Being one of the female crew on a long-haul flight has always been seen as dazzlingly glamorous and exciting, and the new TV series Pan Am is being trailed as capturing that aura of glamour. But the reality is and was rather less rose-tinted.
Female flight attendants have had to endure sexist and abusive attitudes ever since the job was invented. That was true in the Pan Am days in the sixties and it's just as true now. Their biggest union, the ITF*, has hundreds of horror stories of cabin crew who've been molested, insulted and propositioned.
Some airlines support them and warn passengers to treat cabin crew with respect, but other airlines see the prevailing sexy image as just something passengers expect and turn a blind eye to it. Their attitude is "If you don't like it, you're in the wrong job."
Many airlines also have a strict dress code for female staff that stresses a sexy appearance. They stipulate make-up, short skirts or high heels, and sometimes even how often their hair should be trimmed or what shampoo they should use.
As they're expected to smile and simper at all times, you may not be aware of what they're having to put up with, but the behaviour of passengers is regularly outrageous. Unfortunately, unlike women workers on the ground, they don't have the option of deciding they've had enough and walking out.
I've never seen any truly appalling behaviour when I've been flying, but clearly some passengers think it's quite normal to fondle an attendant's breasts, simulate sex, or just persistently ogle her.
Airline advertising, far from discouraging such harassment, blatantly promotes it. Virgin Atlantic's parade of "red hotties" and Ryanair's pin-up calendar have been loudly complained about but the airline reaction is a wall of indifference.
And any female cabin crew approaching middle-age are liable to be nudged out of the job by the suggestion that they're too old or too plump or too stony-faced. Heaven forbid they might look too much like the life-worn travellers slumped in their planes.
So what does little Rebecca want to be when she grows up? I sincerely hope Flight Attendant is the last thing she thinks of.
* the International Transport Workers' Federation