LONDON – Former Emirates airline staff have claimed that the company regularly monitored their weight to determine whether they were “suitable for work”.
Through an apparent “Appearance Management Programme”, this is the unit where staff could be referred to if they had gone up a dress size for example.
Karla Bayson, one of those former employees, told Insider that workers were told to “lose it” if they had gained weight, with some of her colleagues being suspended from duties over it.
“If they see you popping out from the uniform, they’re going to put you on the ground,” Bayson said.
Another former employee, Maya Dukaric, said the company’s “weight police” would warn crew members over their weight at airports by saying: “Hey babe, you need to slow it down.”
An Emirates spokesperson commented on this claim:
“As a global airline, we treat the wellbeing of our employees with the highest priority, and we believe being fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, is a critical aspect in them carrying out their duties safely and effectively.”
“It may not always be apparent to our customers, but the responsibilities of our cabin crew are vast, and their ability to influence and achieve safe outcomes when needed, requires extensive training and a minimum standard of physical fitness.”
“We’re proud of our colleagues who form Emirates’ cabin crew: who provide unwavering, exceptional service and who help maintain the safety and quality of operations and service Emirates is known for.”
“We do not comment on internal policies or procedures or specific, confidential cases of existing or past employees.”
What remains clear is that Emirates’ high level of standard-seeking has got them into a little bit of hot water, and is putting pressure on a volatile situation that has been in place regarding cabin crew for many years.