Monday, January 24, 2022

Air India makeover begins: Airline to check cabin crew BMI & grooming when they report for flights

New Delhi: Preparing for a makeover as it heads back to founder Tata Group, Air India will now check the body mass index (BMI, basically a ratio of a peron’s weight and height), and overall grooming of its cabin crew members when they report for flights. The airline on January 20, 2022, informed cabin crew of its entire fleet that “grooming associates have been assigned the task of recording observations on BMI management/grooming/uniform turnout”.

The Maharaja needs massive investment in areas like fleet and aircraft interior upgrade as a struggle to survive in past few years has meant there were no funds for upkeep. While AI aircraft are perfectly safe to operate even the longest nonstops in the world like Delhi-San Francisco/Auckland, passenger comfort has taken a hit.

But there are areas that do not require a major spend like inflight meals and a more pleasant passenger interface with frontline staff. To be fair, AI has always been among the better airlines in these areas. A further improvement here will make passengers immediately feel the difference following the handover to Tatas as the big ticket items — new planes and/or improved interiors definitely with working inflight entertainment systems and possibly internet on wide body aircraft — will take time.

While TajSats, a Tata company, is learnt to be busy dishing up surprises on inflight meals for AI, the All India Cabin Crew Association has opposed the January 22 order citing violation of agreements. “The time for reporting (for flights) is meant for documentation and flight safety revision briefing and review. This stressful BMI check during a reporting is bound to disturb crew mental preparation, giving rise to flight safety issues, pre-departure when cabin crew are required to conduct rapid review & briefings. Cabin crew first and foremost (are) flight safety professionals trained in first aid and also conducting hospitality and inflight service functions,” the union has said in a letter to the management.

24/01/22 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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