Trans-Australia Airlines Museum

TAA's Air Hostesses

TAA's Hostesses

The real TAA People.

The Hostesses

When recruiting women for the position of flight hostess, TAA sought women with special characteristics who had already shown leadership skills or had airline experience, selecting women who had previously worked for A.N.A. and Hollyman Airways, and who held first aid certificates, with many who held nursing qualifications.

They were also well versed in airline operations, customer service and etiquette and decorum.

Training was comprehensive although these initial staff only had to operate two aircraft types - (DC3, a 21 seater, and DC4, 40 seater aircraft).

Hostess Training

The DC4 was considered a big aircraft and two hostesses operated in the cabin serving meals and ensuring passenger comfort, but the DC3 had only one hostess.

TAA introduced music on the DC4 flights for the long haul services to Perth, which took 8 hours.

Inflight Music

Hostess Patrica Chrystal - 1946

The hostess is seen here demonstrating the seat placement and positioning of a radio speaker.

Magazines drinks and meals made these flights memorable as customer satisfaction was a prime concern for the new airline.

Sleeper seats

TAA also introduced recliner 'sleeper' seats in 1947 making a more relaxed journey possible.

These early years were considered perhaps the best when it came to passenger service as flight times were long (3 - 3 1/2 hours Melbourne to Sydney - 8 hours Adelaide to Perth) and so passenger service was 'attentive'.

Hostess Service

Still, it was challenging as all these initial aircraft only flew between 5,000 and 8,000 feet (170m to 270m) until the arrival of the pressurised Convair 240 which flew higher and faster, but there was still time to make sure the passenger was comfortable and happy.

The introduction of the Vickers Viscount in 1954 would see minor changes to the uniform, but major changes to passenger service, as this aircraft flew faster between cities. TAA introduced 'Tourist Class', increasing seating and totally changing in-flight service, defining First Class with typical first class style equipment and meals, and 'Tourist' (today's, economy class) receiving different meals, now served in melamine (plastic type) crockery.

Economy Service

It also meant that 'passenger attentiveness' was reduced, but only slightly as flying times now reduced by approximately 1/3.

There was still time to be 'Friendly'.