Sexy Stewardesses Of The '60s and '70s: Friendly Skies Indeed

By | June 12, 2018

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Left: A cheeky ad for American Airlines touted the flight attendant or stewardess as a maternal figure. Right: Southwest Airlines flight attendants wore knee-high boots and hot pants, and served drinks like 'passion punch' and 'love potion.' Sources: Pint

Today they're flight attendants, but a bygone era the servers in the sky -- who were all female -- were called "stewardesses." The golden age of the glamorous and enticing stewardess occurred in the '60s and '70s, as air travel was booming -- particularly business travel. And though social change was taking place on the streets, business was still thought to be a man's world. Stewardesses in futuristic, mod or even risque attire were a marketing ploy, as the price of airline tickets was not set by the individual airline, but by the government. If the ticket was the same price for any airline, how was a brand to gain a competitive advantage?


1960s Stewardesses Had To Meet Strict Standards

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Being a stewardess in the 1960s may have seemed glamorous and exciting but stewardesses had to adhere to a strict set of rules and meet ridiculously sexist standards. Stewardesses had to be young, attractive women, between the ages of 18 and 30. Most airlines grounded stewardesses once they reached their 30s, no matter how great they were at their job. Additionally, the woman must have never been married nor had children. Typical employment ads for stewardesses stated that they should be thin and petite, weighing between 100 and 128 pounds and standing between 5’2” and 5’6”. Airlines competed for the most attractive stewardesses, turning job interviews into something more akin to beauty pageants. In fact, less than 3% of applicants were hired to be airline stewardesses…that’s a lower acceptance rate than Yale University.