Flight Attendant Vs Air Steward Vs Air Hostess

uncharted

Senior Member
Arabic
Which is more more frequent than the others?


As far as I know, Air steward used for males, air stewardess for females.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    In my experience, everyone is a flight attendant. It's gender-neutral and sounds better than stewardess for the women.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That is my experience as well, and I spend a lot of time on airplanes. Collectively, flight attendants as a group (and the purser, if a flight has one) are the cabin crew.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    All the respondents are correct, but there's more to the story. At the present time, "flight attendant" is far more prevalent than either of the other options, "air steward" or "air hostess." The phrase "air stewardess" was never popular in English. Nevertheless, at one time, "stewardess" was the predominant term for women employed in that position. Before the 1970s, men employed in service aboard passenger airlines were known as "pursers." I don't believe that refering to them as "air stewards" ever was commonplace.

    http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/hawaii-by-air/online/pan-am-clippers/what-was-it-like-to-fly.cfm "Four pursers looked after passenger needs and converted the lounge into a dining room at mealtime."

    If you view this Google ngram comparison, you can see that it was in 1975 that "flight attendant" became more common than "air hostess," and you can also see that "air hostess" has always been more common than "air stewardess."

    "Air stewardess" would have been viewed as redundant. "Stewardess" was pretty much only used in the context of on-airplane flight service. So if we change the ngram to omit the "air" before "stewardess," you can see that the ascendancy of "flight attendant" over "stewardess" is much less extreme and much more recent.

    I would say from this evidence that "stewardess" is still in fairly common use, but it is marked as old fashioned and, especially, inappropriate for business use, where "flight attendant" is the more standard term.

    https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/america-by-air/online/jetage/jetage11.cfm "Reflecting the social changes of the 1960s and '70s, the term "stewardess" evolved into gender-neutral 'flight attendant.' Conservative uniform styles reappeared due to new laws that prohibited discrimination in hiring based on age, appearance, and gender. Men now returned to the profession as well."
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... Before the 1970s, men employed in service aboard passenger airlines were known as "pursers." ...
    The term purser is still used. However, today it refers to a supervisory position, the person who is responsible for all the flight attendants on a large plane (which may have 20 or more of them). Today's purser can be male or female. Since a purser doesn't have a lot of extra duties he or she also works as a flight attendant, typically in the first-class or business-class cabin.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    If a person uses "steward" or "stewardess" in the year 2014, that person has spent the past three or four decades on another planet.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The English words stewardess, with a special feminine suffix, and steward are still used in Polish to mean what is now "flight attendant" in modern English. I have got a copy of the once popular in Poland course of English "First Things First Students' Book", first published by LONGMANS in 1967 and reprinted in Warsaw in 1994. In it there is a picture an air-hostess.jpg of a contemporary flight attendant with a caption "I'm an air-hostess."
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Wolf, in 1967 air hostess would have been fine. Unfortunately, when it was printed again in 1994 it was wildly old-fashioned (some would say sexist). The Polish publisher was not aware of this fact, apparently.
     
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    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Polish Scientific Publishers PWN stopped reprinting that course in the late '90s. The course contains other relics, e.g. a typist and Yugoslavia.
     
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