I Was A Jet Set Stewardess

I Was A Jet Set Stewardess

The Sixties were the golden age of jet air travel.  Pilots were decorated war heroes, air stewardesses were the models of the sky, and passengers enjoyed seven course meals and cocktails at 30,000 feet. 

In I Was A Jet Set Stewardess, Yesterday’s brand new documentary, the glamorous women who travelled the world will reveal what it was really like working a mile high in the Swinging Sixties.

Stylish, sexy and immaculately turned out, air stewardesses were up there with the top models of their day when it came to desirable women.

However, it was no easy ride becoming an air stewardess; the interview process was rigorous and it’s rumoured that only one in every 1,000 women who applied made the grade. 

The strange interview questions and scenarios could easily have put them off, but the glamour was so appealing even talk of crocodiles could not deter them:

Barbara Anderson:  "The interviewer said, 'If you come across a crocodile in the jungle, grab a stick and poke his eye out.'  I thought: you wouldn’t get me that close to a crocodile!'

Celia Day: "I had to take my clothes off and lie on a couch.  I remember this doctor saying to me 'You have got the most beautiful feet, that’ll be really useful when you’re a stewardess!'

BOAC, the British long haul state airline from 1964-1974, epitomised glamour.  In 1967 when BOAC introduced the paper dress it revolutionised the air stewardess’ uniform. 

The dresses were made of fire-proof paper-like material and were cut to length by the stewardesses and then thrown away at the end of the flight.

Barbara Anderson: "We were given a pair of scissors so that you could cut it to the length that it should be for you. 

"As you can imagine, some stewardesses thought: 'Oh great, let’s cut seven inches off it.'  You could see their knickers."

The women recall the ‘relaxed’ atmosphere on the flights.  In the heyday of the jet set age it was not unusual for the passengers, and the crew alike, to fly around the world drinking champagne. 

Celia Wesley: "The further away you got from London, things got more relaxed.  It was not unusual for the ice bucket with champagne to be brought back to the crew. We crossed the Atlantic, sipping champagne most of the way."

And the fun didn’t stop when the plane touched down...

Celia Day: "We used to have the most amazing crew parties.  If the Captain said the 'party’s in my room' and you were on a long trip, you knew you were going to have a good trip."

There were often famous faces on the flights, with bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at the height of their world domination. 

The stewardesses were always happy to see a famous face in First Class as it made the journeys so much more fun and exciting.

Angela Waller: "This man came into the galley with a menu from the flight in his hand. And he said, 'Miss Austen, I've put a special message in here for you.' I looked at it the next morning and the special message read: 'Miss Austen, I love you. Sean Connery'.

It wasn’t just famous Hollywood actors who lavished compliments and gifts on the stewardesses, rich Sheiks often took a fancy to them.  Those lucky enough to capture the attention of these rich men were often showered with gifts from money to jewels and even cars.

Katie Howe: "When the Sheik I was dating was in London he said to me, 'what's your dream car?' And I just laughed and said 'A shocking pink E-type Jaguar!'

"He said 'Would you mind coming down to the Jaguar garage, to explain to the salesman what shocking pink is?!'  I found a ball of knitting wool in shocking pink, so I took it in to the Jaguar chap. 

"A few months later, to my absolute astonishment, I was presented with this shocking pink Jaguar E-Type. I was about 22."

The women who were lucky enough to make the grade and fly the world in the Sixties were the envy of so many.  Air stewardesses were lusted after by men and admired by women; they all made the most of their time in the air.

Frederick Forsyth: "Air hostesses were certainly among the sexiest girls in the world. Partly because they were unapproachable and unwinnable.

"Like most men I have occasionally propositioned an air hostess for a date, but they usually said a polite no’."

Tune in to see the glamour and hear the fascinating stories of the women who lived through the exciting world of Sixties air travel in I Was A Jet Set Stewardess on Yesterday on Wednesday 21 March 2012.

  1. by Jenny Grover (Roberts) 18th Mar 2012 15:07

    As a BOAC stewardess in 1963 and 1964, I shall be glued to this programme to recall many happy memories and hopefully see some familiar faces.

  2. by Stefanie Bacon 22nd Mar 2012 18:57

    I get fed up with being maligned as a'trolley dolly' - I think it is a bit of the 'green eyed monster'!! Most of the people who make the comments would have a problem getting their lar... Read More

  3. by pamela brown 23rd Mar 2012 15:36

    i flew from 1972 to 1979 firstly on vc10s /707s and later on 747s for BOAC and then it became known as BA-overseas division .......we were not all drunks, sleeping around ,taking gifts ... Read More

  4. by Angela WallerEnter your name 25th Mar 2012 14:11

    I took part in the programme, and at the end was shown with the two books I've written... many thanks to everyone who has bought those books. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I e... Read More