Fresh faces in the sky
For China's fast-growing airline industry, the screening process for flight attendants is more beauty pageant than job interview. If you can't handle a swimsuit competition, don't even try.
BEIJING -- Fly on a Chinese airline and you will be pampered by flight attendants who ... are young, beautiful and practically the same height.
"A lot of Chinese passengers judge the quality of airlines based on the quality of their flight attendants, meaning are they pretty or not pretty," said Luo Man, a media director at China Southern, the country's largest carrier.
China Southern has put its annual recruitment drive on TV.
The show, funded in part by the airline, follows a six-month audition -- complete with swimsuit competition and a race involving luggage, makeup brushes and drink trays.
"This is every little girl's dream," said Lu Ju, 20.
Veda Shook is not amused by the focus on looks and youth.
"I find it very offensive," said Shook, international vice president for the Assn. of Flight Attendants, the world's largest labor union for cabin crew members, representing more than 55,000 employees at 20 U.S. airlines. "When a carrier views their selection process as a beauty pageant, it's really a setback to our profession on a global scale."
Not that Americans haven't been there.
More at the Los Angeles Times