Stewardesses say “No” to ritual of squeezing into overhead bins

World Today

Images which showed female cabin crew lying in overhead luggage compartments went viral on Chinese social media

Having had enough of the unofficial ritual in their airline company of stuffing new stewardesses into the luggage storage bins on planes, a group of Chinese stewardesses have finally voiced their outcry on social media.

In an article that has gone viral since Sunday, the stewardesses from Kunming Airlines complained that they were forced to undergo a celebration ritual of being squeezed into the narrow space by a few male safety officers, after each had finished their first 30 to 50 hours as a new employee.

Though many of them were annoyed by the ritual, they still went through it in fear of being edged out by other colleagues. In fact, a few stewardesses were labeled “asocial” and “cocky” after they refused the ritual, as per the article.

Multiple stewardesses have consistently filed complaints to the company. However, their request for further investigations was ignored, and the ritual continued to exist for nearly five years.

After the article became an online hit, the Kunming Airlines finally gave an official response on Monday. It claimed that the executive level never knew about the ritual, nor had ever received any complaints.

As for the ritual, the company said it was only an individual act that happened after the flight is finished, and has not affected the flight safety or customer services. In this case, they said they would educate the misbehaved employees to stop the ritual from happening again.

The act of stuffing stewardesses into overhead bins was reported to be a delightful trend in airline companies overseas for some time, as a couple of images that went viral show stewardesses smiling at the cameras from overhead bins.


However, Chinese netizens who supported the Kunming Airlines stewardesses argue that any ritual, no matter how common it is in the industry, should be carried out under participants’ consent, or it could become offensive.

The stewardesses’ unwillingness is the only reason needed to end the ritual.


Being a trend overseas doesn’t mean it can be accepted in China as well. ‘Popular’ is not equal to ‘Right’.


I’m more concerned about the fact that the company claimed to not know a thing about the ritual. If it knows nothing about its employees for five years, how can we expect them to know anything about the customers?