LIFE

13 Bizarre Requirements For Female Flight Attendants In The 1950s

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

When we step onto a plane, we expect to find our seat, buckle up, and be greeted by a friendly face explaining the emergency protocol before we take off.

However, when commercial airlines were first getting popular back in the 1950s, it wasn’t safety knowledge that was most important for a candidate hoping to become a flight attendant — all that mattered was their looks and charm.

Or at least, that’s how it sounds when you take a look at even just a few of the strict guidelines women had to adhere to in order to get the high-flying gig. On top of physical restrictions, honing their personalities into being as cheerful, approachable, and accommodating as possible was clearly a huge necessity.

Obviously, having an upbeat, kind attendant makes for a much smoother ride for everyone, but you have to admit some of the requirements below went quite a bit too far.

Did we miss anything you remember about flight attendants from back in the day? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

[H/T: Flickr / alsis35, Smithsonian National Air And Space Museum]

1. "Soft And Feminine Hairstyle"

1. "Soft And Feminine Hairstyle"

This is so vague that it could mean any number of styles, but the emphasis while being trained was usually on shorter options.

2. "Delicate And Flattering Makeup"

2. "Delicate And Flattering Makeup"

This went along with their request for women who were “just below Hollywood standards” — pretty, but not too pretty.

3. "Hands Soft And Manicured"

3. "Hands Soft And Manicured"

There is no indication about the color they preferred, but something tells me it ranged from clear to any shade “soft” enough to look natural.

4. "A Minimum Of Jewelry"

4. "A Minimum Of Jewelry"

Women were able to splurge with a solitary strand of pearls or a necklace with a small charm, and maybe even a pair of tasteful stud earrings.

5. "Maximum Weight: 135 Pounds"

5. "Maximum Weight: 135 Pounds"

The ladies were actually weighed before they could begin their next shift, something they thankfully did away with decades ago.

6. "A Well-Fitted Girdle"

6. "A Well-Fitted Girdle"

That’s right: On top of dieting and weigh-ins, they also had to cinch into a girdle to make sure no extra inches seeped into their uniform.

7. "Height Ranging From 5'2" to 5'6""

7. "Height Ranging From 5'2" to 5'6""

I wonder if this factored in heels. Regardless, today you’ll find attendants ranging well over six feet.

8. "Hem Lines Of A Becoming Length"

8. "Hem Lines Of A Becoming Length"

I think it’s safe to say that a “becoming” length could be translated as “modest.”

9. "Legs Smooth And Free Of Hair"

9. "Legs Smooth And Free Of Hair"

Obviously women today still shave their legs, but it’s considered optional and definitely not something a company can include as a requirement for employment.

10. "Feet Well Groomed And Shod"

10. "Feet Well Groomed And Shod"

Just seeing the word “shod” in a job listing would have me second-guessing an application, especially because these shoes prioritized classiness over comfort.

11. "Voice Well Modulated"

11. "Voice Well Modulated"

Advising women not to shout or lose their temper with a guest is one thing, but asking them to possibly change their entire vocal tone is a bit of a stretch.

12. "A Light, Pleasing Fragrance"

12. "A Light, Pleasing Fragrance"

OK, this is actually solid advice considering no one wants to smell overwhelming perfume in those cramped compartments. But like several of these other rules, it lacks quite a few details in describing what makes a fragrance “pleasing.”

13. "Marital Status: Single"

13. "Marital Status: Single"

That doesn’t just mean remaining unattached and refusing any engagement offers, but also having never been married, divorced, separated, or widowed.

Did we miss any requirements you remember from flight attendants back in the day? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!