Asiana Airlines' cabin crews say 'no' to skirts

Asiana Airlines' cabin crews say 'no' to skirts

Don't call them "trolley dollies" -- Asiana's female crew want to scrap outdated, sexist regulations on uniforms and more
A staple look for Asiana Airlines, but flight attendants are seeking to change this into a more modern, yet equally appealing uniform.

Asiana Airlines is famous for its impeccable cabin staff service. In fact, it won the World's Best Cabin Staff Award at the 2011 World Airline Awards.

However, at least some of the female cabin staff are not happy about one thing -- the uniform.

The Asiana flight attendants' union is looking into filing a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission for outdated restrictions regarding uniforms and appearances.

Some of the rules -- for women -- include:

  • No pants. Only skirts. 
  • No glasses when wearing a uniform. 
  • No more than two bobby pins.
  • Manicured nails at all times. 

"There are many cases when we have to stand up and sit down in front of our passengers which makes it not only uncomfortable, but sometimes dangerous," an Asiana flight attendant, who declined to reveal her name, told CNNGo.

"I hate wearing manicures all the time. They make my nails weaker and they break," said another. 

For Kweon Soo-jeong, head of the union and a veteran flight attendant, it's not simply about asking for comfortable pants. It's about the safety of passengers and flight attendants, and about their right to choose. 

"We understand that we have a certain image to pursue, but we believe that the most important function of our uniform is to assist our passengers," Kweon said in a phone interview.

"We are not arguing to get rid of skirts altogether, but to give us the chance to choose and update outdated regulations," she said. 

Korean Air, another local carrier, introduced pants when a simliar outcry arose in 2005. 

More on CNNGo: China sets amusing rules on Shanghai-Beijing bullet train attendants

According to an Asiana Airlines representative, the airline has no plans to scrap skirts any time soon.

"The uniform was designed based on hanbok, Korean traditional dress -- women didn't wear pants traditionally when they wore hanbok," Min Man-ki of Asiana Airlines told CNNGo.

"The regulations are simply guidlines that should be followed when wearing our uniform. The flight attendants won't be punished or [debarred] from promotion if they don't. I mean, (we) cannot expect flight attendants to wear track suits and sneakers just for safety," he added. 

Of course, that would be so wrong. 

Wouldn't it? 

Rachel Sang-hee Han is a freelance writer for CNN Travel. 

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