AirAsia Passenger Writes Letter Complaining About Scantily Dressed Flight Attendants

Filed Under: Media, Other Airlines

Over the years we’ve seen a lot of debate in Malaysia regarding flight attendant uniforms. More conservative people prefer to see flight attendants at Malaysian airlines dressed in a way that’s compliant with Muslim tradition, while others like airlines to take a more liberal approach.

In late 2015 we saw Rayani Air emerge (and go out of business months later), which was a carrier that used its Shariah-compliance as a selling point. On the other end of the spectrum you have AirAsia. Personally I wouldn’t consider their uniforms to be that revealing (at least from a western perspective), but clearly others disagree.

A doctor from New Zealand has written a letter to a Malaysian senator, which is going viral on social media. The letter was addressed to senator Hanafi Mamat, of the ruling Umno party. Last month the senator tackled the issue of flight attendant uniforms, urging the government to add new restrictions. Per the International Business Times:

“We are proud that Malaysia is an Islamic country with its own cultural identity, but when our flight stewardesses dress sexily and disrespectfully, this will give tourists who use the services of our national carriers the wrong impression,” he added.

“The time has come for the government to provide new uniform guidelines which will portray Malaysia as a Muslim country with strong Eastern values.”

Senator Abdullah Mat Yasim went a step further and claimed the uniforms of stewardesses on AirAsia and Firefly could “arouse passengers”.

He said that the “eye-catching outfits” do not reflect the status of Islam which is the official religion of Malaysia.

This brings us to the letter that a lady from New Zealand addressed to the senator, commending him on his attempt to change laws. Here’s her letter:

As you can see, she talks about how she’s “very offended by the extremely short skirts” worn by the female flight attendants on AirAsia. Furthermore, she notes that “one of the AirAsia women bent over in the supermarket in KLIA and [she saw] her underwear.” She also notes how she was flying premium business class, and one of the flight attendants “had her blouse opened and [she] could see the top of her breasts,” and that she “objected and asked her to close her jacket, as she was bending over.”

It’s certainly an interesting letter that’s garnering strong responses on both sides. Some think she’s spot on, while others are suspicious that she may not in fact be real, but rather that this was written by a Malaysian government official (it sure seems to me like the letter was written by a non-native English speaker).

It’ll be interesting to see if the Malaysian government takes any action here.

(Featured image courtesy of lasta29)

  1. Note especially the final paragraph; the letter appears not have been written by a native English speaker. So let’s see if the real “Dr June Robertson” emerges to discuss further.

    Having been in KLIA2 multiple times I admit to never having seen Air Asia crew wearing “very short skirts”.

  2. Total fake. Imagine some doctor researching the topic and finding the name and address of some senator, only to address him generically as “Dear Sir” (sic), without a comma.

    Also a doctor wouldn’t refer to herself as “Dr June Robertson” but as June Robertson, M.D. or Ph.D.

  3. I wouldn’t mind seeing some big firm tatas as opposed to the saggy old melons I have to see on the American carriers.

  4. You would think that someone trying to make a fraudulent letter go viral might run it by a native-English speaker first. Everyone can agree this was obviously not written by a New Zealand *doctor* named June Robertson. I mean really, what professional would write a letter to a foreign government official on nice stationary but not use periods regularly?

    It’s even more pathetic when you recognize this was actually written by some pearl-clutching conservative man in Malaysia. I am reminded of people who claim to be Black or gay on the internet then align with some conservative viewpoint. #asablackman

  5. Yeah…how about we just separate religion from state. The fact that Malaysia prides itself on being an Islamic country is simply disgusting. Keep your religion out of your government. Religion is already separate from reality.

  6. The letter seems utterly fake to me, too. But…

    @ Boco:

    “finding the name and address of some senator, only to address him generically as “Dear Sir” (sic), without a comma”

    Don’t assume US English is the only way to write. “Open punctuation” (ie, things like NOT putting a comma after the salutation) is now standard in British English. And “Dear Sir” may be the correct form of address for a Malaysian senator (no idea whether or not it is, but don’t leap to an assumption).

    “Also a doctor wouldn’t refer to herself as “Dr June Robertson” but as June Robertson, M.D. or Ph.D.”

    What is it with your assumption that American English is the only correct way to write English?! It would be *totally* normally for a British doctor to sign off in that way (the term “MD” is not in widespread use in the UK – most medical doctors have qualifications like “BM BS” (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), for instance).

    UK surgeons (and dentists) don’t even use the title “Dr” but are always addressed as “Mr” (or a female equivalent).

    Cultural difference, eh? It’s a wonderful thing, which travel is meant to help us understand…

  7. Another installation in OMAAT’s semi-regular series “Various commenters reveal that they are horny dudes”.

    So far we have Leonard, Steve, and Geoff revealing themselves to be horny dudes who can’t resist telling everyone else that they are horny. Thanks for playing, fellas.

  8. In terms of safety, jumpsuits, like those worn by EVA Air FA for training, are better. Don’t FAs claim they are there primarily for safety, especially when they don’t want to provide good service?

    Air Asia seems tame. Aren’t there some Vietnamese and Philippines airlines with much more revealing uniforms, almost beach wear? Or was that a special edition?

  9. @TheNicePaul

    Dear Sir
    Wow thanks for enlightening me and all of us on your vast knowledge of the world and the English speaking language. Your words of wisdom are nothing short of inspiring. Pardon me for asking a question, if I am allowed to do so, but it seems that I may have inadvertently upset you in some way. If that is so, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize profusely and to tell you that I have learned much from you

    Dr Boco

  10. Badly written. No paragraph spacing If she were a bona fide doctor she should know how to write, however you would be shocked by the letters I’ve seen from genuine academics

    When she flew in October did she write to Air Asia and make a complaint? Air Asia could review this and if she hadn’t , why not do so at the time

    40% of the population of Malaysia are not Muslim. It’s a secular, multi-confessional country

    Sounds like a bitter old spinster

  11. @Boco

    Maybe in the US people write June Robertson, PhD…but in the commonwealth people will write Dr June Robertson.

  12. @ Boco

    Always glad to be of service in bringing a little enlightenment and wisdom where I can…

    See also Josh’s comment, above.

  13. However, I’m fairly sure an educated native speaker wouldn’t have wrote this letter. The style and layout are suspicious. The paragraphs are too short and the language is fairly primitive and direct.

  14. I’m in the US and I absolutely use the Dr honorific for both PhDs and MDs. Honorifics in general aren’t used much any more since most businesses are more informal, but when it’s appropriate to use honorifics it’s actually pretty insulting not to use Dr. The letters after the name merely distinguish which type of doctor.

    The writing style of the letter isn’t typical, but I don’t think it’s typical to write letters to politicians in other countries complaining about uniforms, so I don’t really have a baseline for what to expect of such a letter 🙂

  15. Yes, clearly a fake. I’ve had numerous immigrant doctors in NZ, and their English is far better than this.

    The letter reeks, in fact.

    (I also happen to think the Air Asia uniforms are ridiculous.)

  16. An intelligent communication could be written as follows :

    “Following a recent flight with you, I was saddened to see the uniforms of your female employees was somewhat revealing.

    Whilst the service was very good and I appreciate we are in the 21st century, it would perhaps be better you condsider dressing staff with for example, a longer skirt “

    Ranting about disgust and prostitution makes you look stupid

    And not all prostitutes dress like she assumes Or is she an expert

  17. “Or is this maybe part of a viral marketing campaign of AirAsia directed at their male customers?”

    Hahaha brilliant

  18. Horrible English which means one of two things;

    1) The person writing the letter isn’t a medical doctor per se…
    2) It’s just a cheap stunt for free publicity
    3) The person writing the letter used a pseudonym because he/she/it is a hardcore Malaysian Muslim

  19. I’m going with the “viral marketing campaign” hypothesis…

    As for “horny dude”, that pretty much describes any male whose testosterone level is in the normal range. 😉

  20. Clearly a fake. Use of semicolons instead of commas is what convinced me.

    “The males however; are very respectfully dressed…”

    My bet is that this was written by a Muslim male AirAsia pilot/attendent.

  21. @boco

    There is no need to get childish. @TheNicePaul was just trying to help and was not the only reader disappointed by your assumption that US English is the only kind of English.

  22. Under Islamic law these women need to be covered from head to toe with only the eyes showing. The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified

  23. Mooselady, I’d like to apologize that you were “disappointed by your assumption that US English is the only kind of English.” I did not mean to cause you or any of the other blog readers any grief. I can see, now in retrospect, that my statements hurt people’s feelings and for that I take full responsibility. I only hope that you can grow to forgive–and perhaps one day forget?–my transgression.

    You are right, up until this morning I didn’t know that other countries spoke English as I was taught in school that the language was invented by the Pilgrims as they were bored during their transatlantic voyage and took the time to invent a new language. Upon further research, I stand corrected.

    If you still find yourself disappointed by my remarks, may I offer in my defense that I watched Lord of the Rings (which I believe was filmed in NZ) several times and not once did any of the characters referred to themselves as Dr. so-and-so. So how was I supposed to know?

    Dr Boco

  24. People are making a lot of assumptions about doctors… Not quite sure why you see them as super-human but some doctors have poor English, some are petty, some don’t write perfectly formal letters etc etc

  25. The real problem is that New Zealand is a hot bed of misandrous men hating feminism. Men in New Zealand are creatures held in contempt by New Zealand women, diminished in the role of parenthood by a hostile Family court and reduced to being exploited sperm donors.

    Kiwi women can’t understand why Kiwi Men often prefer to marry Asian women. They don’t join the dots it is because Kiwi Men are tired of being challenged and confronted for just being men.

    Good on these Asian women who are not scared to be women, or attractive for that matter.

    Vive la difference

  26. Probably it’s fake. I know the rulling party in Malaysia can do everything to make rule on something. AirAsia uniform are not revealed, they totally okay. Even Citilink Indonesia also have the same uniform style like AirAsia but no Indonesian bother the design of uniform.

  27. Hi Ben,

    Just out of curiosity, how does it seem to you that the letter was written by a non-native English speaker?

  28. Dear all,
    I completely agree with all of you above on the fact that this is absolutely fake and ridiculous.

    Listen, FYI, I am a doctor and always use the” Dr…….., MD”.
    Then of course, so many mistakes in writing, not only because being a doctor (which does not necessarily means being smart, let me tell you) but also because not proper for a native English speaker if so.

    Then, and the most important things:

    @Wiratama Adi Nugraha, I fully agree with you regarding uniforms for Citilink Indonesia and nobody complaining. And for sure Indonesia is a much more Muslim country than Malaysia, but of course they are much more open-minded as well.
    And for sure, Air Asia uniforms are not that revealing and actually, the girls look gorgeous.
    All the Cabin Crew members working for Air Asia look gorgeous, men and women.

    That leads me to:
    @Aztec, you said: “My bet is that this was written by a Muslim male AirAsia pilot/attendent”
    I know very well many Muslim Air Asia Flight Attendants, male and female, and what you say is ridiculous. So please make some search before writing.

    @Lucky, even this blog has been based on something which appears to be fake, I still find it interesting because it’s bringing some aspects which otherwise may get no attention. Only when a nerd or whomever writes that thing, stupid a….

  29. I find it easy to believe that this is a deliberate attempt to impose restrictive and perverse requirements on others . Disregarding grammar , usage , punctuation or such just consider the likely motivation .
    Why some want beauty to be hidden away I can not understand . I prefer a world filled with happiness and beauty .
    OH , and the uniforms were not that revealing any way . Welcome to the modern world .

  30. That does it. Not flying Air Asia until I receive proof their flight attendants are clad in gray burkas.

    (Cute uniforms)

  31. @Dalo There is a difference between beauty and sexual objectification. I don’t want beauty to be hidden away. But Hooters-style titillation does not equate with aesthetic appreciation.

    I accept that this is a subjective issue. I find the uniforms provocative and frankly offensive. (I’ve hard the women wearing them don’t like them either.)

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