We loved last week’s premiere episode of Pan Am, a glossy look at the aviation industry in the 1960’s from the stewardesses’ point of view. It turns out that one of our FROSCH travel agents, Susan Banks Gaertner, held that very role when she was a young lady in the sixties. She brought in part of her uniform and a photo of her and her coworkers to share.
The show, though campy in places, gives us perspective on how the travel industry has changed since its heyday fifty years ago, when flying was not an exercise in patience but a luxury that laid the groundwork for globalization. This “new breed” of women eschewed the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood (or at least delayed it) to take on the adventure and exploration that this job afforded. As the New York Times put it, even if they still had to tolerate the mandatory girdles and blatant sexism of the era, they “represent the dawning of the women’s movement” and paved the way for other exciting jobs in travel.
We look forward to seeing more of this show and hearing more first-hand stories from Susan!