SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – Even though the National Human Rights Commission of Korea has repeatedly warned to abolish physical requirements on height, five airlines in South Korea including Korean Airlines and its affiliate Jin Air, Jeju Air, Eastar Jet and T’way Air still keep applicants shorter than 162 centimeters, or about 5 feet 4 inches, in height from applying for jobs with their companies.
The air carriers asserted that the requirements are reasonable as cabin crews taller than 162 centimeters can easily open a cargo box in emergency or in case of providing in-flight services. The height of the cargo box is between 200 and 214 centimeters. “We have had the requirements since 1990 as the height taller than 162 centimeters is necessary to deal with emergency situations and offer proper services,” said Lee Ki-kwang, managing director of public relations department in Korean Airlines.
However, aspiring flight attendants have criticized the stricter requirements on stature than other overseas airlines. For example, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines hire applicants taller than 158 centimeters, equivalent to 5 feet 2 inches, while the lowest limits on height of Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines and Finn Air are 160 centimeters.
Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways have a standard of arm reach instead of limits on height. As long as one can touch the 212-centimeter-high point standing on tiptoes, he or she is eligible to become a flight attendant. Delta Airlines and Air Canada don’t even have any physical requirements on height.
In South Korea, only Asiana Airlines and its affiliate Air Busan abandoned the physical qualifications in 2008 when they were warned by the human rights commission.
The national agency concluded in 2008 the fact that applicants slightly shorter than 162 centimeters couldn’t apply for the job was clearly in violation of the equal opportunity right. Asiana Airlines revised its requirements in accordance with the commission’s recommendation, but Korean Airlines, the largest carrier in Korea, still sticks to the old standard.
By Veronica Huh (email@example.com)