Stewardess or Flight Attendant? (originally posted on 10/11/10)

Stewardess or Flight Attendant?

When we were flight attendants we used to have the conversation about differences between stewardesses and flight attendants. Before we get into this conversation, let’s see what Webster (not Emmanuel Lewis) has to say:

a woman flight attendant

flight attendant
an airline employee who serves meals, attends to passengers’ comfort, etc., during a flight.

Even though both words have virtually the same meaning, there’s a huge difference in what makes one a ‘stewardess’ as opposed to a ‘flight attendant.’ And just so you know ‘stewardesses’ still exist to this day!

TRIVIA: The very first flight attendant (steward) was a male. Heinrich Kubis. He flew as a steward on the Zeppelin fleet including the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg. More about male flight attendants in another post.

The first female stewardess was Ellen Church hired by United Airlines in 1930. She was 25 and a registered nurse. Once airlines began hiring stewardesses, being a nurse was a requirement. This requirement was relaxed at the start of WW2.

Ellen Church - first UA stewardess

It was in the 60’s and 70’s that many airlines began advertising the attractiveness and friendliness of its stewardesses. National Airlines had the “Fly Me” campaign. Southwest airlines had hostesses in hot pants. Braniff International Airlines even had what became known as the ‘Air Strip‘ whereby stewardesses would change outfits during your flight.


The Braniff "Air Strip"

Pacific Southwest Airlines

Delta Air Lines Summer 1969-70


National Airlines

Pan American

Many challenges that stewardesses faced (age limitations, no-marriage clause, weight requirements) were laid to the wayside in the 70’s and 80’s.

It was at the end of the 70’s that the term flight attendant replaced stewardess.

Even though the term stewardess was jettisoned, stewardesses still exist if you know what to look for. During our time as flight attendants it was a pure delight to fly with a stewardess. She, after all the years in the air, still:

  • loves her job
  • smiles at the customers
  • works seamlessly with her crew
  • has a great attitude
  • can fit into her uniform from when she was 21
  • has style, grace and poise
  • ALWAYS looks fabulous in her uniform (nails, hair, make up)
  • can wear a pair of heels for 9 hours, while working, across the Atlantic (you’ll see no Dansko’s on her feet!) — Dansko’s should be banned!
  • she’s loved by her passengers
  • brings glamour to this, still, amazing career
It’s nice to know (and I’m sure the passengers would agree) that even in today’s hectic airline environment there are stewardesses out there…and some are flight attendants!
Today’s ‘stewardesses’ include:

Katherine Lee aka "Deltalina"

Virgin Atlantic

Pam Ann

Today’s question: Have you had the pleasure of being served by, worked with or know, a ‘stewardess?’ If so, let’s here about it.

Remember to keep it low and tight, low and tight…


2 responses to “Stewardess or Flight Attendant? (originally posted on 10/11/10)

  1. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for airline traffic controller salary

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