Flying used to be so sexy. Gone are the days when flight attendants and flight crew looked like the cast of the TV show ‘PANAM”.
Back in the days when passengers had to walk across the tarmac to board a plane, they were greeted by “air hostesses” arrayed in knee-high boots, short skirts and white gloves.
In 1971, the now-defunct U.S.-based National Airlines ran a saucy and suggestive ad that featured a flight attendant named Cheryl, smiling affably and accompanied by the seductive slogan, “I’m Cheryl. Fly me.”
There was another one, this time with Jo.
Business reportedly jumped 23 percent, despite accusations of sexism.
Along with National Airlines’ advertising campaign (American Airlines may have given them a run for their money), Eastern Airlines encouraged flirting with stewardesses by handing out little black books to male passengers for storing phone numbers.
Flight attendants were trained at “charm farms” to maximize their feminine sex appeal and a book depicting the golden age of travel by two “adventurous” former flight attendants entitled “Coffee, Tea or Me?” further stoked the flames of the fantasy of flying.
The airline industry has since gone through some major overhauls.
Airlines have adopted a gender-neutral professionalism, austere security measures and the ever-widening gaps between the luxury seat and the cramped budget one.
Societal norms have changed for the better — it’s hard to imagine some of the outfits pictured here ever being approved.
Still, it’s interesting to recall the fashion ethos of yesteryear.
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