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  • Photo credit: Getty Images
    By Liam Stack
    Air France moved to defuse a clash with part of its work force after the airline demanded that female employees wear veils on a new service to Iran, leading a union to […]

    • There are two issues here. Clothing that is required by Air France during the flight which must be a uniform of some type and then what seems completely separate to me is the clothing that is worn as the exit the airport and move through that society in public.

      Passengers on international flights have no right to dictate company policy and not the clothing that women in the West choose to wear when in their own culture! If they don’t like it then they can find a different airlines or take a different mode of transportation entirely. Why is it always women’s clothing that they start with first? If Air France doesn’t hold steady against these barbarians then they’ll never see the end of their demands.

      In the end, we’ll have flight attendants in burkas along with all of the women passengers, little girls in baby burkas, men in the front of the plane and women in back with the chickens flapping and clucking around, halal dinners and on any given flight we will hear the call to prayer at least once or twice. No alcohol – Allah forbid! But FYI…the Koran never said a word to prohibit smoking a joint or two!!! Maybe we can pick one up in the duty free shop on the way to the gate.

      OMG! What are we going to do about the gay guy flight attendants?!!

      That being said, once the flight attendants step out onto the street I will be very worried about them if they are dressed in their western attire. They should try to blend in with the other women around them to avoid confrontations and sexual harassment. This is my policy when arriving at the airport in Algeria. There is no problem on the plane and coming through customs but when I exit the secure area I have on a hijab, scarf and dark glasses. There is no rule of law in some of these places, no bill of rights and the guys from the family are not all there for our protection. I never want to draw attention to my in-laws when I’m there. Everyone is frightened of the thought of a loud knock on the door in the middle of the night. It happens all too frequently. The fundamentalists are always looking for their next victim.

      Booo to Air France. I already had an abysmal opinion of that airline and now they’ve stooped to a new low.

    • All it takes is for one unfortunate incident involving “a wide and long garment” at the top of the aircraft steps worn by someone not used to wearing such clumsy attire followed by a high profile court-case against Air France and that should be the end of it. The air host(esses) clothing is designed for purpose – so it doesn’t get caught on the innumerable protruding objects cluttering the gangways of airplanes. While they don’t need to wear baggy clothing on the flight, presumably they do need to wear it when they exit the plane…

      As for wearing a head scarf – I understand there’s a great degree of flexibility allowed there such as colours and patterns. I wonder if anyone living in or visiting Iran has the chutzpah to wear a scarf that looks exactly like hair when worn – perhaps even just as a different colour to their own hair to show how ridiculous the whole thing is.

    • We should be increasing the pressure on such places to conform to civilised international standards, not decreasing it.

      The flip side of covering up women when they’re over “there”, is that uncovered women over “here” become targets, as we’ve seen all over Europe.

    • Booo to Air France. I already had an abysmal opinion of that airline and now they’ve stooped to a new low.

      I don’t get it. At worst, they seem to have presented poorly, this is a press beat-up. Unless they wanted their cabin crew to wear a different uniform for Tehran flights, this was nothing more than a reminder of the conditions they’d meet after arrival. When in Rome, etc. But when in flight, it’s still France.

      I applaud France’s stance on overt religious displays in public places and institutions, such as state-run schools, as well as the prohibition of the identity-concealing burka in public.

      On “traditional dress”, the thing that most irritates me is to see a burka-clad person (presumably female but who knows) accompanied by a man in blue jeans and a t-shirt, or other modern western casual attire. Why don’t the men wear “traditional” clothing too, if it’s such an important thing? (Rhetorical question, I know the answer already and I don’t like it.)

    • Interesting form of hypocrisy when such garments are banned in France.

    • Well said LaurieB,

      @MadEnglishman

      "We should be increasing the pressure on such places to conform to civilised international standards, not decreasing it.

      I’d be interested to know if this was due to direct pressure from Iran or if Air France was pro-actively trying some vain attempt to not offend radicals. The sooner we learn that if this is so offensive that radicals require the rest of the world to bend over backwards then nothing we ever do will appease them. I think the majority of Muslims would not have a problem with dress. If their whole culture is so sensitive that they cannot handle stewardesses wearing their uniforms then they wouldn’t fly on secular airlines, if there is so much risk simple don’t fly and they can try walking or flying an Arab airline.

      The flip side of covering up women when they’re over “there”, is that uncovered women over “here” become targets, as we’ve seen all over Europe."

      Yes, I’d like to see female rights increased around the world, what was the feminist revolution for if not to stop this sort of nonsense. Having gone through the struggles it must be chaffing as an older feminist activist to see the west so easily handing over rights like this. It appears we live in an age of moral cowardice.

    • Air France is responsible for the safety of its employees in Iran. Allowing them to get off the plane dressed the way they would in Paris would put them at risk. Crazy Iranians would also demand air service to Iran stop. I think Air France is just being practical. If employees want to single-handedly challenge Islam, they can do it during the layover. It is really no different than a restaurant that insists employees wear period costumes.

    • I agree. The attendants should understand that the dress code Air France is requiring is for their own safety.

    • Roedy #8
      Apr 13, 2016 at 6:56 am

      If employees want to single-handedly challenge Islam, they can do it during the layover. It is really no different than a restaurant that insists employees wear period costumes.

      So Roedy, would you say that the same should hold true for gays who work on those flights? Should we tell the gay guys to stop flaming and make sure they act in traditional masculine ways while they are serving the Muslim clients? Maybe men shouldn’t be working those flights at all, gay or straight because serving is just a feminine role in Muslim culture in the first place. Homosexuality is an abomination to the delicate Muslim mind in the same way that long flowing hair and clingy clothing is on women. What about the lesbians? Must they wear makeup and perfume and speak in soft lilting feminine voices so as not to upset the Muslim apple cart? Accentuated femininity is what’s wanted by the traditional Muslims. Passive, servile and docile are the key words here.

      I mean, if the gay community wants to throw us women under the bus then what do you think will happen when it’s you guys needing support from us?

    • I suppose it’s too much to expect Air France (or any other airline) to pull routes to countries where women are treated as second class citizens. In much the same way as it would be too much to expect our new “liberal” prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to cancel the recent $12B arms contract with Saudi Arabia.

      I read recently a post on a conservative blog regarding the NC “Gender Identity” controversy. The poster called out the hypocrisy of artists and companies that protest the North Carolina bill yet remain silent on (and even continue to do business with) countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. I should say that again .. homosexuality is punishable by death. We boycott North Carolina because they don’t allow transgendered people to use a bathroom in which they feel comfortable, while remaining silent about a country where transgendered people risk being beheaded. If that’s not hypocrisy then please tell me what is.

    • I don’t quite know what to make of this.

      When I once lived and worked in the Far East I knocked around in cut-away running shorts, until I was told that it was frowned upon to dress like that when not actually running, and so I stopped doing so.

      I think that in the current climate it’s all too easy to imagine sinister motives.

    • I wonder if people actually read the article or just based their opinions on the headline of the article. No where in the article did it mention or allude to the fact that – Air France required their staff (flight crew or attendants) to wear muslim dress in their operational duties. One person did mention that the uniforms are design for a reason, and I agree with that. Also no foreign country can enforce or intimidate a foreign carrier to impose dress codes whilst the aircraft is inflight (mainly as the aircraft is registered and technically soverign territory of the country its registered in).

      Only upon entry to a country (ie by passing customs and passport control) does one actually enter a country and any country has the right to refuse entry to any one it believes to be not in accordance with their laws. They are able to say “we will not allow entry to you if you don’t wear a veil”. It’s no different then an American trying to enter Australia with his/her assult rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and other paraphenelia that they might deem to be their rights in the home country. Guess what, it’s against the law in Australia and if you don’t like it, tough luck. (although I would be asking a few questions about security procedures should this actually happen).

      Also one person mentioned “stepping down stairs” – guess this person has never heard of an airbridge – that’s pretty well much a given item at most international airports around the world – including Tehran’s. This is verified by an air incident report between a KLM flight and Lufthansa Flight in 2007 – the KLM was taxing towards an airbridge, when it clipped the Lufthansa flight aircraft. So it’s safe to say, tripping down an flight of stairs coming out of the aircraft are pretty low.

      So all said and done – if you don’t like wearing a veil on the arrival to Tehran, you have three options.
      a) – Don’t fly to Tehran
      b) – Fly to Tehran, get off get through customs wear the damn thing and lump it (and bitch about if afterwards to your friends in Paris)
      c) – Fly to Tehran, get off get through customs don’t wear the damnt thing and promptly get arrested and face judicial punishment and whine and cry because it’s not fair that you decided to break the law of the country. Then expect the Foreign Legion to be engaged to get you out.

      Oh and if any one can inform me as to what on earth Civilised International Standards are and who enforces them – I’d love to know – because that is the greatest load of bollocks that I read so far. If there was something as CIS – we wouldn’t be having this discussion. 🙂

    • Welcome Robin Ariaans; both to you and your comments. It’s good to have a bit of a shake-out now and again.

    • Air France moved to defuse a clash with part of its work force after the airline demanded that female employees wear veils on a new service to Iran, leading a union to accuse the company of “an attack on women.”

      And the title of the piece:

      Air France Faces Backlash Over Veil Policy on Route to Iran

      The title of the piece and the opening paragraph lead us to conclude that the flight attendants will be veiled on the plane. The next paragraph indicates that the scarf and baggy clothes only need to show up when they land in Iran.

      The company circulated a memo on March 18 that outlined the dress standards, including a requirement that women “wear a head scarf and a wide and long garment to conceal their forms” on their arrival in the country, according to the National Union of Flights Attendants.

      The point is ambiguous but I’ll retract my statements above because I just read a similar article on Slate.com that explains the situation in clear terms.

    • Yes,

      read another article that made it clearer that the policy was not related to in flight uniform. Clearly an example of the editor wishing to inflame the situation (which worked on me).

      I’d echo John W.B’s comments about it being unlikely that Air France would do something like not fly to a country where their staff might be at risk, in the same sense that airlines still quite happily fly over zones of conflict to save fuel even though every now and then one will get shot down, just hope it’s another airline. So from the airlines point of view this would have been a an easy precaution, it costs them nothing to give a directive and it makes them feel like they’ve done their bit to protect their staff.