Spring Airlines, based in China, probably thought they had a fun promotion on their hands: Dress the flight attendants in themed costumes to liven up the flights from Shanghai. Their first idea, posted on the Facebook page? Classic, and maybe short-skirted, maid costumes. Folks like to feel that they're getting good service, right?
Indeed, from various reports published in the past months, it seems that the bad ol’ days of “Coffee Tea or Me” for flight attendants might be making a comeback. Both Ryanair and Thailand-based Nok airlines have been dinged recently for selling calendars featuring flight attendants (or models posing as flight attendants) in skimpy outfits, while Vietnam’s VietJet Air actually staged a beauty contest down the aisle of an aloft flight last year, to celebrate a new route. (In that case, at least the bathing-suit-clad contestants weren’t crew members.)
For Spring Airlines, the frilly-skirted maid joke clearly fell flat. Some bloggers and Twitter usershave taken the airline to task—for objectifying the crew members, certainly, and perhaps even for putting their onboard safety at risk, due to those teeter-y heels. The airline responded by posting on Facebook that “We'll never objectify any of our staff; in fact this idea came from our international crew of qualified Chinese, Japanese and Thailand cabin staff.”
Duly noted. We checked out Spring’s Facebook page and saw a little more of the outrage ourselves—mixed with some, shall we say, supportive and equally questionable suggestions. One user chimed in that, really, it’s “impossible to go wrong with the classic schoolgirl outfit.” Thanks, sir.
Not to be a buzz-kill, but we might prefer to let flight attendants just do their jobs in normal uniforms. Aside from that, we preferred the other Facebook fans’ suggestions of Nintendo or Star Wars characters. After all, who wouldn’t want C-3PO fixing them a bloody mary in the aisle—and who would argue with Chewbacca about putting away their phone?
On the other end of the spectrum, at least one airline is trying to tamp down any saucy vibes from, or toward, its flight attendants. According to a report in Australia’s The Age, Turkish Airlines has banned its attendants from wearing red lipstick, defending their rule as such: "simple make-up, immaculate and in pastel colors, is preferred for staff working in the service sector." Recently, the airline had also toyed with having attendants wear ankle-length dresses and fez-style caps.