When we talk about the “flight attendant” job we will find many other names of it as” Cabin Crew” also known as Aviators, an “air hostess” is a female flight attendant. Also “Stewardess” and “Stewardesses”. Flight attendants’ role isn’t a new job, flight attendants throughout the decades are a source of safety for the passengers. No one can imagine a flight without flight attendants. They are the vital part of the cabin crew. In addition to handling difficult situations, they have the ability to comfort the passengers. So, let’s talk about the history of the flight attendants, and the most famous flight attendants.
Heinrich Kubis: The first flight attendant
The history of the flight attendant began as soon as passenger air travel began. In March, 1912, Heinrich Kubis became the first flight attendant in history when he began taking care of passengers and serving meals on the German airline DELAG. He had worked in some of the most fashionable hotels in Europe, such as the Carlton in London and the Ritz in Paris, before plying his trade on Zeppelins. Chief Steward Heinrich Kubis held the distinction of being the world’s first air steward, having served Zeppelin passengers in-flight since March of 1912, when he began contract catering on the DELAG airship Schwaben. When Hindenburg burst into flames once the zeppelin was close enough to the ground, Kubis helped the passengers jump to safety before jumping out for it himself.
Ellen Church: The first female flight attendant
Ellen is the first female flight attendant. She earned a nursing degree in 1926. After graduating, she was able to obtain a job teaching nurses at a hospital in San Francisco. Church worked at the hospital for the next few years. During this time, she also took flying lessons and was able to become a licensed pilot, but unfortunately airlines were not interested in hiring women. She started her career in 1930 on a 20-hour flight from San Francisco to Chicago. There were 14 passengers and the plane made 13 stops. Church and the seven other girls worked hard to show the male-dominated aviation industry a female could handle the job. They provided important care for passengers who were frightened or sick. Church was awarded the Air Medal. She was also given the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. It had seven bronze service stars. Church was also given the Victory Medal and the American Theatre Campaign Medal.
Edith Lauterbach worked as an air hostess in 1944, she worked as a United Airlines flight attendant for more than four decades until her retirement in 1986. When she joined United in 1944, female flight attendants were “coeds” and subject to dismissal if they got married, were deemed overweight, or reached their early to mid-30s. She and three colleagues backed Ada Brown, United’s chief stewardess, when she began an organization in 1944. The world’s first union for flight attendants, the Airline Stewardesses Association, was founded on Aug. 22, 1945, with Ms. Lauterbach as treasurer.
Neerja Bhanot was a senior flight attendant at Pan Am Airlines. On September 5, 1986, Bhanot died at the age of 23 as a result of a plane hijacking, but she became a hero. As a senior flight attendant, she took responsibility for passengers, protecting them from the terrorists who hijacked the plane. According to Mrs Malti Krishnaswamy and other eyewitnesses, Neerja was caught by the leader of the terrorists and shot point blank, “In the dead body I saw bullets had hit her in the abdomen, on the shoulder near the neck and in the arm,” her father wrote. “When she opened the emergency exit, she could have been the first to slide down the chute. But she was the ‘captain’, who believed that she had to be the last person to quit – alive or dead.” Bhanot opened the door and helped the passengers escape. The terrorists opened fire, Neerja died, protecting three children from bullets. She was posthumously awarded Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice.
- https://www.womansday.com/life/g33537367/flight-attendant-pictures-history/ (Cover photo)