Flight attendants at Asiana Airlines have a request: Be allowed to wear pants on the job.
Their plight has been taken up by South Korea’s human rights commission which has recommended trousers be allowed. The Associated Press reported that while the recommendation is non-binding, it is a small victory.
Asiana has in place very strict rules governing the appearance of its flight attendants – 10 pages of rules, Kweon Soo-joung, head of Asiana’s labor union, told the AP. Male flight attendants have two pages of rules regarding appearance to which to conform.
The skirt-only policy was meant to emphasize the company’s brand of “high-class Korean beauty,” the airline said. Aesthetic elements are part of its service for passengers and an essential tool for staying competitive. However, according to the AP, Asiana is the only airline in South Korean with a no-pants rule in place for flight attendants.
The airline, according to The National Human Rights Commission of Korea, also has specific rules regarding hairstyles and makeup. Kweon told the AP Asiana the airline has a ban on eye glasses, a requirement to cover up facial blemishes, and requirements for the length of earrings the flight attendants wear. However, Asiana said it eased appearance rules for its female employees as of January, including allowing glasses. The airline also said it would review the no-pants rule in future uniform redesigns, but did not say when that would be.