Cathay Pacific’s Flight Attendant Union (FAU) seems to think their flight attendant uniforms are too sexy, and is asking Cathay Pacific to redesign them. For what it’s worth, this is the same union that threatened to withhold smiles in 2012 during contract negotiations.
Cathay Pacific flight attendants are asking the airline to redesign its uniforms for women, which they say are too revealing and may provoke sexual harassment.
The union representing cabin crew complains that the blouses are too short, showing off flesh when the attendants bend down to get items out of a food trolley.
The Flight Attendants Union (FAU) also says the skirts of the uniforms, introduced in 2011, are too tight-fitting, but says management has so far rejected its pleas for a modesty makeover.
So at first this article caught me by surprise, since I’ve always thought that Cathay Pacific has some of the most “modest” uniforms out there. I actually think Cathay Pacific’s uniforms show some of the least “skin” of any airline out there. The tops might as well be turtlenecks, based on how far up they go, while the skirts are fairly long. Heck, I think US airline flight attendants show more skin.
That being said, I can see how they could be too tight, and how they could be a bit “exposing” when bending down. And that can certainly be a problem.
The union seems to be linking the uniforms to a rise in sexual harassment among flight attendants:
Choi said she believed the too-revealing uniforms were contributing to an apparent rise in incidents of sexual harassment of cabin crew by passengers, which she now estimates to affect each cabin crew member on one in every 10 flights.
Asked why she thought cases of sexual harassment seemed so prevalent, she said: “I think part of the reason is that we treat our passengers so well. They are spoilt in some ways.
“Some of the Marco Polo Club [frequent flier] members think they can do things to us because they are privileged and we somehow allow it. That is very bad.
“They think it is part of their privilege … Afterwards, they believe they can apologise and everything is settled.”
Choi added: “When you report it to the flight manager, they always say it is the crew member’s decision whether or not to call the police. They tell you, ‘It’s your decision. Do you want to delay the flight by calling the police?’
I think if anything the problem is that Cathay Pacific needs to have clearer guidelines for reporting sexual harassment, and not “guilting” the flight attendants into tolerating it, which sounds like the case.
I’m also kind of surprised that the issue is with Marco Polo members. My female flight attendant friends in Asia have all told me they’ve experienced much more sexual harassment in economy, where space is much more “limited” and less frequent travelers don’t have quite as many boundaries.
Regardless, the comments on the South China Morning Post article are fascinating.
Like this one, suggesting Cathay Pacific is provoking men to rape flight attendants because the uniforms are red:
I’d like to send my message to Cathay Pacific company!!! It’s VERY IMPORTANT!!
Actually fashion designer Eddie Lau, make fatal MISTAKE! There is NO problem that “blouses are ‘too short’ and skirts ‘too tight’ .. If Eddie Lau know psychology – she will NEVER create Uniform in RED COLOR!
Because “Lady in RED” is only GOOD for romantic song.. : ) …but RED COLOR in general produce AGGRESSION, and when woman in RED it’s provoke men to RAPE her !!!
Cathay Pacific – you MUST to change this RED UNIFORM immediately to something Blue, Green, or any other color from 16 millions of them
Or this one, suggesting the captain should charge down the aisle and “slap the hand of the offender” if there’s any sexual harassment… because that’s the only way we can really instill confidence in the flight’s safety:
As a long time flyer of CPA, I am appalled to find out that in cases of harassment the flight’s Captain doesn’t charge down the aisle and slaps the hand of the offender ! I thought he was The undisputed authority on board. that is not good news for safety confidence on board.
Or this one, suggesting Cathay Pacific should hire “older uglier women for cabin crew:”
Cathay Pacific should hire older uglier women for cabin crew especially for the business and 1st class to avoid sexual exploitation by the Marco Polo perverts who think they have a right touch here and there. These perverts should go to Wan Chai or to Manila.
Gotta love the internet…
What do you think? Are the uniforms leading to sexual harassment, a lack of clear boundaries on how to respond to sexual harassment, or something else?