How one Thai budget carrier keeps its flight attendants young and hot

How one Thai budget carrier keeps its flight attendants young and hot

It's all about marketing, not sexism, says Nok Air’s colorful CEO

Nok Air CEONok Air CEO Patee Sarasin said the airline's flight attendants are both beautiful and nice. (File photo)“I get older, they stay the same age.” 

That of course is a classic line by Wooderson, Matthew McConaughey’s smooth-talking character in “Dazed and Confused,” referring to high school girls. But it could very well refer to Thailand’s flight attendants too. 

A report in today’s Bangkok Post looks at how budget carrier Nok Airlines is among a growing number of regional airlines that are only hiring young flight attendants on short contracts while replacing older cabin crew to rejuvenate brand image and appeal to passengers. 

According to the report, Nok Air said applicants should not be over the age of 25, while 24 is the maximum at Taiwan's EVA Air and Thai Smile Air, a regional subsidiary of Thai Airways set to start flying next year. 

"This has nothing to do with sexist attitudes, but rather marketing," said Patee Sarasin, Nok Air's chief executive, in the article. 

Nok reportedly gives its flight attendeants a three-year employment term, with three-year extensions on a case-by-case basis if they prove able to sustain their work standard and looks.

"Pretty girls who are not very nice due to maybe big egos and ugly ones who may have beautiful characters can become Nok Air cabin attendants," said Patee. "What we do is combine the best of the two -- beautiful girls with nice personalities.”

Pattee is known for his seemingly unfiltered comments. Following the election of Thailand’s first female prime minister in July, he raised eyebrows in Sydney by saying “compared to your prime minister, [Yingluck Shinawatra] is much better looking."

Click here to read the full Bangkok Post article, which also includes figures from Nok Air's recent recruitment drive.