When it comes to baggage allowance on airplanes, we’ve all been there. The fear that you’ll be maybe 20 or 30 kilos over and get hit with a mammoth charge; the struggle is real! But what about our own weight? What if how much we weigh, as people, was also taken into consideration? Crazy though it may sound, that’s exactly what the cabin crew of Air India are grappling with at the moment, after the airline grounded 130 of their staff (most of whom are women, it’s important to say) because quite simply, they’re too heavy.
We’ll just let that sit with you for a moment as the rage begins to bubble inside you. Apparently, it’s a ‘safety issue’, in the same way that oversized luggage is viewed. Air India have placed strict BMI regulations on their staff, and just last year they were allegedly given a six-month period in which to slim down to the ideal BMI for both men and women.
“It’s a safety issue. The crew has to be fit to be able to carry out their in-flight duties, including emergencies,” said an Air India spokesperson to CNN.
New York Magazine inform us that this is the same airline who previously fired nine female flight attendants after they failed to present with the ideal body weight. At the time, the airline said the following in its defense: “Being grossly overweight does have a bearing on reflexes and can impair agility required to perform the emergency functions.” Air India expect the men to sit somewhere between 18 and 25 on the Body Mass Index scale while the women are preferred within the 18-22 range; most often, however, it’s the women who are targeted.
Speaking to the Times of London (reported by The Washington Post), 51-year-old flight attendant Sheila Joshi, who had 27 years of experience, said “It is incredibly upsetting that working women are being targeted.” This was allegedly after the Supreme Court rejected her efforts to ban the sexist, unrealistic weight limits. “This is not a modelling job; we are not working a catwalk… Now, if you are just 10 grams over, it’s goodbye… It’s ridiculous: Weight is not an infectious disease.” Joshi managed to keep her job after slimming down to 140 pounds.
Despite several lawsuits, Air India continues to proceed with these demands, claiming that “people who are fitter can respond quicker and more efficiently in case of any untoward situation.”
Well, that’s one company you might have considered working for scratched permanently off the list.