The first female flight attendant was a nurse. With COVID-19 ushering in new realities, might we be heading full circle?
In 1930, 25-year-old Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant, then called stewardess, in the world. She was hired by United Airlines and was a registered nurse. She sold herself by convincing that United it would be helpful to passengers to have a nurse onboard in case something went wrong.
Other airlines soon followed and Church was soon one of hundreds of flights attendants hired not only for her good looks and short height, but her nursing credentials.
As time passed and onboard safety improved, nursing was viewed as far less important a flight attendant qualification than good looks, petite size and young age, which became the hiring standard as late as the 1990s (concerning weight) in the United States and still remains the standard in other parts of the world.
But we are in a new era now. Look at the new uniforms that Philippine Airlines flight attendants will wear. Designed by Filipino artist Edwin Tan, the uniforms are more about providing protection than on any sort of sterling.
“The detail is a subtle branding for the airline. We didn’t have time to print or embroider so we came up with the idea of mimicking or reworking the flag logo of Philippine Airlines.
“We used a non-porous material for the personal protective equipment (PPE). A material with substantial weight to give it a better fall than generic PPE’s.”
If we ever enter an era into which testing must be performed onboard, wouldn’t it be more comforting to have a certified nurse be the one performing blood tests and monitoring patient vitals?
Even if actual nurses do not return to the air as flight attendants, it seems flight attendants will be looking like nurses for quite some time…
There is no full circle. F/a are NOT anywhere near nurses, police officers or anything else they want us to believe. 9/11 really pumped up their sense of self worth but it is a customer service job. That’s it. Thats all it will ever be……and most of them arent very good at that either…..unless you count sitting in the galley and complaining about the company.
It must be such a struggle for you to make it through the day,….
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for you.
It must be difficult being you.
While Flight Attendants are not licenced medics, they do provide life saving support somewhere in the skies each and everyday.
Your attempt to diminish their roles as first responders is at the very least ignorant.
For your sake, I hope you never need one of US to save your life.
Nurse salary in Los Angeles = $48 an hour on average. Add benefits on top and its starts adding up. Nurses are expensive. Having one nurse on board may be a good idea tho. But I doubt she/he is gonna be a nurse and hand out biscuits simultaneously at only $48 an hour.
Plastic coverings = awesome at causing cross-contamination. These are meant for one-on-one interaction, not one-on-three hundred. A fomite on fabric is absorbed. A fomite on plastic is ready to go passenger hopping unfettered. Don’t get confused, that garment is there to protect the attendant at a slightly increased risk to the passenger.
As for in-flight medical care, certainly isolating or putting a mask on someone if you test them for COVID mid-air is a possibility. There are, however, few other interventions you can make mid-air.
I was on a Jet Blue flight and asked to help care for someone with a congestive heart failure exacerbation. They have a kit on board and the FA’s are amazingly helpful and friendly in this type of passenger situation. There is, however, very little that can be done with the lack of equipment or meds. Some exceptions include Aspirin for chest pain, Dermabond or packing dressing for small cuts or inhalers for an asthma / COPD attack. I don’t remember if they had Narcan on board, but this should probably be stocked in this day and age as well.
Ignorance is bliss!