Old, Fat and Ugly Flight Attendants Appeal to Vladimir Putin to Let Them Fly International Routes

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.

Credit: Aeroflot

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…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. LOL, Gary, you are really good at click-baiting with these articles. IMHO, you are promoting Aeroflot to male passengers. I will surely take a second look at flying this airline.

  2. As of today I can assure you that at least a few ‘old fat & ugly’ Aeroflot types are still around internationally. At LHR today I walked past the surging crowd at Aeroflot check-in on my way elsewhere, and noticed a classic O,F&U getting herself through security etc. Maybe she is connected, or ‘knows someone’ or makes especially good dumplings?

  3. In addition to a thorough rebuke on Aeroflot’s site, it should be noted that the source of the article is RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty) which is, literally, a US government propaganda organization aimed at Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East (to quote Wikipedia, “RFE was founded as an anti-communist propaganda source”).

    Not exactly a paragon of independent journalism when it comes to their stance on all things Russia.

  4. They probably have a better chance appealing to Putin then they would appealing to trump.

    At least Putin doesn’t obsess in grabbing women by their genitals, berating former miss universe contestants, or walking into teenage models’ changing rooms.

  5. Kinda pathetic that the courts decide who companies can or can not hire. If an airline wants to hire all young and fit women let them. The public can decide whether or not they want to fly that airline. If people are offended they can fly another airline and if enough of the public is offended the companies will fold.

  6. Couldn’t care less what flight attendants look like as long as they’re proficient in their job. In fact the less interaction we have, the better. Not due to having any issue with FAs, just don’t want to be bothered. That’s a major part of the reason I only fly business class, single row (also I’m 6′-5″)….unless I’m with my wife.
    I won’t be an arse or just a plain bother making their jobs harder.
    …..then all is good.

  7. Of the three you show which one is supposed to be the old one, which one the fat one and which one the ugly one? If these are their old, fat and ugly stewardesses, I can’t wait to see the young, lithe and beautiful ones!

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