flight attendants

Flight Attendant Celebration Day at SFO Airport

United We StandFemale Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

United Air Lines stewardess uniform 1957–1958, courtesy SFO Museum

If you happen to be at San Francisco International Airport on August 20th, 2013, make your way over to the library at the Louis Turpen Aviation Museum in the International Terminal for Flight Attendant Celebration Day.

The event will run from 10 am until 3 pm and celebrate the history of flight attendants with talks, short subject films and commemorations, along with complimentary refreshments and free validated parking.

Here’s a link to the scheduled events of the day.

Even if you can’t be on hand for Flight Attendant Celebration Day on August 20th, be sure to stop by the museum to see the current exhibition United We Stand: Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines, which will be there through the end of September 2013.

SFO Museum displays vintage United Airlines uniforms

The SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is currently displaying eighteen United Airlines flight attendant uniforms, some of them dating back to the 1930s.

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

United Airlines stewardess uniform – with cape. 1930-1932. Courtesy SFO Museum

The exhibit is part of a donation of fifty-five flight attendant uniforms given to the SFO Museum by the United Airlines Historical Foundation and which represent the full history of the airline’s company-issued cabin crew attire.

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

Look for the exhibit – United we Stand: Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines – through September 15, 2013 at the San Francisco International Airport Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum in the International Terminal, Departure Level, near the entrant to Boarding Area ‘A.”

United We Stand Female Flight Attendant Uniforms of United Airlines

United Airlines uniforms 1968-1970 – courtesy SFO Museum


There’s no admission to enter the museum, which is open 10 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Friday.

Here’s a link to more images from the exhibition.

Flight attendants ask passengers to fight new TSA rules



If you’re traveling through Los Angeles International, Washington National, or Norfolk International airports on Thursday, March 21, you may see groups of flight attendants handing out leaflets.

Members of the Coalition of Flight Attendants Unions and others are asking passengers to join them in calling on members of Congress to support legislation to overturn the new TSA rules that will allow small knives back into airplane cabins. They’ll also be asking passengers to sign a White House petition seeking a roll-back of the new rules. More than 36,000 people have signed the petition so far. 100,000 signatures are needed by April 5th in order to get a response from the White House.

Here’s part of what the leaflet says:

The new rule does not make sense for combating potential terrorist attacks nor the daily disturbances we handle by de-escalating conflicts or asking passengers to help us contain problems. Aircraft cabins are fuller than ever and Flight Attendant staffing has been cut. Introducing knives and other weapons into these situations makes our job harder and everyone in the cabin less safe.

It makes no sense to choose between guarding against a hostile take-over attempt and an explosive device. We need to ensure air travel is secured against all threats to our safety and security.

We believe the millions who travel expect to arrive safely – and it’s our job to ensure it. Join us in opposition to this short-sighted, dangerous change to aviation security.

Whether you agree or disagree with the effort, here’s where the leafleting will be taking place and where you can go to chat about the issue.

On Thursday, March 21:

Washington National Airport (DCA),  Concourse Level Terminals A, B, C from 9 a.m to 11 am.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Outside Departure Level – Terminals 1 and 2, 12:20 pm until 2 pm.

Norfolk International Airport (ORF), Airport Lobby, from 1 pm to 3 pm.

The TSA’s revisions to the prohibited items list are scheduled to go into effect on April 25th. You can read details about the changes in the rules about sharp objects and sporting goods and other items on the TSA website, which has a full list of the items allowed – or not – in carry-on and checked bags.


TSA: OK to fly with small knives, golf clubs, other items.

Zurich chocolate knife

For the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow small knives and some previously prohibited sports equipment onto airplanes as carry-on items.

TSA_Permitted Items one

According to the TSA, passengers will be able to carry-on knives that are less than 2.36 inches long and less than one-half inch wide. Larger knives, and those with locking blades, will continue to be prohibited, as will razor blades and box cutters, guns, firearms, and the dozens of other things listed on the published list of prohibited items.


TSA will also soon permit sports equipment such as billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks up to two golf clubs to be carried onto airplanes. Souvenir, novelty and toy baseball bats — such as wiffle-ball bats — will also be allowed.

The relaxed rules take effect April 25.

TSA_Sports items Permitted

TSA_BATS Permitted

TSA said the new regulations will allow its officers to better focus efforts on finding “higher threat items such as explosives,” and was made as part of the agency’s overall risk-based security approach.

But the Flight Attendants Union Coalition issued a statement saying they are unhappy with this move, calling it a “poor and shortsighted decision” by the TSA.

“As the last line of defense in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all Flight Attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure,” the statement said.

TSA believes the items it will now allow in airline cabins are “unlikely to result in catastrophic destruction of an aircraft,” and that policies already put in place — hardened cockpit doors, federal air marshals, crewmembers with self-defense training — reduce the likelihood of passengers breaching the cockpit.

“All TSA is doing is catching up with the rest of the world,” said Douglas R. Laird, president of aviation consulting firm Laird & Associates and former head of security for Northwest Airlines. After 9/11 the TSA “overreacted,” said Laird, and put restrictions in place “in the heat of the moment” that exceeded those in other countries.

Removing small knives and some sports equipment from the list prohibited items “will help align TSA’s list with international standards and help decrease the time spent rescreening or searching bags for these once prohibited items,” said TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez. The changes also enable officers to focus on “the greatest threats … which increase security for passengers and improves efficiency, improving the checkpoint screening experience.”

(Images courtesy TSA)

(A slightly different version of my story about the TSA’s decision to take small knives and sports equipment off the prohibited items list is on NBC News.com.)

Souvenir Sunday: Finnair flight attendants share their stories

Has anything unusual or humorous happened to Finnair flight attendants?

Looks like we’ll have to get a copy of Airborne: Tales From A Thousand And One Flights, to find out.

The book is billed as “a collection of true stories written by customer service professionals of the sky” and appears to be filled with stories like this:


A passenger was upset on a leisure flight as he had asked for a window seat, but had been given one on the aisle instead. The flight was full, and nobody in his immediate vicinity was willing to change seats. I wondered what I could do to cheer him up, and decided to make him a window. I took a trash frame and taped “curtains” from kitchen roll on it. I went up to the man and said, “I’m really sorry that our service chain has let you down today. However, to make up for your loss, I do have this portable window for you. Would you like me to hold it in place, while you eat your preordered vegetarian meal?” The passenger burst out laughing, and stayed in a good mood for the rest of the flight.

Tee-hee. There are more wild and wacky stories like that in the book, which is available in English or Finnish. Proceeds of the book will be donated to the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health, which works for the prevention of mental health issues among children and adolescents.