It is a common sentiment amongst fliers – No one likes to Fly Air India & Everyone (almost) has a problem with the Air hostesses!
The reason that came across (through conversations with me and those I overheard) of why people were unhappy was that the Air Hostesses were old and not groomed enough! Maybe you should have had Richard Branson in drag serving ! Which to me begs the question – they are sweet, nice, smile, they serve you food, give you blankets – so why do they have to be good looking??? Are we not on a flight to reach a destination? Why do there have to be “good looking” air hostesses to serve us. Why are we upset when it is not so. I think this is as shallow as the matrimonial ad that reads “tall, slim, fair, beautiful girl wanted for marriage”. So we like another airline better because the air hostesses are younger, wear fake blunt wigs?? or personally selected by Mr. Mallya himself? At least the former can be liked because it lands on time!
I find it very disturbing that people have such a problem with the old air hostesses. Doesn’t it all boil down to the pressure of everyone having to look good and people expecting you to be that way and ugly / fat people will be shunned. Again I’m not advocating that people have to be shabby here. I think anyone who is in the service industry needs to be pleasant and well groomed. They don’t have to be super models or have the perfect body – but I think if someone is well kept and has a pleasant demeanor it should be good enough for someone to have a conversation with them!
I accept that perhaps the older air hostesses tend to get matronly and motherly and I can imagine them shouting at someone. In fact I thought this one air india hostess would confiscate this guys phone on the flight because he wouldn’t stop using it lduring take off. I feel safer though in a flight like that – rather than a clueless girl in a fake wig in an anglicized accent that I cannot understand, trying to ask me if I want something to drink with my sandwich
This takes me to the question of why do we have to equate comfort in a flight or premium we pay to how good looking the air hostess is on it. Not that Air India is super premium, I just think the deserve the flak for the right reasons.
Frankly I have had good experiences with them until last week when my flight was delayed, which frankly has happened on other flights too. I have more leg room because I am short, the budget airlines are definitely more cramped and the food is better than Jet. .
Lets accept the whole concept of the good looking hostess had germinated long ago, perhaps when women were not flying planes. To me it is a sexist concept, and one of the “attractions” on a flight when a group of people were deciding -How can i make flight more exciting for the guy so that he chooses me, of course there is comfort, leg room, luxury but there has to be the good looking air hostess. Like a case of Kabaab, Sharaab or Shabaab!!! Today the communication is evolving to comfort, destinations and such relevant benefits but growing up I remember the ads would have the Air Hostess as the focus, as did Kingfisher Airlines until recently!
When I was growing up all i wanted to do was be an air hostess and sail through check -ins with my vanity case, until my mother reminded me that it was about serving people through the flight, no matter what whether they threw up or threw a tantrum. That shattered the glamour for me and the idea of growing up and being an air hostess. I think that has stayed with me, and In my head I have let go of expecting a super model to serve me and I know its just someone who is going to get me a glass of water, food and a blanket if i am ill !