While it’s normal for airlines to have behavior and appearance standards for employees, this has to be one of the stranger notices we’ve seen. I first wrote about this a couple of days ago, but there’s now an update, as the person behind the memo has issued a “clarification.”
PIA tells cabin crew to be more presentable
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) seems to have some issues with how crews are dressing during layovers, when not in uniform. PIA’s General Manager of Flight Services suggests that the way that cabin crew are dressing is leaving a “poor impression” and “portrays a negative image” of the airline.
In a memo to employees, the following concerns are brought up:
“It has been observed with great concern that a few cabin crew tend to dress casually while traveling intercity, staying in hotels and visiting various suffices. Such dressing leaves a poor impression on the viewer and portrays a negative image of not only the individual but also of the organisation.”
The memo goes on to ask cabin crew to “dress properly” in formal plain clothes over “proper undergarments.” It’s also stated that “the clothing worn by males and females should be in accordance with our cultural and national morals.”
Grooming officers at the airline have been told to monitor crews, and report back if there are any deviations from these policies. Ah, grooming officers doing undergarment checks, what could possibly go wrong?!
This memo seems… oddly specific?
Admittedly airlines around the globe have different standards when it comes to how crews have to behave off the plane. In some cases this is specific to how employees must behave while in uniform and not on the plane (like at airports), while in other cases it involves how they must behave when not in uniform (like at layover hotels).
This memo from PIA (minus the undergarment reference) reminds me of that Pan Am training video about how employees should behave at hotels, as they’re still representing the airline.
Even so, I’m a bit confused by PIA’s memo. The airline is asking employees to dress in “formal plain clothes” when on layovers. Maybe that’s not meant so literally, but… why? If they’re going to the hotel gym or on a walk in a warm climate, are “formal plain clothes” really necessary?
And of course that’s the less strange point here — the much stranger thing is the request to wear undergarments. This leads me to only two possible conclusions:
- Have there honestly been repeated incidents that involve crews not wearing undergarments, and that somehow getting back to management?
- Is someone at PIA just a little bit pervy, and that’s reflected in what they’ve chosen to focus on in a memo?
I mean, we’ve seen plenty of airlines with much higher customer service standards than PIA write memos to employees about appearance, though I don’t ever recall undergarments specifically being referenced. Hmmm…
PIA clarifies memo about undergarments
Following widespread reporting of PIA’s appearance standards memo, the person behind the memo has issued a statement:
“Despite the fact that the spirit behind the advisory was to ensure proper dress code, however, the standard bulletin, inadvertently, came out with an inappropriate selection of words. I personally feel regretful and am fully convinced that the words could have been more civilised and appropriate in this context instead of words published, which, unfortunately, are being trolled and twisted towards the defamation of the company.”
Okay, that’s kind of a weird apology. He acknowledges that the words were “inappropriate” and he “feels regretful,” but also claims that the quote is being “trolled and twisted towards the defamation of the company.”
Pakistan International Airlines has reminded cabin crew that they need to dress appropriately even when not in uniform. They’ve been told to wear formal plain clothes over “proper undergarments,” which sure makes me wonder what exactly the backstory is that prompted this memo to be written.
In the meantime a quasi-apology has been issued. The person behind the statement acknowledges that the words were inappropriate, but also claims that people are using the statement to defame the company.
What do you make of this PIA memo to cabin crew?
(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)