A shocking report has emerged that describes one airline’s approach to managing the weight of their flight attendants. The expose describes a culture where informing on other flight crew is prevalent and where staff who gain weight are placed on a weight management program.
The report, which left many folks fuming, was published by Insider and describes how Dubai-based Emirates Airlines manages the weight of its flight attendants.
According to the piece, the airline uses a program known as the “Appearance Management Program” to help enforce its brand image which extends to the physical appearance of the flight crew.
While such standards are no longer common in most western countries they are still, according to the article, employed by airlines like Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
Former employees were interviewed for the piece and described a culture where tattle-tailing on overweight employees is prevalent and even encouraged. A group of employees known internally as the “weight police” will either flag you as overweight, or a fellow employee will dime you out.
Once on the weight management program, you will be monitored frequently and instructed to lose the weight. Participants are given diet and weight management programs and allegedly meet regularly with human resources to review progress. Presumably, failure to do so would have negative consequences, including potentially losing your job or being grounded.
“If you get too fat, you’re going to get fired.”Insider interviewee
One person interviewed for the piece said employees were given two weeks to “lose it!” Others indicated that the “weight police” would check flight crew at airports and might say things like “Hey Babe, you need to slow it down.”
Apparently, the company policies are especially tough on moms, who might be grounded until they’ve lost andy post-pregnancy weight, or given 180 days after the birth to drop back to company standards.
It’s hard to imagine these kinds of business practices being used in western countries these days, although the airline industry has a dark past on this topic.
Emirates policies, which according to the article, are mostly unwritten rules, are difficult to fathom in today’s environment, but apparently exist all the same. The airline, of course, was also recently in the news with a PR stunt where it flew a jet by a presumably-within-weight-standards flight attendant who was perched atop the Burj Khalifa.