Whether it’s right or wrong, airline staff are the face of every airline and soon after commercial air travel began, beautiful air hostesses have been used to attract passengers onto planes.
Even today, air hostesses must follow a strict grooming protocol. As an example, once an air hostess is issued with a uniform, with many airlines, they can’t change it for a size bigger if they overindulge. Many airlines will give staff one month to lose the weight, otherwise, they will be put on a weight management programme.
Skirts can’t go above the knee, the exception being the 70’s when minis were in, heels must not be higher than three inches, lipstick has to be a certain shade of red and constantly applied, and nails must always be manicured with only pink, red or French polish.
In the 1950’s air hostesses became a symbol of glamour and no attendants older than 32-35 were hired. TWA dropped its no-marriage rule in 1957, but other airlines largely continue to require female flight attendants to be single. In the late 1950s, Aloha’s flight attendants sung and hula danced on board. A practice now used by Vietjet to attract customers and sell seats.
In the 1960’s flight attendants became a valuable marketing tool and adverts promoted the fun to be had on board with ad taglines like Pan Am’s “How do you like your stewardesses?”
In the 1970s, Southwest Airlines hostesses delivered inflight meals in hotpants, and it was still considered fine and dandy to promote airlines with taglines like “I’m Cheryl. Fly Me.” And this campaign really worked boosting customers.
Fast forward to today and most airlines use more sophisticated and PC advertising campaigns. They use style and CGI, rather than their flight attendants, to promote their airline. Well, all except Vietjet which has found success in their bikini girl videos and parades.
Here are three of the best videos that show how airlines have been (and still are) using air hostesses to sell seats. I would argue that Virgin Atlantic does it best, although, by YouTube views alone, the “Bikini Airline” Vietjet wins by a landslide with over 4.5 million views. The Vietjet video below is actually rather classy when compared to the real life in-flight bikini girl experience. For a start, there is a lot less girating in the video than onboard their planes…
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