It seems that not only young and beautiful girls can make it into the competitive world of flight attending in China after all.
A recent move by Shanghai-based Spring Air, China’s biggest budget carrier, will give preference to hiring married women with kids, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
These unusual conditions to hire what the airline terms ‘flight aunties’ points towards an attempt to diversify the profile of its 600-strong flight attendant workforce.
The public relations value of ‘flight aunties’ is significant, considering its departure from the airline’s controversial move earlier this year, when it dressed its flight attendants in coquettish maid uniforms.
It also goes against the greater trend amongst big Chinese state-owned carriers, which have hosted pageant-style competitions to choose new flight attendants.
Spring Air said that it is seeking college-educated females aged between 25 and 45, adding that those married with children are given top consideration. The previous age cap for new hires was 35.
Its decision follows the results of a recent survey on Weibo indicating that “72 per cent of internet users polled prefer to be served by experienced flight attendants.”
Wang Yan, a 36-year-old air hostess at Spring Air, is amongst the first batch of ‘flight aunties’ hired by Spring Air.
“I think it’s good that the airline is doing this,” she said. “It helps the dynamics of the crew because the older ones have more life experience, making them more mature and reliable, whereas the younger ones are more enthusiastic.”
The flight attending profession is considered prestigious, with thousands competing for coveted spots despite poor treatment, low pay, and gruelling conditions.