Are Flight Attendants Guardians of Virtue?
These flight attendants who are blowing the whistle on “skimpy” outfits, such as the Alaskan Airlines flight attendant Monica Humphries writes about in Insider: are they faithful servants just exercising airline policy, or officious nuisances?
On support of the faithful servant argument, most airline employees are really very nice and try hard to serve the public, unless they are just overwhelmed with customers — and under those circumstances, who wouldn’t be a bit short. The job of a flight attendant can be very tough, and I, for one, am willing to cut them some slack.
What Flight Attendants Have to Deal With
And then they have to deal with customers who are not just falling out of their bras, but with customers who are mean and violent. We have recently seen this story of the violent idiot on Frontier Airlines whom staff had to duct-tape to his seat! And then the airline briefly suspended these faithful servants! What could Frontier have been thinking! Happily, this suspension has now been reversed, and Frontier should be giving them checks for $10,000.
The Obnoxious Side of Flight Attendants
But then the coin flips and we’re looking at the officious nuisance side. Everything about the female flight attendants shouts “demure” (until they get drunk in their rooms). The tidy footwear, the colorful scarves — this could all be out of Good Housekeeping for 1954.
We understand that the airlines don’t want cabin staff to be turned into sex objects or to compete with the female passengers. But still: is there something about the entire “safety” training (they’re going to help us if the plane explodes?) that makes cabin staff judgmental and censorious? “You there! We can see your navel!”
Guardians of Virtue
The airlines have created a training system that turns normally tidy young women into guardians of virtue. The airlines believe that standards must be enforced so that nobody from Nebraska will feel offended. But the young woman in this news story who felt humiliated by aggressive and self-righteous staff: Is she chopped liver?
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