The time after the Second World War had seen a rise in passenger travel. The 1950s and 1960s had witnessed the development of the large aircrafts and several more destinations opening up. In order to provide services on the passenger aircrafts, women had been employed. In those days, the selection of the female staff was in most cases only based upon looks. Sea travel had been replaced with the more sophisticated air travel. In addition to presenting the food trays on the aircrafts, the airhostesses or stewardesses also had to be always prepared to administer the first aid and other helping emergencies. The life of an airhostess immediately became involved with a lot more flights, thousands of different passengers from all over the world, a lot of stress and very little turnaround time.
With the various vast development programs, the number of flights increased and also did the number of total passengers. What seemed like a luxurious and stress free job, slowly became strenuous. The vigorous training as well as quality selection provided by the Saudia had kept the entire stewardesses alert and on their toes. The increase in number of passengers was the most notable, several of whom were indifferent and oblivious to the conditions of work of those women who would serve them on board the plane, and those women who were also treated worse than maids on some occasions. Rude behavior, lack of respect and the male ego syndrome had become part of the normal routine for these vital members of Saudia.
Long working hours away from home, friends and family was a norm for these people. This caused them to miss out the birthdays of their loved ones, or not being able to see their dying relatives for the last time, had just increased the worries and burdens which several of these women carried in their mind on and off the job. Many of these women were also single mothers who were working in order to give their children better lives. Many of these women were more educated, cultured and noble than most of the passengers whom they served. Many of the passengers would often berate and insult them for the slightest of reasons.
In some cases physical abuse also followed the verbal abuse. The passengers seem to have forgotten that the flight attendants had not become flight attendants to serve them food, but to also provide welfare and safety in case any emergency took place on board. The Saudi in-flight staff works tirelessly bearing all the insults of the so called “elite” class who think they own the aircraft or airlines, or just those who are impatient, rude and ignorant. Yet they are serving the poor and rich with the same smile and same courteous attitude.
There are also many air hostesses who have fed many stranded laborers in and around the consulates who are waiting to have their visa status corrected. They brought for them cartons of water as well as food.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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