87 Years Ago: The World’s First ‘Stewardess’ Lands in Wyoming
Here’s a little known fact, Wyoming was part of the very first flight to include a “stewardess” (as they were referred to in those days).
In 1930, the new commercial airline industry wanted to insure their customers that flying was safe. To help calm the public’s fear, they hired several “sky girls” to assist passengers during the flight.
Their rules were strict. Each stewardess had to be a registered nurse, single, under the age of 25 and weigh less than 115 lbs.
The first female flight attendant, Ellen Church, was both a nurse and a pilot. Of course, in those days, commercial airliners wouldn’t think of letting a woman fly their planes. Instead, they hired Church to recruit their newly hired stewardesses.
On May 15, 1930, Church boarded a Boeing 80 in Oakland, California. The first stop on the 20-hour flight, which carried 14 passengers, was at the Cheyenne Regional Airport.
In the 1940s, after several companies merged to create United Airlines, all of their flight attendants were trained at the Boeing United Airlines Terminal in Cheyenne. The training center remained in Cheyenne for over 20 years until it was moved to Chicago.
One local legend involving the flight attendant training center was “Peacock Alley” at the Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne. Each night, dozens of attractive single women working for United Airlines would unwind in the lounge, while single men paraded down the alley in an effort to attract their attention.