Hiring only "beautiful girls with nice personalities" in their early 20s, budget airline Nok Air seeks to "rejuvenate brand image" & "improve service efficiency."
AVIATION: It's out with the old, in with the new for Nok Air cabin crews by Boonsong Kositchotethana, Deputy Editor Business
The chance of being served by a cabin attendant older than 30 aboard Nok Air is already close to nil, with passengers most likely to be attended by a stewardess in her early 20s.
The budget carrier, whose cabin crews average 26 years old, embodies the growing trend among regional airlines, which are shortening the working life of their onboard staff and replacing them with younger ones.
Airlines across the region are recruiting fresh, young and good-looking faces to do the job, lowering minimum age requirements and imposing short contract terms.
For instance, Nok Air stipulates applicants should not be over age 25, while 24 is the maximum at Taiwan's EVA Air as well as Thai Smiles, the regional offshoot planned by Thai Airways International (THAI).
In its most recent recruitment round in Bangkok ending last week, EVA even required female applicants to be single.
Much to the displeasure of cabin attendant unions, airlines, particularly in Asia, are grounding older cabin attendants, especially females, and replacing them with younger ones primarily to rejuvenate brand image and appeal to passengers.
Analysts say airlines also want to cash in on the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that are normally associated with youth in order to drive service efficiency and project a better impression on passengers, not to mention reduce salary expenses.
But many bigger legacy airlines with state-controlled status or powerful unions are prohibited from pursuing such an approach, although THAI can still ground female cabin attendants at age 45.
"This has nothing to do with sexist attitudes, but rather marketing," said Patee Sarasin, Nok Air's chief executive.
We want to give Nok Air a dynamic lifestyle image while living up to passengers' expectations of being served by fresh, friendly and efficient staff.
The carrier's working cabin attendants range in age from 21-29, which puts it in the running for youngest stewardesses.
A Nok Air cabin crew is given a three-year employment term, with three-year extensions on a case-by-case basis if they prove able to sustain their work standard and looks.
Crews then "retire" to other airlines, which has been the policy ever since the budget airline took to the skies eight years ago.
"Pretty girls who are not very nice due to maybe big egos and ugly ones who may have beautiful characters can become Nok Air cabin attendants. What we do is combine the best of the two - beautiful girls with nice personalities," said Mr Patee
He said the result has been that Nok Air receives very few complaints from passengers.
Another Nok Air executive said among those that are received, the most serious involve stewardesses not smiling enough.
The age limits and short employment contracts have never proved a barrier to attracting new recruits for Nok Air.
More than 2,000 applicants vied for 41 positions in Nok Hunt #12, the most recent recruitment round.
The previous round saw 4,000 girls competing for 25 slots.
"We've never had any complaints about the terms of employment. Applicants are aware of the criteria and willingly accept them," said Mr Patee.
He said upon leaving, management helps them to find jobs at international airlines wanting trained personnel.
"If we retired them at age 30 or above, the opportunity of finding new jobs at other airlines would be more difficult," Mr Patee added.
(Source: Bangkok Post, AVIATION, It's out with the old, in with the new for Nok Air cabin crews, 6/09/2011, Boonsong Kositchotethana, Deputy Editor Business, link)
Flight attendant vocabulary
flight attendant - the workers inside the airplane who help passengers (See Wikipedia) บริกรหญิงบนเครื่องบิน บริกรบนเครื่องบิน
cabin - the area where passengers sit in an aircraft ห้องคนโดยสารในเครื่องบิน
cabin attendant - Same as "flight attendant"
stewardess - Same as "flight attendant"
crew - the people who work on a ship, aircraft, etc. ลูกเรือ
cabin crew - airline employees who work inside the airplane
onboard staff - employees who work in the airplane
staff - workers, employees พนักงาน
chance - opportunity
nil - 0, zero
chance close to nil - impossible, will never happen, zero chance of happening
budget carrier - cheap airlines with limited meals (and prices that change with supply and demand, sometimes very cheap)
budget - an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
trend - a gradual change or development that produces a particular result ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม
embodies the growing trend - is an example of a change that is happening more now
shortening the working life
recruitment (noun) - the process of finding people to work for a company or become a new member of an organisation การสรรหาใหม่
applicants - people who want a job (and make an "application" with the company officially asking to be hired for the job)
female - of a woman สำหรับผู้หญิง
female applicants - women applying for a job (trying to get a job)
single - not married
required female applicants to be single - required that women applying for the job not be married
lowering minimum age requirements
contract - a written (or oral) agreement that is legally binding สัญญา
terms - conditions; requirements ข้อกำหนด
stipulates - making a condition or "term" of the contract
imposing short contract terms.
maximum - the most possible ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
regional offshoot - part of a larger company in a country (that operates in the larger region, here the ASEAN region)
displeasure - the feeling of being annoyed or unhappy ความไม่พอใจ
unions - an organisation for the employees of companies that tries to gain better pay and benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc) for them
cabin attendant unions - unions that represent and help flight attendants
grounding older cabin attendants - not allowing a flight attendant to fly (for some reason)
rejuvenate - to make someone look or feel young and energetic again ทำให้กระปรี้กระเปร่า
brand - a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something, the picture of something that people have in their mind, what people think about something ภาพลักษณ์
rejuvenate brand image - make the brand seem young again
appeal - to make or cause someone to like or want something ดึงดูดใจ ทำให้สนใจ
appeal to passengers - to do something that passengers like
cash in on - gain some benefit that it is possible to get
enthusiasm - very happy and interested in being involved in an activity
youth - a young person เด็กหนุ่ม, วัยรุ่น
the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that are normally associated with youth
efficiency - waste little time, energy and resources in doing a task (minimize time, energy and resources in performing a task) (See glossary) การทำงานอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ คุ้มค่าเวลาและใช้พลังงานหรือต้นทุนในการผลิตน้อย เพื่อให้ได้ผลผลิตมาก
service efficiency - efficiency in providing some service (such as the one that flight attendants provide)
drive service efficiency - cause service efficiency to increase
impression - an opinion or feeling that you have about someone or something ความรู้สึก,ความประทับใจ
passenger impression of service - the way that passengers view and feel about service
X, Y, not to mention Z - just another way to connect up several items you want to list
salary - a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job เงินเดือน
reduce salary expenses - when the company decreases the amounts of money it spends on salaries
legacy airlines - old airlines that have been around for a long time
state-controlled status - owned by the government of a country
powerful unions - unions that enough power to get what they want for members (who are the employees of companies)
prohibited from pursuing such an approach - cannot do that
state - government รัฐ
status - the category or classification of a person, thing, or organization; official or legal position สถานะ สถานภาพ
approach - a way of doing or dealing with something การจัดการกับปัญหา ng วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
sexist attitudes - men treating women different and worse than they treat other men
dynamic - having a lot of ideas and enthusiasm; energetic and forceful จรวิสัย
lifestyle - the living conditions and things people do everyday (fashion, home decoration, pets, cooking, music, tv, movies, garden, etc) รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต
dynamic lifestyle image
expectations - การคาดคะเน
living up to passengers' expectations - doing what passengers think should be done
puts it in the running for - it might be possible for them to win and get something good (like a job)
range in age from 21-29
employment - having a paid job
employment term - a period of time someone holds their job ช่วงเวลาการดำรงตำแหน่ง
three-year employment term - get a job for three years
three-year extensions - allowed to work for three more years
on a case-by-case basis - they look at each case and make decision (decision is different with each case)
prove able to
sustain - to keep; to continue รักษาไว้
prove able to sustain their work standard and looks
retire - stop working
policy - a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
big egos - think better than other people, put themselves first
beautiful characters - nice personalities (easy to get along with and polite to other people)
beautiful girls with nice personalities
complaints - when people say there is something wrong and they want it changed
short employment contracts - only offered work for a short time
barrier - anything that prevents people from doing something they want to do อุปสรรค
have never proved a barrier to - has never prevented from happening
attracting new recruits - finding more people who want to work for the company
vied for - competed for
aware - knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
criteria - a standard that is used for judging something or for making a decision about something บรรทัดฐาน (See glossary)
aware of the criteria and willingly accept them
international - ระหว่างประเทศ between countries
international airlines - big airlines that have long flights between distant countries
personnel - people who work for a company or organisation
retired - no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
retired them at age 30
opportunity - a situation when it is possible to do something that you want to do (See glossary)
aviation - the flying of aircraft การบิน ศิลปและศาสตร์ในการบิน
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