When I was approaching my 30’s, I QUIT MY CORPORATE JOB TO BECOME A FLIGHT ATTENDANT! Yet, ironically, in the 1950’s my career would have been over by now as Flight Attendants were forced to retire at 32!
In the early days of first-class flying, stewardesses were the stars of the sky.
But women still faced many of the same challenges at work.
During the 50’s was a pre-requisite that air hostesses were not married. So many stewardesses would leave their jobs after finding love, to become a wife and start a family. Job opportunities for women were limited, so stewardesses were the adventure seekers of their era!
Stewardesses worked to travel the world!
Many came from small country towns and were seeking an adventure. The role of an air hostess was highly coveted and the airlines were extremely discerning in their selection of stewardesses. The competition was fierce and enrolment was even more competitive than entry into university!
Airline recruitment was stringent and the rules didn’t relate specifically to the uniform or grooming either. In the golden era of flying, airlines stipulated height and weight requirements to which flight attendants must conform. The job title ‘stewardess’ is, therefore, controversial in the modern aviation industry. Many feel it is retrograde to times in aviation history when hostesses were considered to be nothing more than eye-candy!
The flirty overtone of the ‘stewardess’ title conjures imagery of a time in history when the cabin crew were an integral part of the image of the aviation industry.
The airline business was heavily regulated at the time and this made it difficult for brands to create a point of difference in their service offering. Flight Attendants were, therefore, a fundamental part of many airline’s marketing strategies.
Stewardesses brought the glamour and romance to flying. They were trained on how to walk, stand and carry themselves, deportment, etiquette and delivering silver service in their workplace.“We were almost on the same level as a movie star,”
says Sonnie Sims. “People admired us when we walked through the terminal. I remember our uniforms—they were all custom-fitted. They were just sculpted to your body, so everybody looked fabulous. We were all thin and had these great figures and wore white gloves and hats. You walked through the terminals with your head really high and you knew everybody was staring at you,” she said in an article titled “The Golden Age of the Stewardess” written by Bruce Handy and published in Vanity Fair.
During the golden era of aviation, Flight Attendants were pretty, popular girls who got invited to all of the parties!
Stewardesses socialised with celebrities and fraternized with flight crew. They were single and many had their sights set on seeking a husband!
Flying was only for the wealthy and passengers dressed up for the occasion. Fashion designers were commissioned to dress the crew and the atmosphere on board the aircraft reflected the five-star silver service. Unlike the women who stayed home to raise a family, stewardesses were living the high life!
Stewardesses of the 60’s set off to see the world, just as women today work to travel!
Many of us are putting off marriage and choosing to settle down later in life. Which ultimately means that we have more freedom to travel. In our crazy busy modern world, creating a work-life balance is especially important. Almost like therapy, we slave away at our desks, dreaming of our next adventure! And when we are not at work, we spend hours browsing Pinterest. Or, scrolling through social media, adding more and more destinations to our bucket list! Some of us have even given up our day job, seeking to escape the 9-5 and travel whilst working full time. And why the hell not! The world is an amazing place and there are so many beautiful places to explore!
My advice? If you want to change careers then do it. (Read more Flight Attendant stories here!) Or, if you want to break free of your dead-end job and set off on a trip, then go for it!
From exploring South East Asia to seeing the cliff divers in Acapulco, Mexico, I’ve certainly been on my fair share of adventures! I’ve travelled through the French Riviera and road-tripped across the USA. Been on a hot air balloon ride at sunset and rode a gondola in Venice. Climbed the Eifel Tower and taken in the view of the NYC skyline from the top of the Empire State Building.
Set foot in the Colosseum in Rome, explored Angkor Wat in Cambodia and visited the Chichen Itza in Mexico. Rode a bicycle through rice paddies in Vietnam and trekked to the top Mt Batur in Bali at sunrise. Slept under the stars, gone swimming with dolphins and had the time of my life exploring foreign countries. So I really could not be happier that I quit my job to travel!
I’ve travelled solo, travelled with friends and even made new friends whilst travelling! Several years ago, I joined a group of fellow wanderers and volunteered abroad, learning about elephant conservation and teaching English to local school children in Laos. This was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my travel adventures so far!
But my ultimate goal is to set foot on all seven continents! I love travelling and plan to visit many of the amazing wonders of the world in which we live! After all, the world is a big place and there is a lot to do and see if you are willing to go out and explore.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and let yourself live a little! You’ll most likely have the time of your life.