The Golden Age of Flight Attendants

A new book documents the evolution of stewardesses from registered nurses to starlets in the sky

In 1938, TWA stewardesses were honored for each having completed a quarter-million miles or more of flying. (Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum)

Air & Space contributing editor Stephan Wilkinson and Bruce McAllister have just published Skygirls: A Photographic History of the Airline Stewardess, with more than 250 color and black-and-white photographs documenting flight attendants from the early days of airline travel to the glory days of the trans-ocean flying boats and the first postwar intercontinental luxury airliners. The book follows both American and foreign stewardesses through the jet-setting days of the Sixties and into the Seventies.

Skygirls pays tribute to a profession that was once admired and envied, while at the same time being (in the days before civil rights legislation and shifting societal standards) one of the most sexist careers a young woman could pursue.


(Deutsche Lufthansa AG)

This 1935 Lufthansa airline advertisement featured a steward helping a passenger board a Junkers transport.


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