"Cabin crew" redirects here. For the Australian dance music duo, see Cabin Crew.
"Air hostess" redirects here. For other uses, see Air Hostess (disambiguation).
"Stewardesses" redirects here. For the 1969 3-D film, see The Stewardesses.
Flight attendants or cabin crew (also known as stewards/stewardesses, air hosts/hostesses, cabin attendants) are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.
The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar positions on passenger ships or passenger trains, but it has more direct involvement with passengers because of the confined quarters on aircraft. Additionally, the job of a flight attendant revolves around safety to a much greater extent than those of similar staff on other forms of transportation. Flight attendants on board a flight collectively form a cabin crew, as distinguished from pilots and engineers in the cockpit.
The German Heinrich Kubis was the world's first flight attendant, in 1912. Kubis first attended the passengers on board the DELAG Zeppelin LZ 10 Schwaben. He also attended to the famous LZ 129 Hindenburg and was on board when it burst into flames. He survived by jumping out a window when it neared the ground.
Origins of the word "steward" in transportation are reflected in the term "chief steward" as used in maritime transport terminology. The term purser and chief steward are often used interchangeably describing personnel with similar duties among seafaring occupations. This lingual derivation results from the international British maritime tradition (i.e. chief mate) dating back to the 14th century and the civilian United States Merchant Marine on which US aviation is somewhat modeled. Due to international conventions and agreements, in which all ships' personnel who sail internationally are similarly documented by their respective countries, the U.S. Merchant Marine assigns such duties to the chief steward in the overall rank and command structure of which pursers are not positionally represented or rostered.
Imperial Airways of the United Kingdom had "cabin boys" or "stewards"; in the 1920s. In the US, Stout Airways was the first to employ stewards in 1926, working on Ford Trimotor planes between Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Western Airlines (1928) and Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) (1929) were the first US carriers to employ stewards to serve food. Ten-passenger Fokker aircraft used in the Caribbean had stewards in the era of gambling trips to Havana, Cuba from Key West, Florida. Lead flight attendants would in many instances also perform the role of purser, steward, or chief steward in modern aviation terminology.
The first female flight attendant was a 25-year-old registered nurse named Ellen Church. Hired by United Airlines in 1930, she also first envisioned nurses on aircraft. Other airlines followed suit, hiring nurses to serve as flight attendants, then called "stewardesses" or "air hostesses", on most of their flights. In the United States, the job 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. They 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.
Appearance was considered as one of the most important factors to become a stewardess. At that time, airlines believed that the exploitation of female sexuality would increase their profits; thus the uniforms of female flight attendants were often formfitting, complete with white gloves and high heels.
In the United States, they were required to be unmarried and were fired if they decided to wed. The requirement to be a registered nurse on an American airline was relaxed as more women were hired, and disappeared almost entirely during World War II as many nurses joined military nurse corps.
Ruth Carol Taylor was the first African-American flight attendant in the United States. Hired in December 1957, on February 11, 1958, Taylor was the flight attendant on a Mohawk Airlines flight from Ithaca to New York, the first time such a position had been held by an African American. She was let go within six months as a result of Mohawk's then-common marriage ban.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's first complainants were female flight attendants complaining of age discrimination, weight requirements, and bans on marriage. (Originally female flight attendants were fired if they reached age 32 or 35 depending on the airline, were fired if they exceeded weight regulations, and were required to be single upon hiring and fired if they got married.) In 1968, the EEOC declared age restrictions on flight attendants’ employment to be illegal sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Also in 1968, the EEOC ruled that sex was not a bona fide occupational requirement to be a flight attendant. The restriction of hiring only women was lifted at all airlines in 1971 due to the decisive court case of Diaz vs. Pan Am. The no-marriage rule was eliminated throughout the US airline industry by the 1980s. The last such broad categorical discrimination, the weight restrictions, were relaxed in the 1990s through litigation and negotiations. Flight attendants still must usually have weight in proportion to height; persons outside the normal range may not be qualified to act as flight attendants.
As there will be 41,030 new airliners by 2036, Boeing expects 839,000 new cabin crew members from 2017 till then: 298,000 in Asia Pacific (37%), 169,000 in North America (21%) and 151,000 in Europe (19%).
The primary role of a flight attendant is to ensure passenger safety. In addition to this, flight attendants are often tasked with customer service duties such as serving meals and drinks, as a secondary responsibility.
The number of flight attendants required on flights are mandated by international safety regulations. For planes with up to 19 passenger seats, no flight attendant is needed. For larger planes, one flight attendant per 50 passenger seats is needed.
The majority of flight attendants for most airlines are female, though a substantial number of males have entered the industry since 1980.
Prior to each flight, flight attendants attend a safety briefing with the pilots and lead flight attendant. During this briefing, they go over safety and emergency checklists, the locations and amounts of emergency equipment and other features specific to that aircraft type. Boarding particulars are verified, such as special needs passengers, small children traveling as unaccompanied or VIPs. Weather conditions are discussed including anticipated turbulence. Prior to each flight a safety check is conducted to ensure all equipment such as life-vests, torches (flashlights) and firefighting equipment are on board, in the right quantity, and in proper condition. Any unserviceable or missing items must be reported and rectified prior to takeoff. They must monitor the cabin for any unusual smells or situations. They assist with the loading of carry-on baggage, checking for weight, size and dangerous goods. They make sure those sitting in emergency exit rows are willing and able to assist in an evacuation and move those who are not willing or able out of the row into another seat. They then must do a safety demonstration or monitor passengers as they watch a safety video. They then must "secure the cabin" ensuring tray tables are stowed, seats are in their upright positions, armrests down and carry-ons stowed correctly and seat belts are fastened prior to takeoff. All the service between boarding and take-off is called Pre Take off Service.
Once up in the air, flight attendants will usually serve drinks and/or food to passengers using an airline service trolley. When not performing customer service duties, flight attendants must periodically conduct cabin checks and listen for any unusual noises or situations. Checks must also be done on the lavatory to ensure the smoke detector hasn't been disabled or destroyed and to restock supplies as needed. Regular cockpit checks must be done to ensure the health and safety of the pilot(s). They must also respond to call lights dealing with special requests. During turbulence, flight attendants must ensure the cabin is secure. Prior to landing, all loose items, trays and rubbish must be collected and secured along with service and galley equipment. All hot liquids must be disposed of. A final cabin check must then be completed prior to landing. It is vital that flight attendants remain aware as the majority of emergencies occur during takeoff and landing. Upon landing, flight attendants must remain stationed at exits and monitor the airplane and cabin as passengers disembark the plane. They also assist any special needs passengers and small children off the airplane and escort children, while following the proper paperwork and ID process to escort them to the designated person picking them up.
Flight attendants are trained to deal with a wide variety of emergencies, and are trained in first aid. More frequent situations may include a bleeding nose, illness, small injuries, intoxicated passengers, aggressive and anxiety stricken passengers. Emergency training includes rejected takeoffs, emergency landings, cardiac and in-flight medical situations, smoke in the cabin, fires, depressurization, on-board births and deaths, dangerous goods and spills in the cabin, emergency evacuations, hijackings, and water landings.
Cabin chimes and overhead panel lights
On most commercial airliners, flight attendants receive various forms of notification on board the aircraft in the form of audible chimes and colored lights above their stations. Typically, the following chimes and colors are used:
- Pink or Red - Interphone calls from the cockpit to a flight attendant and/or interphone calls between two flight attendants (steady with high-low chime), or all services emergency call (flashing with repeated high-low chime).
- Blue - Call from passenger in seat (steady with single high chime).
- Amber - Call from passenger in lavatory (steady with single high chime), or lavatory smoke detector set off (flashing with repeated high chime).
- Green (non-standard) - On some airlines' Airbus aircraft, this color is used to indicate interphone calls between two flight attendants, distinguishing them from the pink or red light used for interphone calls made from the cockpit to a flight attendant, and is also accompanied with a high-low chime like the pink or red light. On some other airlines' aircraft, this color has a completely different meaning, and is used to indicate that the cockpit is no longer sterile after the aircraft is above a specific altitude.
The Chief Purser (CP), also titled as Inflight Service Manager (ISM), Flight Service Manager (FSM), Customer Service Manager (CSM) or Cabin Service Director (CSD) is the senior flight attendant in the chain of command of flight attendants. While not necessarily the most-senior crew members on a flight (in years of service to their respective carrier), Chief Pursers can have varying levels of "in-flight" or "on board" bidding seniority or tenure in relation to their flying partners. To reach this position, a crew member requires some minimum years of service as flight attendant. Further training is mandatory, and Chief Pursers typically earn a higher salary than flight attendants because of the added responsibility and managerial role.
The Purser is in charge of the cabin crew, in a specific section of a larger aircraft, or the whole aircraft itself (if the purser is the highest ranking). On board a larger aircraft, Pursers assist the Chief Purser in managing the cabin. Pursers are flight attendants or a related job, typically with an airline for several years prior to application for, and further training to become a purser, and normally earn a higher salary than flight attendants because of the added responsibility and supervisory role.
Flight attendants are normally trained in the hub or headquarters city of an airline over a period that may run from four weeks to six months, depending on the country and airline. The main focus of training is safety, and attendants will be checked out for each type of aircraft in which they work. One of the most elaborate training facilities was Breech Academy which Trans World Airlines (TWA) opened in 1969 in Overland Park, Kansas. Other airlines were to also send their attendants to the school. However, during the fare wars, the school's viability declined and it closed around 1988.
Safety training includes, but is not limited to: emergency passenger evacuation management, use of evacuation slides/life rafts, in-flight firefighting, first aid, CPR, defibrillation, ditching/emergency landing procedures, decompression emergencies, crew resource management, and security.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration requires flight attendants on aircraft with 20 or more seats and used by an air carrier for transportation to hold a Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. This is not considered to be the equivalent of an airman certificate (license), although it is issued on the same card stock. It shows that a level of required training has been met. It is not limited to the air carrier at which the attendant is employed (although some initial documents showed the airlines where the holders were working), and is the attendant's personal property. It does have two ratings, Group 1 and Group 2 (listed on the certificate as "Group I" and "Group II"). Either or both of these may be earned depending upon the general type of aircraft, (propeller or turbojet), on which the holder has trained.
There are also training schools, not affiliated with any particular airline, where students generally not only undergo generic, though otherwise practically identical, training to flight attendants employed by an airline, but also take curriculum modules to help them gain employment. These schools often use actual airline equipment for their lessons, though some are equipped with full simulator cabins capable of replicating a number of emergency situations. In some countries, such as France, a degree is required, together with the Certificat de Formation à la Sécurité (safety training certificate).
Multilingual flight attendants are often in demand to accommodate international travellers. The languages most in demand, other than English, are French, Russian, Hindi, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Bengali, Japanese, Arabic, German, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish and Greek. In the United States, airlines with international routes pay an additional stipend for language skills on top of flight pay, and some airlines hire specifically for certain languages when launching international destinations.
Height and weight
Most airlines have height requirements for safety reasons, making sure that all flight attendants can reach overhead safety equipment. Typically, the acceptable height for this is 150 to 185 cm (4 ft 11 in to 6 ft 1 in) tall. Some airlines, such as EVA Air, have height requirements for purely aesthetic purposes. Regional carriers using small aircraft with low ceilings can have height restrictions.
Flight attendants are also subject to weight requirements as well. Weight must usually be in proportion to height; persons outside the normal range may not be qualified to act as flight attendants.
Uniforms and presentation
The first flight attendant uniforms were designed to be durable, practical, and inspire confidence in passengers. In the 1930s, the first female flight attendants dressed in uniforms resembling nurses'outfits. The first female flight attendants for United Airlines wore green berets, green capes and nurse's shoes. Other airlines, such as Eastern Air Lines, actually dressed female flight attendants in nurses' uniforms. Both male and female flight attendants for Hawaiian Airlines wear aloha shirts as their uniform.
Perhaps reflecting the military aviation background of many commercial aviation pioneers, many early uniforms had a strongly military appearance; hats, jackets, and skirts showed simple straight lines and military details like epaulettes and brass buttons. Many uniforms had a summer and winter version, differentiated by colours and fabrics appropriate to the season: navy blue for winter, for example, khaki for summer. But as the role of women in the air grew, and airline companies began to realise the publicity value of their female flight attendants, more feminine lines and colours began to appear in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Some airlines began to commission designs from high-end department stores and still others called in noted designers or even milliners to create distinctive and attractive apparel.
Since the 1980s to present, Asian airlines, especially national flag carrier ones, usually feature the traditional dress and fabrics of their respective country in their female flight attendants' uniform. It was meant as a marketing strategy to showcase their national culture as well as to convey welcoming warmth and hospitality. For example, Thai Airways flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits into traditional Thai costume prior to passengers boarding. While the uniform of Garuda Indonesia female flight attendants is a modified kebaya, inspired by the traditional batik motif of Parang Gondosuli, the motif is called Lereng Garuda Indonesia.Malaysian and Singapore Airlines flight attendants wear batik prints in their uniform. Vietnam Airlines flight attendants wear red áo dài and Air India flight attendants wear a Sari on all passenger flights.
Flight attendants are generally expected to show a high level of personal grooming such as appropriate use of cosmetics and thorough personal hygiene.
Flight attendants must not have any tattoos visible when a uniform is worn. These requirements are designed to give the airlines a positive presentation.
In several airlines in the Islamic World, such as Egypt Air, Iran Air and Saudia, female flight attendants' uniforms have added a hijab to conform to the Islamic customs.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many airlines began advertising the attractiveness and friendliness of their stewardesses. National Airlines began a "Fly Me"; campaign using attractive female flight attendants with taglines such as "I'm Lorraine. Fly me to Orlando." (A low budget 1973 film about three flight attendants, Fly Me, starring Lenore Kasdorf, was based on the ad campaign.) Braniff International Airways, presented a campaign known as the "Air Strip" with similarly attractive young female flight attendant changing uniforms mid-flight. A policy of at least one airline required that only unmarried women could be flight attendants. While many other airlines, including American Airlines, Braniff, and Northwest, had a mandatory retirement age of 32 for stewardesses because of the belief women would be less appealing and attractive after this age.
Flight attendant Roz Hanby became a minor celebrity when she became the face of British Airways in their "Fly the Flag" advertising campaign over a 7-year period in the 1980s. Singapore Airlines is currently one of the few airlines still choosing to use the image of their female flight attendants, known as Singapore Girls, in their advertising material. However, this is starting to be phased out, in favor of advertising which emphasises the modernity of their fleet.
Flight attendant unions were formed, beginning at United Airlines in the 1940s, to negotiate improvements in pay, benefits and working conditions. Those unions would later challenge what they perceived as sexiststereotypes and unfair work practices such as age limits, size limits, limitations on marriage, and prohibition of pregnancy. Many of these limitations have been lifted by judicial mandates. The largest flight attendants' union is the Association of Flight Attendants, representing nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 19 airlines within the US.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents the flight attendants of American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier. APFA is the largest independent flight attendant union in the world.
In the UK, cabin crew can be represented by either Cabin Crew '89, or the much larger and more powerful Transport and General Workers' Union.
In Australia, flight attendants are represented by the Flight Attendants' Association of Australia (FAAA). There are two divisions: one for international crews (long-haul) and one for domestic crews (short-haul).
In New Zealand, flight attendants can be represented by either the Flight Attendants and Related Services Association (FARSA) or by the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).
In Canada, flight attendants are represented by either the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) or by the Canadian Flight Attendants Union (CFAU).
Originally female flight attendants were required to be single upon hiring, and were fired if they got married, exceeded weight regulations, or reached age 32 or 35 depending on the airline. In the 1970s the group Stewardesses for Women's Rights protested sexist advertising and company discrimination, and brought many cases to court. In 1964 United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law which prohibited sex discrimination and led to the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1968. The EEOC ruled that sex was not a bonafide occupational requirement to be a flight attendant. For stewardesses, this meant that they had an official governing body to report offensives and to and allowed them to successfully challenge age ceiling and marriage bans in relation to their effectiveness as employees.
The age restriction was eliminated in the United States in 1970. The restriction of hiring only women was lifted at all airlines in 1971 due to the decisive court case of Diaz vs. Pan Am. The no-marriage rule was eliminated throughout the US airline industry by the 1980s. The last such broad categorical discrimination, the weight restrictions, were relaxed in the 1990s through litigation and negotiations. Flight attendants still must usually have weight in proportion to height; persons outside the normal range may not be qualified to act as flight attendants. By the end of the 1970s, the term stewardess had generally been replaced by the gender-neutral alternative flight attendant. More recently the term cabin crew or cabin staff has begun to replace 'flight attendants' in some parts of the world, because of the term's recognition of their role as members of the crew.
Roles in emergencies
Actions of flight attendants in emergencies have long been credited in saving lives; in the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other aviation authorities view flight attendants as essential for safety, and are thus usually required on Part 121 aircraft operations. Studies, some done in light of British Airtours Flight 28M, have concluded that assertive cabin crew are essential for the rapid evacuation of aeroplanes. Notable examples of cabin crew actions include:
September 11, 2001
The role of flight attendants received heightened prominence after the September 11 attacks when flight attendants (such as Sandra W. Bradshaw and CeeCee Lyles of United Airlines Flight 93, Robert Fangman of United Airlines Flight 175, Renee May of American Airlines Flight 77, Betty Ong, and Madeline Amy Sweeney of American Airlines Flight 11) actively attempted to protect passengers from assault, and also provided vital information to air traffic controllers on the hijackings.
In the wake of these attacks, many flight attendants at major airlines were laid off because of decreased passenger loads.
- In April 1936, flight attendant Nellie Granger aided survivors after the crash of TWA Flight 1, then walked 4 mi (6.4 km) through a snowstorm to find help, before returning to the crash scene.
- Senior Purser Neerja Bhanot saved the lives of passengers and crew when Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked. She was killed while protecting children from the terrorists. After her death she received the Special Courage Award from the United States Department of Justice and India's highest civilian honor for bravery, the Ashoka Chakra (military decoration).
- Naila Nazir, Pakistani flight attendant (employee of Pakistan International Airlines) who received 1985's Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) Heroism Award for her brave handling of tense and dangerous situation during 13 days of flight PK-326 hijacking ordeal.
- British Airtours Flight 28M, the two forward flight attendants, Arthur Bradbury and Joanna Toff, repeatedly crawled into the smoked filled and burning cabin to drag a number of passengers to safety, and were subsequently awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. The two rear flight attendants, Sharon Ford and Jacqui Ubanski, who opened the rear doors but were overwhelmed by fire and smoke were awarded the same medal posthumously.
- Scandinavian Airlines Flight 751, when cabin crew recognised an emergency landing was imminent and commanded the passengers to "bend down ... hold your knees" to adopt the brace position.
- Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529, whose sole flight attendant, Robin Fech, provided emergency briefings, brace and evacuation commands to the passengers when the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft sustained serious damage to one of its engines and crash landed. The NTSB accident report commended "the exemplary manner in which the flight attendant briefed the passengers and handled the emergency".
- BOAC Flight 712, where a flight attendant, Barbara Jane Harrison died saving passengers from an on-board fire and was posthumously awarded the George Cross.
- British Airways Flight 5390, in which a flight attendant was able to prevent a pilot from being lost through a cockpit window that had failed.
- Southern Airways Flight 242, on which the cabin crew provided safety briefings to their passengers, and on their own initiative, warned passengers of the impending crash by commanding passengers to adopt the brace position. At least one flight attendant is known to have assisted in rescuing trapped passengers.
- Air Florida Flight 90, in which Kelly Duncan, the lone surviving flight attendant, passed the only lifevest she could find to another passenger. She is recognised in the NTSB report for this "unselfish act."
- TWA flight attendant Uli Derickson who protected passengers during the TWA Flight 847 hijacking by assisting with negotiation efforts.
- TWA Flight 843, when a TWA Lockheed L-1011 aircraft crashed after an aborted takeoff in 1992. The aircraft was destroyed by fire. Nine flight attendants, along with five off-duty flight attendants, evacuated all 292 persons on board without loss of life. The NTSB in their after accident reported noted, "The performance of the flight attendants during the emergency was exceptional and probably contributed to the success of the emergency evacuation."
- On British Airways Flight 2069, cabin crew stopped the plane from being crashed by a mentally ill passenger.
- Crew on American Airlines Flight 63 prevented shoe bomber Richard Colvin Reid from blowing up the plane.
- Flight attendants on Qantas Flight 1737 prevented their plane from being hijacked by a passenger with mental health issues. Two of them were taken to hospital with stab wounds.
- Aloha Airlines Flight 243 suffered a decompression which tore an 18-foot (5.5 m) section of fuselage away from the plane. The only fatality was flight attendant C.B. Lansing who was blown out of the airplane. Flight attendant Michelle Honda was thrown violently to the floor during the decompression but, despite her injuries, crawled up and down the aisle reassuring passengers.
- Flight Attendants on Air Canada Flight 797 (Sergio Benetti, Judi Davidson, Laura Kayama) used procedures which were not specifically taught in training such as moving passengers to the front of the aircraft to move them away from the fire and smoke, and passing out towels for passengers to cover their nose and mouths with while the cabin was filling with smoke.
- USAir flight attendant Richard DeMary helped to evacuate surviving passengers and another crew member from the burning wreckage of USAir Flight 1016, which crashed during a go-around in adverse weather conditions after a failed landing attempt at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
- Flight Attendants on US Airways Flight 1549 successfully evacuated all passengers from the aircraft within 90 seconds despite the fact that the rear was rapidly filling with water.
- Nine cabin crew members aboard Air France Flight 358 successfully evacuated the aircraft within 90 seconds after the A340-300 overran a runway at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The NTSB stated that the actions of the cabin crew contributed to the 100% survival rate.
- The flight attendants of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 kept the passengers calm after a bomb exploded during the flight from Cebu to Tokyo. Though one passenger was killed during the explosion, they took care of the injured passengers.
In popular culture
- 1933: Air Hostess portrays a love story about a flight attendant (Evalyn Knapp) and a pilot (James Murray).
- 1947: The Vicki Barr: Flight Stewardess book series, in which Vicki's career "brings her glamorous friends, exciting adventures, loyal roommates and dates with a hand some young pilot and an up-and-coming reporter", sells well in the US.
- 1950: In Batman #62 (December/January), it is revealed that Catwoman is an amnesiac flight attendant who had turned to crime after suffering a prior blow to the head during a plane crash she survived. The name of the airline she worked for was Speed Airlines.
- 1951: Three Guys Named Mike is a film about flight attendant Marcy (Jane Wyman) who has to choose between three admirers and becomes an advertising icon.
- 1956: Julie, starring Doris Day may be the first film to feature a flight attendant piloting a plane to safety, later used in Airport 1975 (1975) and parodied in Airplane! (1980).
- 1959: An Angel on Wheels, a German comedy with Romy Schneider as a guardian angel who disguises herself as an flight attendant.
- 1963: Come Fly with Me features Dolores Hart, Pamela Tiffin and Lois Nettleton as air stewardesses who find romance in this adaptation of Bernard Glemser's 1960 novel, "Girl on a Wing".
- 1965: Boeing Boeing, based on a popular play, stars Tony Curtis as an American journalist in Paris who is simultaneously engaged to three different flight attendants.
- 1965: Mickey Rooney has a major role as a purser in the movie 24 Hours to Kill. It was filmed in Lebanon using a Comet jetliner.
- 1967: memoir Coffee, Tea or Me?, by Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones recounts the romantic adventures of two flight attendants.
- In the late sixties the sexploitation film industry began producing erotic comedies and dramas based on the "swinging stewardess" fantasy image. This "stewardess-sploitation" cycle includes: Bedroom Stewardesses (Germany, 1968), The Stewardesses (1969), Stewardesses Report (Switzerland, 1971), The Air Stewardess (Greece, 1971), Swedish Fly Girls (Denmark, 1971), Fly Me (1973), The Naughty Stewardesses (1974), Blazing Stewardesses (1975), and Stewardess School (1986).
- 1978-1979: Flying High, short-lived comedy-drama TV series starring Connie Sellecca about the lives of three attractive flight attendants.
- 1985: "Waitress in the Sky", a derisive song about a stewardess, appeared on the critically praised album Tim by The Replacements.
- 1996: Australian comedian Caroline Reid creates the character "Pam Ann" to satirise the stereotypical aspects of the job of the female flight attendant.
- 1997: Jackie Brown, a Quentin Tarantino directed crime drama starring Pam Grier as a flight attendant.
- 1997: Turbulence, action-thriller with Lauren Holly as a flight attendant.
- 2003: View from the Top - romantic comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow as an aspiring flight attendant.
- 2003: "Toxic", music video for Britney Spears hit single features Spears as a sexy stewardess in a highly stylized vintage Pan Am-style blue uniform.
- 2003: Mile High, British television series features a group of flight attendants working for the fictitious low-cost carrier "Fresh!".
- 2004: the single Air Hostess by Busted reaches No. 2 in the UK singles chart.
- 2006: Attention Please, Japanese Televison Drama about the training of flight attendants for Japan Airlines
- 2007: British pop/bubblegum dance group Scooch, comes 22nd in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with the song "Flying the Flag (For You)", featuring flight attendants and including a liberal amount of sexual innuendo.
- 2008: Happy Flight, which is about a copilot and flight attendant on an ANA flight to Hawaii.
- 2011-2012: Pan Am, TV series period-piece drama set in 1963-1964 about the lives of Pan American World Airways stewardesses starring Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie.
- 2014: TAKE OFF! with The Savvy Stews premieres on Destination America hosted by two flight attendants Bobby Laurie and Gailen David and profiling flight attendant layovers around the world.
- 2016: Neerja an Indian movie about Neerja Bhanot, head flight attendant at the Pan Am Flight 73, who saved the life of her crew and passenger and was awarded Ashoka Chakra (military decoration)
Notable flight attendants
- Ron Akana served the second longest career as a flight attendant. From 1949, up until his retirement in 2012, Ron worked for United Airlines cabin crew for 63 years, retiring at the age of 84.
- Ant, TV personality Celebrity Fit Club former American Airlines flight attendant
- Kathy Augustine, a flight attendant prior to entering Nevada politics
- Rico Barrera of Pinoy Big Brother Philippines Season 1 and an actor who continues to fly with Seair
- Alex Best, ex-wife of George Best
- Neerja Bhanot, was a flight attendant for Pan Am airlines, based in Bombay, India, who died while saving passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 on September 5, 1986. She received India's highest civilian award for bravery, the Ashoka Chakra.
- Regina Bird, Big Brother Australia 2003 winner
- Deborah Burlingame, sister of Charles "Chic" Burlingame III, pilot of hijacked American Airlines Flight 77
- Nh. Dini, Indonesian novelist and mother of French director Pierre Coffin. Worked as a Garuda Indonesia flight attendant during her early life
- Betty Ong, was a flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 11 the first of four hijacked aircraft's on the morning of September 11, 2001.
- Madeline Amy Sweeney, was also a flight attendant on board Flight 11, Sweeney was the first to describe the hijackers, and their actions.
- Beverly Lynn Burns, American Airlines stewardess class of 1971; first woman Boeing 747 Captain in the world July 1984
- Terence Cao, Singaporean actor
- Ellen Church, first female flight attendant in history
- Uli Derickson, on duty during the TWA Flight 847 hijacking
- Brian Dowling, UK Big Brother 2001 winner
- Gaëtan Dugas, alleged Patient Zero for acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- Ruth Carol Taylor, first verified African-American stewardess, hired by Mohawk Airlines in 1958
- Roz Hanby, face of the British Airways "Fly the Flag" campaign (1970s/1980s)
- Barbara Jane Harrison, posthumously awarded the George Cross for bravery
- Jennifer Hosten, 1970 Miss World winner
- Patricia Ireland, former President of the National Organization for Women
- Kris Jenner, was a flight attendant, for a year, before marrying Robert Kardashian
- Annita Keating, Dutch-born estranged wife of former Australian Prime MinisterPaul Keating, flew with KLM and Alitalia prior to her marriage.
- Sonija Kwok, 1999 Miss Hong Kong, now a popular artist with TVB
- Evangeline Lilly, Canadian actress, who coincidentally played a plane crash survivor on Lost, worked for Royal Airlines.
- Ziana Zain, Malaysian international artist, model, actress
- Katherine Lee, American flight attendant famous for her finger wag in Delta Air Lines' in-flight safety video, which became a hit on YouTube.
- Kate Linder, actress on The Young and the Restless, who continues to fly with United Airlines on weekends when not filming.
- Catherine Maunoury, French winner of the Aerobatics World Championship in 1988 and 2000
- Pamela Bianca Manalo, a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines before she was crowned Miss Philippines-Universe in 2009
- Carole Middleton
Beyond Rhetoric: A Reflective, Persuasive Final Exam for the Workshop Classroom
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 4
Date: Fall 2001
Summary: Lorenz's final exam tests students on their dexterity with persuasive writing by requiring them to write convincingly about the concepts, skills, and attitudes they have acquired in her writing class.
It's five o'clock. I stagger through the front door carrying the mail, my lunch box, my schoolbag, seemingly loaded with bricks. It's the end of a crazy exam day; grades are due tomorrow. I leaf through the mail, check the messages, talk to the cats, pour a drink, get comfy on the couch, and plow into the exams my sophomore and junior English students have just turned in. But this year, there's a difference: Unlike previous years when I approached this experience with a combination of dread and foreboding, this year I can't wait to find out what my students have to say.
Believe me, it hasn't always been that way. Exams haven't always been high on my list of compelling reading material. In fact, this entire end-of-semester experience was often depressing. The problem was that I didn't know how to give an exam that was consistent with what I had been doing all year with my writing and reading workshop classes. I tried out some alternatives, creating objective tests over writing craft, asking students to report on authors they had read. But techniques such as these did not seem to mesh with what we had been doing. What I wanted was a final exam that served as a reflective review of the year, one that showed me what the students had learned.
I suspect many teachers who have embraced the workshop model in their secondary classrooms often wrap up a wonderful semester with great student portfolios, but then, as I do, run straight into a school requirement for an exam at the end of the term. For me, the traditional end-of-term exam was at odds with the workshop experience.
It was one of my Eastern Michigan Writing Project colleagues, Michelle McLemore, who helped me find a way out of this dilemma. Michelle has her students do a "detective story" exam in which they bring "evidence" of good writing in their work and present it to her in a conference. I decided to take this idea in another direction.
Now, I ask my students to write a persuasive essay that tells me what grade they think they should get and then convince me that they deserve it. They must wax eloquent about how much they have learned from the class. They can pull from anything that we have done during the semester or year. The key to convincing me is the use of detail. They can't simply say they improved as a writer—they have to give examples and even quote their own writing. They can't just say their vocabulary improved—they have to use some of their favorite new words. And they can't just say something was helpful—they have to tell me why they thought it was important, how their thinking changed, or how they applied it in everyday life.
I give them a list similar to the one below to evoke ideas. Write about:
- favorite books you've read during the year and why you liked them
- poems that have led you to deeper understandings
- how your writing improved, with specific examples
- new words you've acquired
- concepts or genres you've learned about
- editing skills you've mastered
- minilessons you've thought were useful
- writing prompts and revision techniques you particularly liked
- reading and writing habits you have developed or changed
- what you've learned from the class overall.
Since we have not worked with the persuasive genre before, I work with the students to help them provide supporting details and examples to make their pieces convincing. As these students will have many more experiences with persuasive writing, this topic so closely connected to them, one with a very real purpose, seems like an ideal introduction to the genre.
I ask the students to tell me the grade they think they deserve and tell me why they think they should receive it. The first inclination of many students is, of course, to butter me up, to place at the center of their piece a thesis testifying to how great the class was, how great I am, how much they loved everything. Flattered as I may be by these testimonials, I won't really be convinced of students' growth until I see evidence of their learning—examples from their own writing, thinking, and living. This use of specific, supporting detail is difficult for students, and many write unreflective essays that simply repeat what I've told them during the year. Some essays are all rhetoric and no substance, or, on the other end, occasionally give a bare list of topics with no persuasive appeal. For instance, one student wrote: "I also learned that many things can effect the quality of the poem. A few of these things are line breaks, shape of the poem, tone, fresh use of language, and literary devices."
While responses of this sort tell me the student was able to remember or refer to notes we used in our poetry study, they don't show if those devices were ever used personally. And tempting as it may be, I cannot allow a strong voice punctuated by humor to dissuade me from my insistence on specific examples.
To move on to my next term, let's see if you know what a foot is, no I don't mean the thing connected to your ankle. It's the smallest repeated pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poetic line. Believe it or not this is a very helpful hint to remember.
Though essays heavy with this kind of writing are not exactly what I'm looking for, I'm not gravely disappointed in them either. They do show evidence of learning. But they don't get the highest grades.
I'm learning to better teach students to work in this way by providing them with models and specific instruction. I ask students to tell little stories of how they made a connection in real life with something they learned in class. One student told how she felt a little surge of pride when she was the only one in her family to know the answer to a Jeopardy question about literature. Another wrote of how she knew exactly how to answer the question on the ACT about genre because we had talked about the concept so often. And there were students who made larger connections between what we had learned and their own lives:
One of the authors that you read from said something along the lines of "being aware of details, don't forget to live," this has helped me to notice things in a different way. I remember flipping through a magazine a few days ago and looking at a few pictures and thinking about what great poems could be made out of them. Even when we were in Washington, D.C., I saw people and could think of how they might be feeling and why and create a poem in my mind. Such as when I saw an elderly woman standing in front of Robert E. Lee's house in Arlington I would find myself thinking of her "overlooking the solemnly quiet cemetery. All the white blurring together in a bare blanket of glory for the deserving soldiers. Her eyes were remorseful, as if she had lost something and didn't think to regret it until it was too late. She was standing there alone, but not lonely. She had stopped being lonely." It was sad to think of, but was an amazing moment for me, to be able to see someone and make up a past and be able to remember it. —Stephanie
Of course, topics on which we had spent the most time in class come up frequently in the essays. This past year, my sophomores and juniors did a genre study on poetry that lasted most of second semester, so they wrote a lot about poetry in their essays, telling how their perspectives on poetry had changed and giving examples from their own work. Krist said, "You showed us that poetry isn't all common sense, it's our dreams gone wild." He quoted from his response to a dream-write where he used alliteration inspired by a National Geographic picture: "Monkeys—hairy furry flamboyant hanging on powerful power lines with a sunset that's powdery pink."
Students spent a lot of time revising their poetry, putting to work poetic devices. Camelle referred to her inclusion of metaphors in a revision of her first poem:
The volleyball flew over the net. There's really nothing much to read into—so let's compare it to something descriptive: The volleyball flew over the net like an asteroid flies through space. Doesn't that sound much more descriptive? It gives life and meaning to your statement.
Trae cleverly demonstrated his understanding of figurative language by incorporating an example of these devices right into his sentence:
Using similes and metaphors is like breathing to me. . . . I have noticed a great difference in my writing and so have my parents. They can tell the difference because when they read my poems they asked me did I copy them from somewhere. . . .
Other responses, while not rich in content, were startling in their level of understanding. Melissa talked about our Socratic Seminar discussions of poetry, which were difficult for her to jump into even though she saw the value. "Some of the poems you had us decipher were tough," she said, "but I think we did a good job of digging in to dead people's souls and finding out their deep, dark secrets."
One of the best features of this project has been the way it clarifies the use of minilessons in my classroom. My lesson on the use of the thesaurus, for instance, had made an impact in ways I had not anticipated. Students wrote about learning new words and using the thesaurus, and they commented on some of the extra advice I included in the minilesson as well as how their new skills made them feel. Dylan wrote, "Words like skinny and dull are now replaced with gaunt and somber. I kind of like how these words enhance my profile from an intellectual perspective."
But Mrs. Lorenz did tell us to make sure that we don't use the thesaurus as a way to use big words and confound everyone, but to use rich words. Like instead of saying fast, you could say abruptly. Abruptly sounds better and it doesn't confound anyone."
Some minilessons were very short and focused on practical matters of usage or common errors. "I learned a ton of stuff this year. I even learned that a lot is two words," wrote Sean. The very practical lessons, things I never used to even recognize as content but just as stuff I'd throw in for "free" were now recorded as minilessons, and this helped us recognize their value.
Many students referred to a minilesson I'd given on writing sympathy notes as one of the best, which was a real surprise to me. Students talked about terms that we learned: "I had never heard of a line break before February twenty-third two thousand and one," said Chris, and Aaron revealed some interesting wordplay that had been going on inside his head:
An outstandingly helpful minilesson was #9, which talked about repetition and personification. After learning about these techniques, I created my own tool, Personificaucasian, which gives Caucasian-like characteristics to an animal, object, or concept.
Who ever finds material like this on a multiple-choice exam?
Writing-craft lessons came up in the essays. We had had many minilessons on the use of specific detail, so I was gratified to find many students mentioning it in their essays.
Now, when I write something, I don't just say the room was dark. I would describe the eerie glow it had about it, the dancing shadows on the walls and the creeping feeling of doom all around me. —Nate
Instead of telling the reader that you're eating fruit, tell the reader that the juice from the oversized pomegranate was dribbling down your chin.—Stephanie.
For example, don't say your "car." Say something like "my gleaming red hot rod convertible." —Chris
You can never use too much detail. Details are the insides of the story. Without them, we would all be lost. Be specific. Instead of saying "there was a pretty flower by the windowsill' say "there was a radiant geranium sitting on the windowsill's left." Now you know what kind of flower it is, where it is, and what kind of "pretty" it was. —Beckie
Beckie provides here the kind of example that I try to share with other students. She develops the concept not only with an example, but goes on to analyze the reasons for using detail.
Students talked about books they had read during independent reading, an area of learning I had never even tried to assess on the final exam. While many of these comments tended to be more general than I would have preferred, they did give me a clear idea of the variety of learning that was taking place during independent reading time. Nate admitted, "Slot Machine was the first book that I have ever laughed out loud while reading." Andy revealed that he had read over seven hundred hours this year. And Alex, who avoided reading at all costs in the past, wrote how he had changed:
I figured out what kind of book I like to read. I like to read factual books and I would have never found out about that if it weren't for you. . . . After all that reading, my imagination, once a non-existent part of my life, started to unfold. My concentration level grew after that, and I started using the right side of my brain.
Other students wrote in convincing detail about what they had taken away from our writing conferences:
You were looking at one of my poems that had no feeling or thought behind it. Then you brought up Emily Dickinson and how she only hints at something else for the reader to find. It's really incredible how she does that, so I went and read a few of her poems. It took awhile to digest them and go over them again to figure out. But once I figured out one or two of them, I realized what you were talking about. I then thought about how amazing it would be to have people reading those kind of poems, making them sit down and try and get into your mind, your innermost thought, and why you wrote that. I know I'll never be Emily Dickinson, or even close to it. But that really inspired me, and gave me something to work towards. And I want to thank you for that.
Elsewhere in the essay, she reflected on her writing process:
Emily Dickinson wrote, "The Brain, within its groove / Runs evenly and true; / But let a splinter swerve / 'Twere easier for you / To put the water back / When floods have slit the hills . . ." I feel like this is me, when I get distracted.—Stephanie
Laying on my couch, beaming idiotically, I feel like maybe I am doing something right after all.
As my students have worked with this end-of-the-term persuasive essay format, the benefits to them have become increasingly clear. But I also benefit. I often would come to the end of the semester wondering despairingly, "What did we accomplish?" I would create new lessons based on errors I saw in students' writing or on topics that arose serendipitously, so it didn't always feel like I'd covered a lot of weighty topics in depth. Some minilessons are so short and focused—like the use of a lot or the thesaurus—that I frequently have felt as if my direct instruction was haphazard and random. This is not as much of a problem now. As I've introduced the persuasive essay final, I've also required students to record all minilessons in a special section in their learning logs, and this is one of the main sources they draw from when they write their persuasive papers. It helps them take minilessons more seriously during the year, and it offers a substantial review, which is the purpose of an exam. Further, students and teacher alike realize that we really did cover a lot during the year. It's great to go from wondering, "What did we spend all our time on this year?" to thinking, "Wow—we really did cover a lot of ground."
This project has other benefits. It provides a way of thinking about language arts skills that gives a bigger picture than the reflective piece typically included in portfolios. Portfolio reflections still have a place, of course, but they are highly focused on the pieces included in the portfolio and don't usually address the class as a whole. Reflection of any kind is often difficult for students, and teachers' demands for reflection on portfolio entries can be vague and frustrating. While the persuasive essay is also reflective, it has a very direct and business-like purpose and audience—it's for me, and it's for a big grade. That may not seem very kind and gentle, but it's honest, and it sure gets great results.
The review is also valuable because the students think about how much they have learned and grown in the workshop format. Because workshop is different from traditional teacher-directed classes and is very student centered, kids sometimes don't realize that they are learning or even doing work. Nate said, "The methods of teaching were such that it gave the illusion that we were not really being taught. . . . In a way, we taught ourselves with the assistance of a teacher." Students often comment that they are surprised at how much they've gained. As Adam admitted:
I'm ashamed to say it but here it goes. I like writing. Yes, it's true. The student with the absolute worst attitude in the school towards anything involving ink actually enjoys putting the stuff down on paper. Especially poetry (Don't tell my friends.)
On a practical level, this is an assignment that can be done during the exam period itself, but is better outside of class as a take-home exam. Either way, I provide students with a prewriting assignment or worksheet. In class, I go over the minilessons and other material that we have covered, and I provide models of the type of writing that is appropriate. I use old essays that received an A. I explain to my students that A papers are rarely under four pages typewritten and often up to eight pages, because of the level of detail required to persuade me of A quality. If students are to explain the content learned over an entire semester or year and include detailed examples in a persuasive format, they will need to elaborate. It's possible to do this in fewer pages, but that means very tight, clever writing—something that takes as much time as writing more.
I've found that students are usually accurate and honest when giving themselves a grade. Their assessments almost always come close to mine. Students who put a lot of time into their writing do so on this essay as well, so they ask for a good grade and, as a rule, get it. Students who don't put the time in write shorter essays with less information and often get grades that reflect their previous work. But they usually recognize it and ask for a B or C.
I began using this assignment without much thought. It was a quick solution to the annoying end-of-the-term required exam. As I have reflected on the process, I've begun to see the great benefits of an assignment that elegantly combines reflection, persuasion, review, craft and detail, and the course evaluation. At first, the essay was an isolated task at the end of the year, but now I see that it can be an integrated, important part of my practice. Now I will talk more about this final project at the beginning of the year, allowing more time for planning and peer conferencing, and creating a rubric with the students for more consistent grading.
Settling down to read these exams, I realize the personal mental health benefits for me. It's a great way to combat end-of-the-year fatigue, and it helps me understand what students have found important and memorable about the class, even as, on this last day, they learn a few more things about the process of writing.
About the Author Sarah Lorenz is a teacher-consultant with the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. She teaches at Franklin Road Christian School in Novi, Michigan, where she also works with curriculum and school improvement.
This article is featured in the NWP booklet 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing.
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