Airlines

Travel website faces backlash after launching poll on flight attendants' 'attractiveness'

The travel site created a digital composite of female flight attendants from the actual faces of airline employees.

The travel site created a digital composite of female flight attendants from the actual faces of airline employees.  (Courtesy Trippy.com)

A travel website has come under fire for posting survey results that rank the “attractiveness" of female flight attendants by airline, with critics arguing the poll objectifies women and undermines their role in safe air travel.

Trippy.com, which Forbes rated one of its best new travel websites in 2012, asked 2,000 people to rate flight attendants’ physical appearances on a 1-to-10 scale. For each airline, the website showed survey respondents a composite photo generated from 50 faces of women listed as the airlines' employees on LinkedIn.

Based on the survey, respondents deemed female attendants with Emirates, an airline based in the United Arab Emirates, as the most attractive. American Airlines and Canada's WestJet Airlines came in second and third, respectively, for flight attendants’ perceived attractiveness.

In December, Maxim reported on the survey, and Mashable was among the first to bash what its own writer described as an outdated, sexist approach to a poll. The survey is making its rounds again this month after Cosmopolitan U.K. covered “the weird beauty competition.”

Now, the largest union of flight attendants has publicly condemned the poll.

Taylor Garland, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. which represents 50,000 people over 18 airlines— told Fox News in an email that flight attendants are “onboard to ensure the safety, health and security” of passengers on board.

“Training and experience is what matters when an emergency occurs at 30,000 feet,” Garland said. “The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has fought for over 70 years to stop these discriminatory and sexist practices in the aviation industry and across the world.”

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“Being good looking isn't bad or anything — these women should flaunt what they got if they want,” Mashable writer Sasha Lekach wrote in December. “But we need to acknowledge that flight attendants are way more than their looks. Did anyone care what the courageous 20 women (and five men) aboard the planes on 9/11 looked like, or how well their uniforms hugged their curves during those tense three minutes while Capt. Chesley Sullenberger navigated the ‘Miracle on the Hudson?’”

In a report of its survey results, Trippy stated that the ratings don’t reflect the airlines’ “service and ability to provide a great in-flight experience.” If that was the case, Southwest Airlines — whose female flight attendants were ranked second-to-last, with an average score of 5.76 — would have been at the top of the list, Trippy reported in its poll.

Trippy isn't the first travel service to come under fire for objectifying female airline workers. In 2014, Vietnam's budget carrier VietJet faced controversy after a lingerie model posted pictures of herself with other women wearing skimpy bikinis in the carrier's colors. The airline later disputed that the racy photos were part of an official campaign.

A spokeswoman from Trippy told Fox News in an email that the website’s decision to involve only women for its “attractiveness” survey was intentional.

“For the purposes of collecting the most accurate data for our survey, we saw it best to do a separate analysis rather than combining men and women, due to the larger availability of female photos on LinkedIn, the source for our study,” said the spokeswoman.

But will male attendants aboard the world's top airlines be subjected to the same survey?

Says Trippy, “We'll be following up with a men-only version of the campaign in the future. Trippy values the importance and duty of flight attendants in keeping passengers safe.”