Braniff Airways dipped its wings recently in a 20th anniversary tribute to the young women who have served as flight hostesses since the first Braniff DC-2 airplanes using air hostesses inagurated new "luxury" air service between Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville in June of 1937.
A special luncheon was held in Dallas honoring four members of the original hostess group of seven. Sharing the spotlight at similar celebrations held at the airline's other crew bases in Kansas City and Minneapolis were three former Amarillo residents, who currently serve as Braniff hostesses. They are Sue Bynurm, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Walker, 3511 Lewis; Frances Frazier, daughter of H. Frazier, 3804 E. 15th; and Carolyn Hein, daughter of J. L. Hein, 2407 Travis.
At the Dallas event, three of the original hostesses, who now are Mrs. M. J. Rodriguez, Rio Grande City; Mrs. L. A. Bauer Jr., Brownsville; and Mrs. Richard Lowry, Miami Springs, Fla. together with Braniff's first flight superintendent of passenger service, Mrs. Virgil Turnbull are married to Braniff senior flight captains.
Brief talks at the anniversary luncheon were spiced with airline ancedotes. Captain Ray Schrader, Braniff's first pilot and today a vice president of the airline, recalled that before the hostesses took to the airlines the meal service consisted of sandwiches and ice water distributed through the cabin by the co-pilot at the start of the flights. Even with the inaguration of 14 passenger service in June of 1937, the Braniff cabin service then bore little similarity to the airline's deluxe "Silver Service" meals of today. However, the first Braniff hostesses recalled that they did add hot coffee to the menu and they did make the box lunches a little more appetizing by giving the passengers more service.
A replica of the first Braniff hostess uniform was modeled at the Dallas luncheon. Of modified Mexican style to emphasize Braniff's international connections at San Antonio and Brownsville, the 1937 uniform featured a gray wool worsted bolero jacket and skirt, red wool crepe turban and cummerbund, white silk jersey blouse and gray suede oxfords. The first Braniff hostesses caused quite a stir in airports from the Great Lakes to the Gulf with their flashy uniforms, especially since most of the 15 cities on Braniff's 2,453 miles of routes at that time had never before seen aan airline hostess.
During the 20 years of Braniff's hostess service, a total of 1,168 young women, including many from Amarillo, have worn the uniform and wings of the airline's hostess corps. Today, more than 300 hostesses serve on Braniff flights to 50 cities in the United States and to 9 Latin American countries.
The Amarillo Globe-Times, Thursday, July 4, 1957