A Few Interesting Facts About the Flight Attendant Profession
Would you believe flight attendants have been in existence since 1912? The history of this profession began with Heinrich Kubis, on record as the world’s first flight attendant. Today the flight attendant profession is considered a woman-dominated occupation. However, this wasn’t always the case, with men spearheading the creation of this role in the onset.
The need for this profession emerged out of a concern for passenger health and safety. As passenger air travel became more common in the 1920’s, flight attendants also became responsible for meeting other passenger needs, ranging from boarding and baggage assistance to handing out meals and serving refreshments.
The very first flight attendants, originally referred to as couriers, were sons of businessmen. After the stock market crash in the 1920’s, couriers were no longer employed and it was not until responsibilities and workloads were reassessed in the 1930’s that this role made a comeback.
With its comeback, the role ceased to be called “courier” and became to be recognized as “steward” or “cabin boy.” As women began to be hired into the role, the names “stewardess” and “air hostess”, were added to the list of job titles. Ellen Church, a 25-year registered, was the world’s first female flight attendant.
Another interesting historical fact of this profession is that stewardesses were at one time prohibited from marrying or having children. If stewardesses failed to fulfill this requirement, they would be terminated from employment. By the 1980’s, this no-marriage, no-children rule was eliminated and no longer enforced in the airline industry.
Looking back at the history of this exciting occupation, I can’t help but be be thankful for the service flight attendants provide. Flight attendants are paramount to passenger safety and have been credited in saving many lives.
Next time you are serviced by flight attendants, thank them. Without them, we would not enjoy the comfort and safety we so desire in our flights.