By the time I landed at Kuala Lumpur International this summer, I was fascinated by the distinctive outfits worn by the cabin crews on the three planes I took to get there. Flying Air Canada across my homeland, the attendants wore smart navy suits with a red scarf knotted at the neck. From Vancouver to Manila, Philippine Airlines attendants also wore suits. Theirs were boring beige. Next up was Malaysia Airlines, who dressed their crew in sarong kebayas, a traditional Malay garment consisting of a long skirt and blouse. The blue batik pattern was absolute eye candy compared to the ho-hum suits I’d seen so far. In contrast, I noticed the attendants on domestic carrier, Firefly – you couldn’t help but notice them strutting through the airport – decked out in racy orange dresses, skinny white belts circling their petite waists. On Malindo, the regional carrier I flew from KL to Penang, I again encountered conservative kebayas.
It got me thinking about what airlines are trying to tell me by how they dress their attendants. Islam is the state religion of Malaysia so it means something when Firefly opts for short, bright, body-hugging attire.
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