Stories

Pucci Bubble Helmet
Braniff introduced brightly colored aircraft as well as imaginative new uniforms created by famed fashion designer Emilio Pucci. The plastic bubble helmet, to protect hairdos on windy tarmacs, was an integral part of the Pucci-designed uniforms.
Braniff Collection, The University of Texas at Dallas

Dream to Fly

Other, 1971

Like a lot of young women in the 1960s and '70s--at least the ones who weren't hippies-- I thought being a stewardess would be the greatest job imaginable. I pictured myself wearing an adorable uniform and walking through glistening airports alongside handsome pilots, earning envious looks from everyone in my path. But even more importantly, I would see the world! So I sent in applications to all the major airlines and received several nibbles. My first interview was with American Airlines, which was my first choice as well. I thought the combination of their red, white, and blue uniforms and the proud name "American Airlines" would make me very special indeed. My friend Pat was also interviewing that day, and my father drove us to American's offices at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I wore a short-sleeved, navy-blue, polyester dress that I had made myself; a red, white, and blue scarf; and one-inch navy-blue pumps. Being 5'8" at the time, I was at the maximum allowable height and didn't want to look any taller than I had to. I thought I really looked the part! I was very nervous, and don't remember much about the interview, except one outstanding moment. The interviewer, an attractive ex-stewardess, came up to me, put her face up to mine to within a half-inch, and asked, "Do you have acne?" She looked at me with such intensity you'd think she was checking for cancerous lesions. I said I had it in the past but it was clear now. Later I thought how ridiculous that was, since no passenger was going to put his/her face that close to mine and get upset if I was cursed with an acne scar or two. But that's how demanding they were in those days. You had to be perfect. As it turned out, Pat was deemed perfect and I was not. She moved to New York City and eventually married a man from Sweden. I later flew to Dallas courtesy of Braniff Airlines for an interview, but was again turned down. It all worked out for the best in the end, since I later went into the Foreign Service and saw much more of the world than I ever would have as a "glorified waitress," as we called stewardesses back then. And the State Department couldn't fire me if I got a pimple!
   — Anonymous

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