The World’s First Flight Attendant

Heinrich Kubis with passengers on LZ-120 Bodensee

Heinrich Kubis with passengers on LZ-120 Bodensee

The world’s first flight attendant did not work on an airplane; he worked on a zeppelin.

Heinrich Kubis began his career as a flight attendant before any fixed-wing airliner was large enough to carry a steward and 18 years before Ellen Church of United Airlines became the world’s first stewardess.

Kubis worked for the German airline DELAG and began caring for passengers in March, 1912 on the zeppelin Schwaben. He served as chief steward on all future German passenger zeppelins including Bodensee (which made scheduled flights within Germany in 1919), Graf Zeppelin (which offered regularly scheduled transatlantic service from 1931 to 1937), and the famous Hindenburg.

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

Heinrich Kubis serving a meal aboard LZ-127

Heinrich Kubis serving a meal aboard LZ-127

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

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

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

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.

Hindenburg survivors Heinrich Kubis and cabin boy Werner Franz at Lakehurst after the disaster

Hindenburg survivors Heinrich Kubis and cabin boy Werner Franz at Lakehurst after the disaster

Kubis landed without injury and was not hurt in the crash. He testified at the Hindenburg disaster inquiry and then returned to Germany, where he lived until his death in the 1970s.

The World’s First Flight Attendant:

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

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7 Comments on "The World’s First Flight Attendant"

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Alan Krum

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

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

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

Richard Foss

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 richardfoss.com

donald posen

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

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
thanks

Dan (Airships.net)

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

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