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Flight attendant – how much should she weigh? The airlines provided a formula

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Chinese airline Hainan Airlines has been hit with criticism after it introduced a new policy on how much a flight attendant should weigh. A woman who exceeds the limit is to be temporarily banned from flying. During this period, she will be placed on a company-supervised “weight reduction plan”.

In early June, Hainan Airlines issued guidelines for its cabin crew. Under the new rules, a flight attendant will be immediately “grounded” if she exceeds the “standard weight” by 10 percent, the Chinese weekly Global Times reported.

The guidelines contain a formula for calculating an individual weight limit based on height. According to them, the standard weight of the cabin crew is calculated by subtracting 110 from the height in centimeters, i.e. for a person measuring 165 cm, the standard weight is 55 kg. Flight attendants who exceed the limit by more than 10 percent are to be temporarily banned from flying. During this period, they will be placed on a company-supervised “weight reduction plan”.

Hainan Airlines, which is among the largest in Chinaalso emphasized “the impact of the appearance of flight attendants on the image of the company”.

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“Very Wrong” Policy

The cabin crew weight guidelines have sparked an online outcry, as well as questions about the legality of such requirements.

Liu Tao, a lawyer specializing in labor and civil rights cases, told NBC News that the airline’s policy is “very inappropriate and obviously against Chinese law” and could be considered employment discrimination.

While China used to have national legislation allowing weight standards for flight attendants, it was abolished in 2001, Liu Tao said. “The weight standard would only be reasonable if Hainan Airlines had given advance notice and asked each employee’s approval, and then received signed forms – said the expert.

Hainan Airlines did not respond to requests for comment.

“Unnecessary” and “funny” requirements

Rachel Liu, a flight attendant at another Chinese airline, said that while she and her colleagues were annoyed by Hainan Airlines’ demands, they encountered similar expectations in their jobs. “Almost all airlines would prefer slim flight attendants, and some overweight women are rejected at the interview stage,” said Rachel Liu. At the same time, she questioned the wisdom of employing only very thin women as cabin crew “because they can’t even help passengers put down their luggage.”

Social media users in China also criticized the requirements as “unnecessary” and “ridiculous”. “I need flight attendants who have professional qualifications and safety knowledge and who wear clothes and shoes suitable for emergency situations. Their weight is not my concern,” wrote one netizen in the comments on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Airlines will weigh passengers before boarding. Details are provided

Main photo source: Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

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