Galley Gossip: “Flight attendant” prostitution ring busted (in more ways than one)

Sex sells. That’s a fact.

But did you know that sex stories involving flight attendants will sell even more? It’s true. Take for instance the flight attendant prostitution ring bust story that’s been making the rounds. The travel site Jaunted even asked me to comment on it. Honestly, I really didn’t want my name to be associated with a prostituting group of flight attendants, but then, knowing how the media loves a good flight attendant story, I decided to check it out and find out what was really going on. Ya know, in order to set the record straight, because whenever there’s a flight attendant story there always seems to be a record that needs a little straightening.

According to Jaunted, 200 of the women involved in the prostitution ring were students and flight attendants. As soon as I read that bit of information I thought, Okay, but just how many of the women, exactly, were flight attendants? I read on. Only two flight attendants are mentioned in the article, one who works for British Airways and another who works for Jagson, an Indian airline I’ve never heard of before. This made me think, But that’s just two flight attendants we know of for sure – Two!

Two flight attendants and it becomes a “flight attendant” story? Give me a break!

Google “flight attendant prostitution ring” and several links will pop up to a story entitled, Busted: massive flight attendant prostitution ring. Note the word massive. Just how massive you may be wondering? I wondered the same thing. Turns out it was so massive that the entire story is only two sentences long. In the article only a swami and a nameless flight attendant from British Airways are mentioned. That’s it. Which does not sound so massive to me! Would you believe Times Online and Fox News did the exact same thing by running their own version of the “flight attendant story” even though both news groups only mentioned two flight attendants in their reports.Now let’s back up for a moment. There are approximately 15,000 flight attendants working for British Airways. Big deal if a flight attendant is involved in a prostitution scandal. That’s a blip on the screen. Just fire the flight attendant and be done with her. Don’t bring the rest of us down!

When I asked Jaunted how one British Airways flight attendant could make “a flight attendant story,” I was told that there were many flight attendants involved in the bust. (Many? But how many is many? Does anyone know?) Then I was informed that most of the women worked for India airlines. What I found to be shocking was that they, the flight attendants from India, were not considered to be as newsworthy as the British Airways flight attendant.

Not as newsworthy, but why? I find that, in itself, to be very newsworthy.

A bigger story, in my opinion, is why so many women (how many, I still don’t know) at one airline who have what many consider a professional job would feel the need to prostitute themselves? Now that, I think, is what we should all be talking about. Am I wrong?

Which brings me to a little flight attendant pet peeve of mine, comparing US flight attendants to their foreign counterparts. Is it really so terrible that flight attendants in the United States are allowed to grow old, gain weight, get married, and have children? I know this screws up the whole hotness factor of the flight attendant fantasy that so many passengers can’t seem to let go of, but this is a country where women, even flight attendants, have rights, right? Honestly, I can’t get over how harshly some people judge flight attendants based on their looks alone – and this is 2010! Don’t believe me? Read this letter from Big Daddy.

Did you know that flight attendants who work for foreign carriers, the very same airlines that passengers have a tendency to rave about, don’t have the same rights as I do? In fact, if I worked for say Emirates or Cathay, I wouldn’t even have a job. In my thirties, I’m too old! Most foreign carriers won’t even hire a flight attendant over the age of 27, let alone allow the ones who are already employed to actually (gasp) age. Did you know that in the US, back in the 70’s when flying was considered glamorous and the majority of people couldn’t afford to travel, stewardesses averaged only 18 months on the job? This is because they were not allowed to get married or have children, as if only young, unmarried, and childless flight attendants could actually serve passengers the way they needed to be served. (Wink Wink)

Remember the “stewardesses” who seductively asked you to fly them, the ones who wore hot pants? Well they’re still around. In fact, that flight attendant wearing the coke bottle glasses who served you a drink on your last flight may have been the same woman wearing the go-go boots so many years ago. That’s right. Here in the US flight attendants actually had the nerve to stand up for their rights and put a stop to airlines using them as marketing tools that promoted their sexuality and little else. Yeah, I know, it’s such a bummer that US airlines were forced to stop exploiting women.

Today a majority of flight attendants who work for foreign carriers only average three years on the job. This is because they are offered short work contracts, zero retirement, and low pay. How else could the airlines overseas keep their flight attendants young, sexy and desirable? Now mix in a poverty stricken country or a country where women aren’t exactly treated with the same respect as men and you will find quite a few women turning to prostitution. Are we surprised by this? I didn’t think so. And that’s not newsworthy!

Photos courtesy of fisserman and Plamen Stoev