Ex-Coronation Street actors Nigel Havers (Lewis Archer) and Sally Lindsay (Shelley Unwin) exposed some of the secrets in a recent documentary of flying with British Airways including their very strict appearance standards. Featuring together in Channel 5 show ‘First Class Vs Economy: Is It Worth It?’, Sally and Nigel took to the skies with BA from London to Washington to learn the trade of becoming cabin crew on an aircraft. One cabin crew member named Chris informed Nigel and Sally that his mother also used to be a BA cabin crew member who claims “it was a different world to that during the Sixties when she was flying”.
Sally asked Chris if cabin crew “had to be a certain weight” to join the airline.
To this, Chris claimed his mother was told to “lose a stone in weight” in order to become a a cabin crew member.
Ms Lindsay clarifies if the reason was “because they [passengers] like to look at her”.
To which Chris responded: “100%”
Airlines during that period had stringent requirements.
Speaking for The Telegraph in 2015, Wendy Barlow, a former flight attendant with BOAC, the precursor to British Airways, said: “They had to be single, between the ages of 21 and 27, and with a ‘neatly proportioned figure’ and ‘pleasing appearance’.”
Furthermore, they could only “join for a maximum of 10 years”.
In 1966, a New York Times classified advert for stewardesses at Eastern Airlines listed these requirements: “A High School graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration).
“5’2″ but no more than 5’9″, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height.”
Today, height requirements remain (for practical reasons cabin crew must be between 5’2″ and 6’1″) but now married women of any age can apply.