As street protests erupt in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s treatment of a woman who was accused of wearing a head covering inappropriately and then died in police custody, in neighboring Pakistan the flag carrier PIA is warning flight attendants that they better wear underwear…
PIA Underwear Memo: Flight Crews Admonished To Dress Appropriately
It’s an interesting time for such an admonition to flight attendants, but I have to imagine it did not just appear out of thin air.
A memo shares that a problem has been observed which requires immediate remedy:
“It has been observed with great concern that a few cabin crew tend to dress casually while traveling intercity, staying in hotels and visiting various suffices. Such dressing leaves a poor impression on the viewer and portrays a negative image of not only the individual but also of the organisation.”
Cabin crew are admonished to “dress properly” and to wear “proper undergarments.” This will be inspected by “grooming officers,” who will conduct ad hoc checks on compliance.
Perhaps something is lost in translation, but I’m not sure what that even means.
Like One Mile At A Time, when I first saw this headline my mind went immediately to a fairly hilarious Pan Am training video that deals with flight attendant professionalism in public settings.
Indeed, flight attendant conduct matters and what I love about airlines like Korean Air or Emirates or Etihad is not so much the glorification of youth or even necessarily the insistence on conformity (though I’ve argued there are upsides to looking uniform), but that flight attendants always appear impeccably groomed, with uniforms that are perfectly fit and pressed. That personifies professionalism to me, even if you are against the rigid hair and makeup requirements.
But I digress…
To some degree we are reading between the lines here and certainly, my link to what is going on in Iran right now is conjecture on my part. I do think what we are seeing in Iran right now—the groundswell of support for Mahsa Amini—is riveting and absolutely exhilarating to everyone who champions freedom.
If Iran changes from within, will Pakistan too? Tough to say, isn’t it?
The goal, of course, is not to champion the jettisoning of underwear. That’s not at all what I am advocating for. But this idea of “dressing properly” in “formal plain clothes” in accordance “with our cultural and national morals” when a flight attendant is at the gym or going out to eat seems a bit much, not matter the cultural context.
I’m a bit perplexed by this whole PIA underwear memo and whether something is lost in translation. I do wonder, though, that as we are witnessing nightly spurts of organic resistance to the theocratic government in Iran, might the days of such memos in Pakistan be nearing an end?