The Pan Am Foundation continues to release amazing historic training videos that give us great insight into the way in which crews were trained just three decades ago. Today, I want to focus on the professional image of a flight attendant.
Professional Image Of A Flight Attendant
No, I’m not going to compare U.S. flight attendants to those on Gulf carriers or even to European ones (I’ve done that before and it did not go over well…). We’re not going to discuss weight and physical appearance beyond uniform. Rather, I want to talk to about the image of a flight attendant in uniform outside a flight setting.
This particular Pan Am video demonstrates how to act (and mostly how not to act) when a crew shows up at a crew hotel and their rooms are not ready. Note several problems:
- Loud conversations that disturbs other guests
- Poor word choice (talking about getting drunk, which you never want to hear from your flight attendant)
- Feet on furniture
- Eating (food which looks to be taken from the aircraft)
- Using plants for cigarette ashes instead of an ashtray (admittedly less of a problem in 2022)
One flight attendant is shown acting properly. She’s seated quietly thumbing through a magazine, her uniform is not loosened or wrinkled, and she keeps her voice low.
This topic is of particular importance considering the recent skirmish between a United Airlines employee and passenger at Newark Airport. It was bad enough that the United employee lacked the self-control to avoid a fight, but the fact that he was wearing a United Airlines uniform while doing so made it so much worse.
Flight attendants perhaps more so than other employee group represent the airline when they are in uniform. It is deeply unfortunate to keep crews waiting for a hotel room after a long flight and that annoyance of sitting around and waiting resonates with me. Still, even when not on the company clock, if you are wearing the uniform, you are representing the company.
I’m not sure the standards expressed here are any different than those today. Even so, it is an important reminder that this is part of the job and a flight attendant is not simply on duty when on the aircraft, but whenever the uniform is on.
Flight attendant professionalism is an around-the-clock job. At hotels, in restaurants, and even on social media, there is great responsibility when it is clear that you are an airline employee. This video is a great reminder that it is easy to get too comfortable sometimes and when it happens, others will notice.