The primary job of an airline stewardess is to help ensure the safety of passengers on commercial airliner flights. A secondary responsibility is to help keep airline passengers comfortable and content. The job title of "airline stewardess" hearkens back to the early days of commercial air travel when only women performed the role. Today the common title for a person in this job is "flight attendant."
Typical job duties for airline stewardesses include helping ensure safety on flights by notifying passengers about safety procedures and how to use equipment, such as air masks, emergency doors and flotation devices, should it become necessary. They make sure that electronic items that could interfere with flight safety, such as cell phones, are turned off. Airline stewardesses check the seat backs and tray tables of passengers to ensure that the items are in the correct positions for takeoff and landing. They check seat belts during takeoff and landing and make sure passengers keep them buckled during turbulent weather conditions.
Airlines stewardesses also are responsible for helping any passengers who might need extra assistance during boarding, during the flight or as the passengers leave the airplane. This might include families with small children, children traveling alone, the elderly and the disabled. If someone becomes ill during a flight, an airline stewardess, who is trained in first-aid procedures, is there to help. In the case of a serious medical condition, the airline stewardess will try to find a passenger who is a doctor or nurse and can help the ill passenger.
Should an actual flight emergency occur, such as an emergency landing, it is the responsibility of airline stewardesses to be proactive and take charge. They check the condition of passengers and direct them about how to exit the airplane. They assist any passengers who cannot exit on their own and ensure that all of the passengers make it off the plane.
During flights, airline stewardesses help ensure passenger comfort by providing beverages and snacks. Depending on the airline and the length of the flight, they also might sell or provide meals. They distribute headsets to passengers who wish to view in-flight movies or television programs or who want to listen to in-flight radio stations. They also must deal with uncooperative or unruly passengers.
Prior to the flight, an airline stewardess attends a pre-flight briefing to learn the details about the upcoming flight. The stewardess then prepares the cabin for passengers by checking first-aid kits, food supplies and other items. As passengers arrive onto the airplane for the flight, the airline stewardess greets them, answers seating questions and helps them stow carry-on luggage. After the flight, the stewardess ensures that all passengers are off the airplane, collects lost articles and reports any issues with passengers or equipment.