Pan Am FA 74113


I worked one of the most coveted jobs of the 20th century. I was a Pan Am flight attendant. Many perceived the job to be glamorous, and often it was, but other times the requirements overshadowed the glamour.

The flight attendant work experience entailed a lot of waiting, prepping, assisting, and servicing. It was filled with passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration, and co-workers, all with their own set of needs and demands.

While pushing 200lb bar carts up inclined aisles, we wore uniforms made of  polyester wool blend in order to look professional and feminine, yet at the same time withstand spills, sweat, and bloating. We bounced around in turbulence while checking to make sure passengers were safely in their seats with seatbelts fastened. We accepted required beauty routines involving regulation hairstyles and make-up comprised of colors that were meant to erase tired, red, and puffy eyes. We attempted to assist passengers with various problems and unbecoming attitudes. It was 1989-1991 and the in-between phase of air travel prevailed, with 1960’s glamour confronting 21st century demanding.


However, there were times when magic and exoticism crept in.  I rarely worked more than three days a week and many times my workday ended in Paris, Frankfurt, London, or Rome. While working for Pan American World Airways I was based at the Worldport at JFK International Airport in New York. Pan Am no longer exists, but once had the second most recognizable logo in the world. At least that is what they told us our third day in training, I believed them then and still do today.


Pan Am ceased operations in December 1991.

Jeani Elbaum