THE JOB OF AN AIRLINE STEWARDESS

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1 In the 1920’s, when a passenger entered an airplane, he was greeted by the co-pilot, who checked tickets at the door. Then the co-pilot would return to the cockpit for takeoff. Once the plane was safely aloft, he would appear again with a handful of sandwiches and a container of cold coffee for anyone who was hungry.

 

2 Then in 1930, a nurse named Ellen Church had a bright idea. Why not have women take over the care of the passengers and free the co-pilot to spend full time on his flying duties? United Air Lines liked the idea and decided to set up the first training program for stewardesses. From that time on, the job of caring for passengers during the trip became mainly a woman’s job.

 

3 The idea of flying while you work is exciting. But not every girl who would like to fly qualifies for the job of a stewardess. The airlines have rigid standards that each applicant must meet before she can be considered for the job.

 

4 Most airlines require beginning stewardesses to be between the ages of 20 and 26 and from 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall. All applicants must be single when they apply, and until recently, marriage automatically meant retirement from flying. But now a new ruling allows a working stewardess to get married and still continue to fly. The airlines require that your vision be normal, but you can wear glasses or contact lenses to meet the requirement. Every girl must have at least a high- school diploma before she applies. And most airlines prefer girls who have already had some experience in jobs meeting the public.

 

5 If a girl meets all these qualifications and is accepted into the airlines, she will be sent to a training school. The usual training lasts five to six weeks.

 

6 Every stewardess is taught how a plane flies and what routes her airline takes. She becomes acquainted with all the various services the airline offers. Then she learns the art of serving food and drink as neatly and quickly as possible. Now many airlines are cooking food right on board the plane, so some trainees must even learn the art of broiling a steak or carving a roast to a passenger’s taste.

 

7 Added to this pr4ctical training is a course in beauty. Each girl is given personal instruction in how to wear her hair, how to apply her make-up, and how to dress. Girls are taught to walk gracefully and speak with poise.

 

8 Upon graduation from school, each girl is given the uniform of her airline. Today, this often includes everything from matching dresses and coats to stylish boots, all created by a famous designer. And along with the silver wings that she pins to her uniform, she is given her first assignment. This may be a regular route back and forth from a home base, or it may be a fill-in job, where she is called to work whenever another stewardess is ill.

9 Each new stewardess is given a home base where she must find a place to live. Although she may spend several nights away from home on her travels, she will eventually return to that base city. A stewardess usually flies 70 hours a month, but she gets special pay for any time she puts in up to the maximum of 85 hours.

 

10 In her leisure time, even the newest stewardess can fly on her airline anywhere, anytime, at half price. And after one year of work, she gets a certain number of passes to go anywhere her airline flies—for free.

 

11 In return for these benefits, the airlines expect their stewardesses to be pleasant, efficient representatives of the company. Each girl is expected to greet and seat the passengers, serve them beverages and meals, and meet any reasonable requests put to her. She is responsible for caring for any minor illnesses that occur on board the plane, and she must always keep her passengers’ comfort in mind.

 

12 A stewardess must truly be a jack-of-all-trades, ready for whatever comes her way aboard her plane. She works hard for a living, but most girls who fly do not mind. For in return, they find themselves in the glamorous position of constantly streaking through the skies, hopping from city to city and meeting new people everywhere they go.

 

MADELEINE KESSELMAN

 

 

 

 

 

------READING CHECK-----

 

1. Women have been taking care of passengers on planes

a. since passenger planes first came into use

b. since 1930

c. since World War II

 

2. (Paragraph 2) The article describes Ellen Church as

a. a girl applying for the job of stewardess

b. a typical stewardess

c. the woman who thought up the idea of stewardesses

 

3. (Paragraph 9) A stewardess usually flies

a. a regular eight-hour day

b.. 40hoursaweek

c. 70 hours a month

 

 

 

4. (Paragraph 10) A girl who has just become a stewardess wants to use the airline to fly off on a weekend holiday. How much will she probably have to pay?

a. full fare

b. half fare

c. nothing

 

5. In 1929, passenger needs on board airplanes were taken care of by

a. co-pilots

b. pilots

c. stewardesses like Ellen Church

 

6. How does a new stewardess learn her job?

a. she gets a regular assignment and learns on the job

b. she goes to a training school

c. she is assigned as an assistant to a stewardess and learns from her

 

7. Beginning stewardesses usually have to be between

a. 18 and 21 years old

b. 20 and 26 years old

c. 24 and 30 years old

 

8. Jane is a stewardess who is about to get married. What will probably happen to her job?

a. nothing

b. she will be grounded

c. she will have to leave the airline

 

9. Karen wants to be a stewardess, but one thing in her background prevents her. Which is it?

a. she is a high-school dropout

b. she is 25 years old

c. she wears glasses

 

10. The training of an airline stewardess takes about as long as

a. the birth of a baby elephant

b. a bus trip from coast to coast

c. from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

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