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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        4  March 2011

Slim-down rule for THAI attendants

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The six months given to THAI flight attendants to lose weight under a new slim-down rule may have been too harsh, a doctor says.

THAI Airways International in June imposed weight and shape standards on flight attendants. Its 6,000 flight attendants were told to meet body mass index (BMI) and waistline controls in six months, or be moved to different routes.

But Dr. Kanat Kruthakoon of Mahidol University's medicine faculty, said the measure, while ultimately good for health, may have been too harsh.

Dr Kanat said the policy would enable THAI staff to keep their weight in line with standard criteria, which is good for the health.

However, the six-month period given to staff to lose weight and meet the BMI standard may have been too short, he said. It may have encouraged people whose weight was over the BMI chart to resort to reckless ways of losing weight, such as fasting or taking fat-burner pills.

Forty-one flight attendants, or less than 1 percent of the total, failed to satisfy the new standards. THAI adjusted the schedules and routes of the 41 flight attendants, 28 of whom are men, forcing them to serve on domestic and same-day return flights. The flight attendants complained to the Labour Protection and Welfare Department that the regulation violated their rights, hurt their feelings and resulted in a loss of income.

The measure called for female attendants to limit their BMI to 25 points and their waistline to 32 inches (81cm), and male attendants to limit their BMI to 27.5 points and their waistline to 35 inches (89cm).

THAI's management insisted the measure was necessary to help the airline maintain its competitive edge.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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