Although many non-Thais probably think Thailand is a backward country, in many respects that’s simply not true. In fact, in many instances, Thais and Thai businesses are just as advanced or more so than their western counterparts. Unfortunately, Thai Airways hasn’t been one of them. Already threatened with court action by Thai Airways flight attendants last year, after they were told to “lose weight or they’d be fired”, it’s not surprising Thai Airways was still behind much of the rest of the world in its age limit for female Thai flight attendants either. That is until this week.
That’s why it was nice to see a decision made by the Thai Airways board of directors this week about the age limit for Thai Airways flight attendants.
Starting immediately, Thai Airways will hire outsourced flight attendants up to age 45 and keep them employed, contingent upon a typical annual performance review, up to 60 years of age. Sixty is the official retirement age in Thailand.
As they expect some costs to rise because of this decision, Thai Airways is also offering a voluntary retirement package to any female flight attendant over the age of 45 who would like to take early retirement.
The only odd thing and possibly “backward” move in all this is, according to Thai news reports at least, these decisions only pertain to female flight attendants. There has been no indication about the rules for male flight attendants, or “air stewards” as Thai Airways calls them.
Thai Airways does, however, still discriminate as, unlike many other international airlines, it only hires Thai nationals. This is probably not Thai Airways fault, however, but more likely due to the discriminatory practices against foreigners in most job fields in Thailand that were set into place by the Thai government decades ago.
It would be nice to see Thailand stop the “foreigner discrimination” but that is one of the things that is still “backward” about Thai society, unfortunately.
But, at least this week Thai Airways has moved one step further away from discrimination. And that’s a good thing.