Female flight attendants for Aeroflot — who call themselves “old, fat, ugly” — have written an open letter to Vladimir Putin complaining that the airline has sidelined them from flying international routes. The airline of course denies these allegations.
These women charge that Aeroflot has banished 400 women to domestic routes only. They “lose money, and miss out on layovers in exotic foreign destinations.”
“We were all photographed en masse and measured – some were even weighed,” she revealed.
“This was done under the pretext of company rebranding and ordering new uniforms for staff.”
She stated: “My life changed in the middle of August.”
Others had suffered before that, she said.
Some 400 flight attendants have been hit by the new rulings.
“They stopped putting anyone on international flights if they are older than 40 or take more than a (Russian) size 48 (UK – 16),” said Magurina.
Aeroflot is, the female flight attendants women claim, literally sending them to Siberia.
Friendlier flight attendants have been at the forefront of Aeroflot’s rebranding for the past 14 years.
The carrier had gargantuan challenges overcoming its image as the Soviet national airline. It remains majority-owned by the Russian government. It no longer operates any Antonov, Tupolov, or Ilyushin aircraft. And it’s developed a reputation as a world airline with safety standards far from when crews used to take on “extra passengers for cash, resulting in dangerously overloaded planes” and when in 1994 “a pilot allowed his son to sit at the controls, causing a plane to crash in Siberia, killing 75 people.”
US airlines used to use sex to sell tickets. Southwest Airlines launched at Dallas’ Love Field listing its stock under the ticker symbol LUV. Their original ticketing machines were called Quickies. Flight attendants wore hot pants.
Southwest’s practice of hiring only attractive women as flight attendants was successfully challenged in court.
Delta had its Red Dress. Not revealing, but form-fitted and attention-getting. (There was a protest because the red dress wasn’t made in ‘plus sizes’ and of course pilots would rate the attractiveness of flight attendants based on whether or not they were ‘RDQ’ or Red Dress-qualified.)
Airlines are a service business as much as a transportation business and flight attendants aren’t just here for your safety. However friendly, welcoming authentic service isn’t the same as young and trim.
Remember that Hooter Air failed. That’s not enough to make an airline. (Destinations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina didn’t help either.)
It’s reasonable to insist on setting a tone for friendly and professional service. And there ought to be stronger standards at many world airlines (not least of which in the U.S.). But age and weight — within the bounds of being able to perform a flight attendant’s duties — probably aren’t at the top of the list for accomplishing that.
However I wonder about a strategy of calling out Vladimir Putin as a long-term, career-enhancing move. Remember that in America you can always find a party. In Russia, Party always find you…