Flight Attendants Grounded Until They Slim Down

Whether it’s Kevin Smith being booted from a flight for his girth or a slender passenger being bumped to make room for a larger passenger, the issue of being overweight on a plane has become a hot button issue. And now comes a report that Turkish Airlines has grounded 28 flight attendants for being too heavy.

According to reports, the airline has given the attendants six months of unpaid leave to make weight or face reassignment.

The airline says that all 28 attendants (15 males, 13 females) had been given warnings about their size in the past. .

“Weight and height are important factors at all airlines. These criteria are important both in terms of appearance and the ability to move about,” reads a statement from Turkish Airlines, the fourth largest carrier in Europe by passenger volume.

One attendant was told he needs to lose 22 pounds to get to a weight of around 212 pounds before he can return to work.

What do you think is the airline’s primary goal here: Having healthier, more fit attendants or having more physically attractive attendants?

Airlines grounds overweight staff: paper [Reuters via Jaunted]


Edit Your Comment

  1. qwickone says:

    I’m guessing that they want them more attractive AND weigh less for fuel savings. I don’t believe for a second they care if the attendants are healthy/fit.

    • WorkingDad says:


      But I’m trying to imagine myself being grounded until I lost 22 of 212 pounds. And ya know – to be honest – I’d probably do it and return to work regardless of the company’s true motives.

    • nova3930 says:

      I seem to remember there are FAA regs dictating the duties of flight attendants under emergency conditions. If someone’s size is hindering their performance of those duties, that constitutes a legal liability for the airline….

  2. smo0 says:

    I thought size was always a key factor in being a flight attendant….. at least I remember hearing that when I was young…

    I’m sure it’s a little bit of both…. I’d prefer not to have elephant man serve me my drinks….

  3. c!tizen says:

    They need to do this for police officers too.

    • lemur says:

      Do a Google search and you’ll find that there are indeed rules for police officers and firefighters.

      I am not claiming that these rules are fair, consistent, intelligent, or whatever. I’m just saying they do exist.

      • smo0 says:

        Tell me… why are most firefighters hunky.. and cops… uh.. not so much?

        • womynist says:

          I’m not sure where you live, but in my town, all the male cops are young and super-hot!

          • CookiePuss says:

            In all honesty, that’s the thing. Most cops/firemen are young and in shape when they’re hired and can easily pass the fitness tests. But alas, people get older. Its also near impossible to fire a cop with 10 years of service for being fat, unions and all.

            Unless your a beat cop, your sitting in a car or at a desk all day. Working irregular hours, starting a family, etc. and the gym sees less and less action. It’s only a matter of time before the muffin top monster comes calling. Num num num!

    • CookiePuss says:

      Why? Fat guys can shoot a gun too. If you try and run they’ll whip out the trusty tazer.

      To be fair to the fat cops out there, I do think someone needs to cater their needs. Perhaps outfit their patrol cars like a garbage truck. Then they can shoot you with the tazer, pick you up with their mechanical garbage truck arm and dump you into the built in containment unit. All without leaving the air conditioned cab or their Krispy Kreme donuts. The arm can conveniently place tickets on windshields as well.

      Don’t worry fat cops, Cookiepuss loves ya!

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      As long as you can pass the PFT, I don’t think weight really matters. Thought, the older you get the requirements drop fast.

  4. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Well, considering that size would be a hinderance in case of emergency and the flight attendants are supposed to be able to assist in those cases.. it sort of makes sense.

  5. sonneillon says:

    You can discriminate against fat people. I being a large guy do not like it but there is nothing against the law here and there are many cases where I agree. If I go to a gym I do not want a personal trainer with a beer belly.

  6. Brandroid says:

    The airline said: “Weight and height are important factors at all airlines. These criteria are important both in terms of appearance and the ability to move about,”

    They don’t mention “health” or “fitness”. They say appearance and ability to move around (i.e. maneuver in the small aisles of the plane).

    • AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

      Getting up and down aisles constantly while having customers squeeze past you in the aisle was the first reason I thought of for forcing flight attendants to slim down. Appearance doesn’t hurt, but I don’t care what you look like when you get me water, as long as you have good hygiene.

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It’s kind of bizarre to suggest one or the other – just because you’re thin, doesn’t mean you’re actually an attractive person. It just means you’re not fat.

    And weight does matter. Flight attendants are also responsible for helping passengers in case of an emergency. If you’re very large and have trouble moving around a small cabin, how are you going to be of use?

    • Mighty914 says:

      True, thin does not necessarily equal attractive (look at Sarah Jessica Parker…hi-o!). However, I don’t have a problem with people saying that thinner (as in healthily thin) people are *generally* better looking that their overweight counterparts, and it’s naive to think that this standard doesn’t exist for most Americans.

  8. Outrun1986 says:

    Ok, 22 lbs isn’t that much, and 212 lbs seems reasonable to me, its not like they are asking that every flight attendant slim down to 150lbs or ask that people lose hundreds of pounds.

    Regardless though, this is discrimination, though the airline is not based in the US so US rules on that would not apply. I don’t know how they would enforce this either, most people who lose weight tend to gain it back over time (and sometimes they gain back more than they originally had). If they are forcing the attendants to lose weight its possible that in the long run they might end up with even heavier attendants. Crash diets are also bad for your health and this encourages the workers to go on a crash diet.

    If they want their flight attendants male or female to slim down then they also have a duty to provide them nutritious, healthy meals while on the job so that they can slim down and both maintain their weight. I don’t know how flight attendants eat but something tells me eating airline food isn’t exactly nutritious or healthy.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Eh, in my experience (currently around 200 trying to get to 170) 20 pounds can be EXTREMELY impossible.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        If you realy want to lose weight, I strongly reccomend Weight Watchers membership – make sure you actually go to real meetings, not try to do it online. You’ll learn to measure, weigh, or count everything you eat, keep track of what you’re eating, and to eat healthier, filling foods, so you are able to not feel hungry as you also don’t consume too many calories.

        Add in the exercise, which I’m sure you already know is good, but I’ll give a special plug for the “easy” exercises like walking, biking, and swimming, and you will lose the weight.

      • oloranya says:

        I’m gonna second the weight watchers recommendation. I’ve never done it, but my dad, sister, and an aunt and uncle have all used that system and gotten great results.

    • smo0 says:

      I don’t agree that it’s discrimination, but I do agree that if it’s a requirement from the airline – they need to provide healthy meals for the employees and maybe a gym membership? I dunno…

    • sonneillon says:

      Appearance and weight are not protected classes in the United States. In most states they are allowed to discriminate. If I wanted too I could fire all the ugly people working under me for being ugly and all I would have to do is pay unemployment or severance if it were part of the company policy.

  9. Ben says:

    Can I get a discount for flying on a flight with only butterfaced flight attendants?

  10. Harry_Greek says:


    They are declaring a war on the fat!!! Someone has to stop them!! Stop them bef,… huuf,,,… huuuufffff,,…. ex-huff-excuse me,…. I’m,….. huuuuuuuuffff,…… huufff,…. out of,…. breath,… huuuuuuuuufffff.

    • PanCake BuTT says:

      You’re funny. I read all of that and had to take a breather, a third, halfway & three quarters of the way through.

      Good 1+

  11. sirwired says:

    Hmmm… heard to tell if this is the airline being assholes, or for valid reasons of fitness/ability to do the job. The example, slimming down to 212 lb, could be, depending on height, perfectly reasonable.

    This is NOT a case of the airline demanding that all the female attendants be size 2 or below, or something similarly crazy.

    Probably annual physical fitness tests would be a better choice, but depending on the criteria, this could possibly not out of line.

  12. Consumeristing says:

    Losing your job if you don’t lose weight is a motivation not common among yo-yo dieters.

  13. pantheonoutcast says:

    I’m assuming this is so it will make it easier for them to use the inflatable slide…

  14. AllanG54 says:

    That’s what happens when you carry a little “extra baggage.”

  15. kutsuwamushi says:

    I think it’s mostly about personal appearance, because if it was about fitness or the ability to move in cramped spaces, those can be tested directly; you don’t need the proxy of the person’s weight. Weight can in fact be misleading when it comes to fitness and size.

    But if you want to tell someone that they’re too fat to be pretty and can’t return to work until they’ve lost weight, then their first question, presuming they still want to work for you, is going to be “how much do I need to lose?”

    • operator207 says:

      The airlines most likely know these people are larger. They have been written up multiple times. I would imagine measurements are taken, along with weight.

      It is easier to understand when someone says lose weight as upposed to get smaller.

      As someone who flies a lot, and grew up flying a lot (I probably had more miles than some businessmen by 12 years old) if the FA was larger, you could not squeeze by them, or had issues doing so. Especially if the pass was also larger.

  16. Big Mama Pain says:

    With how small the aisles are on domestic airlines (don’t know anything about Turkish Airline planes), I have a hard time picturing a 200 plus pound flight attendant being able to maneuver up and down them without encroaching on the passengers in the aisle seats (unless they were pretty tall). On a Continental flight, I got a cheek full of some part of an attendant’s flank, and she couldn’t have weighed more than 180. The attendants often have to move by each other in the aisles, too.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass if they’re attractive. Can they get us out the plane in the event of a disaster? That’s all I care about. I’d rather they were healthy enough to do the job. A few pounds over isn’t going to bother me. If someone is really overweight though, it might be harder for them to do the day-to-day work.

    Attractiveness goes back to the old sexist stewardess days, when the pretty girls on board were part of the sell.

    • dg says:

      Exactly +1

    • Conformist138 says:

      Amen. People get too upset the moment they hear weight loss being “forced” on someone, but it seems a flight attendant needs to:
      1. get down narrow aisles with people quite close on either side of them
      2. reach items anywhere from the floor to the ceiling, so bending and stretching in a small space
      3. fit into the jump seat and be able to buckle the belts securely
      4. be able to assist passengers during various emergencies, which may include physically assisting by a door or at a tiny bathroom.

      With this, it’s not weight per se, though that is a factor when getting a metal tube to fly, it’s the physical ability to maneuver in a small space where the floor isn’t always stable. I’m 5’2″ and 160lbs. Shaq is 7’1″ and 325lbs. Guess who just can’t be a flight attendant? Fine with me, I’m never gonna get a 7- or 8-figure deal with the NBA. Life ain’t fair, call a whaaambulance if you’re gonna cry about it.

  18. XTREME TOW says:

    Hey! Tubbos! Prepare to get ‘offended’!
    The airline has a responsibility to protect the passengers. Including the right to require that crew members be capable of performing in the event of emergencies. The employees were made aware of this when they signed on. Holding the employees responsible for it is not Discrimination. It’s the agreement they made.

    Re: Offering the employees nutritious meals. I’m sure that would balance out the large bags of potato chips, giant candy bars, and 2 liter bottles of soda the attendants bring aboard in their carryons!

  19. Charmander says:

    “One attendant was told he needs to lose 22 pounds to get to a weight of around 212 pounds before he can return to work.”

    So that means the attendant is currently 234 lbs. I’d say it must be a little difficult to do your job, when your job is navigating narrow aisles.

  20. Ted3 says:

    Real women have curves…