When Edith Lauterbach started working as a flight attendant in 1944, women who held the job were referred to as "sky girls" or "coeds," and they could be fired for marrying or gaining weight - or even for reaching the age of 32. As detailed in a 1985 Knight-Ridder News Service article, they had to put up with touch inspections to verify that they were wearing girdles, and their nail polish and lipstick had to be company-approved. They also had to collect tickets and do other work at the airport terminal gate. They made the equivalent of $19,000 a year in today's wages, in part because they were only paid for the actual time they spent in the air. That applied even when an airliner was grounded because of bad weather or mechanical problems.
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