The Flight Stewards Association of Australia was formed to represent the predominantly all male workforce. The Flight Hostesses were represented by The Airline Hostesses Association which had been formed in 1957 to represent all the flight hostesses both domestically and internationally. The AHA was unique for the time for its almost exclusively female membership and their strong collective bargaining.
“The Old BoilersDispute” began over poor pay and the push for recognition of the primarily safety related role of flight attendants. Reg Ansett insulted the Unionists calling them “glorified waitresses” and the Union Executive “Old Boilers”. The outraged hostesses voted to strike indefinitely and their collective strength led to an apology from Mr Ansett and the improvement of their conditions.
The Airline Hostesses Association were also instrumental in supporting a strike for the Qantas Flight Hostesses to have the right to career progression and equal pay. Prior to this time, Hostesses were forced to ‘retire’ at age 35 and were not able to apply for promotional positions such as Senior Flight Steward, Chief Steward or Flight Service Director (the equivalent of our modern Customer Service Supervisor and Customer Service Manager).
The Airline Hostesses Association changed their name to the Australian Flight Attendants Association, to acknowledge the hiring of male flight attendants domestically. The Flight Stewards Association also changed their name that year to The Australian International Cabin Crew Association (AICCA). They also changed their rules in order to acknowledge the new classifications at Qantas that changed “Hostesses” to “ Female Flight Service Attendants” The 2 Unions were still known colloquially as the Girls Union and the Boys Union
The Australian International Cabin Crew Association and the Australian Flight Attendants Association merged to become the Flight Attendants Association of Australia ; the FAAA that represents you today.
The 21st Century FAAA is committed to strong collective bargaining and focused on protecting our members’ health, wellbeing and career longevity, particularly as the industrial landscape continues to change and the advent of Ultra Long Haul Flying changes the way we work and how the industry will develop into the future.