After living and training with 15-20 women in an airplane hangar in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for five weeks�United was in the process of building its headquarters in Chicago, in what would become O�Hare International Airport�Panter Nielsen was issued the Peige uniform, a custom-dyed, pink-and-beige wool suit designed by Raymond Loewy.
�This free-flowing dress was wonderful�slip it on, and you�re ready to go. Some of the photos you�ll see show a lot of leg, but I wore mine to my knee. And by then panty hose were in, so we didn�t have to worry about girdles.� The little Foreign Legion-style hat was difficult to keep on because it was stacked up so high, but we dealt with it.�
In 1972, in the wake of civil-rights legislation, men were invited to work full time in United�s cabins, stewardesses became known as flight attendants, and pants were soon introduced into the uniforms. �We called this the Wonder Bread uniform because of the polka dots and bright colors. �It wasn�t as comfortable as it might look.�
United, almost exclusively a domestic carrier, acquired a large chunk of Pan American World Airways in the �80s. �There was an emphasis on being more worldly and continental�the uniform reflected that in looking more like the international carriers. For example, aprons and smocks gave way to serving jackets.�
Discount carriers such as Southwest Airlines were aggressively making their way into the domestic market, prompting a short-lived, low-cost United offshoot known as Shuttle by United. With it came the option of wearing a (gasp!) polo shirt. �I did have a polo shirt in case I worked the schedule. But I barely even saw [Shuttle planes].�