This International Airlines Starts Firing 'Overweight' Flight Attendants


Rohit Kulkarni

Rohit Kulkarni

Jun 21, 2023


One of China’s major airlines, Hainan Airlines, has faced the flak of a public outcry on social media after implementing a new policy that imposes weight restrictions on its flight attendants. 

This International Airlines Starts Firing 'Overweight' Flight Attendants

But what is this policy than everyone is raising their voices for?

The new policy by the Airline says that any flight attendant whose weight exceeds a specific “standard limit” by 10 percent would be immediately grounded.

Hainan Airlines issued guidelines on professional image screening and control to its cabin crew, which included requirements for body size and weight control standards for female flight attendants at different levels.

Airlines’ Weight Policies

According to the policy, female flight attendants are subject to a standard weight calculation formula: “height (cm) -110 = standard weight (kg).” Those found to exceed the “standard weight” would be categorized and managed by the company, as reported by the Global Times. Flight attendants who are less than 5 percent overweight would be monitored on a monthly basis to prevent weight gain. After one month of monitoring, they would undergo a face-to-face review, on-site weighing, and a group evaluation, according to the company’s statement. However, female flight attendants who are 10 percent overweight would be immediately grounded, and a team of flight attendants would assist them in formulating weight reduction plans and supervising their progress.

The policy has faced backlash, with one civil aviation employee calling it unprecedented in the domestic aviation industry. A legal expert expressed concerns about the airline’s regulation, suggesting that it imposes additional labour obligations on employees without following proper legal procedures, raising questions about its legality.

Criticism & Its Justification

Chinese social media users criticized the policy, emphasizing that weight should not take precedence over professional knowledge. Many emphasized the physically demanding nature of the flight attendant job, highlighting the importance of strength and stamina, especially in emergency situations where attendants are responsible for passenger safety, as reported by CNN.

In response to the criticism, the airline stated that the measure should not be interpreted as a simple criterion for suspending a flight attendant, clarifying that it applies to all flight attendants regardless of gender. The airline justified the policy, explaining that it is based on standard human body weight reference and aims to promote healthy living habits, maintain a professional image, and ensure a healthy physique among the crew. The intention, according to the airline, is to proactively advocate for these goals rather than waiting for significant changes in individual crew members’ physiques that could affect safety and service work.


Rohit Kulkarni
Rohit Kulkarni
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