Times are tough these days in the airline business. It seems like airlines are folding or getting bought out all the time. They are charging more and more fees to fly, from baggage fees to food to even fees for pillows and blankets. Routes are being canceled, prices are going up, and it is just impossible to actually speak to a person sometimes when you call the airline up.
I’m on a flight right now as I write this from Los Angeles to NYC and as almost always on a domestic flight, the plane is staffed with old, ugly, and ill tempered stewardesses. Think back, when was the last time you flew on an American domestic airline (except perhaps Southwest or Jet Blue) and there was a young, cute stewardess? Right. Like 1996.
I had a hot French stewardess girlfriend several years back who told me the name for these swamp monsters who staff our nation’s carriers: Sky Hags. That’s a very apt name. The reason there are so many of them has to do with seniority. Since the industry is so strapped for cash these days, nobody ever hires stewardesses anymore. Instead, they just keep the ones they already have, and when layoffs come they always fire the ones with the least seniority. So every round of layoffs the average stewardess gets older and uglier. Sky Hags have been flying for years, and seen all sorts of shit, and so after years of mistreatment by their employers and customers, they’re bitter and often nasty.
Also the more seniority a sky hag has the more she gets to choose her schedule. Since she probably has a family and kids (or even grand kids, goddammit) she doesn’t want to fly too far from home. That’s why the odds of there being a hot young stewardess on the Wednesday fight from Kansas City to Chicago are roughly the same as the odds of there being a good swingers’ scene in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Until 2007, United Airlines had a stewardess named Iris. When she retired, Iris was 85 years old, she had plenty of seniority, as you might imagine and could set her own schedule. What fucking use is a 85-year-old stewardess? She’s not hot, and if the plane were to crash, you think she’ll save your ass? Think she can lift the 40 lb exit door? Riiiight. From a flyer chat board:
I’m a UA flight attendant and have worked with Iris numerous times. Frankly, the entire crew props her up and has to look out for her throughout the entire flight. I don’t expect the passengers to know this and many who speak of Iris “on the line” have never actually worked with her. I’m not a big fan of being understaffed and not paid for it.
And check this article about old stewardesses (and stewards). Do you really want your stewardess to have also flown with Harry Truman?
Now let’s compare this with the Asian airlines. Ever fly Cathay Pacific or Singapore airlines? I love when I’m at LAX getting ready to fly to Asia somewhere like Kuala Lumpur and a small army of cute young Asian stewardesses walks by to get on the plane, all wearing matching outfits. That really improves the quality of the 14 hour flight to Hong Kong. You see, those airlines have standards. If a stewardess is bitchy, she is fired. If she gets old and fat, she’s fired. Some of these airlines even have mandatory weigh ins for the stewardesses – what a nice concept, it’s even good for the environment because it will save fuel! Unhampered by political correctness and feminism, Asian airlines do what makes sense – they hire a new nice young cute stewardess when needed.
I wonder if the domestic airlines will ever realize that this matters. If you’re choosing between two flights with similar costs, one with hot young nice stewardesses and one with bitchy sky hags, which do you pick? Of course. And we’re not the only people who would do the same; the Dallas-Minneapolis route is full of fat American businessmen who would love to have a little eye candy during their 50th flight on that route this year.