I watched the premiere of Pan Am the other night, the stylish new show on ABC about 1960's Pan Am flight attendants and I came to the conclusion that although the show is based in the 60's, I don't think it warrants the "bad Mad Men" comparisons its been getting since the start of its advertisements. I like it so far and am actually really excited for such a female-character driven show. Of course I'm also totally into the costumes and hair so I thought it'd be nice to take a look back at some of the real flight attendants of that time when the thought of world travel and ultimate glamour were the epitome of a flight attendant's life. Take a look at some real life Pan Am flight attendants above and flight attendants from all different kinds of airlines below.
Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Flight Attendants
Pucci designed, the bubble on the first model was created to keep a flight attendant's hair from flying everywhere while boarding the plane back then.
Here's Jane Wyman aka the future Mrs. Ronald Reagan for American Airlines.
These Pucci 1966 uniforms might be my favorite!
Pan Am Flight Attendants
In 1973, Southwest Airlines got a bit more scandalous and had their girls in sexy leather boots and hot pants.
PSA Flight Attendants
British European Airways Flight Attendants
Of course not all ads and photos were cute and stylish. For instance, take this totally sexist 1971 National Airlines ad labeled with outright sexual innuendos. The ad unfortunately was a success at the time and increased passengers by 23% as other airlines followed in its footsteps with similar ads. The sexualization of women in the air continued even after the San Francisco group, Stewardesses for Equal Rights complained to the Federal Communications Commission. I'm interested to see how the new Pan Am show will address this kind of sexism of the times.