A new El Al directive requiring female flight attendants to wear high heels in the plane until all passengers are seated has evoked strong protest, with over 200 flight attendants signing a petition against the directive, according to Ynet.
- Israel's flag carrier El Al eyes merger with rival Israir
- Nine ways airlines cut costs at the passenger's expense
- Open Skies has revolutionized air travel - and Israel is climbing on board
Until now, flight attendants have worn high heels before boarding the plane, but have changed into working shoes before the passengers boarded.
Aviation professionals have criticized the directive, which was issued by VP Customer Services Yehudit Grisaru, on ethical, health and operational grounds, saying that it was gender discrimination which, rather than being extended, should be reduced and even abolished entirely.
"Why don't El Al female pilots have to wear fancy shoes?" one of the experts asked.
They also pointed to the health hazards of standing on high heels for extended periods, though their key concern was the danger posed by high heels during a potential emergency, particularly if the flight attendants have to facilitate an emergency evacuation.
Responding to the criticism, Grisaru said that "the company revises its service protocols regularly and it was decided in that framework to require female flight attendants to wear formal shoes while receiving the passengers to the flight. Immediately after the seating phase and throughout the flight itself, they wear work shoes.
"This practice is accepted in the aviation industry throughout the world."