American's Longest Flying F/A Steps Down

An interesting article in the Dallas Morning News about American Airlines' oldest active flight attendant stepping down after 54 years in the air.

The article provides some interesting history about how flight attendants used to be selected and what they were required to do but, perhaps in the interest of political correctness, left out some key points related to some pretty stringent physical requirements.

First, F/As had to be attractive. I know that's subjective, but it was definitely a requirement of the job, just as the requirements that flight attendants be single and under 32 years of age.

Second, flight attendants' weight was monitored very closely and those who gained beyond a certain point were grounded, either temporarily until they could lose the extra pounds, or permanently.  In addition, there were some fairly narrow height parameters: F/As could neither be too tall nor too short. For example, the now-defunct Pan Am required that F/A's be at least 5'2" tall and weigh no more than 130 pounds.

Some things probably needed to change, but others should never have been allowed to change, such as the requirement that flight attendants actually take care of their passengers. Back in the day, they made sure passengers were comfortable, had what we needed, and generally made us feel welcome. They didn't just sling us drinks, then hide behind the galley curtain to read the latest fashion magazine or pulp novel.

Generally, though, the Dallas Morning News piece about Carole DiSalvo is well worth reading.

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