China‘s Hainan Airlines is facing criticism after it announced new weight standards for its cabin crew. The new rules set specifications for body size and weight control for female flight attendants. Initially, the airline had indicated that it would suspend flight attendants whose weight exceeded the standard but after harsh criticism from the public it announced that the new standards would apply to all crew, regardless of gender.
The airline has remained firm about its new policy stating that the weight standard will be calculated based on height using the formula: “height (cm) – 110 = standard weight (kg).” For example, if a female flight attendant is 1.58 cm tall, she will be required to have a weight of 48 kg. In addition, every month workers will be weighed for a check and those who exceed 5% of the limit will be monitored to avoid continued weight gain.
On the other hand, flight attendants who are 10% overweight will be suspended and provided with a plan to reduce their weight. Hainan Airlines has underlined that these standards are based on standard human body weight references and are combined with healthy weight ranges for crew, as reported by CNN.
The company has expressed that these measures have been implemented with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyle habits and maintaining a good image of workers, without having to wait for significant changes in the physique of crew members that may affect safety at work.
Hainan Airlines has established new weight standards for its cabin crew, with a special focus on female flight attendants. These standards are based on the height of each worker and will apply to everyone, regardless of gender. The airline will conduct a monthly weight check and those who exceed the established limit will be monitored. On social media, some users were critical of the stance taken by the airline stating that the most important thing would be the employee’s strength and sharp decision-making under stress in case of an emergency.
Hainan’s decision contrasts with that of other airlines relaxing instead the rules applying to their cabin crew’s attire. In early June, Qantas announced a series of policy updates aimed at fostering inclusion and diversity among its crew members. Employees will be allowed to wear shoes without heels, as well as to have long hair or dispense with makeup, regardless of their gender. In a statement, the airline group reported that the changes to guidelines related to “style and grooming” are a response to employee feedback and customer expectations. These updates represent the first changes made since 2013 and reflect the airline’s commitment to adapting to the needs and preferences of its staff and customers.
The Australian airline, along with its low-cost carrier Jetstar, implemented significant changes to its crew dress code. These modifications remove the requirement to wear high-heeled shoes or make-up. Male crew members are now allowed to wear foundation on their faces if they wish to do so.
The new rules allow both cabin crew and ground crew to wear their hair long, pulled back in a ponytail or bun, and to wear diamond earrings, glasses with clear frames and jewelry, including watches. Airline employees are requested to cover their tattoos and wear their name badges prominently.
Although Qantas uniforms remain unchanged, the airline has clarified in its statement that it introduced clothing combinations that replace gender-differentiated uniform sets. This move allows employees to choose garments that match their gender identity without restriction.