The World’s First Flight Attendant

by Dan Grossman on July 9, 2010

Heinrich Kubis with passengers on LZ-120 Bodensee

Heinrich Kubis with passengers on LZ-120 Bodensee

The World’s First Flight Attendant:

  • Heinrich Kubis
  • 1912
  • Airline:  DELAG
  • Aircraft: Passenger Zeppelin LZ-10 “Schwaben”

Before fixed-wing airliners were large enough to carry a steward (and 18 years before Ellen Church of United Airlines became the world’s first stewardess) Heinrich Kubis was earning his living as the world’s first flight attendant.

Kubis began caring for passengers in March, 1912 on the passenger airship Schwaben.

Kubis served as chief steward on all later German passenger zeppelins including Bodensee (which made scheduled flights between Berlin and Southern Germany in 1919), Graf Zeppelin, and the famous Hindenburg.

Kubis worked alone on the early zeppelins but he had an assistant steward and cook aboard the 20-passenger Graf Zeppelin, and he led a team of 10-15 cooks and stewards aboard the 72-passenger Hindenburg.

Heinrich Kubis (standing, dark jacket) in Dining Room of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

Heinrich Kubis (standing, dark jacket) in Dining Room of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

Kubis was in Hindenburg’s dining room when the ship burst into flame at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937.  When the Hindenburg sank close enough to the ground, Kubis encouraged passengers and crew to jump from the windows and jumped to safety himself.  Kubis landed without injury and was not hurt in the disaster.

Kubis testified at the inquiry into the Hindenburg disaster and then returned to Germany, where he lived until his death in the 1970s.

Heinrich Kubis (standing, dark jacket) in Dining Room of LZ-129 Hindenburg

Heinrich Kubis (standing, dark jacket) in Dining Room of LZ-129 Hindenburg


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan Krum April 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm

This has to be the most fascinating website I have seen in years, and the most detailed show of passion for the topics. Bravo..

As an aside, the Ellen Church link is broken.


Martin Bermudez January 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I have a passport signed by Mr Loprete in Argentina. I was five years old , and I Flew to Misiones in one Avro Sandringham or similar. I was given a passport signed by Captain Escudero and Purser Loprete.


Germán Loprete January 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

In Argentina the first flight attendant was my grandfather, Evaristo Loprete . FAMA airlines merger in 1950 when was created Aerolineas Argentinas


Richard Foss January 26, 2014 at 2:18 am

I would like to get information about Mr. Loprete – I am writing a history of food in flight and have no information about FAMA or the early years of South American airlines. If you see this, please contact me via my website at


donald posen September 7, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I,m looking for my cousin.Her name was Evelyn Makiel or Makielski.She worked for American Airlines in the ,40s. I sure would like to hear about her.


Jason Wallace July 20, 2010 at 6:28 am

Dear Dan

Fprgive me if im wrong but wasnt Emilie Imhoff the first air stewardess as youve got Ellen church as the worlds first air stewardess ???

also what happend to your search bar for your site nav there were a few sections that i could only access through your search bar
yours sincerely Jason Wallace


Dan ( July 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Emilie Imhof joined the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei in 1936; Ellen Church began flying for United Airlines in 1930.


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