All of us remembere the breathless excitement and sense of adventure we felt when Pan American World Airways hired us. The world became our oyster.
Though this website is dedicated to Pan American Flight Attendants, we owe recognition to Heinrich Kubis, widely recognized as the world’s first aviation steward who began his career in March 1912 working on the L-10 zeppelin Schwaben. He was also, fortunately, a survivor of the great Hindenburg disaster.
The first airline to employ stewards in the United States was Stout Airlines in 1926. William Bushness Stout, the founder, also owned and operated Stout Metal Airplane Company. Stout Airlines was also the first airline in the United States to begin regularly scheduled passenger service. Here is a link to an incredible video taken on the 1st of January 1927, courtesy of Getty Images.
The video gives you a good idea of what it must have been like in 1927 when Pan Am’s first flight took off.
Now imagine that same scenario in 1928 before regular airline service spanned the globe. Travel for most of the world was by ship. Pan Am just launched its inaugural passenger flight to Havana, bought an aircraft, and was now going to transport passengers to distant point of the West Indies and South America.
Clipper Crew would like to pay tribute to the men of Pan Am – gone but not forgotten. Amaury Sanchez was the first Pan Am steward – countless others followed his path. Their stories will post here.
Amaury Sanchez was 19 years old and working in a New York City Fraternity club when he was offered a job as the fist steward for Pan American Airways. He left New York for Key West, Florida and a life in the clouds. Read his story here The First Pan American Steward. It is with great happiness and pride that Clipper Crew is able to add to his story.
Pan Am hired only men for the job of flight attendant before WWII. By the end of the 1950s, male recruits were few and far between and by 1964, Pan Am ceased hiring men as stewards. Mr. Celio Diaz Jr, applied for a steward position in 1967 and was denied employment. He filed a class action lawsuit charging that Pan Am’s refusal to hire him based on gender was discriminatory. In 1971 the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled for Diaz by upholding the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the industry could no longer exclude men from the position. “On March 30th (1972) Pan American “graduated” 16 male stewards in Miami, the first it had trained in almost 20 years.”
Ric Romero was ready! Romlee Stoughton, Clipper Crew Member, Artistic Director and Author has done a great job. Click to read his story about Ric Romero Back to the Future.