18 March 2012

A little bit of history

The history of the flight attendant began as soon as passenger air travel began.
At the begining there were only male flight attendants -Heinrich Kubis was Germany's (and the world's) first flight attendant, in 1912. 
Imperial Airways of the United Kingdom had "cabin boys" or "stewards", in the 1920s.  In the USA, Stout Airways was the first to employ stewards in 1926.

These stewards were responsible for seeing to the passenger needs. Such as helping passengers board the aircraft, assisting with the baggage, serving refreshments and assuring that passengers put their cigars and cigarettes out.

By the late 1930's, United Airlines, being the first, had hired stewardess, female helpers. 
On May 15, 1930, United's first stewardesses (female cabin crew :) ) led by registered nurse Ellen Church took their initial flight on a Boeing 80A from Oakland/San Francisco to Chicago, making a 20-hour journey with 13 stops and 14 passengers. Church was hired in 1930 as head stewardess and was put in charge of hiring others. 

 Ellen Church

 Female flight attendants rapidly replaced male ones, and by 1936, they had taken over the role. They were expected to work long hours making about $1 an hour and on average worked about 100 hours a month. The airlines as part of their hiring practices required the women to take an oath in which they would not marry nor have children, if they break it they would have been fired.

Nowadays things are very much different, for the begining women do have rights :) 
Work terms and conditions, so as the salary are better, I would even dare to say great. 
Planes are modern, faster, more quiet and safer then before, the routes are longer and destinations are various, which all at once makes this job desirable and exciting!

...and the best of all... :)

Soon enough I'll be making my own history as a flight attendant...



  1. I would like to use the first image in this post in an exhibit we're putting together at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Can you give me permission to reproduce, and if not, can you tell me where you got your copy of the photo so I can ask the appropriate entity? Thanks!

    1. of course you can use it, i just took it from google pics... :)

  2. Deena S (dsasser@vmt.org)November 10, 2012 at 4:33 PM


  3. Where did you find the picture at the top? It appears to be from National Air Transport by the logo on the linens. They purchased Stout Air Transport in 1930, and the airline was combined into United Airlines in 1934. I have never seen this shot before.

    The second picture is Nelly Diener of Swissair, the first female flight attendant in Europe.

    I have more pictures at my site, airfoodhistory.com.