A Chinese airline is facing backlash over a new policy that will suspend flight attendants if they exceed the allowable weight limit.
News of Hainan Airlines’ “weight reference standard” went viral on Chinese social media after it was announced earlier this month, while the carrier doubled down and defended its plans.
Weight requirements will be based on an individual’s height, reported CNN. For example, a flight attendant who is 1.58 meters (5ft 2in) tall – the average height of an adult Chinese woman – would have to weigh around 48kg (7st 6lbs).
Under the direction of the state Global TimesThose who exceed 5% of the required number will be weight monitored and considered, while those who exceed the “standard” weight by 10% or more will be suspended and placed on a “plan”. weight loss plan” overseen by the company. .
The policy applies to all crew, regardless of gender.
The carrier said CNN: “This is intended to advocate healthy living habits and maintain a good professional image and healthy physique by anchoring a reference target, rather than passively waiting for each crew member’s physique to change. change significantly and subsequently affect the work of the safety service.”
independence Hainan Airlines has been contacted for comment.
Some users on Chinese social media platform Weibo argue that such a physically demanding job should prioritize fitness and strength over weight loss, especially in an emergency.
“I just need the flight attendants to be fully knowledgeable, well versed in safety procedures, and to wear the most appropriate shoes and clothing for emergencies. Her weight is none of my business,” wrote one comment on Weibo.
In recent years, many airlines have taken steps to relax the uniform look and guidelines. In September 2022, Virgin Atlantic removed sexist workwear to allow employees to wear “the uniform that best suits them and how they identify” – though less than a month later , the airline has confirmed that it will not wear uniforms regardless of gender on the flight carrying England. soccer team to the World Cup in Qatar.
British Airways also overhauled its rules in 2022, allowing cabin crew to choose what makeup or accessories they want to wear, regardless of their gender.
Just this week, Australian airline Qantas announced that employees will now be able to keep their hair long, ditch heels for flats and wear makeup regardless of gender for the first time.
However, last year Air India banned gray hair, bald patches and sunken hairlines from cabin crew in its updated employee guidelines. The airline fired more than 100 flight attendants in 2015 for being overweight.