Air India Flight Attendants in 1946

by Guruprasad

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Flight attendants of Air India.

Yesterday, we saw how Tata Airlines was formed and after a brief hibernation due to world war II, it came back into service with a new name “Air India”.

Today, lets see what was the first thing they did after a comeback in 1946.

JRD Tata always wanted to provide world class service in whatever he offered. Be it steel industry or the automobile industry or any industry that he was in. If you remember about the Tata trucks, he had a JV with one of the best companies in the world i.e Mercedes Benz:

Air India was no exception and he wanted it to be just like any other reputed airline in the world. So, he hired some of the most beautiful Anglo-Indians as flight attendants with the European dress code and angled caps.

The photo features some of the renowned Flight Attendants. Although it was of international standards, the service was Indian oriented. You can see on the top right, an attendant offering traditional spices to a Brahmin. On the bottom right, an attendant describing the flight report to an enthusiastic passenger, but little does she realize that he is more interested in her, rather than the details of the schedule :)

Notice 3 beautiful ladies at the lower strip of the picture. From left to right: Peggy Henderson, Monica & June Argent. They were the most popular attendants who were working on multiple projects like advertising and modelling in parallel to their flight attendant jobs.
Over the next few decades, some of the biggest business tycoons of India met these flight attendants while on business travels and fell in love with them, eventually tying the knot.

Now, what is surprising in this? Air India has always been known for its Indian beauties (ok, nowadays they might be aunties, but in 1970s/80s they were beautiful) with traditional Indian attire i.e Sari. But what we see here is Anglo-Indians with European attire. So when did the Sari revolution in Air India happen? Who were the business tycoons who fell in love with them?

Also, from yesterday’s story, we still have unanswered questions about why Bangalore/Calcutta not in the 1939 routes and how the private company Air India became a govt-owned company.

I will narrate all these as another story using a different picture :)

This photograph is a collage of individual photos I found on net. You can find the individual hi res images here: