EVERY December, more than 1,000 female high school students, some as young as 15, take part in a “bikini competition” held in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. The event, hosted by Oriental Beauty, a modelling agency, provides a platform for aspiring flight attendants to show off their bikini bodies to eager recruiters from the Chinese airline industry. Those deemed the most attractive are invited to join a fast-track flight attendant trainee scheme, which can open the door to a dream job at one of China’s big airlines.

Many Chinese and other Asian airlines shamelessly exploit female sexuality. At China Southern Airlines, air hostesses must be 25 or younger and must not have “X or O shaped legs”. Stewardesses at Japan Airlines need to have “good skin complexion”. Indonesia’s flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, which Skytrax declared had the world’s best cabin staff in 2016 (not a single Western airline made the shortlist), refuses to hire older, married women. VietJet…Continue reading