Fired for being fat

Air India is trimming its staff, so to speak. It has fired 10 flight attendants for weighing too much, a move that could save the airline millions of rupees in fuel costs. Well, perhaps not, but the airline apparently believes it will benefit in three other ways:

(1) More young men will fly Air India. After all, their primary reason for flying is not to reach a particular destination, but to check out the flight crew.

(2) No more emergency landings. "Mayday, mayday! This is Captain Suresh. We need to make an emergency landing. One of our flight attendants is stuck in the washroom!"

(3) Less food to take on board. It's hard enough to keep passengers fed; who wants to worry about flight attendants who gain a pound or two during each break?

Sheila Joshi, 51, an Air India hostess with 27 years of service who
lodged an unsuccessful petition with India's High Court to declare the
airline's weight policy unconstitutional, said: "It is incredibly
upsetting that working women are being targeted. This is not a
modelling job; we are not working a catwalk."

Mrs Joshi, who at 5ft 3in (1.6 metres) can weigh a maximum of 63.5kg
(10 stones) under Air India's rules, successfully dieted down from 66kg
when the airline abolished the “three kilos' grace” it had previously
allowed its employees two years ago. For those who lost the battle of
the bulge, however, there was no leniency. “Now, if you are just ten
grams over it's goodbye,” Mrs Joshi said. “It's ridiculous: weight is
not an infectious disease.” [Link]

I sympathize with Joshi, but unfortunately, Air India is not the only airline that imposes weight restrictions on its flight attendants. Here, for example, is a photo of a Kingfisher Airlines flight attendant:

Flight attendant

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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