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Turkish Airlines grounds 'fat' flight attendants

by Robeel Haq on Aug 9, 2010

Turkish Airlines has placed 28 flight attendants on unpaid leave for being overweight, according to a newspaper report.

The employees have been ordered to lose weight over the next six months or risk a reassignment, stated the daily Haber Turk newspaper, citing a statement from the state-run carrier.

The move follows a series of previous warning to the flight attendants.

"Weight and height are important factors at all airlines. These criteria are important both in terms of appearance and the ability to move about," the statement said.

Izzet Levi, head of a cabin attendants' association who was among those furloughed, told Haber Turk he must drop 10 kilos (22 pounds) to reach 96 kilos if he is to return to his post.

“It’s not uncommon. But it would never happen in America, where you are forbidden to discriminate against someone because of their weight,” Oussama Salah, an aviation expert based in Abu Dhabi told The Media Line. “Air Arabia has a list of what your weighs has to be in relation to your height. Flight attendants were given three months to get in shape, after that they will be grounded. The cabin crew knew about it as it’s part of your employment contract and you need to follow it. But it’s individual and not the same across the board.”

Related article - Russian airline blasted for 'too sexy' commercial


@you can't know what someone's ratio is just based on weight alone. 230 pounds isn't outrageous for a tall man with a m


Readers' Comments

Lala (Aug 16, 2010)

stupid generalizations
@you can't know what someone's ratio is just based on weight alone. 230 pounds isn't outrageous for a tall man with a muscular build, it doesn't necessarily = "fat". @Cedric, there is a SIMPLE way to end this kind of ridiculous discrimination, and that's to have a yearly performance test to be sure people can properly do their jobs. That is -- if safety is REALLY the concern. If it's about looks, that would obviously not work, and my spidey-senses tell me that's just what it IS about.

Tim (Aug 14, 2010)
"fat" cabin crew
@ cedric: it seems you didn?t get the sense of my comparison. which i don?t like to intensify now. just fact is that operating emergency procedures is a matter of brain - not of weight cedric. anything else just goes down with "appearance". what makes an airline?s character is the variety of people they employ - regardless of weight, hair-colour, brown or white skin. and i?m rigorous against any discrimination in any of those facts. the only thing for me counting is to have 1. a safe flight and 2. friendly staff around me... on nothing else than character i judge people! i feel sorry for you if you may see that different and therefor support such action!

Cedric (Aug 12, 2010)
United Arab Emirates

@ Tim/
Dear Tim, Thin & Slim (and therefore potential weak) is just as bad as Overweight, I am writing about the job requirement for being Fit & Healthy! I have not invented anything for my "essay", have a look at this link , specially the third paragraph, the author might be more clear or convincing than me.

Tim (Aug 10, 2010)
"fat" cabin crew
@ cedric: dear cedric, i really don?t get the coherence between overweight and handling safety procedures. nice essay you dropped here - but the facts are poor. as an opposite view i like to see a slim and thin fragile lady or gentleman who needs to open a 747-door or even a 737-door with no assist-mode!! nice try - but doesn?t convince me. overweight or fitness has nothing to do with safety. that?s all about knowing procedures and being able to put them into practice. either "fat" or thin - both can do it. so your statement was not really on a good basement. maybe you work for an airline where grooming goes before safety. as a customer i rather prefer the way around!

Drew (Aug 10, 2010)
I'm glad the fatsoes are experiencing discrimination
It's only legal to discriminate in America if you're gay & want to get married to your partner. I know the Jesus freaks will start posting their bible claptrap in response to this. Why do they conveniently forget the verse about gluttony being a sin in the bible too?

Cedric (Aug 10, 2010)
United Arab Emirates

Flight Attendants = safety & fitness first!
The first and primary responsibility of cabin crews is to save our lives in case of an emergency. The basic scenario would be an emergency landing where the crew has to evacuate over 300 passengers in seconds while controlling panic amongst passengers and getting them down slides or onto life rafts... Now, will an overweight person physically handle that to the best of her/his ability? The height/weight ratio has never been about "good looks", that is what grooming training is for; the minimum height is to ensure crew can reach all safety equipments or operate a door, and the ratio is the simplest way to indicate a minimum level of fitness to cope with the tiring hours, the jetlag, the pressurized and dry cabin enviroment amongst other things. This height/weight ratio has always been in every airline job offers, contracts and induction program because of the safety requirements, people joining the cabin crew fraternity around the world are well aware of it before joining and they should not forget it if they remain passionate about their profession. Being overweight is a danger to one's health and when your job is to look after other people, then staying fit is a responsibility.

Tim (Aug 10, 2010)
"fat" cabin crew
turkish airlines - unbelievable! another airline i won?t fly anymore. this is discrimination in it?s highest level. weight has absolutely nothing to do with delivering customer-service. if an airline "doesn?t like what they see" in their employees, it?s on them to provide the necessary support. we all know that the lifestyle of a cabin crew is not easy due to many unusual circumstances. getting "fat" is only one result out of it. what abt all the other concomitants? like higher rate of sickness? psychic pressure? do they wanna discriminate further and ground another few employees for those reasons too? TURKISH AIRLINES - HOW CHEAP IS THIS??!!

wtf?! (Aug 10, 2010)
96 kilos
Seriously, the dude is 106 kilos (230 lbs). That's like carrying an extra overweight suitcase in his gut. Not to mention that he probably can't fit down the aisles. Sensational story, but when you pay attention to the detail, it makes sense.

Andrea (Aug 9, 2010) Spain

Fat flightj attendants grounded
I think this is insulting, lots of people are being discriminated in our society because of their weight, at school, at work, with other people, and now we're (again) going too far with this trend of being as slim as you can.I've flown lots of times and I've seen attendants who weren't thin and they were treating passengers better than other attendants that were "good-looking". We will never learn that appearance is not as important as we think it is and that's a shame. My mum used to say that "you won't live from beauty" but I must say that this is not true anymore.


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