Social media users have criticized Chinese airline Hainan Airlines after it emerged that the company has implemented new dietary and weight restrictions for flight attendants that might result in crew members being grounded if they exceed their ‘allowed’ weight by more than 10%.
In its most recent grooming instructions, announced earlier this month, Hainan Airlines instructed flight attendants to adhere to a Body Mass Index (BMI) restriction that is based on a flight attendant’s height and weight.
Body Mass Index and other weight monitoring methods are criticized for failing to take into account muscle mass, which is heavier than fat and can skew the results.
Hainan Airlines is not just dealing with a social media backlash over the new policy, but official media in China has also questioned the carrier about potential employment law violations.
State-run publication According to a report in the Global Times, the airline allegedly informed its flight attendants that the new regulations were “based on the significance of maintaining a professional image” and that “Hainan Airlines should serve as a captivating business card to the outside world.”