More than 150 Washington-area applicants told Braniff International yesterday, "Coffee, tea And me."
Despite the obvious drudgery connected with the job, the lure of travel and glamor continues to bring thousands upon thousands to the airlines each year seeking jobs as flight attendants.
Yesterday a Braniff representatives spent a half-day at the Dulles Marriott accepting applications as part of a nationwide recruiting drive for flight attendants to be hired next year.
Attracted by an ad in the Sunday newspapers and by spots on radio stations, the applicants came from the proverbial all walks to life.
"I'm retired and want to start a new career," 53-year-old Kenneth Ball said. Retired from a job with the Central Intelligence Agency almost four months ago, Ball said he decided it was about time to get back into the labor force. A McLean resident, Ball is married with four grown children. "I always enjoy travel and being around people who travel," he explained as his reasons for seeking information about flight attendants jobs.
Virginia Mueller, a 21-year-old employe of the First American Bank of Virginia, said she has been trying to get a job as an airline flight attendant for three years, "I'd like it for the traveling," she said. "I feel i could learn a lot from meeting people all over the world, and I like to help people."
Born in France, she flew to the United States when she was four and has been interested in a "glamorous" career as an attendant ever since.
Another applicant was Freddie Rodriguez, 24, who is a computer operator for the National Aeronautics & Space Administration. "It's the kind of job that will allow me to travel extensively and be on my own, and assist poepl from other cultures," he said.
A native of Bolivia, Rodriguez speaks both fluent Spanish and English and is taking German at the University of Maryland. (Braniff is looking for bilingual attendanrs.)
Rita Leeth, 30, is a housewife who always has enjoyed flying. "I like people," she said, adding she thought she was good with them. "I also like to talk," she said. Having heard the radio ad, she said, "I thought, 'What the heck, go down and take the gamble'."
Gamble it is. Getting a job is a long shot because Braniff will take, on the average, one out of every 123 applicants, according the Pat Department, Braniff's supervisor of flight attendant employment who was on duty here yesterday. Braniff wants to hire 400 flight attendants between now and Marh. During this nationwide drive, Braniff representatives will recuit in every state, she said.
The field is much wider than it used to be now that the airlines are hiring men as well as women, married persons as well as singles and are not hiring just young people. of the 1,400 attendants based in Dallas, 500 are men, Dapremont noted, and last year a 50-year-old woman was hired as a flight attendant. "You can fly until you're 65," she said.
After she collected the applications, Dapremont screened them and notified 35 applicants that she would like to see them again today in group interviews. if they make the next cutoff, another Braniff representative will interview them one final time before they are hired. (Starting salary is $515 a month for 65 hours flight time.)
Braniff is not the only airline hiring. Thanks to unprecedented growth in passenger traffic and expanding route systems as a result of the recently enacted deregulation measure, the airlines have been, and are continuing to, expand their employment, especially of reservatiion clerks, flight attendants and pilots.
For instance, Eastern Airlines has 3,000 more employees today than it did a year ago. Besides recalling all its furloughed pilots, Eastern hired 50 new ones and plans to hire another 250 next year. In addition, it expects to hire between 800 and 900 flight attendants in 1979. American Airlines has plans to hire 350 pilots in 1979 as well as 1,000 flight attendants during the first six months.
News of increased job opportunities in the airline industry made former Civil Aeronautics Board chairman Alfred E. Kahn take an "I-told-you-so" stance last week. "I have consistently argued that restricting entry and preventing price competition are not the way to creat jobs," President Carter's chief inflation fighter said. "I am delighted with this confirmation of my prediction that deregulation is in the best interest of labor as well as consumers."