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Flight Attendants

February 6, 2013 | Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports
In an era when most stewardesses were forced to resign if they married or had children, Edith Lauterbach and four other female flight attendants organized the first union to fight for equal rights in the sky, in 1945. Lauterbach, a San Francisco resident who was the last surviving founder of the union, died Monday. She was 91. Her death was announced by the Washington, D.C.-based Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA, the successor of that early union. No other details were released.
February 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The future of American Airlines is still unclear. Will it merge with Tempe, Ariz.-based U.S. Airways or try to go it alone when it exits bankruptcy in the next few weeks? Whatever happens in Bankruptcy Court, the Fort Worth-based carrier will definitely have a new look. Last month American unveiled a new logo and livery, featuring a silver mica color for its planes and red, white and blue stripes on the tails. The airline also announced recently that it would introduce new crew uniforms created by a pair of designers who have dressed celebrities such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston.
January 27, 2013
Real Australianexperiences Good for Amanda Jones, who wrote about a not-always plush trip to Australia with her daughters in " New Reality for Teens? Priceless " in the Jan. 20 issue. Her girls' lives will be changed forever. Kurt Sipolski Palm Desert Mexican pottery Thanks for your article "Town Shaped From Clay," by Alison DaRosa (Jan. 13), about pottery in Mata Ortiz, Mexico. It was very inspirational to my wife and me. It is also such a breath of fresh air to learn something from Mexico-U.S.
January 15, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
American companies are ready to write bigger checks for business travel this year. The Global Business Travel Assn. is expecting companies to spend $266.7 billion in 2013. That would be a 4.6% increase over last year, when the "fiscal cliff" and Superstorm Sandy put a crimp in travel. Still, the group predicted that companies will trim trips 1.1%. A rise in spending and a drop in trips means that more travelers will stay longer, perhaps scheduling more meetings per outing, said Rebecca Carriero, a spokeswoman for the trade group representing business travel managers.
January 13, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Flight attendants, required to work long hours with little rest and to battle unruly passengers with oversize carry-on bags, must now deal with another midair hazard: exploding coffee filters. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a safety alert to all airlines warning that packages of coffee grounds enclosed in filters have burst while coffee was being brewed in commercial planes. The FAA has recorded about a dozen coffee explosions in the last 10 years, causing first- and second-degree burns to flight attendants and passengers.
January 6, 2013 | By George Hobica
Ever wonder what flight attendants really think of you? What they'd tell you if they had the nerve? Or weren't afraid of being fired? What secrets would they reveal about their jobs? Several of my friends work as flight attendants. One of them recently retired after 20 years flying for a storied name in commercial aviation. Others work for less glamorous domestic U.S. airlines. I asked them what they would say to their passengers if they could or what bits of wisdom they would reveal if granted anonymity.
December 23, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
If you get frustrated when flight attendants make you shut down your electronic tablet or digital reading device during takeoff and landing, George Takei has got your back. The actor who portrayed Sulu in the original "Star Trek" television series and in films is so fed up with having to turn off his gadgets on airplanes that he launched a petition earlier this month on the website, calling on federal officials to reconsider the policy. “I suspect I'm not alone in feeling put off,” Takei said in his petition letter.
December 18, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Over the last four years, airlines have been charging for extras that were previously included in the price of a plane ticket, such as checked bags, food, drinks and pillows. The trend may be reversing, with airlines starting to bundle those extras back together again. American Airlines announced last week that passengers who search for flights at will get several choices, ranging from a basic fare to a package that includes a ticket plus a free checked bag, early boarding, an onboard drink and the option to change flights without paying a penalty.
December 16, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Labor strife is common among airline workers, but flight attendants for Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific voted last week to try unusual tactics to push stalled salary negotiations. The flight attendants, who demanded a 5% pay increase but instead were offered a 2% raise, were considering performing only their basic, safety-first responsibilities. That means they could refrain from serving food and drinks, according to the union's general secretary, Tsang Kwok-fung. Not only that, he said, they may also abstain from smiling at work.
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