- Previous TWA flight attendant Ann Hood mentioned she was often stressed about her body weight on the job.
- In her memoir, Hood wrote that there were being weigh-ins and some hires ended up fired for their size.
- At 5-foot-7 and 120 kilos, the “Fly Lady” author said, “I was so skinny, but I was always worried.”
When Ann Hood became a TWA flight attendant in 1979, the 21-12 months-previous faculty graduate’s desire career was fewer glamorous than she considered it would be.
As the Rhode Island native wrote in her memoir, “Fly Woman,” introduced Could 3, substantially of the job entailed “draconian” regulations and restrictions centered all around graphic — which include unannounced bodyweight checks.
And even though the airline seemed to have a preference for new hires with school degrees, Hood wrote, “flight attendants had been nonetheless preferred in no tiny element for fantastic seems to be, and with top and bodyweight prerequisites.”
“Your hem and large heels experienced to be a selected height. Earrings could only dangle so far. Your lipstick was intended to match the stripe of your blazer,” Hood, now 65, instructed Insider, including that it was a “not good” maroon colour.
Any act of defiance — say, putting on pink lipstick — could set off a supervisor’s wrath, in accordance to Hood. “If you didn’t have that TWA seem, they could write you up — and focus on the coloration of the lipstick,” she said.
As she wrote in “Fly Girl,” shirking these guidelines could guide to termination. “Individuals were fired for donning the mistaken lipstick, on the lookout sullen, obtaining chipped nail polish, and scores of other good reasons that seem to be archaic now,” she wrote.
High heels were being mandatory, Ann Hood suggests
A long time soon after leaving the job in 1986, Hood remembers the ache of carrying high heels — which she mentioned were necessary for women of all ages — on long flights.
“Occasionally you were being just wincing as you stroll,” she told Insider. “Envision doing a flight to Cairo — 14 hours wearing those people things.”
In “Fly Woman,” Hood described a teaching that concerned working towards “the suitable way to walk in our superior heels up and down the 747s’ legendary spiral staircase that led to the lounge, frequently bringing trays of cocktails and food upstairs on our mock-up plane with a individual — and tricky to master — ankle-crossing stroll.”
There were being effects for getting body weight
At 5-foot-7, Hood claimed she was 120 pounds when she began doing the job at TWA and was explained to she would require to continue to be that way. “We were being advised every single action of the way — in the software system, job interview, and education,” she reported, talking of the requirement to continue to be at one’s using the services of excess weight.
Through a 6-month probation interval for new hires, unannounced weigh-ins for flight attendants were being widespread, in accordance to Hood, who wrote that “any infraction” could direct to termination.
“Soon after the 6-thirty day period probation, you could continue to be fired for fat obtain, but there were not mandatory weigh ins,” she instructed Insider.
“I was so skinny, but I was generally anxious,” she stated. “You hold out for the other shoe to fall,” she claimed of the fallout of gaining some excess weight from eating in-flight foods these as the beloved pot roast.
In “Fly Lady,” Hood detailed the lengths she and other flight attendants would go to in purchase to control their fat.
“Consider a gaggle of tall, rather, skinny younger ladies sitting down in the sauna at the YMCA of Boston, seeking to sweat off lbs,” she wrote. “Preposterous when you consider that by most people’s specifications, we were being now regarded as underweight.”
“But, fearful of losing our jobs, that’s accurately what we did,” she wrote.
In her memoir, Hood described other dubious
methods she and her colleagues tried out, such as utilizing diuretics, “a mad diet program that termed for ingesting 9 bananas a single working day, nine eggs the upcoming, and 9 incredibly hot pet dogs on the third,” and drinking drinking water “until a pound or two arrived off.”
The rules used to all flight attendants — even new mothers
Hood told Insider that male flight attendants — who represented 14.3% of the complete pool of the market in 1980, according to US Census Bureau details cited by FiveThirtyEight — had been beholden to the rules, also. “Men had the exact regulations with pounds and they had to be clear-shaven,” she said.
New moms were not immune to the body weight boundaries possibly, Hood reported. “Even flight attendants returning from maternity leave as just lately as 1986 experienced to weigh in before every flight and lose 1 and a half lbs . a 7 days to meet their hiring excess weight within just 20 months or get fired,” she wrote.
It isn’t really all that various right now. Some flight attendants even now contend with rules all around their body weight and BMI quantities. For illustration, some previous Emirates flight attendants told Insider’s Maria Noyen the airline has officers — identified internally as “bodyweight police” — who monitor the pounds and BMI of cabin crew, including female staff members returning from maternity depart.