Today, we have a very inspiring story of a woman who retired from the air hostess profession in 2007 at the age of 85 years. She was number 1 in seniority.Today, for many of us, the mere thought of making a profession by serving coffee and tea and food or managing unruly passengers and pilots alike till the age of 80 can be quite unnerving. But it was not so for Iris Peterson, the gritty woman who started working for United Airlines in the ear 1946. That was the time when the jet engine was merely a blue-print and flying was dangerous.
Iris was born in 1922. During that time, there used to be no female cabin crew. Only men, called as stewards, used to be onboard the ancient aircraft to look after the passengers and perform some duties concerning their safety.
The world’s first female flight attendant, Ellen Church.
It was in the year 1930 when registered nurse Ellen Church, aged 25, was employed by the United Airlines. Gradually, women workforce started increasing at the professional front. They overtook men onboard aircraft across the world. Slowly and slowly, passengers and airlines started enjoying the glamor that the women workforce brought throughout the 50s to 70s.
During her stint at the United, Iris performed at several leadership positions. As part of the flight attendants’ union, she stood up for her colleagues concerning safety and grievances issues. In 1953, she was the first official lobbyist for the Airline Stewards and Stewardesses Association. In such times, she often found herself as the lone woman in congress halls. This, however, never dainted her spirit.
By 1968,the perceptions were changing. In this year the crew was finally allowed to work even if they got married. Iris worked on developing safety features in tandem with aircraft engineers for the world’s first ‘Jumbo-Jets’. As many as 16 of her suggestions were then implemented, which included the evacuation alarm. Today, it is a standard equipment on aircraft all over the world.
Iris spent her entire life dedicated to her airline. She worked relentlessly to improve the professional field she worked in for so long.