Is this for real? An apparently leaked internal memo from Dubai-based airline Emirates which was allegedly sent to its cabin crew warns they face possible disciplinary action for “facial enhancements”. The memo doesn’t detail what enhancements may result in action but presumably, rhinoplasty, lip augmentation and other cosmetic procedures such as Botox and various fillers would fall under this category.
The short one-paragraph memo, which is simply titled “facial enhancements” reads:
“There has been an increase in crew observed to have unnatural facial enhancements. Please remember you were recruited for your natural looks. Any extreme cases will be discussed and managed accordingly.”
If genuine, the memo appears to have been sent by Emirates’ in-house ‘image and uniform’ team. The department stations staff at check-in to look over cabin crew and make sure they conform with uniform standards – they have the power to immediately pull a flight attendant from working a flight if their appearance is deemed to be unacceptable.
In the past, the department has come in for criticism for its “appearance management programme” that allows staff to ground cabin crew for 30-days if they are considered to look overweight. In many of these cases, it’s alleged crew are given a month to lose weight or face further action.
Last year, an insider alleged that mothers who had recently given birth, as well are more mature crew members are subjected to random weigh-in’s to see whether they have exceeded the so-called threshold of “appropriate appearance”.
But is this memo just a well-constructed hoax? We’d like to think so but given that it’s been written in the official Emirates font would suggest that’s not the case. We reached out to Emirates but they declined to accept our email.
One has to wonder how much control an airline is allowed over the appearance of its staff in 2019? Weigh-in’s and stringent grooming checks were once upon a time considered just a normal part of the job. Back in the 1950s, cabin crew were forbidden from having children and in many cases, even getting married. Decades later, airlines hyped up the sex appeal of flight attendants to attract male business passengers.
Thank goodness times have changed and many airlines are giving their cabin crew more personal choice and freedom than ever before. Some people may bemoan this culture change – they’ll get used to it.
If a crew member is clean, well-groomed and able to perform their duties, does it really matter what they look like?