空姐(Stewardess)

18 Oct

We recently went to the US to visit my family.  Because I have a lot of frequent flier miles and want to continue that trend, we flew American Airlines which has a direct flight to Chicago.  Something that I never noticed that Li pointed out is that the flight attendants on the American flights are much older than the flight attendants if you fly in China.

I have heard that there are strict height, weight and age requirements for airlines in China and across Asia and seem to remember that even for train attendants there were published rules about those things when they first opened the Beijing to Shanghai high speed line (see Riding the Rails for a refresher on the high speed train).

The word in Chinese for stewardess or flight attendant is Kong Jie (空姐) which means “Air older sister” – Li joked that instead of being “Air older sister” the attendants on the American flight were Kong Ayi (空阿姨)- which translates into “Air Aunt.”

I am inclined to agree.

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2 Responses to “空姐(Stewardess)”

  1. Christa October 22, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I think it depends which airline you are on. I have noticed that the American and United attendants are usually older, Southwest are usually younger, and Delta is usually somewhere in the middle. Interesting observation! I don’t usually think about it.

    • gkm2011 October 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      I’m guessing that it has something to do with whether the workers are unionized in the US and what happened after 2008 when most US airlines had layoffs. Typically the younger attendants would be laid off first. Good to hear from you!

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