Air India: No overweight crew on our planes

The discussion on whether overweight people should be treated differently on aircraft continues. Earlier this week, an airline consultant queried by Bloomberg suggested that airlines charging their passengers by their weight may be the next logical step in cost cutting in the industry.

Many including myself believe that idea to be rather far fetched (especially in the United States) and a surprisingly healthy discussion has blossomed in the comments section of my earlier post.

Perhaps I underestimated the tenacity of the airlines. Courts in New Delhi, India, just upheld a ruling allowing Air India, the nation’s flagship carrier to ground flight crew who were overweight. They actually implemented the rule two years ago, telling employees that they had to trim up or be moved to ground duty, but the decision has been wading through court ever since. As of Wednesday, however, the rule is official. Unlike the US, apparently India doesn’t have any laws against discriminating against weight.

Despite the recent ruckus about weight and cost savings in the industry, the roots of Air India’s decision seem to lie not in fuel savings but rather in making their flight attendants easier on the eyes. According to the Canadian Press, “Air India has tried in the past few years to change a public perception of its cabin staff as tired, unfriendly and inefficient”. Luckily, we don’t have that problem in the States.