32 comments on “Modern Trolley Dollies

  1. Yeah they’re mug shots – of flight attendants.

    I first noticed this trend flying Continental in the 1990s. I used to fly to the States a lot and always went Virgin – they employed babes basically. Continental had women about my mum‘s age, with miserable attitudes to boot. Only flew with them the once.

  2. As someone once pointed out, in the early days, being an air hostess was one of the best jobs women could do:-

    1. travel was ridiculously expensive to most people. You got to do what 99% of people didn’t.
    2. you got to meet a lot of successful men

    All things being equal, pushing a drinks trolley and doing a safety announcement are hardly rocket science, so what do you select on?

    Once travel was more common and flights were full of normies, it lost its prestige.

    You still get babes on Thai air, though.

  3. I have never got the point about ‘travelling’ for pilots and stewards. Surely the point of ‘travel’ is that it gets you somewhere interesting, where you stay for a decent period. The actual ‘travelling’ bit, in the aeroplane, is generally crap and boring.

    Pilots and stewards get to ‘travel’ the world, may be stop a day or two near an airport, and ‘travel’ again.

  4. Rob,

    But you still got some time at the destination, at a time when that was exotic, and still in the era when cities were quite different to each other. It may even be that it was crap, but everyone else assumes it’s amazing, so you gained social kudos.

    I rarely bother with travel because so much of everywhere is the same now. I meet people going to Hanoi, and why bother? They’ve got 9 branches of Starbucks, they’re 21st century westernised capitalists. Most of the old stuff that predates that isn’t culturally relevant. It’s just kept around for the tourists. You’ve got to go pretty far off the beaten track now to find different cultures. You probably have more chance of a different culture driving to the middle of Wiltshire than flying thousands of miles to another city.

  5. Strong unionisation has meant US airlines have had problems getting rid of the old to make way for the new, or trim down workforce. Older flight attendants/flight crew have higher wages and better health and pension benefits, there is over-staffing and thus increasing payroll expense.

    It is one of the main reasons why many of the big carriers went bust when along came the low cost budget airlines with low fares the big guys could not match.

  6. @Rob

    My girlfriend works short haul cabin crew for BA. While it’s true that these are mostly turnaround trips, there are also frequent trips that involve flying in late on day 1 and flying out early on day 3. Prague, Venice and Athens are popular with crews on this type of trip. 2 nights in a hotel and a day to see the sites. Not a bad perk. I got a reduced rate ticket, bumped up to club class and everything else for free when I accompanied her to Athens recently.

    She also has an admittedly part-time job (nice that BA accommodate this) which means she is 6 days on and 12 days off.

    Yes, the vast majority of male cabin crew are gay.

  7. I first noticed this trend flying Continental in the 1990s. I used to fly to the States a lot and always went Virgin – they employed babes basically. Continental had women about my mum‘s age, with miserable attitudes to boot. Only flew with them the once.

    Everything in (most) airlines for flight and cabin crew is based on seniority. Those who’ve worked for an airline longest get first pick of assignments. So rather than work a few dozen short-haul legs, the most experienced cabin crew tend to opt for a handful of long-haul flights.

    Hence, on transatlantic flights with US carriers you tended to get wagon dragons rather than trolley dollies. But I’ve rarely had bad experiences with cabin crew – maybe I’m just lucky, or maybe it’s because I always try to treat them with respect, make eye contact, smile, say “thanks”, that sort of thing.

  8. Andrew C, many years ago when I was travelling to Jersey once a week I got to know the cabin crew quite well as it was usually the same ones each week. I once asked one of the stewardesses (are we still allowed to call them that?) how often she received business cards from travelling business men. She told me that the male stewards received far more than she and her female colleagues did.

  9. Good Lord; they look like the photos you get in a local newspaper when the police break up a low-grade drugs ring.

  10. @Chris Miller

    “But I’ve rarely had bad experiences with cabin crew – maybe I’m just lucky, or maybe it’s because I always try to treat them with respect, make eye contact, smile, say “thanks”, that sort of thing.”

    Yes, I do those things too. Good manners cost nothing. I’ve only ever really had one bad experience which was with the bunch of miserable old twats on that Continental flight.

  11. Was a frequent flyer to the States via British Caledonian. Great girls, nice legs. Regretfully they were taken over by BA and the legs immediately doubled in circumference.

  12. In my teens, our universal ambition was to fly airliners and **** the stews, the same as the girls who wanted to **** lifeguards. Back then the stews had to be HOT. With so many applicants, the airlines could afford to be picky. When the ladies stopped being hot their contracts didn’t get renewed.

  13. I recall some Asian airline had an explicit deal with its stews – you join at eighteen, you work for five years, you’re out and we pay for your college education subsequently. Works very well. As a previous commenter said, for Western airlines it’s now all based on seniority, so the enthusiastic young cuties are on domestic routes, while the high-prestige routes have the barren old boilers counting the days until retirement.

  14. Once, and only once, thank goodness, I found myself on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow during the Soviet days (BA back to London). The female(ish) cabin crew were like Tamara Press and her sister. As we were preparing to take off, the no smoking signs came on and one ‘lady’ wandered down the cabin and literally ripped a cigarette out of some poor bloke’ s mouth, causing his lip to bleed. I assumed he was Russian as, instead of complaining, he simply cowered back in his seat and tried to staunch the blood from his lip. Mind you, I would probably have done the same.

  15. All four of them are hyphenated as well. Does nobody take their father’s name any more, or are they all bastards?

  16. I had the misfortune to fly LA to HK on United in the late ’90s. I reckon Les Dawson used them as the ideas behind his mother-in-law jokes.

    I’ve also had the pleasure of flying Singapore Airlines a couple of times. Not only very easy on the eye but also very personable as well.

  17. I was on an Aeroflot flight in 1987 with the late StantheMan (of Tim’s acquaintance in Prague). I doubt the cabin crew would have done anything about smoking. When Stan opened a bottle of “champagne” and the cork bounced off the ceiling onto the head of the passenger in front, he was keen to get a steward to sort us out. I was trepidatious, but the more experienced Stan reassured me. When the steward eventually deigned to respond to the passenger’s gesticulatons, he listened to the complaint, shrugged, and wandered off. That set the tone for the rest of the week.

  18. @Penseivat
    In ’86 I was on an internal flight from Leningrad to Alma Ata (as both were) in an IL62 (VC10ski). As we prepared for takeoff, the unlucky chap next to me found one end of his seat belt ended in a ragged tear in the fabric. He had the temerity to summon the stewardess, a four-square young lady who looked like she could have been in the Olympic shot-put squad. She pulled out the belt to its max extent and tied it in a knot on his lap. 🙂

  19. Since everyone else is one-upping with their boring travel stories, like those boring salesmen out of one of John Betjeman’s worst nightmares that always stand behind you in every boarding queue on the planet but end up boarding ahead of you with three times the hand luggage that gets taken off you, I can confirm that the serving wenches in Lufthansa’s long-haul first class cabin are vintage, cultured, perfect at their job, but past their eye-candy days, and that flying Lufthansa first class, or even just being on the ground in Lufthansa first class, is a phenomenal experience that makes my usual holiday travel in Swiss business class look extremely ordinary.

    Take that, worthless infrequent-flyer plebs!

  20. Surely PJs are better (and better value) than First? First is for slebs and those who enjoy flashing their cash, not serious people.

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