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Singapore Airlines Will No Longer Force Female Flight Attendants to Quit When They Give Birth (Yes, This is 2022)

Singapore Airlines Will No Longer Force Female Flight Attendants to Quit When They Give Birth (Yes, This is 2022)

a group of women in colorful dresses with luggage

Singapore Airlines has confirmed that in July the airline quietly dropped a decades-old policy that forced female flights to quit if they had a baby. The decision, observers in the region believe, is predominantly linked to a global rush to recruit and retain aviation staff as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Up until now, Singapore Airlines would immediately ground female flight attendants as soon they declared they were pregnant. Flight attendants would be forced to take unpaid leave for the duration of the pregnancy, and their employment was terminated once they submitted a copy of the birth certificate to the airline.


The policy epitomized the iconic ‘Singapore Girl’ image that has made the airline famous – created by Singapore Airways in the 1970s, the marketing gimmick has put young and pretty female flight attendants front and centre of its advertising ever since.

Just before the pandemic, the airline insisted that the Singapore Girl image, made famous by the body-skimming Pierre Balmain-designed sarong Kebaya, was still “current” and continued to set the airline apart from rivals across the industry.

But an internal memo seen by the Straits Times confirms that new mothers will still be allowed to work for Singapore Airlines in a major departure of the carrier’s policy governing female flight attendants.

The memo, sent on July 12, said the policy was being changed “to further support our cabin crew during and after their pregnancy”.

The airline will, however, still maintain its incredibly strict grooming standards for female flight attendants and some observers fear this could mean new mothers are reprimanded for being overweight.

Singapore Airlines Will Keep the "Iconic Singapore Girl" in Adverts and Marketing
Photo Credit: Airbus

As is standard practice for many international airlines, pregnant flight attendants will still be grounded, and Singapore Airlines won’t guarantee any pay, but the airline says it will now offer temporary ground positions wherever available.

So far, Singapore Airlines has managed to find a paid ground job for every flight attendant who has become pregnant since the policy was changed, a spokesperson told the Straits Times.

The policy is somewhat different in the United States, where pregnant flight attendants are allowed to continue flying despite the danger of radiation exposure, alongside the risks associated with shift work and the physical nature of the job.

Earlier this year, U.S.-based flight attendants also won the right to pump milk on flights they are working after a legal case brought by a crew member at Frontier Airlines.

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