In 1928, Boeing introduced America's first airliner
designed specifically for passenger comfort and convenience. The Model
80's fuselage was made of welded-steel tubing covered with fabric, and its
wooden wingtips were removable so the airplane could fit into the
primitive hangars along its route.
Despite complaints by pilots accustomed to flying in an
open cockpit, the size of the Model 80 required a separate, enclosed flightdeck. The Model 80 carried passengers in a spacious cabin appointed
with leather upholstery, reading lamps, forced-air ventilation, and hot
and cold running water. The first version carried 12 people, and it was
followed by the larger, 18-passenger Model 80A, which made its first
flight, Sept. 12, 1929. Ten Model 80As flew for the Boeing airlines.
Ellen Church, a registered nurse, convinced Boeing
managers that women could work as stewards, so nurses serving aboard the
Model 80A became aviation's first female flight attendants. They earned
$125 for flying 100 hours a month.