After months of in depth research and web opinion polls, Asian airlines dominate this inaugural list of the top 10 most beautiful flight attendants of the world by Air Traxx.
And it’s not hard to see why. Many Asian airlines hold rigorous selection meetings to choose who gets to be flight attendants and who doesn’t. Several also enforce weight maintenance and waistline guidelines to their flight attendants. The lack of unions in Asian airlines coupled with the fact that age-discrimination laws are usually not strictly enforced in Asian nations are all factors that lead to more beautiful women being representatives of airlines in the sky. In fact, unions maybe the biggest reason as to why not a single U.S.-based carrier is not listed. After all, in May of 2011, American Airlines got into a lot of heat from the unions when it ran a “Face of your Base” competition that was designed to find the best looking staff for a company photo shoot. Instead of finding, American unions retaliated by stating that the beauty “competition undermines the real work of a flight attendant -ensuring safety in the air.” Since then, the elusive search for a good-looking flight attendant on a U.S. carrier is still up in the air.
Without further ado, below is the list of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Airline Flight Attendants of the World for 2011.
Points to determine the rankings were based on several factors such as beauty (compiled through opinion polls), service rankings (determined by SkyTrax) and uniform design (based on Airline Polls and Aviation Forum). Beauty and service hospitality were given equal rank with uniform design being used as a final determining factor in case of a tie. Another interesting note is that red really does capture the eye as 4 out of the 10 most attractive cabin crews feature red as the predominant color of their uniforms.
10. Shenzhen Airlines
Probably the greatest surprise of this entire list, Shenzhen Airlines is the only domestic-only carrier represented in the 2011 Top 10 Most Beautiful Airline Flight Attendants of the World. This was largely due to its pick by the Miss World Aviation Association as having China’s “most beautiful airline stewardess, ” a great accomplishment considering it has aviation giants Air China, China Eastern and China Southern to compete with. However, looks alone were not the only determining factor on this list and Shenzhen Airlines’ rank suffered due to its service record which many deem as “in need of improvement.” Shenzhen Airlines attracts over 4000 applicantsfor its 180 flight attendant positions annually so the airline has the opportunity to choose the cream of the crop to represent the company in the air.
Low-cost carriers seldom make any list when they have to compete with airlines with international reputations. However, AirAsia makes this list as they are often noted as to having the most beautiful FAs of all the low-cost carriers in the world. As Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, got to witness first-hand after losing a bet to AirAsia owner, Tony Fernandes, AirAsia boasts a whole list of rules for its FAs and has a demanding selection process (one interviewee who had slightly crooked front teeth notes that an AirAsia interviewer asked her if she would be willing to have her front teeth pulled and replaced with a crown for a perfect smile!). The beauty of these flight attendants is probably the only thing that keeps people sane on a 13-hour, no-meal, no-blanket, no-water, crappy-seat, low-cost flight from Kuala Lumpur to London.
Based out of Abu Dhabi, UAE and the main competitor to Emirates, Etihad has branded itself to be a global luxury airline. Mirroring the meteoric rise of the gulf state of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad has a beautiful flight crew to match its tagline of opulence and extravagance. Etihad also goes through a tough interview process for its FAs. Those who receive congratulatory messages may be sad to find out that they could be placed in “holding pools” for up to six months as to give time to evaluate other candidates. Nevertheless, Etihad hires internationally and, like Emirates, features a very diverse FA crowd. As a relatively new carrier, the majority of Etihad’s hired FAs do not have prior experience in the airline industry (most of them are from the tourism and hospitality industry).Despite their beauty, Etihad FAs have unfortunately been described as to having “no charm or polish” and can deliver “terrible” service. Of 584 reviews from SkyTrax customers, Etihad averaged a rating of 4.4 out of 10, a dismal performance for a 4-star airline. The uniforms have been described as very “sleek” and fit the luxury branding of the airline perfectly.
Lufthansa is one of the few European airlines that made this list and with good reason. The German airline company features some of the most striking beauties in the air. Although the cabin crew is indeed international in flavor and very diverse, Lufthansa predominantly features its blond, blue-eyed FAs as the “poster girls” of the company. They are also well-known for their overall friendly staff and fine service attitude that should be emulated by other European airline companies that don’t do so well in the customer satisfaction rankings (aka Ryanair and Aeroflot). With great attention to detail and comfort to on-board pillow fights in Y class, Lufthansa FAs stand among the best in care and service. The uniforms are crisp and uncomplicated and are dashed with a hint of color on the necks. However, these uniforms are among the least popular with air travelers according to a recent poll done by Skyscanner.
6. Thai Airways
Eye candy isn’t exactly the words you would use to describe Thai Airways flight attendants. They have a more calm and reserved manner of service compared to their counterparts in AirAsia and Lufthansa. Their professionalism is best embodied in the airline’s motto “Smooth as Silk” and the perfect words to describe them would be gracefully elegant. Thai has won numerous awards for their exceptional quality of service. As one of the airlines that provides possibly the best care in the air, Thai’s FAs make it to the sixth spot mainly because of their attention to detail in providing the best comfort for all their passengers. Their unique purple uniforms are also often cited as one of the best flight attendant uniforms out there.
Much like Harvard has the best choice of high school graduates annually, UAE-owned Emirates Airlines always gets to pick from the cream of the crop of aspiring flight attendants worldwide. With a diverse crew that represents 120 different countries and has the ability to speak 80 different languages, Emirates was able to hand pick its amazing list of 10,000 beautiful FAs by advertising a glamorous lifestyle fit for a Hollywood celebrity. Emirates offers free accommodation for all its FAs in luxury apartments, offers free transportation to and from work, comprehensive medical coverage, travel stipends, 50% OFF bars and lounges and much more. The glitzy lifestyle has allowed Emirates to attract 93,079 flight-attendant applications in one year alone. Although conservative in its looks, the FA uniform of Emirates screams chique and high fashion coupled with no nonsense practicality.
4. Virgin Atlantic
Voted as the Most Attractive Cabin Crew by an overwhelming 53% of passengers by Britain-based Business Travel and Meeting Show in February, Virgin Atlantic’s “Red Hotties” are amongst the best in the sky. “Elegant glamour” and “cheerful attitude” are just some of the phrases used to describe Virgin’s supposedly amazing cabin crew. However, after doing some digging around, it seems that their service attitudes are not up to par with their beauty. Several SkyTrax members have noted that the cabin crew can be “indifferent” and “apathetic.” On June 7, 2011, seven Virgin Atlantic cabin crew members were even arrested for taking $5000 in cash for a passenger’s upgrade to first class. Out of 939 reviews on SkyTrax, Virgin Atlantic’s cabin crew has averaged a 4.2 out of 10 for customer satisfaction with countless 1 out of 10 reviews. Compare this with a 7.5 average for Cathay Pacific and a 8.5 average from Singapore Airlines and we have a reason as to why Virgin has slipped to #4 on the Top 10 Most Beautiful Airline Flight Attendants of the World.
3. Malaysia Airlines
Voted by SkyTrax as being one of the top three best cabin crew staff members for several years, Malaysia Airlines, MH, prides itself by providing Malaysian hospitality on board all its flights. As the newest member of the Oneworld alliance (2013), Malaysia Airlines boasts some of the most beautiful flight attendants of any airline in the world. This is due largely in part to its extremely rigorous flight attendant school. Madam Choong Lee Fong, Malaysia Airlines’ cabin crew training and standards manager, notes that MH’s flight attendants are “ambassadors, not just for an airline, but for an entire country.” MH also enforces minimum height requirementsof 165 cm (5’5″+) for females and 176 cm (5’9″+) for males and requires all cabin crew members to have a weight “within the healthy range determined by the standard body mass index (BMI).” Malaysia Airlines also enforces extra rules for female flight attendants such as no pregnancies within the first 5 years of work and a mandatory retirement age of 45 (10 years earlier than male FAs). MH’s graceful silk uniforms are very similar to Singapore Airlines and are made from a Sarong Kebeya design introduced by the School of Fashion at Mara Institute of Technology.
2. Cathay Pacific
With excellent service and numerous accolades to its name, Cathay Pacific is considered as one of the best airlines in Asia. The Hong Kong-based airline also boasts one of the prettiest flight attendants in the industry and, as a major international airline, has the opportunity to choose a diverse crew of the best flight attendants in the world. Cathay Pacific cabin crew uniforms also have a storied past. Starting with conservative uniforms in the 1950s, the airline gradually turned to designers for their classic red uniforms in the 80s and 90s with Hermes and Nina Ricci commissioned to design them. The current uniforms are designed by Hong Kong designer, Eddie Lau and were unveiled in December 2010 along with Cathay’s new business class.
1. Singapore Airlines
The Singapore Girl has been the face of Singapore Airlines since its inception in the 1970s and for a good reason. Not only does the cabin crew of Singapore Airlines showcase beauty and elegance, but, most importantly, they also display hospitality and service that is often considered as the epitome of the airline industry. Their world-renowned service was once again rewarded with the 2010 SkyTrax Best Cabin Crew award and Business Traveler UK has also chosen it to have the Best Cabin Staff in 2009. A 2009 survey of 1600 travelers done by Seatguru.com also came to the conclusion that SQ had the most polite staff of any airline in the world. Although the uniform for Singapore Airlines’ FAs have largely remained the same for several decades, they have often been the determining beauty factor. Similar in design to Malaysia Airlines, the sarong kebaya of SQ is a dark purple and was once paired with slipper sandals (which have since been changed to Pierre Balmain-designed safety shoes after the 2000 crash of SQ 006, SQ’s sole incident that involved fatalities to date). A FlyterTalk member mentions that “SQ uniforms give their staff an edge in appearance.”
CSA Czech Airlines
může mít i své číslo? (Can I have your number?)
Looks alone got Ryanair’s FA into the honorable mention list. However, the airline has a long way to go as customers have often noted their terrible service and outrageous fees ($53 to print your boarding pass at the airport, $6 just to use a credit card to pay for your ticket online and crazy baggage fees that I don’t even want to mention) as major deal breakers.
Beauty runs deep in this airline. Sadly, there are only 10 spots available.