This is the story of the first stewardess union and the transformation of the occupation from a temporary job to a vocation. From the beginning, the flight attendants were a valuable marketing commodity for the airlines. Yet the job itself was hard work for low pay. The airlines' prohibition of marriage caused steady turnover among the attendants, which militated against a union and hindered the efforts of their first organizers.
In 1945, some 14 years after the formation of the pilot union, the first stewardess union was certified by the National Mediation Board. Since then it has survived tough nogotiations with the airlines, strikes, and a rocky affiliation with the pilot union to become the independent Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).