'Old and ugly' cabin crew lose caseSave
By Hugh Morris
A group of "old, fat and ugly" flight attendants has failed in its bid to sue Russia's most popular airline for discrimination over their age, weight and appearance.
According to the Daily Telegraph UK, the flight attendants claimed that Aeroflot had moved staff off international routes onto local flights with lower pay for being too old, overweight or unattractive, something the airline strenuously denies.
But this week the group, which called itself, STS, a Russian abbreviation for "old, fat, ugly", had its case thrown out of a Moscow court.
Evgeniya Magurina, one of the cabin crew, told a local news channel that Aeroflot had quietly introduced rules governing how female flight attendants should look and those who did not comply were dropped from major routes.
"All stewardesses were photographed, measured and weighed by the airline in June last year, supposedly to have new uniforms ordered," she said.
"When my boss looked at my photo, he said: 'Zhenya, you know, your cheeks are too big for international flights. And you have big breasts, so you should be wearing a sports bra. This is the way they explained to me the new rules.
"Everyone older than 40 or with clothing size larger than small or medium was taken off international flights."
Another flight attendant claimed that staff had to be between 5'2" and 5'6" and clothing size small or medium.
A spokesperson for Aeroflot said that the allegations were "without foundation". "Aeroflot does not discriminate on age, sex, weight, appearance, religious or political convictions, or indeed any other grounds," the airline said in a statement.
It said it acts in accordance with Russian labour legislation and in line with best international practice.
"The claim that the expert medical commission has been instructed to remove 'old and ugly' cabin crew from flight duties is untrue."
Sergei Kovalyov, representing Aeroflot in court, said that Russian labour laws allowed employers to consider how "elevated body dimensions prevent the rapid movement of a flight attendant on the aisles".
He also cited restrictions put on cabin crew by other airlines in India, China and Uzbekistan.
Kovalyov said that an extra kilogram of weight on board a flight can cost in additional fuel consumption as much as 800 rubles ($20) a year. He also said that excessive weight of employees could slow down emergency evacuations from the aircraft.
A spokesperson for Aeroflot said a second plaintiff will have their case heard on Friday.
The Russian airline, which has a sponsorship deal with football team Manchester United, was in February awarded the accolade of most powerful airline brand in the world.