Very glamorous flight attendants and models have been a major part of the airline industry selling itself since the 1930s.
This push for glamour peaked in the 50s and 60s, particularly with the introduction of the jet era and the introduction of the mini skirt.
While airlines were in the forefront of the battle for the most glamorous looking flight attendants aircraft manufacturers were not backward either.
The picture below was taken in 1946 when the first Douglas DC-6 was unveiled and the manufacturer employed two models to show off the new type.
And when the company had sold 500 in the mid-1950s it marked the occasion with flight attendants from most of the airlines that had purchased the plane and its larger brother the DC-7. The photo below is with then DC-6/DC-7 Program Manager Jack McGowan.
When United Airlines took delivery of its first DC-7, who better to cut the ribbon than a couple of its glamours flight attendants in the picture below.
With the jet era, the glamour was ramped up a notch or two. In the photo below flight attendants from the airlines that had purchased the Convair 800 medium range jet posed at the roll-out in San Deigo California.
One of the customers for the CV880 jet was Japan Air Lines and here two flight attendants in traditional kimonos christen its first.
When Douglas rolled out its first DC-8 jet in 1958 flight attendants were well and truly to the fore in this photo.
And Boeing couldn’t resist the opportunity to tout the great success of its 707 jets when it delivered the 707th to Northwest Airlines. Again glamours flight attendants were on hand.
And what better way to show off your supersonic design concept then with some flight attendants in the latest mid-sixties psychedelic fashions from Braniff Airlines. The company is Lockheed and its L-2000 design was beaten by Boeing. However, the winning Boring design was later modified so that it was almost identical to the Lockheed concept. But in the end, US Congress killed off the US supersonic plane. This picture has been colorized by Benoit Vienne.
Enter the jumbo era and a very famous photo of the 747 just before it was rolled out from the Boeing factory in September of 1968. Posing with it are the flight attendants of all the airlines that purchased the giant jet.
Competing with Boeing with smaller jumbos were McDonnell Douglas (DC-10) – now part of Boeing – and Lockheed with its Tristar. The first picture below is the rollout of the DC-10 in 1970 and below that the Tristar.
Here is the rollout of the DC-10.