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Anyone Remember The AirStrip Days?

Employee
Employee

Wow!  What fun I've had looking through old pictures of my mom, Lee, who was a Flight Attendant for Braniff International. Not only have I enjoyed seeing my mom back in the day,but the pictures have inspired me to do some research into the history of Pucci!  Here's what I found, plus a few pictures of my mom.

In the 1960s, Dallas-based Braniff International set out to make commercial air travel more glamorous, with ads that boasted "The End of the Plain Plane." To give this attitude some texture, Braniff hired Emilio Pucci, a former WWII bomber pilot and one of the hottest designers of the time, to create the uniforms for its flight attendants. Pucci's innovative designs were a blend of fashion at altitude and fashion with attitude, serving up bright, bold colors with both style and sex appeal - at a time when sex appeal was still stylish.



The hostess uniforms, named High Fashion Quick Change or QC Costumes, came in four versions, and the complete uniform consisted of several components; Hostesses greeted passengers in an absinthe or apricot colored reversible wool coat accessorized with a Pucci print pillbox hat and velvet scarf. Underneath, the hostesses wore a vibrant pink gabardine suit worn over a blue silk long-sleeved turtleneck tunic and matching culottes.

During meal service, the uniform was augmented by a colorful apron dress called a "Puccino." Hostesses removed the outer layers of the uniform during the flight ultimately ending up in the tunic-culottes combination. A plastic bubble headdress was occasionally worn during inclement weather. Braniff touted this series of clothing changes as the Air Strip. I'm really hoping my mom still has her plastic bubble headdress!  I think that could inspire my Halloween costume next year!

I'd love to hear your stories from the AirStrip days?  I'm sure there are lots of great stories out there......

 

 

20 Comments
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I really loved this post!!! I could look at pictures like these forever. THANKS!!!
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Ana - Thanks for doing all of this reasearch, and for sharing the fantastic photos of your mom. I had known about the Pucci/Brannif connection, but had never heard all of the details. If you find your mom's bubble headdress, I think we're going to need a photo of you in it (wink).
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I've heard stories over the years from several SWA Flight Attendants, who, as young girls, had wanted to fly for Braniff, but couldn't because they were too tall, too short, too chubby, married, had children, etc. Instead, they came to Southwest as a second career later in life and fulfilled their dreams of becoming Flight Attendants.
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Man I wish I was around during the "hay-day" of airline aviation. Great post, thanks!

Joseph R. Meyers

Dallas, Texas

Employee
Employee
Ana, Great post--and what great memories it stirred up! When I was growing up (and Love Field was THE airport!), my mom and dad used to take me to watch airplanes take off and land over Bachman Lake. I remember one Sunday we had watched planes for a while until it began to rain. As we drove back towards Irving in a steady downpour, just past the old traffic circle on Harry Hines (anyone else remember that??), we saw a little convertible with a flat tire on the side of the road just before the Trinity river bridge. Getting closer, we realized it was a Braniff Hostess in uniform--and she was wearing the "space bubble" head thing. Turns out, those were GREAT protection in the rain! Of course, Dad pulled over, and got out and changed the tire for her, while the Hostess got into our car to warm up. I remember listening to her talk about working for an airline and flying with the kind of rapt attention that most kids that age reserve only for Christmas and/or ghost stories. In fact, it was shortly thereafter that I actually started plotting my entry into this addictive industry.
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I did fly with Braniff during the heyday of the industry, but I started about one or two uniform changes after the "Air Strip." I still have most of my "BI" uniforms, one of which is framed and hanging in the hallway of our Southwest Headquarters building in the section entitled "Look Where We Came From." Pictures, uniforms, wings, and other mementos from current SWA Employees who once worked for other carriers are proudly displayed there, so, Ana, be sure if your Mom comes to visit, you take her to see them. In the meantime, thanks for the great "walk down memory lane" and for the wonderful research on Pucci.
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Ana, I remember those days like it was yesterday, not to mention "The end of the plain plane." The sixties were an interesting time to live through! And yes, Bill I do remember the traffic circle at Harry Hines and Northwest Highway, along with the big motel there--was it the Tower Inn? I think it had a big oil derrick in front. Now, do you remember the traffic circle on 183 where Belt Line and Irving Road intersected it? Brian
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One of my first jobs in aviation was driving a catering truck for Dobbs House, and Braniff was one of our client airlines at Houston Intercontinental (IAH). I pulled up to the service door of one of their 727-100s one day, and raised my truck's body up to the floor level of the aircraft. The next step was to look through the small window in the aircraft door to see if there was a red fabric stripe across the cabin side of the window, signifying whether or not the door's escape slide was armed, and the door safe to open to start servicing the galley. I didn't see any red stripe, but I sure did get a very brief and unplanned eyeful of a "QC" already in progress with the galley's curtain shielding the FA from passenger view. The coworker assisting me on the truck (not knowing what I was seeing) gave the customary two loud raps on the door's exterior to alert the crew to our presence, and the poor lass jumped about 3 feet in the air. I rechecked the window after waiting a couple of minutes to make sure the galley was clear, opened the door, and completed our work. I never did see the FA so I could apologize for the inadvertent intrusion. In case she happens to read this, I'm sorry!
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I LOVE everything vintage and fashion, especially vintage fashion and the attitude that goes along with it. Some of my favorite vintage Southwest Airlines things are ads depicting our sassy Flight Attendants in the early 70s. They were hot! There is something so cool about that particular time in SWA's history. I love the can-do, sassy attitude that our Flight Attendants exuded, and the uniforms were a big part of our brand recognition during a time when we were start-out scrappy and hungry (like the wolf) to survive. When I look at those ads, I feel empowered, as if anything is possible, and it just makes me want to throw a big, happy martini party. Of course, one of my favorite areas of the SWA Headquarters Building (which is like a huge scrapbook of our history, if you've never been there) is the mannequin "style show" on the third floor, which honors the history of our Flight Attendant uniforms. Let me tell you, it's a whole lotta bright orange, white patent, and polyester. The stripped poncho is hilarious, and, dang, those hot pants are shhh-ort! Former Braniff flight attendant, and my friend and SWA Coworker, Sandy N., appreciates my love for vintage fashion. In fact, she has generously gifted me with many wonderful, loved items in pristine condition from her own closet, knowing that I would wear them and show them a good time. I just about died when I learned that Emilio Pucci himself designed her Braniff uniform pieces and that she has many of them intact. Pucci = a kaleidoscope fashion treat! So, vintage + Pucci. alright, people, put your hands together! I've seen (I mean, drooled on) Sandy's collection, and it is an absolute kill. Yes, I've offered to purchase a few of her uniform pieces, but I don't blame her for hanging on to them; truly, they are treasures. She should have a piece framed for her home...maybe a scarf in a bathroom, or a blouse in a walk-in closet? Fabulous (that's in the tone of the Orbit commercial)! Get your vintage Braniff by Emilio Pucci at www.chelseanmarketers.com (this link should work at a home computer), and find 2008 Pucci at www.netaporter.com and www.neimanmarcus.com (Dear Santa, check out the Cristallo Puffer Jacket and Patent Ballerina Slides at Neiman's...). Pucci prints are timeless. And, I feel the same way about the Warrior Spirit attitude of SWA's Flight Attendants. Thanks and martini cheers to all retired and active Flight Attendants who have worn and who wear their uniforms with pride!
Employee
Employee
Brian, I thought it was the "Circle Inn" (just like the Circle Bowl across the street and the Circle Theater next to that--and tremember he boat-looking seafood restaurant further down the circle?). No--I don't remember a circle on 183--but since I live about a quarter-mile from where 183, Belt Line, and Irving Blvd. intersect, I'll see if any of my relatives do. I do remember, however, "Story Book Land" on the land now occupied by "The Parking Spot" further west on 183 by DFW. Ana, see what you've started?
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Bill, They just tore down the Circle Inn a few years ago. It was on Northwest Highway. The Tower Inn was a big sprawling complex (a mega tourist court) and it was on Harry Hines. Most of that lot is still empty. Brian
Active Member
Bill -- A great post that evoked some wonderful memories for me as well. Yes, I well remember the traffic circle at Northwest Highway and Harry Hines and trying to learn how to negotiate it as a teenaged driver! (Brian -- I never knew the Irving traffic circle, but I regularly navigated seamlessly around the Richardson one at Belt Line and Coit, which had much less traffic than the one over here close to Bachman Lake) My own Braniff memories are of Saturdays spent at Love Field with a friend from high school who shared my love for planes and the entire airport experience. We'd drive down to the remote parking at Love and ride the elevated Braniff JetRail monorail that went into the East Concourse. It was such a cool addition to the ambience of our "airport field trip", and set the stage for spending hours and hours hanging out and wandering through the airport. Plus, by the time we split the cost of parking, our half a day of aviation entertainment was very cheap! As I got a bit older and worked at my Dad's company in South Dallas, I was thrilled to discover that South Harwood was almost exactly under what was then a major departure path from DAL, so in the summer, I could enjoy a steady stream of southerly-heading planes from Love (this was before DFW). Most of the plane sounds were similar enough to be nice background noise while sweating in a warehouse all day, but there were those regular interruptions to my work when I'd hear the distinctive sound of 747 engines. The high-pitched whine would lure me outdoors, where I'd watch transfixed as those giants would float past at what appeared to be slower speeds than the traffic on Central Expressway. They always looked like they were just about to lose forward momentum and stall out, and were a reminder of the truths of the laws of aerodynamics. The biggest treat would be when that siren song of the 747 engine whine would lure me outside to find that its source was the plane that we affectionately called the Giant Carrot -- Braniff's bright orange 747. Those were the days! Kim CRBB and Long-time Lover of Love Field :-) P. S. Brian, yes, it was called The Circle Inn! We would drive past it and around the traffic circle to get to The Southern Kitchen. Do you or Bill remember that restaurant? If you'd ever had their cinnamon rolls, you'd never have forgotten the place!
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Kim and Bill, Here is a link to a postcard of the Tower Motel http://www.apopkapostcardshoppe.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=3711
Active Member
How could a place with "108 Ultra Modern Bedrooms" ever go out of business??!! LOL Kim CRBB and Nostalgia Boy
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>>>and tremember he boat-looking seafood restaurant further down the circle?) That would have been "The Bounty"....
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This look familar to anyone? http://s34.photobucket.com/albums/d143/OPNLguy/?action=view&current=OldNWdallasmap.jpg
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What a great blog, Ana. You have some great pics of your Mom, and the top one of her in her Braniff uniform while standing on an Eastern aircraft brought back some memories of the old 'interchange' flights which was not uncommon during the days prior to deregulation--this was a precursor to the current 'codeshare' agreements that airlines have today. I started at the original Frontier in Denver in the late 1970's, and we even offered a couple of interchange flights from Denver with the old Hughes Air West [which became part of Republic, then Northwest, now Delta!]. I'd be curious to hear about some of the other interchange flights people remember.
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Southwest Airlines Employee Mary Creason flew for Braniff, and shared this bit of history with a few of us yesterday: Braniff had an Eastern interchange out of MCI STL, which is why Ana's mother is standing on a Eastern plane in the photo. When I flew for Braniff (1959-1961), we wore different uniforms. Mine was blue in the summer with spectator heels that were two-tone, white and navy. In the winter, we wore gray uniforms that were designed by one of our gals. On Braniff, we were called Hostesses, because we were to treat our Customers as if they were guests in our own home. Back then, you couldn't fly and be married or weigh more than 132 pounds. I quit to get married and went to work for Boeing in Incoming Secret Control for all of Boeing Wichita. After about a year, I went back to Braniff and worked in Reservations, since women did not work on the ticket counter or ramp back then either. You can see my old uniforms on the second floor. I was 45 lbs lighter then! Fun, Fun! Mary Creason Thanks so much, Mary...I can't wait to hear more of your stories!
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I am so attractive this picture. young girls, had wanted to fly for Braniff, I remember one Sunday we had watched planes I still have most of my "BI" uniforms, one of which is framed and hanging in the hallway I sure did get a very brief and unplanned eyeful of a "QC" already in progress with the galley's curtain shielding the FA from passenger view. In fact, she has generously gifted me with many wonderful, loved items in pristine condition from her own closet, knowing that I would wear them and show them a good time. Thanks share this post. Hotesses accueil Lyon