There's nothing like a bit of eye candy to help ease the pain of a long flight. And while anti-discriminatory lawsuits may have put an end to the days in which "stewardesses" were hired on looks and coquettishness (not to mention the short hemlines!), there are still some airlines that recapture elements of the long-gone glamour era of flying.
7. Cathay Pacific
When a company's flight attendants are as apt walking the fashion runway as they are the airport runway, you know they must have something going on. In 2006, to celebrate their 60th anniversary Cathay Pacific held the "Walking on Air" fashion shows, featuring past and present uniforms. Ten of their own gorgeous flight attendants were handpicked to show off the company threads.
In 2007, Qantas flight attendants earned themselves a rather notorious reputation when the story
broke of a Qantas hostie and her mile-high hook-up with English actor Ralph Fiennes on a flight from Australia to India. And while she and Qantas have long since parted ways, she's not the only flirty staff member on board!
One reader, Tiffany, wrote that on her flight from Brisbane
to Los Angeles she was lucky enough to be on board an all-male attendant ship. "And the guys were really hot!" she wrote. "My friend even got one of their numbers." Another reader, Julia, comments, "I've noticed Qantas flight attendants usually look like they've had a big night the night before!"
5. Air New Zealand
You have to give the Kiwis hotness points for their cheeky
sense of humour. In a three-and-a-half minute video
titled "Bare Essentials of Safety", a pilot and several cabin crew wear nothing but bodypaint made to resemble their normal uniforms, in order to attract the attentions of customers who usually ignore the safety procedures demonstration.
4. Air France
Expect no less than the ultimate chic in hostie uniforms from the flagship airline of France, home to the world's fashion capital. Famed French haute-couture designer Christian Lacroix was in charge of their most recent uniform revamp and the final result: sophisticated, tailored pencil skirts with matching jackets, and smart suits for the male attendants which are sure to turn every lady's legs into jelly. Without a doubt Lacroix hit the job's brief, to create a line that "allies Parisian chic with a touch of originality, a wardrobe that is both discreet and refined".
"Terribly uncomfortable economy seats, but oh so dreamy flight attendants," one reader, Alice, wrote about Air France. "Could also be something about the accents!"
A number of readers wrote in about Dubai's government-owned luxury airline, Emirates. "I was sitting in business class flying between Moscow and Dubai
," Alan wrote. "In my cabin alone there was a team of eight female flight attendants of all different nationalities. They were in all shapes, looks and styles but all very attractive and polished." While Ben writes: "Emirates hostesses always look quite alluring in their outfits. But I am not sure if it is the hostesses or the outfits that make them so appealing."
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the average age of an Emirates flight attendant is 26 (compared to mid-forties on a US airline), and if an attendant gains too much weight, they are reportedly put on a diet.
One airline blatantly pushing a "raunchy flight attendants" image is Ryanair, which has gone so far as to publish an annual calendar of attractive female staff members
wearing nothing but itty-bitty swimsuits. This year 800 staff members, which is about a ﬁfth of the cabin crew workforce, applied voluntarily to feature in the calendar, sales of which go to charity. And in a making-of video from the photo shoot, the airline included a final frame reading: "Fly Ryanair for the lowest fares and the most gorgeous girls."
And we can't help but wonder if some passengers board hoping to get one girl in particular. "Miss Lookout" from the February page of the 2009 calendar, better known to her friends as Edita Schindlerova, was recently revealed to be a porn star in her down time! While some called for the sack, airlines bosses supported their employee. "What people do before or after they work for us is their business," a company spokesman said.
But reader Ciara wasn't overly impressed with the budget airline cabin crew. "I vote for Ryanair for having the youngest looking, most make-up-wearing flight attendants I've ever seen," Ciara wrote. "The guys look like they're 15!"
1. Singapore Airlines
Over 40 years ago, Singapore Airlines initiated a marketing campaign designed to elevate its flight attendants, the "Singapore girls", to icon status. And the campaign paid off. The Singapore Airlines flight attendants, who generally hail from Singapore
, have picked up "World's Best Cabin Crew Service" gong from the Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards for 17 consecutive years, received the most commendations from our survey of readers ("They're beautiful!" Nicole wrote), and even landed a spot in Madame Tussaurds wax museum.
We definitely think looks play a part in the Singapore girl appeal. USA Today's narrated slideshow reveals the company's strong emphasis on personal grooming, including a deportment class where the girls learn to walk. And the Singapore girl uniform is a striking, figure hugging batik top and skirt, known as sarong kebaya and has little changed since its 1972 implementation.
But looks aside, it is also the attendants' reputed grace, warmth and extra-mile service that usually has passengers crushing. "The difference between a Singapore girl and most other airlines," one instructor of the four-month training school in Singapore explained, "is that when you ask for a blanket a Singapore girl will unwrap it and put it over you rather than just hand you the plastic wrapped blanket."
Other airlines our readers recommend:
- "Definitely the attendants of Gulf Air. A hostie friend told me they have very strict requirements. You can't have any visible birth marks, you have to be single and if you're a woman you must be under 30 years of age. They require a full-length colour photo to even apply." Stephanie
- "Call me crazy, but every time I have flown Air Asia their flight attendants have been super-hot, totally made-up (sometimes borderline drag queen, but usually tasteful) and have nice figures. Strange because with a budget airline you would think they would be hags!" Jamie
- "In this part of the world for gay dudes Virgin seems to have the hottest crew. They are put up at the Holiday Inn in Kings Cross which is just a few doors down from my house. And they always seem keen to host(ie)! Haha." Joshua
- "On LAN Airlines all the girls have to wear bright red lipstick, even the ones at the check-in desks. I have often stood there waiting for them to weigh my suitcases and process my ticket thinking that a bit of lippy can give any woman a nice boost." Kylie
- "I'd say Singapore Airlines has the hottest attendants. Having said that, I properly flirted with a Japanese flight attendant on China Airlines. If you want to know the most unattractive I can tell you the average age of staff on some US airlines well, yes." Jonathan
- "There was this one guy on Southwest Airlines who had the sexiest intercom voice. My friend and I were making jokes about him all flight, but when we got to the end of the flight we realised he was about 60 years old. Major fail!" Rhiannon
Do you agree or disagree with our nominations? Add your own, and tell us your experiences with hottie flight attendants in the comments section.