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History of Flight Attendants

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History of Flight Attendants

Nelly Diener in action on Curtiss AT-32C Condor as the first female flight attendant in Europe history


History of Flight Attendants

History of Flight Attendants

By Ethan D Orman


Flight attendants have a long and changing history. When thinking of flight attendants, the term "stewardess" often comes to mind, with the name implying females. However, the history actually begins with those commonly referred to as cabin boys or stewards. These stewards originated in maritime travel and made up the cabin crew who were responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers. Sea ships from centuries back needed this personnel to help smooth away any problems that took place during travels. It was not until the early 20th century that airplanes began to employ similar stewards and later stewardesses that made up what we now call flight attendants.

The role of the first flight attendant is attributed to Heinrich Kubis of Germany in 1912. It was not until the 1920s that United States airlines began to employ male cabin boys on their flights. They would serve and attend to the needs of passengers. It would be a decade later before the first female flight attendant was employed. Ellen Church, a register nurse, took this position in history when United Airways hired her to be the first woman attendant. She started the trend of airlines hiring only nurses on their flights because they were thought to be better for tending to passengers suffering from injury or illness. The list of duties that most air hosts or hostesses perform today include general safety, customer service and comfort, food service, and assistance with baggage. Most flight attendants today are females, but there are males who perform those roles as well.

Training and qualifications for flight attendants vary by country or region, but encompass many of the same features worldwide. Training duration ranges from weeks to months and usually takes place near major airports for obvious reasons. Safety is a priority topic during training and can consist of a variety of extensive courses. Flight emergencies, evacuation procedures, firefighting, survival in different environments, first aid, and CPR training are just some of the numerous subjects for which they are trained. Various academies exist for training, or prospective employees may be trained through an airline directly. A certificate of completion is given out to new attendants who have gone through training. Knowledge of more than one language is a positive attribute for a steward or stewardess, especially for international airlines.

Uniforms have changed for cabin crew members throughout history. Since the start of a mostly or all female crew beginning in the 1930s, uniforms have undergone several transformations. First, the focus was on nurse's uniforms to promote the image of flights attendants as health and safety specialists on flights. Then, strict military lines promoting conservative values and the military heritage of stewards was emphasized. Later, this was replaced by softer, more feminine lines highlighting the glamour and excitement of flying.

Changes have been made to uniforms, gender, restrictions, and other facets of flight attending throughout history, but one thing has remained the same: safety is key. From the early 1920s onward, safety has been a chief concern of the cabin crew. Passengers know that they can count on flight attendants to keep them safe and happy on their travels across the world.

Ethan has been an online writer for nearly 2 years now. Not only does this author specialize in sports, finance, and product reviews, you can also check out his latest website on Saint Simons Island Hotels [http://islandhotelsonline.org/saint-simons-island-hotels/] which reviews and lists the best Island Hotels on Saint Simons [http://islandhotelsonline.org/saint-simons-island-hotels/].


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Ethan D Orman

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