In October, I was hanging out at Stockholm Arlanda airport and I saw the prettiest flight crew ever leave on a bus. The women wore turquoise and pink full length outfits, heels, and they had perfect hair and makeup (also, it seemed, none of them were over 30). I caught myself thinking, this is the stereotype I remember from when I was a kid in the 1970s (and I didn’t know anyone who had actually been on planes or anything, but we all *knew* that “stewardesses” had to be beautiful and glamorous). Now, of course, I fly enough to know that there is zero justification for said stereotype anymore. Not with the airlines I fly. They may be good at their job and courteous and attractive. They may also be far from that. Hey, I fly Air Canada on a regular basis. I have experienced the whole range from “amazing” to “amazing that this woman can behave in this way and not be fired on the spot”.
But back to Stockholm Arlanda, and my mouth-open astonishment at these pretty pretty women, who looked perfectly groomed and had not hint of a surly expression after what must surely have been a long haul. I have fantastic powers of deduction. I immediately figured out that a) this was no European or North American crew (which I of course figured out by the uniforms, and the fact that all of these women were Asian had nothing to do with it) and consequently b) they must come from an exotic destination with direct connections to Sweden. South-East Asia qualifies. I think I vaguely assigned to crew to a box of Thai or Singapore Air or something… and went on my way.
Well, forward a month and a half. Mark, Lisa and I were traveling to Indonesia together (not totally a coincidence, since I’d called the travel agent and asked her to put those two on the same flights as me if possible…) After a night in Hong Kong, we picked up a Malaysia Airlines flight. And there was that pretty pretty turquoise and pink uniform! And the in-flight service was really good, and the food was surprisingly edible too. But the best part? The best part was when one of those gorgeous creatures started walking the aisles with a *tray of beer*. Lisa burst out with “I can’t believe this airline has a beer lady” and I concluded that this was the best airline ever. Being served cups of beer on a three hour flight. Compare that to the way Air Canada flight attendants will prowl the aisles with a big bottle of water with cups stacked on top of it on really long-haul flights… I prefer the Malyasia Airlines approach.
Oh, and some disclaimers:
1. I believe that men and women are equally capable of being flight attendants.
2. I don’t believe that this capability magically disappears when one starts to look less then kissed with dewy youthfulness.
3. I in no way believe physical appearance is a measure of how suited one is to do this job.
4. The ability to be courteous and smile, however, is.
5. And having a beer lady helps no matter how you look at it.