I found these Vintage Flight Attendant Uniforms on Pradagirl‘s flickr page. We’ve come a long way since flight attendants were required to dress like pole dancers, no?
I think it’s wonderful that US-based airlines no longer place age or aesthetic requirements on their employees, but sometimes I think they’ve gone too far in their efforts to be fair. I read somewhere that there are flight attendants working for United and American airlines that are well into their 80’s. I’m just not sure how much faith I’d be able to put in an 84-year-old’s ability to steer me out of a burning airplane.
But then I read this article, Heavy hosties get the heave-ho and it made me grateful to be born in a country where the government doesn’t own and operate it’s own airline. The article talks about how Air India fired a few of it’s flight attendants for exceeding the company’s weight-limit policy.
The women sued but nevertheless the judge ruled in the airlines favor, saying this:
“Statistics reveal that overweight persons face constant challenges to their emotions which include remarks from strangers, discrimination at work, lower self-esteem and poor body image.”
I can understand their point if the flight attendants were say, 300 or 500 pounds.
Anyone who works aboard an aircraft is working in a safety-sensitive position and I could see the need to place some weight restrictions. How could a flight attendant, for example, properly escourt passengers out of a crashed plane when their body is so large it blocks the exit?
But Air India’s flight attendants are allowed to weigh a max of 50 Kg.s if they’re 18 years old and 56 Kg. if they’re between the ages of 26 and 30. In pounds, that’s only 110 or 123.
Can you imagine if those same restrictions were placed on the Western world’s pool of cabin crew? There would literally be no one qualified enough to fly the planes. The entire aviation industry would go under.
Or as one of the fired flight attendants put it: “It’s ridiculous. Weight is not an infectious disease. This is not a modelling job; we are not working a catwalk.”