the job and regard it as a chore, etc, etc. Of course this applies to all areas of work and life and we see it in shops, banks, transport, schools, the services, etc.

The sad thing about these people is that they cause all in the industry to be tarred with the same brush.

I would also argue however that certain airlines in the industry have a lot to answer for. We only have to look at the decimation of terms and conditions in once first class airlines such as British Airways and Aer lingus (the famous cooked breakfast on the Dublin - London route :ok:now sadly gone :() and the lowest common denominator pax, the cattle truck mentality of Ryanair senior management to see that the glamour of their past has gone.

For me this is a shame beyond words because I have no doubt that the vast majority of those who apply to be cabin crew want to do it for the percieved glamour, travel and fun that it once was.

This can be applied equally to the flight deck where even the initial excitement wears off, the days become routine and the next big challange is getting the command, progressing to bigger types, perhaps going long haul and then one day looking out of the cockpit at the Cessna or the commuter flight and wishing that you could be back there again. That is almost a verbatim quote from a friend of mine who is retiring early and who only now wants to fly a single engine light aeroplane.

The reality for many cabin crew is having to put up the kind of individual who wrote the above and who has no respect for the individuals he feels is his right to oogle and box into a stereotype, with the stag and hen party flights of chavs (who of course can be found in all cabins and from all social backgrounds :rolleyes: as can be witnessed by reading the celebrities thread) to be dealt with, being expected to sell bags of vodka and plastic sandwiches, to have to clean the aircraft after landing for ridiculously short turnarounds on both long and short haul (many are to tired to go shopping regardless of age!) and the constant degredation of what was once seen as a fabulous career and lifestyle into something which is treated by certain management with distain.

There is also the unfortunate situation as well where many have to continue to fly or have had to come back to flying to support themselves because the pension plan has not worked out or their circumstances have deteriorated. I have every sympathy for them and I hope I never end up having to do the same.

There are of course the airlines which go out of their way to try and promote the glamour and fun side of travel and being cabin crew, such as Singapore and Emirates. Of course not everyone can work for them or necessarily wants to but the contrast between the their model and the european airlines is significant and it would appear that the crew from these airlines enjoy their jobs more. I am happy to be corrected on this :O

But back to original point. As Glamgirl points out, who cares. Do the job well and to the best of your ability and don't satisfy the purile nonsence of these sort of people :)

CBR_1 12th Oct 2009 08:27

Poor baby :(
Poor old Robert. Given he sounds like a whinging bore with ignorance to boot, i would hazard a guess that the only time he ever got any attention from the opposite sex was when he was on a flight. The tragic narcissist, who clearly likes to spread himself out into the aisle (he paid for a seat on the plane, not the whole plane!) never realised that he was only getting said attention because he paid for the honour and the stewardess' were too professional to let him know he was an ogre. I would also hazard a guess that he is exactly the kind of passenger that brings it all on himself - we do smile, often, but maybe we just can't help but cringe though when dealing with the likes of him. He obviously wasn't taught to treat others as he would like to be treated when he was growing up. I live in hope that he continues to be unsatisfied with air travel and eventually decides to take the bus! Failing that, when the day comes that his middle-age spread causes him a heart-attack lets hope he is on a plane across the atlantic and the flight attendants on board who knew they would never use their training, failed to pay attention in said training, and are merely the airborne waitresses he so desires! :D

HighHeeled-FA 12th Oct 2009 23:37


I found this article a little bit demeaning and I found the replies to be what you would expect. However let me stir the pot slightly and add a little bit of controverisal balance!

Without doubt, this article expressed views in a very alpha-male chauvanistic way. But let me ask my fellow 'stewardesses' out there something:

When you first toyed with the idea about being a 'stewardess' (or whatever you want to call it) when you were 8 or even 18, can you honestly say hand on heart that you didn't picture yourself looking like the models on the Virgin Advert? Did you really not imagine marrying a handsome pilot? Did you really not imagine yourself wearing the highest heels and tightest skirt whilst serving coffee? Did you really not imagine walking through the terminal with all eyes looking at you-whether it be male or female? I doubt it.

Now of course we were given those images/ideolgies wehen we were young, via magazines, films, or articles such as the one above with those type of pictures. Is it wrong? yes! But the point is that is the way it has always been and advertised. Glamour was there in the 50s/60s and just because the world has become a little more politically correct, I don't think we should look in disgust at the fat balding business men who still expect us to look like the women in the pictures in the article. They do pay our wages.

The article is writen in a controversial way. It could have been written nicer but obviously that was not the intention. But I do agree with the concept of what the writer is saying - he just wants to see a little bit more glamour in the air. And I agree with this.

Sorry guys. I hope I haven't taken the female population back 100 years but if you remove the obvious 'blokey' way the article was written, you will see a level of expectation from the writer that is perfectly understandable. For those that disagree, well I'm sure Nando's or Harvester have job vacancies. And you get home that night to see your families.

lowcostdolly 13th Oct 2009 11:07

HighHeeled-FA......I note you are not a "stewardess" :)

Could you just define glamour to me? In my airline we are required to wear the uniform to company standards (which are high now) and complimenting make up. Do you think as "FA's" we should be doing more than this? BTW I get home to see my family every night as well so I don't need to apply to Harvester thank you :rolleyes:

Rest assured you have failed to take the female FA's back a hundred years. Next time I go to work I'm going to find a glamourous loin cloth and hopefully be carted off the plane by a "business man" waving his club :ugh:. One thousand BC springs to mind!!

Thankfully the business peeps (balding or not) on our flights are a little more civilised.....outwardly anyway because they don't grope the CC and expect the on-expenses coffee served with the minimum of fuss.

I saw a really interesting saying on another thread "flight attendants here to save your arse not kiss it!" Would you/anyone else disagree?

You wanted to stir the pot.......;)

racedo 13th Oct 2009 11:40

Guess he didn't use the "Tea, Coffee or Me" advert from the US but that was probably just because he didn't find it rather than a conscious decision on his part.

Ultimately someone is there to do a job, call it Stewardess, Flight Attendant or whatever but let that be the decision of those who do the job, I'll go with the flow.

They earn the right to be called what ever their job title is by the work they do 365 days a year keeping passengers safe on board and safe in the event an emergency is called..

Frankly it matter to me little on what they are called or how they look or how young they are as they are not sex objects just people doing a job hopefully they like and enjoy.

The author may love to go back to the old days when Flying was a privelege, enjoyed by the few, with far fewer few jobs than now, those days like the Mullet have long since gone.

Glamgirl 13th Oct 2009 11:43

HighHeeled-FA, you wrote:

When you first toyed with the idea about being a 'stewardess' (or whatever you want to call it) when you were 8 or even 18, can you honestly say hand on heart that you didn't picture yourself looking like the models on the Virgin Advert? Did you really not imagine marrying a handsome pilot? Did you really not imagine yourself wearing the highest heels and tightest skirt whilst serving coffee? Did you really not imagine walking through the terminal with all eyes looking at you-whether it be male or female? I doubt it.

Now, I can hand on heart say that when I toyed with the idea of this job, I hadn't even heard of Virgin Atlantic. I've never had an aspiration of marrying a pilot nor wearing what I call a "tarty" outfit (the one you describe anyway). I did think it would be cool to have people looking as I walked through the terminal though, and guess what? Yes, that does happen now.

That's my honest reply.


PS. The actual reason I wanted to become cc is because I wanted to be like the nice ladies who gave me a toy and a pin when I flew as a child. They seemed nice and smiled all the time, and that, for some reason, inspired me.

JayPee28bpr 13th Oct 2009 13:51

I'm amazed the article quoted got published! I'd love to see the forward advertising numbers for it since publication. I can't think of a single organisation I deal with that would allow their products or services to be remotely associated with an article like this.

Isn't the real problem with an article like more general than what it says about cabin crew? I'm steering clear of the whole "flight attendant/stewardess" thing, though must say in passing that it's amusing to see the cabin crew contributors to the debate called "Glamgirl", "Lowcostdolly", and "High-heeled FA", so there is an element of playing to the stereotype portrayed in the article. And, yes, I do know those usernames incorporate a degree of subtle irony, whereas the article appears to be serious.

The more general issue raised by the article is that it implies that it's still OK to be sexist, and to be ageist. Here's a question to think about. Would the article had been published if the writer's complaint was that "the cabin crew weren't white enough"? Or "straight enough"? The fact that an individual thinks this way (ie sexist/ageist) hardly matters. The fact he can get it published is somewhat more depressing.

Finally, I will bet if the author of the article did find himself actually being served by an entire crew of bimbo airheads, he'd be the first to moan about the poor service and lack of personality of the crew. I don't think most passengers care what the crew's like really. Well-presented is good: it makes a statement about the airline's standards generally. Other than that, efficient and personable is probably higher on the list of expectations than anything else.

Need to Know Basis 13th Oct 2009 20:57

Flight Attendant / Stewardess / Trolley Dolly
Here is my 2 cents. I normally reside in the Freight Dogs ( never forget, brown boxes don`t talk back ) and always admire the c%#p you people put up with. From a simple guy to you all.

1. Not interested if the girl is pretty or not so. I like the uniform to be smartly presented and I like a smile because a smile makes me smile especially when its 0600 and off to AMS.

2. Departure time and arrival time....so long as its on time I am a happy chappy.

3. Safety - its gotten to be a joke. As far as I am concerned - the most important item is your location in the aircraft i.e. how many rows am I from the emergency exit ? I count both ways everytime. The rest is tut.

4. Emergencies - had an experience with a FR crew, the aircraft depressurized and we had to don the masks. No big deal but did the ladies who were looking after assist or direct the people who forgotten instantly to pull the line to get the oxygen through....no way. They sat and did nothing. I thought the crew had proper masks ? Surely they could have gone through the cabin with their own...dare I say a proper oxygen mask independant of the aircrafft. I know the cockpit crew do. What about you ?

Just keep smiling but please remember - safety is the only thing thats important - me I`d prefer to be in Hold 5 along with the dogs & cats....much more space to stretch and have a kip.

Otherwise I love the Cabin Crew forum especially the thread about the celebs......just brilliant.......back to Freight Dogs !! Keep it up ! See you all soon.

y = > r

TightSlot 14th Oct 2009 07:08

Originally Posted by Need to Know Basis
No big deal but did the ladies who were looking after assist or direct the people...

Standard decompression drills with most airlines include instructions in sequence, as follows -
  • Fit nearest oxygen mask
  • Sit down and stay seated
  • Transfer to portable Oxygen only when instructed or when safe to do so.
  • Assist incapacitated crew
  • Assist incapacitated passengers

Originally Posted by Need to Know Basis
I know the cockpit crew do.

Cockpit crew have no assigned duties in the cabin during a decompression.

Originally Posted by Need to Know Basis
The rest is tut.

Yes... Well... Thanks for your input.

HighHeeled-FA 14th Oct 2009 07:56


Obvioulsy when we started our careers, or when we first thought about it, there was no Virgin Advert. But my point is that (well at least for me) I pictured that image. Apologies if I have tainted you with the same brush. However I think that Jaypee28bpr made a very good point:

it's amusing to see the cabin crew contributors to the debate called "Glamgirl", "Lowcostdolly", and "High-heeled FA", so there is an element of playing to the stereotype portrayed in the article
No matter how much you (we) try to hide it, we are the sterotype. I just don't think we should be as harsh to people that share the same opinons as the person who wrote the article. Although I must say to Jaypee that I am not playing when it comes to my name. I really am THE high heeld flight attendant! but I think that is just because I'm from Essex!

G-ZUZZ 15th Oct 2009 12:05

a proper oxygen mask independant of the aircrafft. I know the cockpit crew do

Cockpit crew have no assigned duties in the cabin during a decompression.
I think he's talking about having an independent oxygen bottle and mask in the cockpit. This is usually the case.

The tarts (as they were affectionately referred to where I used to fly) are trained in the event of a decompression to sit down and do nothing, a procedure not always easily distinguishable from day to day operations.

If they walk across the cabin to get an O2 cylinder and mask from a stowage, they might get all light-headed and pass out. This is even more likely during a depressurisation.

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