We often find such exciting cabin crew stories that not even film directors can resist their charm. That’s what happened with the main characters of ‘Pan Am’, a TV series inspired in the company Pan American World Airways (also known as Pan Am).
It tells the story of the cabin crew of Pan Am –which peaked in the 60’s. Although this TV series was only one season long (it was cancelled due to low ratings), here in zeddea.com we’ve decided to pay a little homage to our predecessors (without spoilers, we swear). You can watch the trailer online here.
Some things never change, just like the ones Sheila Riley, former Pan Am air hostess, recalls on a special about the TV series: ‘We shopped for gloves and shoes in Rome, perfume in Paris, pearls in Tokyo and had our clothes made in Hong Kong. We could travel anywhere in the world but it was a really demanding job and sometimes not very appreciated.’
However in the 60’s Pan Am air hostesses were the envy of many because only rich people could afford to travel. Furthermore, not only did they get to see the world, but they also had to entertain the passengers as this promotional video shows.
On ‘Pan Am’ we can also see air hostesses sitting down with the passengers, being treated with respect and taking their advice as if it came from a friend. ‘It’s amazing how in such a short period of time flying has gone from an unbelievable experience to an annoying one that you just can’t wait for it to be over’, says Christina Ricci, who plays one of the air hostesses.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Pam Am -that regrettably has disappeared- is its spirit: team work, good appearance and glamour. One of the programme’s air hostesses tells all about what she’s learnt from being on ‘Pan Am’: ‘Confidence, leadership and diplomacy. All of it in style and with elegance.’ Also, they valued the employee because it was understood that a happy employee was more likely to be nice to customers, which would, in return, benefit the business owner. Thus, air hostesses were pampered and it was made sure they were comfortable in their jobs and in the rooms they stayed at.
And what about their outfits? ‘I think there is something special about wearing a uniform, it makes you feel different. We felt sophisticated and elegant because they were very well-tailored dresses. The hats, gloves and shoes were fantastic; they were really fun to wear, they made you feel and move differently’, said Margot Robbie, who plays Laura Cameron.
It’s truly delightful to see them in their vintage uniforms that fit that 60’s look of the programme. Series costume design Ane Crabtee discloses which requirements had to be met by cabin crew shoes: clean, shiny, short-heeled pumps. Nowadays flight shoes have a 3 to 7,5 centimeter heel depending on the event they are being worn at. Even with a short heel, flight attendant shoes can be uncomfortable after standing up for a long period of time (unless they are good-quality flight shoes, of course).