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Married women need not apply at Air Canada

The Story

It's more like a beauty pageant than a job interview. "What's your age and marital status?" and "Can you please get up and walk around the room?" are commonly asked if you want to become a stewardess before 1965. Successful candidates aren't allowed to get married or pregnant, and must sign release forms saying they'll retire at 30. "I made sure I sent them a good picture." Helen Chernoff says in this CBC Television clip, recalling her first application to become a flight attendant. With her job application Chernoff sent in a bathing-beauty photograph of herself from a pageant. She and another veteran flight attendant, Nina Morrison, chortle about the old days - when stockings with seams and lipstick were the job's important requirements. Clip note: Flight attendants interviewed in this clip worked for Canadian Pacific Air Lines. Regulations for CP and Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada) were similar. In National Treasure: The History of Trans-Canada Airlines, author Peter Pigott says TCA stewardesses also had to be single, and were required to quit if they got married.

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Nov. 27, 1995
Guest(s): Helen Chernoff, Nina Morrison
Host: Tina Srebotnjak
Duration: 8:53

Did You know?

• The Canadian Oxford Dictionary says "stewardess" is an archaic term and "flight attendant" is now preferred.

• When TCA first started flying in the 1930s, flight attendants had to be medically qualified as nurses because flying was more dangerous.

• Once air travel became safer, businessmen began flying more frequently. It was then that airlines started employing attractive flight attendants to lure customers.

• Flight attendants served quick-freeze airline meals for the first time in 1949.


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