Attendants deemed ‘too fat to fly’

Air India has grounded around 125 cabin staff for being too overweight to fly.

Attendants deemed ‘too fat to fly’

In an highly debatable move that has been deemed as “ridiculous” and “shockingly sexist”, Air India has grounded around 125 cabin staff for being too fat to fly.

It seems that the commercial airline is not only concerned with overweight baggage, but is now enforcing its own weight limit – only this time it’s for the staff.

Air India recently implemented a compulsory weight loss program for over 600 of its cabin staff, giving them 18 months to shed the extra kilos and meet a body mass index (BMI) reading of 18-25 for an air steward and 18-22 for stewardesses. If stewardesses, in particular, have a BMI of 22–27, they are deemed as too overweight to fly.

It should come as no surprise that many airlines have an unspoken policy of its cabin crew maintaining a slim figure, and Air India have instituted weight limits ever since it began circulating height and weight charts for its flight attendants in the 80s. But it seems the airline has now taken its policy to the next level.

More than 20 per cent of its cabin crew, having not met the strict weight restrictions, have been permanently grounded or offered voluntary redundancy.

According to Air India sources: “Of ... 600 cabin staff, around 125 have failed to maintain the required Body Mass Index (BMI) or weight standards in the prescribed period. Now we have no option but to take them off permanently from flying duty.

“These employees have already availed 18 months time to meet the required BMI but failed to do so, leaving with us with no choice but to replace them.”

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has even issued guidelines which state that an overweight or obese person should not be able to continue as a flight attendant.

It is generally considered by ruling health bodies that a BMI of 18.5–24.99 is within a healthy weight range. Any reading over 25 is thought to be ‘overweight’, with readings of 30 and over considered obese.

Air India denies any notion that its guidelines are governed by aesthetics, claiming, “It’s a safety issue. The crew has to be fit to be able to carry out their in-flight duties, including emergencies.”

Read more at Washington Post
Read more at www.news.com.au

What do you think? Is this fair? Should the employment of airline cabin crew be regulated by their weight? Do you feel that the disparity between men and women with regards to Air India’s weight restrictions are sexist? Should their job be regulated based on the merits of doing the work required, or the weight of the person employed? Or would you be more concerned with their ability to handle an emergency situation over how they look?





    COMMENTS

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    Occasional Traveller
    17th Sep 2015
    10:23am
    Perhaps a less harsh alternative would be to charge for excess "baggage"
    leonYLC
    17th Sep 2015
    10:43am
    That gave me a chuckle Occasional Traveller – thanks!
    bebby
    17th Sep 2015
    1:53pm
    Occasional Traveller, i think that both boarding passengers AND their luggage should be weighed in on same scales, that may bring a bit of fairness into the equation. It would certainly bring a halt to the excess baggage.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:12pm
    Earlier in the year on a flight to Frankfurt my dear wife was unfortunate enough to be seated next to a huge (and I mean huge) man. The plane had no seats free so she was stuck. Literally.
    When we got off she was clearly quite unhappy and said that the guy was cooking temperature hot (not 'hot' hot!) was bulging over the seat and into hers and when he nodded off you can imagine what happened next.
    I smiled politely.
    The point of the above account is that attendants need to be slimmer to be able to freely move up and down the aisles. I mean sometimes there is foot traffic to the toilets coming the other way too.
    For the same reason grossly overweight travellers need to buy 2 seats (sorry!) attendants need to fit a weight profile.
    MILA
    17th Sep 2015
    10:48am
    This is one of their requirements besides being articulate, mult-lingual, polite, educated. Obesity is no fun and pretty unhealthy to say the least This rule should also apply to passengers....I wonder HOW some of them fit in the seats and, if you have them seated next to you for a long flight......well, leave it to your imagination.
    biddi
    17th Sep 2015
    11:47am
    Agree! My dread when flying is having some huge passenger pouring over me.
    Worse still, a kid behind you kicking your seat. :(
    Rae
    17th Sep 2015
    2:55pm
    Biddi if you have a child kicking your seat you fling your little plastic cup of water back over them then apologise profusely saying the seat kicking jarred your arm and you are so very very sorry and hope it never ever happens again.

    The airlines have created the problem by jamming passengers into smaller and smaller spaces. It is becoming very unpleasant to fly economy even on short haul flights. Then again the prices of flights are much cheaper now so more people can fly. I think you just have to know it is going to be very unpleasant for the duration and put up with it.
    biddi
    17th Sep 2015
    8:54pm
    Rae : hahaha yes, at least it's not for ever even though it feels like it at the time :)
    Hasbeen
    17th Sep 2015
    11:24am
    When will the lefties start to realise that businesses are not welfare agencies. No one has a right to a job, & a business is entitled to set standards employees must meet to first win a job, & then hold that job. It is up to the employee to maintain that standard, or look for other employment if they can't.

    I have noticed on a couple of flights on a local airline, some cabin crew can only just fit their backsides between the seats, in the ever narrowing aisles. I did wonder at the time, if they would be an asset, or a roadblock to passengers in an emergency.
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    11:35am
    Exactly Has been!! It's wise (not PC though) to make sure there are no fat people blocking ones route to the emergency exit.
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    1:42pm
    Guess Amanda Vanstone was lucky that you weren't on the LNP candidate selection committee.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:13pm
    Frank/Hasbeen. Trolls on steroids!
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    4:07pm
    Well, well, the two micks come to have a gloat like a pair of little cats bringing in a mouse. Enjoy your day in the sunshine, it wont last long :)
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    7:59pm
    Frank: post facts and the truth, not lies. I'll be your friend even if you are a government funded troll if you can put together an argument with facts rather than uncorroborated slurs.
    JAID
    17th Sep 2015
    11:29am
    Some here may have sufficient knowledge anatomically and physiologically to answer but I certainly don't. Airlines and Directorates of Aviation would have far better insights available to them than most of us here. It does seem to me that an airline should have the right to consider the cost of carrying excess weight around. Assuming there are health, security or cost implications then it simply needs to be understood that it is an occupation where only some fit. Not a sexist or 'obesist' decision at all.

    MILA I like (for myself) your suggestion...might give me some weight perfection impetus.

    17th Sep 2015
    12:02pm
    I definately agree that overweight stewards need to keep their weight at a safe level, they need to be a good weight to keep them fit, and able to help in an emergency. Space is so limited on planes .......
    Safety is the main issue. sal

    17th Sep 2015
    12:08pm
    I agree, it's their terms of employment, being a little thick around the middle myself I fully agree that my capabilities in an emergency would be less than desirable.
    bartpcb
    17th Sep 2015
    12:27pm
    It's a matter for the staff and the airline to solve. If the staff have a union then I'd suggest it gets off it's robust backside and listens to its memberships concerns and start negotiating. If the staff don't have a union then I'd suggest they form one. A business runs because of its staff, no staff, no business.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:14pm
    Careful. You'll get Frank started again.
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    4:13pm
    Negotiate about what? Who eats what and when? No business no job. If a business "runs" then why hire people who only want to walk?
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:00pm
    Should not have used the work "union" bartpcb. He's hereeeeeee......
    Nan Norma
    17th Sep 2015
    12:36pm
    I watched the program Air crash Investigation. I plane crashed for no apparent reason. The plane had taken on extra baggage at the last moment before takeoff but was still (just) within its safety weight limit. Investigation showed the plane was actually overweight because the weight of the passengers had been under estimated. When the plane's weight limit was first written the average passenger was less than it is today. New weight limits had to be written.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:17pm
    I have more than a little expertise here Nan. Sure weight is one part of the equation but the more critical part is HOW the weight is distributed in the hold. The centre of gravity has a range of where it can be. Too far forward and you cannot get the plane off the tarmac. Too far back and you'll never be able to get the plane down and it will almost certainly stall (bye bye!!).
    Whilst luggage is weighed passengers are not so there is a bit of guesswork in the luggage loading requirements.
    Lookfar
    17th Sep 2015
    12:40pm
    Plus each kilo requires nearly it's own weight in aviation fuel, 3 or 4 attendants each 20kg overweight means each flight has to use something like that extra fuel and fuel is a big if not the biggest cost for airlines
    shirboy
    17th Sep 2015
    12:46pm
    Overweight people usually have or will have a health issue. We expect & hope that pilots are regularly medically checked for their fitness levels & their capabilities.I think Air India is showing the world the way to operate an airline.
    Nan Norma
    17th Sep 2015
    1:09pm
    I recently had to wait in a hospital lobby for half an hour and was shocked by the number of overweight to obese nurses as they arrived for duty.
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    1:37pm
    Well I'd eat a lot too if I had to listen to patients whinge all day about little things.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:18pm
    Pilots are checked regularly. That does not mean that they cannot have a heart attack in the cockpit.
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    7:17pm
    will you stop that mick, you are going to scare someone
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:01pm
    That's why they have a co-pilot mango. A spare pilot!
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:03pm
    I fly a lot but have gotten used to it. I consider planes to be flying coffins but of course you are more likely to end you days at the wheel of your car.
    In the end if the Lord says the game is over then so be it. Only wish I could have run the downhill before I have to check out.....Chuckle.
    Janran
    21st Oct 2017
    2:37pm
    Nan Norma, I think you've identified part of the problem here. It's a known fact that shift workers (like nurses and flight attendants) have sleep problems and issues, which can often lead to weight gain.
    Perhaps the industries who employ shift workers should include free gym membership or other health programs, as part of the employment package?
    This might explain why, in these shiftwork industries, older employees tend to gain weight over time.
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    1:34pm
    Yeah,Bring sexy back .... Who wants to be marooned on a desert island with an over weight airline hostess in the event of a plane crash:-)
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:20pm
    How do you know you'll get the overweight one? If you're good looking enough you might actually get a looker. Is that sexist? Probably just hopeful. Chuckle........
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    6:36pm
    Because with my luck there will only be the two of us there.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:05pm
    That's when they normally cancel a flight. No worries mate!
    Janran
    21st Oct 2017
    2:26pm
    mangomick, I hope (if it happens) your flight attendants are all male and gay. They'll have a real party with you on that deserted island!
    Now, are you really sure you want to bring back sexy?
    mangomick
    21st Oct 2017
    3:11pm
    Janran
    I remember an old bloke at work once when some one showed him a magazine photo of a very attractive Thai boy girl and they asked him what would he do if he had something like that in the cot and then found out it came with tackle.With a glint in his eye he said "by the time I got that far ,it would be just too damn late

    17th Sep 2015
    2:09pm
    It has for quite some time annoyed me that my weight and the weight of my luggage is way below many others passengers and their luggage.

    From a safety point of view I think passengers plus luggage weight should be taken into account.

    Two airlines I know do this; Samoa Air and Uzbekistan Airways.

    If it is in the rule book that airline employees be a certain weight they should adhere to it. I know when my sister was with Ansett in the 60's she had to keep hers under control and they used to have a weigh in.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    2:21pm
    Good post. I can fully understand why Samoa Air would do this. Have you seen the size of some Samoans?
    bebby
    17th Sep 2015
    3:15pm
    My point exactly. Passengers and luggage weighed at one time. Set a weight limit.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    5:58pm
    Earlier this year on our way from the US to Europe I asked the Lufthansa check-in girl if I could jump on the scales after she had weighed out bag. She gave me the strangest of looks and then said ok (I wanted to see how much weight I had lost after a skiing jaunt). The crown waiting to check in behind me just cracked up. Really funny. My wife was, as usual, embarrassed.
    The point of the story is that it might be amusing getting some folk on the scales. Of course obese people would be quite offended as they would take it personally I imagine.
    Should happen.
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    6:08pm
    Yes Shorten has a lot of baggage. Amazing you didn't get tagged!
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:06pm
    You missed 'unions' Frank. Only 5 out of 10 from troll school today.
    Fred Nuckle
    17th Sep 2015
    3:03pm
    BMI is such a bullshit measure. My BMI is 32, yet solid muscle build 108 Kgs with light fat cover. Work hard and still shear sheep occasionally. No handles, no gut.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    5:59pm
    No bull....or is that wool.
    Espera
    17th Sep 2015
    7:11pm
    I Agree that BMI does not reflect fitness level. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger with a BMI of 30 or 32. I would hope the airlines provide gym or other fitness programs for their staff. Those ladies who have a BMI of 25 are normal, but do the airlines think their fitness levels will increase merely by shedding 3or 4 kg?
    Ruby
    17th Sep 2015
    3:15pm
    Way back in the fifties there were strict height/weight requirements for ''air Hostesses"'
    employed by South African Airways.
    Blossom
    17th Sep 2015
    4:19pm
    Some calculations of BMI are a joke. I know a lass who is tall and if anything she is skinny, yet when her BMI was calculated she was told she was overweight, teetering on obese.
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    4:21pm
    It can also be a simple question of math. When I carry a few passengers in my car I check their weight to make sure I'm not about to break any laws. If full, and all passengers average 75kg then I can drive with confidence. Wether that makes them fat or not is not for me to say, I just don't want to exceed the GVM.
    Adrianus
    17th Sep 2015
    4:41pm
    I did make the mistake when I was young of not balancing the load in my car on a long journey at night. Most oncoming vehicles were flashing me with their high beam. I had the mother in law and her two sisters squeezed into the back putting enormous pressure on the back springs. It must have raised my headlight beams.
    mangomick
    17th Sep 2015
    6:33pm
    That's a little bit excessive compulsive Frank. How many times exactly have you been stopped to have your GVM checked?
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    8:10pm
    Not since he had Amanda Vanstone and Clive Palmer in the back methinks. Where's a copper when you need one?
    Anonymous
    18th Sep 2015
    2:54pm
    The mental image you conjured up there Mick was quite confronting ;)

    17th Sep 2015
    4:26pm
    Pity both the passenger and whoever seated next to him/her


    https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRMTU6pKK54MBFFP3IcLxtGt1ig_s8bWCS3M4Z5psy2bpP0CeY6

    17th Sep 2015
    4:30pm
    When I flew to Darwin recently hubby and I both commented that the head hostie on our flight would have been past 65 years of age. Or I should say she looked it. Maybe they do not have a retirement age now.
    Anonymous
    17th Sep 2015
    4:36pm
    Just read that the oldest flight attended was in America and she was 83...she does not fly much it said.

    The mind boggles...
    Rae
    17th Sep 2015
    5:07pm
    The US has nowhere near the ageism we have in Australia. Plenty of older workers are to be found in almost all work places.
    MICK
    17th Sep 2015
    7:49pm
    Was she from American Airlines Radish? I think I know the hostie. The one who attacked a passenger for not turning off his tablet fast enough and some other person for who knows what. It was a well behaved flight which footballers of every code should be on.
    Anonymous
    18th Sep 2015
    5:38pm
    I dont know Mick but I read today the oldest male dattendant was 90. That was last year..and .he was still flying. At that age you could be here today and gone tomorrow and I do not think from a safety point of view he should be flying at all.
    Cat
    17th Sep 2015
    8:26pm
    I have two relatives who were in the armed forces, and apparently the armed forces have this height/weight rule too, and it also relates to their ability to do their job. While at my local grocer today, I could not continue to walk down the isle and had to turn back because a person in the isle was so overweight I could not get past. If you had overweight airline like this, it could create a calamity or might be hazardous.
    Anonymous
    18th Sep 2015
    5:36pm
    Cat this is a common occurrence at our local shopping centre. Many times hubby and I have had to back up because of overweight people blocking the aisle. The aisles have become bigger but they still do not accommodate people if they are overweight, side by side with their trolleys.
    Spitfire
    18th Sep 2015
    8:00am
    I fully support the airlines position, what the general public are unaware of is cabin crew are provided primarily as safety officers to ensure passenger health and safety is provided throughout the flight including emergency situations. Cabin crew fitness is essential especially when conducting an emergency evacuation of the cabin, a prime example would be the recent BA 777 on fire at Las Vegas just before take-off. All airlines should have this policy in fact it should be recommended to ICAO who set the recommended standards of conformance for contracting the states.
    Franky
    18th Sep 2015
    12:43pm
    Have to agree with Air India on this one!
    Franky
    18th Sep 2015
    12:43pm
    Have to agree with Air India on this one!
    Anonymous
    21st Sep 2015
    9:12am
    Agree with Air India, has anyone tried squeezing past an overweight attendant pushing a trolley down the aisle of a plane when you want to go to the toilet?
    Have a problem too with overweight policemen/women.
    BB1
    22nd Sep 2015
    11:36am
    According to the TV last night it is not the Flight attendants who are too fat to fly, it is us the "normal" people. They work out the weight for each of us at about 70kilos whereas the average is about 75kilos or something like that.
    I know I am no where near either of the weights. It is about time the Airlines get real in working out the 'average' weight.

    26th Jan 2017
    11:47am
    I agree with the airlines on this one.
    Alan
    21st Apr 2018
    12:32pm
    BMI while a good indicator of being overweight it does not consider the distribution between fat which is light and muscle which is comparatively heavy. I have a BMI slightly above 25 but I am not overweight as I undertake regular intensive exercise (six days a week) at my local gym, work in my rather large garden and in the past few years being able to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro (almost 6,000 metres) and Everest Base Camp and some of the surrounding hills (5,600 metres or thereabouts. I am in my late sixties so pure BMI can be a poor indicator of being overweight.