Top airline punishes overweight employees, former staff claim
Emirates, the Dubai-based airline renowned for its high standards and modern fleet of aircraft, is facing a PR nightmare after former flight attendants went to the media claiming that the company forces staff to lose weight.
Staff weight monitoring apparently came under the ‘Appearance Management Program,’ which is headed up by image officers who ensure Emirates was living up to its “glamorous” reputation.
Karla Bayson, 36, who left the airline in 2021 having spent nine years with Emirates, told Insider she had seen some of her colleagues receive warnings about their weight. She told the outlet that flight attendants were given two weeks to lose the weight before being “checked” again by monitors.
Another former employee, Maya Dukaric, claimed the so-called “weight police” would occasionally stop cabin crew at airports and say “Hey, babe. You need to slow it down.”
One former HR business partner, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that staff would even face pay cuts if they were unable to shed the required pounds.
They suggested that as many as “150 people out of 25,000” cabin crew were on the weight monitoring program at any given time, adding that “a culture of telling on each other to management is prevalent.”
The revelations come after flight attendant Duygu Karaman claimed recently that she quit her job having been monitored for three years after an anonymous colleague had complained that she was “too heavy.” Karaman, who spent 10 years at Emirates, claimed she was put on the weight management plan because she exceeded the limit by 2 kilograms.
“They give you an A4 piece of paper which just said: “Don’t eat rice, don’t eat bread,” Karaman told The Mirror. “It was stuff everybody knows like sleep regularly, which I can’t do because of the job,” she added.
The flight attendant said she would be pulled over for random weigh-ins before flights despite being a size 12 and only weighing about 147 pounds.