SATA’s First Flight Attendants

In the course of modernizing SATA’s air services, all flights made by Dakota airplanes (Douglas DC-3) began having Flight Attendants, previously known as Stewardesses.

In this context, in October 1968, SATA’s first flight with Flight Attendants took place, between Santana and Santa Maria, captained by Commander António Galhardo.

Ana Maria Garcês, Luísa Gamboa, Leonor Pacheco, and Margarida Branco were SATA’s first Flight Attendants and delighted the passengers with their charm.

These professionals were trained in safety and onboard emergency procedures, oriented by instructor Roberto Teixeira, and in rescue and first aid techniques, oriented by Dr. Acácio Cordeiro, a local physician. SATA’s first Flight Attendants also had meteorology, routs, weighting and centring skills.

The Flight Attendants’ main duties were to welcome the passengers on board, provide all the necessary information about the flight and provide assistance to passengers who were indisposed or afraid of flying. SATA’s Flight Attendants would also offer candies on board, a tradition that was kept until 1980.

At the time, these professionals also complemented the work of the air traffic marshals, providing the passengers with the necessary assistance.

In July 1968 SATA’s regulation for the commercial flight personnel was approved.

These were some of the admission conditions for Flight Attendants:

–  Age between 18 and 27;
– 35 years old as the age limit to practice the profession;
– Single marital status; getting married implied stopping being a Flight Attendant at SATA;
– Minimum education: 9th grade;
–  Fluent in Portuguese, English, and French;
– Minimum height of 1.55m;
– Good presentation and good general knowledge.

The second group of SATA’s Flight Attendants would arise in 1971, practicing their activity also in Dakota airplanes.

After the 25th of April 1974, with the first collective work agreement, the demand of the single marital status was suppressed, and the married Flight Attendants were able to once again exercise their duties.

Today, more than 50 years after the existence of the first Flight Attendants at SATA, this role presents new challenges and characteristics, remaining, nevertheless, a dream profession for many young people.