Two flight attendants have filed law suits against Russian airline Aeroflot for age and sex discrimination, after the company allegedly barred them from working on international flights due to their weight.
The two attendants, Evgeniya V. Magurina and Irina N. Ierusalimskaya, filed the suits after the airline introduced new weight guidelines for cabin crew in 2016, The New York Times reports.
According to the new guidelines, female cabin crew could have a maximum dress size of 48, which is roughly equivalent to a UK size 18. Under the same guidelines, male cabin crew were allowed to weigh slightly more than the women.
The two attendants claimed they were penalised for their larger sizes, by being barred from working on international flights, leading to them earning less money.
“We have had our salary lowered due to our clothing size. We are allowed to fly, but our salary is lowered,” Magurina said.
The attendants lost their initial suit cases, but said in a press conference on Tuesday that they would appeal the decision.
During the conference, two representatives of the Aeroflot Public Council, journalist Pavel V. Danilin and economist Nikita A. Krichevskiy, argued that the women should have followed the weight guidelines.
The men stated that Aeroflot, which is Russia’s largest airline, was aiming to become one of the top 10 airlines in the world, and therefore needed to hire attractive air stewards because passengers only wanted to travel with ‘pretty’ flight attendants.
The pair added the women should be grateful the airline cared about their health.
The pair are not official spokespeople for the airline, although The Times reported the airline circulated a survey on Tuesday that showed their customers “overwhelmingly” preferred attractive cabin crew staff.