From upper-class to underclass. Working the skies: representations and reality, 1930-2010

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Working in the sky, whether as a pilot or member of the cabin crew, continues to hold a fascination and attraction for potential entrants that far exceed the technical demands or financial rewards of the reality of such work. Perceived as glamorous work since the early days of commercial flight in the 1930s, this tag has largely remained, despite major changes to the business and workplace environment in the intervening years. It is also an area of work that has inspired a genre of romantic fiction and numerous 'real life' recollections alongside serious academic analysis. This paper charts the representation of, in particular, female flight attendant work from its 'golden era' through to the present, drawing on both fictional and factual accounts, in order to ask whether contemporary representation is any more a true reflection of this work than that of previous generations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCAUTHE 2010
Subtitle of host publicationchallenge the limits
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
EventCAUTHE Annual Conference - Hobart, Tas
Duration: 1 Feb 2010 → …


ConferenceCAUTHE Annual Conference
CityHobart, Tas
Period1/02/10 → …


  • upper class
  • underclass
  • working
  • skies
  • cabin crew
  • pilot
  • golden age


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