'Old, fat, ugly' flight attendants lose first battle in discrimination dispute with Aeroflot
A number of female flight attendants are involved in a legal dispute with Russian airline Aeroflot as they claim they are being discriminated against over their age, weight and looks.
One stewardess Irina Ierusalimskaya plans to appeal her case after her sex discrimination claim against the national flagship carrier was rejected by a court in Moscow.
Top human rights official and Boris Kravchenko is backing her claim and another flight attendant, Yevgenia Magurina, is preparing her case against Aeroflot.
The group of attendants - who call themselves STS, an abbreviation for 'old, fat, ugly' - have claimed that they have been moved to local flights and off international routes, which leaves them lower paid.
Aeroflot has strongly denied allegations that the stewardesses have been displaced for being too old, overweight or unattractive.
Ms Magurina told local news channel Russia’s Radio Liberty that all flight attendants were photographed and measured last year as a way of quietly introducing new rules, under the pretext that they needed new uniforms.
She said she was then removed from shifts on international flights because her clothes size was too big.
“When my boss looked at my photo, he said, ‘Zhenya, you know, your cheeks are too big for international flights. And you have big breasts, so you should be wearing a sports bra.' This is the way they explained to me the new rules,” Ms Magurina reportedly told the local broadcaster.
Fellow crew members deemed too old or overweight were also moved, Ms Magurina claimed.
Aeroflot’s flight attendant application form requires prospective employees to specify their height, weight and clothing size.
A Aeroflot official told the court that every extra kilogramme meant spending an extra 800 roubles (€13) per year on fuel, according to the BBC.
In a statement, the airline said: “Cabin crew are the face of any airline. Cabin crew of a national flag carrier are the calling card of their country. Their deportment and how they serve passengers creates the first impression of and attitude towards Russia.”
Aeroflot told independent.ie that the allegations are "without foundation".
"Aeroflot does not discriminate based on age, sex, weight, appearance, religious or political convictions, or indeed any other grounds," a spokesperson told independent.ie.
"The only thing that has changed since then is that we have won two court cases: one on April 18 and one today (the case of Evgenia Magurina). We are pleased with the rulings, which vindicate our position.
"Aeroflot is proud of having among the best cabin staff of any global airline. Our on-board service has won numerous awards for excellence, and our cabin crew are regularly voted as some of the most stylish and professional in the world.
"We would also note that Aeroflot has for many years been known as one of Russia’s best employers, and once again this year won the Randstad award for best employer in the transportation."