Hainan Airlines, a Chinese airline, has come under criticism from social media users when it was discovered that the company had instituted stricter diet and weight restrictions for flight attendants, with the possibility of crew members being grounded if they go over their “acceptable” weight by more than 10%.
A form of Body Mass Index (BMI) limit based on a flight attendant’s height and weight was mandated by Hainan Airlines in its most recent grooming guidelines, which were published earlier this month.
According to the media outlet Global Times, the calculation the airline uses to determine the allowable weight is “height (in cm) – 110 = standard weight (in kg).” For instance, a flight attendant must maintain a weight limit of 48kg if she is 158 cm tall, which is the average height for adult Chinese women.
Flight attendants who weigh less than 5% over that level will have their weight checked monthly and be subject to a review, while those who weigh more than 10% over the standard will be immediately suspended and placed on a “weight-reduction plan” under the company’s supervision.
In a statement, a representative for Hainan Airlines defended the new rule, claiming it applied equally to both male and female cabin workers. “This is intended to advocate healthy living habits and maintain a good professional image and healthy physique by anchoring the reference target, rather than passively waiting for individual crew members’ physiques to significantly change and then affect safety service work,” the airline said.