Air France is scheduled to restart Paris – Tehran service in two weeks. Their flight attendants objected to having to wear headscarves when disembarking as well as the airline’s ban on skirts for the flight.
They asked for the ability to opt out of working the Tehran flights on the basis of conscience. France is largely secular, and attitudes towards Islam are in many ways quite negative. France, and Air France, is also quite unionized. So imposing working conditions that subjugate women to the demands of Islam as imposed by Iran is naturally unpopular.
Air France had threatened penalties against crew not observing the dress code suggesting that “air crew were ‘obliged like other foreign visitors to respect the laws of the countries to which they travelled’.”
As I wrote over the weekend,
[W]hile Air France may have to abide by local laws, they do not have to require cabin crew to work those flights when it would violate their conscience to do so. The request that female flight crew be permitted to opt out of Tehran flights, taking assignments elsewhere, if they believe the rules for those flights violates their dignity seems not at all an unreasonable accommodation.
That’s exactly what’s happened. Female pilots and cabin crew will be permitted “to opt out of flying routes to Tehran.”
As Reuters reports, British Airways hasn’t yet announced their policy for female crew serving Tehran flights when the carrier re-enters the market in July. Meanwhile,
Germany’s Lufthansa, which continued to fly to Tehran throughout the sanctions, said it had not experienced any problems and that crew followed the rules to cover up when in public spaces.
While not surprising that the German flag carrier has not experienced a problem with crew following the rules, in fact there are only limited instances in my recollection where they’ve had such a problem.