Most desired position, Asian Perfection

I spend my day working with Adults here in Busan. My Encounter classes only have 1 – 4 students which enables me to really get to know my students. At the beginning of every class they introduce themselves to me and to their classmates. Being that our center has one of the youngest populations, most of my students are college students.

It seems that these days one of the most popular majors is Travel and Tourism. We have quite a few large Universities in the area that they are all attending. When I ask about their dream job, most of the girls say Flight Attendant. I personally think it would be a great job, but really was amazed at the large amount of girls here that are interested in it.

I currently do teach one woman who is a flight attendant for Korean Air. Her English skills on paper are great, but she is too shy and afraid to speak. I encouraged her to speak and practice with her customers. Her response, we aren’t allowed.

Yesterday, in class I was talking with two girls who both wanted to be Flight Attendants but can’t. Their reason, they are too short and they don’t have clear enough skin. My mouth about fell to the ground and I figured that I needed to go home and research this.

After navigating through these sites my clicks took me to plastic surgery and the cosmetic industry and since that opens a whole nether can of worms Ill save it for another blog.

So, I sat here last night and found all of these articles on women lined up at hotels in Seoul waiting for their 30 second once over to see if they pass the appearance test. I found out there are hogwans (or private tutoring centers) to teach Flight Attendant Skills.

The ladies have strict appearance guidelines and age restrictions. Comments such as, “Crooked chin. Elf shape. Pimple spots. uneven teeth, no chest, long torso, acne scars and poor frame,” can be plastered on their applications after the once over.

The age requirements for all airlines tend to be 21-27. Height requirements 5’5 and above along with arm reach length being an important factor.

If the applicants make it into their training program, they are taught everything from dealing with terrorists, rude women (I read that women between 20-35 are the most difficult passengers), crying babies, applying their makeup and how to reject pickup lines. One airline even refuses their employees to wear glasses when in Uniform. Singapore Airlines restricts the color and length of nails and their polish along with the eye color palette. (There is a Singapore Girl is on display at Madame Tussaud’s waxworks in London).

I definitely appreciate all of their hard work and training. Having flown 5 of the 8 airlines below I believe that their care to detail, patience, smiles and kindness goes a long way. I am surprised that Korean Air is not on the list. These women are amazing. They rank #9 on the Best Airline in Asia Chart. (these charts were People’s Choice)

I do love that my students have dreams that aren’t all focused on economics, international trade or stiff business (not meaning to hurt anyone’s feelings, the society here just really pushes for this) but, I do feel bad that just because of their looks they are turned down or are fighting a losing battle in this field.

I do know that there are a few other requirements such as English ability and some need education certificates or different degrees, but it does seem that so much relays on beauty.

I know all jobs have requirements and dress codes. I think about the requirements to be Cinderella at Disney or a Horse Jockey or even a lifeguard. Every profession has a different skill set. Its just a shame that the skill set for a flight attendant has more to do with beauty then with actual skills. (at first, here in Asia, from what I’ve read, before they are trained to meet “excellence in flight”)

According to the World Airline Awards, All top five are Asian Airlines :

Overall                                           Best Cabin Crew

1. Qatar Airways                         1. Malaysia

2. Asiana Airlines                      2. Asiana

3. Singapore Airlines                3. EVA Airlines

4. Cathay Pacific Airways        4. Singapore Airlines

5. ANA All Nippon Airways    5. ANA All Nippon




  1. the height part makes sense. How can anyone close the bins if they can’t reach them? I’ve never had a desire to be a flight attendant, but I couldn’t do the job anyway because I way too short. I struggle every time I’m in a plane w/ my bag. But Bonus, I have much more leg room than anyone else. 🙂


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