Economics is such a fun and versatile subject. Today I ran across an economic analysis titled: The Declining Hotness of Flight Attendants.
To briefly summarize for those of you who don’t click the link and read the article, it focuses on what we refer to in economics as “non-price competition.” The idea being that in the 60’s into the 70’s, airline fares were regulated by the federal government, so airlines couldn’t compete against each other on the basis of low fares. So just like other businesses that add services (like gas stations that offer car washes), the airlines had to find ways to attract passengers. Hence the desire and insistence on younger, attractive “stewardesses.” Assuming the bulk of their customer base was made up of business travelers, “hot” flight attendants were the standard. Then when airlines were deregulated, competition centered on prices, and flight attendants became ordinary service workers.
I will note that I have seen a number of other writers offering alternative explanations throughout the day in response to this article, but I still like the theory.
Also, we flew on three different domestic airlines in India – Jet, Indigo, and Kingfisher Airlines. All three had flight attendants that made us think we were in a time-warp back to the 60’s – they were all young, female, and very attractive. I wonder if India regulates domestic airfares? Isn’t economics fun?