DOORS to manual, hair pinned back, fixed smile and uniforms that sometimes sacrificed comfort for style and once or twice didn’t even quite manage much in the way of style either.
This was, of course, a glamorous age of flight, when female cabin crew were quaintly known as air hostesses, dressed to the nines in uniforms created by top fashion designers and everything, from the pussycat bows on their blouses to their jaunty hats was intended to reflect style, quality and top-flight service.
All many miles from today’s budget airlines’ equally budget day-glo uniforms worn by harassed staff more concerned with whether your hand luggage is too chunky to come on board than if passengers have enough Iranian caviar and free champagne.
Those yearning for days when taking to the skies was just a tad more glamorous than it is now can travel back in time this Sunday, when the pick of cabin crew uniforms from glory days of flight will be showcased – from the severe post-war look to Jackie Kennedy suits and the Eighties frocky horrors possibly designed to get passengers in the summer holiday mood with their eye-watering deckchair stripes.
The uniforms, from British Airways’ Heritage Collection, will be modelled alongside others already on show at the National Museum of Flight as part of its Wheels and Wings event when classic cars and dramatic motorcycle displays on the ground will be accompanied by a sky-high flying display and a reflective look at truly glamorous air travel with a former Concorde pilot.
And it’s the uniforms – from the military style outfits worn by early female cabin crews to those Eighties howlers with shoulder pads which almost needed a ticket of their own to fly – which may well provoke memories among many of days when just going to Turnhouse to watch the planes taking off was a rare and thrilling treat, never mind actually flying.