In the 1960s only the elite few could savor the glamor of the mile-high life. Even the stewardess selected to proffer this glamor were among the privileged few to travel in style. In 1967, TWA boasted that it accepted less than three percent of its applicants. In comparison, Harvard’s acceptance rate today is five percent.
Journey back to the sixties with these incredible snapshots of the air hostesses embarking on their career in the golden age of flying. How did these future sky goddesses prepare for their glorious career?
During five strict weeks, the future stewardesses attended 10 hours a day classes, five days a week. Saturdays were for makeup and hair-styling lessons, and for the dreaded weight checks. Hair was cut above the collar with no artificial color and styled to look perfect with a chin-length cut. The instructors strove for the friendly, well-groomed, “Girl Next Door.”
Above the glamor and perfect nail polish, the primary function for these ladies was to maintain the safety of their passengers. Rigorous and extensive time and training in emergency procedures instilled these women with lasting training to save their passengers under any and all circumstances.
Here’s a glimpse of that strenuous emergency training:
Learning how to evacuate passengers
The Accidental Spy, by Neal Sanders
It’s 1967 and 27-year-old Pan Am stewardess Susan Delaney’s highest aspirations are working for first class on transatlantic flights… and meeting Mr. Right. That is, until one July afternoon when Susan agrees to deliver an errant suitcase from New York to Miami Beach. She arrives just in time to find that its owner has jumped – or been thrown – off a hotel balcony. The suitcase Susan is carrying contains detailed plans for a computer on a chip, an invention of enormous military importance but one thought to be years away from reality. But whose plans are they? No one seems to know, but among the people who want those plans are the KGB, the CIA, an anti-Casto Cuban exile group, and the Mafia.
I was a Pan Am Princess by Fumiko Takahash
Told by a stewardess who flew for Pan American Airways for 16 years. From Japan’s post-war survival to Pan Am’s training school in Florida and around the world, this book covers the1960’s and ’70’s jet-set lifestyle, Pan Am’s rise and fall, celebrity and stewardesses stories, all told from an insider’s point of view.
Pan Am’s stewardesses were called ‘Princesses of the Sky’. The TV show ‘Pan Am’ did not exaggerate the luxury, fun, and excitement that the young women had flying for the company called ‘The Empire of the Sky’. This book captures both the flying history and pop-culture of that era, told by a young post-war Japanese woman thrown into that glamorous whirlwind lifestyle.
Glamour in the Skies: The Golden Age of the Air Stewardess
Ex-stewardess Libbie Escolme-Schmidt has lovingly compiled many hundreds of memories to present the ultimate history of the British Airways air hostess. Collating a multitude of stories from the 1940s and 1950s through to what is often agreed to be the end of the golden age in 1980, this is an important record of the contribution made by women to airline history. During this period flying evolved from a potentially dangerous adventure to a remarkably safe and comfortable means of international travel, and through it all the air hostesses were there.