Skip to comments.Fly the Friendly -- and Beautiful--Skies
Posted on 11/27/2007 7:27:19 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
(BEIJING) -- Fly on a Chinese airline and you will be pampered by flight attendants who look eerily alike. They are young, beautiful and practically the same height.
This is not a coffee-tea-or-me stereotype, but the result of a rigorous selection process that is more beauty pageant than equal-opportunity job interview.
If you're older than 24, don't bother applying.
If you aren't taller than the average Chinese woman, go home.
And if your legs are similar to tree trunks, don't call.
Sound like a throwback to the dark ages of workplace discrimination?
Here, in the world's fastest-growing aviation market, entry barriers for flight attendants are not only tolerated -- they're flaunted as symbols of excellence.
"A lot of Chinese passengers judge the quality of airlines based on the quality of their flight attendants, meaning, 'Are they pretty or not pretty?'" said Luo Man, a media director at China Southern, the country's largest carrier.
Good looks are such a commodity these days that China Southern has put its annual recruitment drive on reality TV. While men are not excluded from the jobs, only women are featured in the on-television selection process. The show, funded in part by the airline, follows a six-month audition -- complete with swimsuit competition and a race involving luggage, makeup brushes and drink trays -- through several major Chinese cities. Thousands of young women line up for the chance to compete for 180 openings.
China Southern's Web site for the show, which provides news on the auditions, has had more than 1 million hits.
"This is every little girl's dream," said Lu Ju, 20, who has flown three times in her life. "I want to be beautiful like the flight attendants. They can see the world and go places most people can't."......
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
Thousands of women all young, beautiful and practically the same height have applied for 180 openings for flight attendants at China Southern Airlines. The selection process is much more old-fashioned beauty pageant than equal-opportunity job interview. Prospects must be no older than 24, have nice legs and be taller than average. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
China Southern Airlines puts its annual flight attendant recruitment drives on TV. The show follows a six-month audition through several major Chinese cities. Thousands of women show up for the chance to compete. During a recent taping at a resort on the outskirts of Beijing, the contestants lined up with military precision, each wearing tight shorts and snug T-shirts. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Two young women chat during the auditions, which include a swimsuit competition and a race involving luggage, makeup brushes and drinks trays. Demand for new flight attendants is so great it has spawned a cottage industry of academies to produce cabin crews. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Fu Rao, 18, center, helps a friend with her makeup duing the competition. She believes youth and inexperience can work to her advantage if she's hired. There are a lot of passengers who are also flying for the first time we are in the same boat and therefore better able to put them at ease, she said. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Fu Rao is overcome with emotion after finding out that she avoided elimination from the auditions. The vast majority of aspiring flight attendants didn't make the cut. Judges were looking not just at their appearance, but also how they responded to disappointment and unexpected situations and how well they worked in team situations. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Some of the aspiring flight attendants practice before a competition. China Southern officials defend the emphasis on youth and beauty. A lot of Chinese passengers judge the quality of airlines based on the quality of their flight attendants, meaning are they pretty or not pretty, said Luo Man, a media director for the airline. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Two young women compete in the drinks tray-carrying contest. They shifted from shorts and T-shirts to the buttoned-down blouse, pencil skirt and black heels of a flight attendant. Back before the cameras as the clock ticked, they threw on rouge and eye shadow and touched up their hair in front of tiny hand-held mirrors, then grabbed trays of drinks to present to the judges. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
The Chinese flight attendants are very beautiful and poised. Harkens back to an earlier time in the US aviation industry.
Hillary will be sad she has no Chinese fall back job.
Obviously, the beauty must be in the eye of the beholder.
Flew from Fuyong to Beijing on China Air.
Unacceptable seats. Pitch was maybe 27 inches and width 15 inches. I’m 6 foot tall, 210 pounds. I didn’t fit. I’m not a gigantic lardass...15 pounds over...sure...not a giant sloth.
Shiznitty airlines. Don’t fly China Air for any reason. The rest of the asian airlines are fantastic...Asiana is a class act. China Air...GARBAGE!
I've flown China Air once...Honolulu to Hong Kong and back.Don't recall it having been particularly bad but it was only after I returned that I learned of their abysmal safety record.
Most of the Asian airlines are like that. JAL and ANA have the same sort of rules.
One of the reasons I quit flying domestically and commercially in 1992.
“Me lovey long time!”
Sure beats the bitter old cows Northwest hauls around.
My experiences were completely different. My wife and I recently flew from LAX to Asia and back on China Airlines, and were treated very well. Food and service were excellent. That was the second time I have flown on China Air, and we would fly them again in the future.
Can you though? LOL!
All the domestic Chinese carriers are tight for the laowai (westerners). I’m 6’1”, 280 pounds, wear a size 56 jacket (and a size 38 pant - I’m all chest). Nothing in economy fits, so the key is to fly first class - it’s usually just another 300 RMB, or if you’re smart show up about 30 minutes before your flight, and if the flight is pretty much full you’ll get a free upgrade to the first class seats.
If I am stuck in economy, it’s not that bad... Thankfully the longest flight from Shanghai is about 2 hours, down to Shenzhen. But most of what’s in China doesn’t fit bigger Western guys.
On the other hand, it’s really cheap to get custom made suits, shoes, and furniture (I pay 800 RMB per suit and shirt, and 300 RMB for leather shoes). I have 5 tailored suits, 10 shirts, even tailored jeans and khakis. Had a custom bed made for my apartment in Shanghai, and an oversized chair for the living room. Quite nice, if you can do it!
Oh, the fun of living in a country where the average person is literally half your size...
What a scandal. I'd just hate to fly an airline with gorgeous, polite stewardesses.
I used to llike buying Hong Kong made suits, even in a second hand store. Superb workmanship. I took a suit into my tailor for alterations and the lady went on and on about the hand stitching, how she'd never seen such craftmanship.