The Weird World Of Pan Am Stewardess Training In 1969

This short NBC documentary takes you behind the scenes of Pan Am’s training school…and shows a rather unexpected side of the Golden Age of travel.

In 1969, NBC did a profile called Every Young Chick Wants to Fly, documenting Pan Am stewardess training processes and interviewing current and former employees. It’s a surprisingly bizarre and slightly dark picture…

Basic training for stewardesses is meant to turn a girl into a woman. The airline gives her beauty tips, a sense of responsibility, and a practical trade. But, you’re likely to end up with something less than a fulltime jet sophisticate or an Occidental geisha. The job often calls for a waitress or a short-order cook.

But when the girls are single, young, slim, with 20/20 vision, any kind of life need not be a crashing bore.

Stewardesses, like jetliners, must be slinky sex symbols. Pilots may be homely and bald.

The girls who fly come in various sizes. The assortment is greater than most people think…but everyone is expected to be fairly well proportioned, possess a bland-to-warm personality, and have reasonably good diction.

The stewardess works an average of 18 months, then quits…Some get married, frequently to passengers.

But many leave the job because they find they don’t like it anymore.

15. Here’s the full 1969 documentary from NBC’s film vault:

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