Late last year, Cebu Pacific Air’s dancing flight attendants (FAs) became a sensation after a YouTube video taken of them doing a dance number to Lady Gaga’s Just Dance and Katy Perry’s California Gurls went viral. More recently, a survey of 1,000 British travellers was conducted for the Business Travel & Meetings Show conducted on the 8th of February 2011 in London to find which airline has the “hottest” flight attendants in the world. The survey results revealed that…
The Virgin [Atlantic] cabin crew, who wear red hot uniforms and are portrayed as super sexy and glamorous in the airlineâ€™s advertisements, received more than half â€“ 53 per cent – of all of the votes:
1. Virgin â€“ 53%
2. Singapore â€“ 18%
3. Etihad â€“ 12%
4. Emirates â€“ 11%
5. Aer Lingus â€“ 6%
Notable is the only airline based in East Asia included in the list, Singapore Airlines, in (albeit distant) second place. Ironic considering that Singapore happens to be the most sterile of the East Asian R&R hotspots.
Unfortunately, in today’s politcally-correct world, it seems people prefer to deny the reality that looks play a part in decision making around the hiring of flight attendants — or, for that matter, most jobs. In the case of the Cebu Pacific dancers, the whole spectacle was denounced by the the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) as a “stereotyping” of FAs and could result in “a negative and sexist impact in the minds of the public.” In the case of the “most attractive cabin crew” survey, the Texas-based Association of Professional Flight Attendants said they found it “very offensive” and that they “don’t see that looks have anything to do with” the job.
To be fair, flight attendants have come a long way from being the blatantly come-on objects in many airlines’ sexually-undertoned marketing campaigns to the highly-trained technically-savvy professionals that they are today…
Originally female flight attendants were required to be single upon hiring, and were fired if they got married, exceeded weight regulations, or reached age 32 or 35 depending on the airline . In the 1970s the group Stewardesses for Women’s Rights protested sexist advertising and company discrimination, and brought many cases to court. The age restriction was elminated in 1970 . The no-marriage rule was eliminated throughout the US airline industry by the 1980s. The last such broad categorical discrimination, the weight restrictions, were eliminated in the 1990s through litigation and negotiations. By the end of the 1970s, the term stewardess had generally been replaced by the gender-neutral alternative flight attendant. More recently the term cabin crew or cabin staff has begun to replace ‘flight attendants’ in some parts of the world, because of the term’s recognition of their role as members of the crew.
Interestingly enough, it is only Singapore Airlines nowadays that maintain a non-gender-neutral approach to marketing its cabin “girls” as “Singapore Girls” being “great ways to fly.”
Whatever works. And Singapore certainly works.
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