CX Flight Attendants Get A Leg Up – They Can Now Wear Pants

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

For more than 70 years, female Cathay Pacific flight attendants had one choice of outfit – a skirt. Now CX female staff can start wearing the pants.

The airline reached the agreement with flight attendant unions and other uniformed staff. The Hong Kong-based carrier said: “Choice for our people is as important as for our passengers.

“It is imperative that our customer-facing colleagues not only feel pride in wearing the Cathay Pacific and (regional airline) Cathay Dragon colours but that they also feel comfortable and empowered to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.”

Until the decision, CX’s uniform for female flight attendants included a red skirt with two slits at the back, black stockings and black heels.

“There’s sexual harassment, not only in the workplace but even in public transport, people trying to take pictures under their skirts,” said Pauline Mak, vice-chair of the Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Flight Attendants Association.

“We’ve been encountering a lot of cases by our members … so I think this is one of the reasons why we tried to do something.”

Others wanted the airline to catch up with the times. “The stereotype of the flight attendant is very old-style already: looking pretty, full makeup and wearing a skirt. It is a good time to have a revamp of our image,” Vera Wu Yee-mei, chair of the Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union, told Hong Kong media.

Mak says the option of trousers would be introduced at the next uniform refresh, which could take between three and five years.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will join the few airlines in Asia offering their female staff such an option. It’s not just an Asian phenomenon: after two years of negotiations with unions, British Airways agreed in 2016 to let all of its crew wear trousers.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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