Difference Wiki

Steward vs. Hostess: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on March 4, 2024
A steward typically refers to a person managing the passengers' needs on a ship, airplane, or train, while a hostess is often associated with welcoming and serving guests in venues like restaurants or events.

Key Differences

Stewards are usually employed in transportation or hospitality sectors, focusing on passenger safety, comfort, and service, particularly in planes, ships, and trains. On the other hand, hostesses are primarily seen in the context of hospitality, such as restaurants, clubs, and social gatherings, where they greet guests, manage reservations, and ensure the dining experience starts off positively.
While stewards might have responsibilities that include safety briefings, serving meals, and assisting with passenger needs during travel, hostesses concentrate on customer service aspects such as seating arrangements, menu explanations, and sometimes taking initial drink orders. The role of a steward often requires training related to safety and emergency procedures, whereas a hostess focuses more on customer service skills and the establishment's specific protocol.
In terms of gender, the term "steward" is gender-neutral and can refer to individuals of any gender performing the role. Conversely, "hostess" traditionally denotes a female employee, although modern usage is moving towards gender-neutral terms like "host" to include all genders in such positions.
The historical context of these roles also differs; stewards have been integral to transportation services for centuries, ensuring the well-being of passengers on long voyages or flights. Hostesses, while also having a long history, are more closely tied to the evolution of dining and entertainment venues in the 20th century, reflecting changes in social and leisure activities.
Despite these differences, both stewards and hostesses aim to enhance the customer or passenger experience, ensuring safety, comfort, and satisfaction in their respective environments. Their roles are crucial in creating positive impressions and ensuring that service standards are met and maintained.

Comparison Chart

Primary Setting

Transportation (airplanes, ships, trains)
Hospitality (restaurants, clubs, events)

Main Responsibilities

Passenger safety, comfort, and service
Greeting guests, managing reservations, seating arrangements

Training Focus

Safety and emergency procedures, customer service
Customer service skills, establishment protocols

Gender Connotation

Traditionally female, moving towards gender-neutral with "host"

Historical Context

Integral to transportation services for centuries
Tied to dining and entertainment venues' evolution in the 20th century

Core Purpose

Ensure passenger well-being during travel
Enhance guest experience in dining and social settings

Steward and Hostess Definitions


A person responsible for passengers' needs on a vehicle.
The flight steward ensured all passengers understood the safety procedures.


An employee responsible for customer service at the entrance.
The club hostess checked our reservation upon arrival.


An individual assisting in service and maintenance.
The steward on the cruise handled our cabin issues promptly.


A woman who greets and serves guests in a hospitality setting.
The restaurant hostess showed us to our table with a smile.


A manager or overseer of a specific area or activity.
As a steward of the museum, he organized educational tours.


Someone who manages guest lists and seating at events.
The event hostess ensured all guests found their seats.


Someone who attends to passengers' comfort.
The train steward provided us with blankets for the overnight journey.


A woman who receives or entertains guests in a social or official capacity.


A caretaker of passengers' safety.
The ship's steward conducted a lifeboat drill.


A woman who manages an inn or hotel.


One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.


A woman who is the emcee or interviewer on a radio or television program.


One who is in charge of the household affairs of a large estate, club, hotel, or resort.


A woman who is employed to greet and assist patrons, as in a restaurant.


A ship's officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangements.


A female host.
The host and hostess greeted their guests at the door.


An attendant on a ship or airplane.


A female innkeeper.


Stewardess: a woman steward on an airplane.


To host, as a woman.


A female host; a woman who hospitably entertains guests at her house.


A woman who entertains guests for compensation; a female innkeeper.


A woman host


A woman innkeeper


A woman steward on an airplane


A female attendant in public transport or entertainment venues.
The airline hostess provided us with refreshments.


A woman who oversees the welcoming of guests.
As the party hostess, she introduced guests to each other.


What is the main difference between a steward and a hostess?

A steward primarily serves passengers in transportation settings, focusing on safety and comfort, while a hostess greets and serves guests in hospitality venues.

Are hostesses responsible for safety?

While hostesses focus on customer service, ensuring guest safety within the venue is also a concern, though not to the extent of the safety responsibilities of stewards in transportation.

Can the terms steward and hostess be used interchangeably?

No, because they refer to roles in different contexts with distinct responsibilities and training requirements.

Can a man be a hostess?

Traditionally, "hostess" refers to a female role, but gender-neutral terms like "host" are now used to include all genders.

What kind of training do stewards receive?

Stewards receive training on safety and emergency procedures, in addition to customer service.

In what kind of establishments might you find a hostess working?

A hostess might work in restaurants, bars, clubs, event halls, and sometimes in corporate event settings or luxury transportation services like high-end airlines or cruise ships.

Is the role of a steward limited to transportation?

Primarily, yes, but the term can also apply to individuals managing or overseeing care and service in various settings.

What skills are important for a hostess?

Key skills include excellent communication, organization, problem-solving, and a friendly demeanor.

How has the role of the hostess evolved over time?

The role of the hostess has evolved with changes in social and leisure activities, increasingly emphasizing customer service and inclusivity.

Is previous experience required to become a steward or hostess?

Previous experience in customer service can be beneficial for both roles, but it is not always required as many employers provide on-the-job training.

What is a gender-neutral term for hostess?

"Host" is used as a gender-neutral alternative to hostess.

What are the main duties of a flight steward?

A flight steward's main duties include ensuring passenger safety, providing pre-flight safety instructions, serving meals and beverages, and assisting passengers with their needs during the flight.

Do stewards and hostesses need certification?

Stewards, especially in aviation and maritime industries, often require specific certifications related to safety and emergency procedures, while hostesses may not need formal certification but benefit from training in customer service and hospitality management.

What are some common challenges for a hostess?

Challenges for a hostess include managing long wait times, dealing with unsatisfied guests, and ensuring smooth operation during peak hours.

Can stewards and hostesses receive tips from guests or passengers?

Yes, especially in hospitality roles like those of hostesses, receiving tips is common, whereas for stewards, particularly in transportation, it depends on the company's policy and cultural norms.

What attire do stewards and hostesses typically wear?

Both stewards and hostesses often wear uniforms provided by their employer, designed to be professional and easily identifiable by guests or passengers.

What challenges do stewards face in their job?

Stewards may face challenges such as dealing with difficult passengers, managing emergency situations, and working long, irregular hours.

How do stewards and hostesses contribute to the overall experience of their guests?

They play crucial roles in ensuring comfort, safety, and satisfaction, directly impacting the overall experience through attentive service and problem-solving.

How important are communication skills in the steward and hostess professions?

Extremely important; both roles require clear, polite, and effective communication to interact with guests, address their needs, and resolve any issues.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the roles of stewards and hostesses?

The pandemic introduced new safety and sanitation protocols for both roles, requiring additional responsibilities like enforcing social distancing, mask-wearing, and ensuring cleanliness to prevent the spread of the virus.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons