Robert Dunlap, a filmmaker who makes documentaries about kinky sex and produced the fetish film "Beyond Vanilla," said people fetishize various uniforms, from police to cheerleaders to priests and nuns. Some people, he said, are turned on by the flight attendant uniform.
"It displays either an authority or somebody's sexual fantasy," he said. It could be "the fantasy about the mile-high club or just the power of somebody taking you up and off."
Some sex clubs go so far as to have confessional booths, boxing rings and mock prison cells, according to Dunlap. He said with flight attendants, the fantasy goes one step further because they're serving you.
"There used to be this fantasy of being able to pick them up in some foreign land, Dunlap said. "Who really wouldn't be turned on by some gorgeous French stewardess while you are on your way to Paris?"
Outside of the fetish factor, JAL worries that in the wrong hands, missing airline uniforms could pose a security risk.
JAL and other airlines take missing uniforms seriously. Every JAL uniform is reported to have a serial number sewn into it. The airline also has a staff dedicated to tracking the location of each article of clothing.
"Japan Airlines worldwide policy for the distribution, usage and collection of its uniforms is extremely strict, and each company-owned article is logged and accounted for," Anderson said. "Old or worn uniforms are also returned to the company and properly destroyed."
The airline would not say whether it had plans to insert computer chips into its uniforms to electronically track them, as ANA does.
"Japan Airlines clearly isn't skirting this issue," said Jeff Pecor, of travel site Yapta.com. "Let's just hope it doesn't wear them out. After all, they have an airline to keep buttoned up."