Old Photos: When Flight Attendants Were Stewardesses

Trans World Airlines has a special place in American History. On October 21, 1992 a special anniversary flight from Moscow to New York (via Brussels) brought my family and me to this country, full of hopes, dreams and dressed up in full-blown winter attire on a nice 70F fall day.
TWA is now a fading memory but some photos from the Life Magazine Archives may remind you of the olden days when the word “stewardess” wasn’t frowned upon, smoking was cool and the sexism was a solid corporate policy.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

French And German Girls Going Through TWA Stewardess School In Kansas City

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

French And German Girls Going Through TWA Stewardess School In Kansas City

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

French And German Girls Going Through TWA Stewardess School In Kansas City

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

© Time Inc.Michael Rougier.

According to this article TWA was training the stewardesses at the corporate headquarters until the opening of the Breech Academy in 1969. More on TWA here but the link at the top of this post will let you take a look at the original TWA website. The rest of the photos are here.

  • I remember the Mickey Mouse Club doing a bit about stewardesses, and I remember thinking, “Well, I’m not pretty enough to be one of those.”

    I’d love to know what caused your family to move here. You may have blogged about this before, but I’m a relatively new reader. I know you are about the age of my two children. What was it like adapting to a new country?

  • Owen

    Interesting fact. All stewardesses used have to be nurses as well. I know this because my grandmother wanted to become. She had the nursing degree, the looks, they just didn’t like that bump in her belly that was my father.

  • Cara

    Those pictures are awesome – I especially love the gal who is demonstrating the fine art of “Walking With One Arm Bent At The Elbow (See Diagram)” – She looks very Joan Holloway. I hope this post brings in some of the folks who worked for TWA back in the 50s-70s here in KC – do THEY have some stories!

    Fun fact – the third gal from the left in the top picture looks eerily like my mom.

    • Marijke Mayfield

      I was a TWA stewardess based in Rome Italy from 1963 to 1965. I was hired in Amsterdam the Netherlands. Us  European girls received most of our training in KC and partly in Paris France and were required to speak 3 foreign languages. Quite an experience. No real story to tell other then that I felt in the army during the strict training in Kansas City.

  • t/a

    i love how they just had to take a photo of their asses / calves, too.

  • I met my first serious girlfriend in French Class at Northeast High School. She was taking French because it was required by TWA for stewardesses who served on international flights.