“We have had our salary lowered due to our clothing size.”

Cabin crew of the Russian airline Aeroflot
Credit: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

Representatives of Russia’s flag-carrying airline Aeroflot are firmly backing a new policy which states that not only should female flight attendants be thin, but that they should also face penalties if they are deemed “overweight.”

The issue came to light after two flight attendants, Evgeniya V. Magurina and Irina N. Ierusalimskaya, filed two separate lawsuits over a 2016 decision to enforce weight guidelines for those working in the airline’s cabins.

Aeroflot flight attendant Yevgenia Magurina in Moscow court
Credit: Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images

According to New York Magazine, Aeroflot’s policy states that female cabin crew members need to remain under a size 48 (size 14 in the U.S.), however men are allowed to remain a bit larger.

“We have had our salary lowered due to our clothing size. We are allowed to fly, but our salary is lowered,” said Magurina.

Both women lost their initial individual lawsuits, though they each announced they plan to appeal. However, economist Nikita A. Krichevskiy and journalist Pavel V. Danilin, members of the Aeroflot Public Council who are not paid spokespeople, said they have no plans to back down on the new guidelines.

“I don’t understand why the requirement of wearing size 42-48 is considered so unworkable,” Krichevskiy said in a press conference. “I myself used to weigh 103kg, and now I weigh 80kg. I just corrected my eating habits and lost weight. I don’t understand why the request to be a particular size is unrealistic.”

Krichevskiy and Danilin additionally noted that since Aeroflot was striving to join the ranks of the top 10 airlines in the world, the appearance of the cabin staff was of the utmost importance because customers allegedly prefer pretty flight attendants, The New York Times reported. They also claimed that heavier flight attendants could present a danger in an emergency situation.

For its part, Aeroflot quickly attempted to distance itself from the court hearings and Krichevskiy and P. Danilin’s remarks. The airline issued a statement noting that the opinions of its unpaid council members do not necessarily represent the views of Aeroflot.

“N. Krichevskiy and P. Danilin were expressing their personal opinions. They are public figures and on their own initiative expressed the desire to take part in today’s press conference,” the statement read. “Aeroflot’s position was set out in the Court, which rejected the claims brought by Magurina and Ierusalimskaya against Aeroflot.”

Though no U.S.-based carriers require flight attendants to adhere to weight limits, they do request that flight attendants always appear at their best. As CabinCrewHQ.com reported, American Airlines, the largest airline fleet in the world, states that flight attendants must “present a professional image at all times,” which includes no visible tattoos, piercings, and no extreme hair colors.