Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants


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In the United States, they were required to be unmarried and were fired if they decided to wed. The U. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 's first complainants were female flight attendants complaining of age discrimination, weight requirements, and bans on marriage. Pan Am.

The role of a flight attendant is to "provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers while aboard planes". The number of flight attendants required on flights is mandated by each country's regulations.

In the US, for light planes with 19 or less seats, or, if weighing more than 7, pounds, 9 or less seats, no flight attendant is needed; on larger aircraft, one flight attendant per 50 passenger seats is required. The majority of flight attendants for most airlines are female, though a substantial number of males have entered the industry since Prior to each flight, flight attendants attend a safety briefing with the pilots and lead flight attendant.

During this briefing, they go over safety and emergency checklists, the locations and amounts of emergency equipment and other features specific to that aircraft type. Boarding particulars are verified, such as special needs passengers, small children traveling as unaccompanied or VIPs. Weather conditions are discussed including anticipated turbulence. Prior to each flight a safety check is conducted to ensure all equipment such as life-vests , torches flashlights and firefighting equipment are on board, in the right quantity, and in proper condition.

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Any unserviceable or missing items must be reported and rectified prior to takeoff. They must monitor the cabin for any unusual smells or situations.


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They assist with the loading of carry-on baggage , checking for weight, size and dangerous goods. They make sure those sitting in emergency exit rows are willing and able to assist in an evacuation and move those who are not willing or able out of the row into another seat. They then must do a safety demonstration or monitor passengers as they watch a safety video.

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They then must "secure the cabin" ensuring tray tables are stowed, seats are in their upright positions, armrests down and carry-ons stowed correctly and seat belts are fastened prior to takeoff. All the service between boarding and take-off is called Pre Take off Service. When not performing customer service duties, flight attendants must periodically conduct cabin checks and listen for any unusual noises or situations. Checks must also be done on the lavatory to ensure the smoke detector hasn't been disabled or destroyed and to restock supplies as needed.

Regular cockpit checks must be done to ensure the health and safety of the pilot s. They must also respond to call lights dealing with special requests.

During turbulence, flight attendants must ensure the cabin is secure. Prior to landing, all loose items, trays and rubbish must be collected and secured along with service and galley equipment. All hot liquids must be disposed of. A final cabin check must then be completed prior to landing. It is vital that flight attendants remain aware as the majority of emergencies occur during takeoff and landing.

They also assist any special needs passengers and small children off the airplane and escort children, while following the proper paperwork and ID process to escort them to the designated person picking them up. Flight attendants are trained to deal with a wide variety of emergencies, and are trained in first aid. More frequent situations may include a bleeding nose, illness, small injuries, intoxicated passengers, aggressive and anxiety stricken passengers.

Emergency training includes rejected takeoffs , emergency landings , cardiac and in-flight medical situations, smoke in the cabin, fires, depressurization , on-board births and deaths, dangerous goods and spills in the cabin, emergency evacuations , hijackings , and water landings. While not necessarily the most-senior crew members on a flight in years of service to their respective carrier , Chief Pursers can have varying levels of "in-flight" or "on board" bidding seniority or tenure in relation to their flying partners. To reach this position, a crew member requires some minimum years of service as flight attendant.

Further training is mandatory, and Chief Pursers typically earn a higher salary than flight attendants because of the added responsibility and managerial role. The Purser is in charge of the cabin crew, in a specific section of a larger aircraft, or the whole aircraft itself if the purser is the highest ranking.

Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants

On board a larger aircraft, Pursers assist the Chief Purser in managing the cabin. Pursers are flight attendants or a related job, typically with an airline for several years prior to application for, and further training to become a purser, and normally earn a higher salary than flight attendants because of the added responsibility and supervisory role. Flight attendants are normally trained in the hub or headquarters city of an airline over a period that may run from four weeks to six months, depending on the country and airline. The main focus of training is safety, and attendants will be checked out for each type of aircraft in which they work.

Other airlines were to also send their attendants to the school. However, during the fare wars, the school's viability declined and it closed around In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration requires flight attendants on aircraft with 20 or more seats and used by an air carrier for transportation to hold a Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. This is not considered to be the equivalent of an airman certificate license , although it is issued on the same card stock. It shows that a level of required training has been met.

It is not limited to the air carrier at which the attendant is employed although some initial documents showed the airlines where the holders were working , and is the attendant's personal property. Either or both of these may be earned depending upon the general type of aircraft, propeller or turbojet , on which the holder has trained.

There are also training schools, not affiliated with any particular airline, where students generally not only undergo generic, though otherwise practically identical, training to flight attendants employed by an airline, but also take curriculum modules to help them gain employment.

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These schools often use actual airline equipment for their lessons, though some are equipped with full simulator cabins capable of replicating a number of emergency situations. Multilingual flight attendants are often in demand to accommodate international travellers. Most airlines have height requirements for safety reasons, making sure that all flight attendants can reach overhead safety equipment.

Regional carriers using small aircraft with low ceilings can have height restrictions. The first flight attendant uniforms were designed to be durable, practical, and inspire confidence in passengers. In the s, the first female flight attendants dressed in uniforms resembling nurses ' outfits. Other airlines, such as Eastern Air Lines , actually dressed female flight attendants in nurses' uniforms.

Both male and female flight attendants for Hawaiian Airlines wear aloha shirts as their uniform. Many early uniforms had a strongly military appearance; hats, jackets , and skirts showed simple straight lines and military details like epaulettes and brass buttons. Many uniforms had a summer and winter version, differentiated by colours and fabrics appropriate to the season : navy blue for winter, for example, khaki for summer.

But as the role of women in the air grew, and airline companies began to realise the publicity value of their female flight attendants, more feminine lines and colours began to appear in the late s and early s. Some airlines began to commission designs from high-end department stores and still others called in noted designers or even milliners to create distinctive and attractive apparel.

During the s, Pacific Southwest Airlines PSA was known for brightly colored female flight attendant uniforms that included short miniskirts. In the early s, the uniform changed to hotpants. Since the s to present, Asian airlines, especially national flag carrier ones, usually feature the traditional dress and fabrics of their respective country in their female flight attendants' uniform.


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It was meant as a marketing strategy to showcase their national culture as well as to convey welcoming warmth and hospitality. For example, Thai Airways flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits into traditional Thai costume prior to passengers boarding. During the mids, several US-based airlines required female flight attendants to wear shoes with heels.

Minimum heel heights ranged from one-half inch to the two inches mandated by USAir.

Plane Queers - Airline stewards' impact on labor and civil rights

In , the Israeli airline El Al introduced a requirement that female flight attendants wear high heels until passengers had been seated. Later that year the requirement was removed. Until some female crew members on British Airways were required to wear British Airways' standard "ambassador" uniform, which has not traditionally included trousers. In , Virgin Atlantic began to allow its female flight attendants to wear pants and not wear makeup.

Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants
Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants

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