The Evolution of Flight Attendants

Are you, like me, old enough to remember when there was a certain elitism to flying? There is something about elitism that I have always found appealing, as long as I thought, rightly or wrongly (usually wrongly) that I was one of the elite. You got dressed up to fly. It was glamorous and it was fun.

Nothing epitomized the glamour of flying more than the air stewardesses as they were then called. They were young slim attractive and perfectly dressed. Their uniforms were impeccably tailored, and ended just above the knee, showing just enough leg to make them appealing but not too much leg to make them too appealing.

When the mod look of the 60’s arrived, the airlines were right there, often leading the way with their high fashion uniforms and even higher hemlines. PSA airline was emulated by many

but not by all

At first it was only women who were seen as suitably attractive and subservient to be stewardesses. But it wasn’t long before the occasional man joined them. They too quickly gained a reputation for being dashingly handsome with a touch of exotic excitement in their perfectly tailored suits

But as time passed the men became well known for other personality traits

Then came the 21st century. Suddenly everything was being jumbo sized. Meals, drinks, stores and even airplanes. The airlines have not been immune to this trend and the bottle of water placed on our tray table today could have solved the California drought all on its own

But why stop there. American Airlines, for once anxious to be at the forefront of a new trend  have decided in their infinite wisdom to jumbo size the stewards. Today we flew business class on that wonderful airline to Miami and were met by the largest, scruffiest least appealing steward we could ever imagine. He was well over 300 pounds and obviously couldn’t find a uniform his size. His shirt collar, unable to decide which of the many chins it was supposed to go round, gave up entirely and resigned itself to flopping open allowing several spring like chest hairs to curl over the top. A tie struggled to give it some kind of elegance but failed miserably. His pants were equally unable to contain his enormous gut or keep his shirt in place. His hair, greasy and lank, curled over his collar.

It’s a whole new look for the airlines.

Now, dear readers, I know you think I am prone to exaggeration. So in an effort to be entirely fair, I took a photo of said gentleman to allow you to make up your own mind. I was unwilling to ask him directly if I could do this, so I had to sneak a quick photo when he wasn’t looking. The quality of the photo leaves a lot to be desired, but then again, so does the subject

Notice the way he has to lean on the trolley with one hand while performing some menial task with the other.  Standing up, we soon learned was not his forte.  For most of the flight he sat in the stewards seat, with a pillow and blanket on his lap, propping up his arms so that he could read a book with the minimum of effort

Periodically he would drop the book and scratch the back of his head. From the look on his face, something was biting him, but I don’t want to know what it is

I hate to think what he was picking at as he screwed up his face.

At that moment we were grateful he was just sitting there and not bringing round our meals.

His sole responsibility seemed to be to make announcements over the speaker system. This he did in a thick  accent which seemed to be Russian, while loudly gasping for air in between sentences, making the announcements very hard to understand, and causing the passengers to wonder if each gasp was going to be his last.

All of which leads me to make a pronouncement that I have tried in vain to make Gordon believe in the past. Bigger is not always better.

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6 Responses to The Evolution of Flight Attendants

  1. awc49 says:

    Glad you didnt post any other photos of F/A! Have a wonderful trip!

  2. James says:

    Good grief! You have confirmed my belief that flights involving Miami are not for the weak – in whatever class the airline believes it has placed you. Happy sailing . . . jp (Luggage to follow!)

  3. Pat C says:

    Happy New Year, first off. It troubles me that we, too, have observed the trend from svelte to sloppy and slovenly over the past few years. Pre-Don I was in “stew” school for TWA and changed my mind. I wouldn’t want that man to touch anything I touch or ingest. I hope Gordon doesn’t change his mind about flying in style , hahaha.

  4. Colette says:

    Oh yuck
    Can’t wait to find out where you are going
    Happy travels in 2018
    Love you,

  5. Annette says:

    Yikes ! Haven’t followed your blog for a while but I will again! Hooray I’m so glad to see you both are still travelling!!

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