Japan is known for setting trends in fashion, culture and business. However, one trend that nobody saw coming recently took off in Japan in a big way.
Male flight attendants are having a moment in Japan. This trend may not seem all that radical at first — after all, men and women have been working in the airline industry in all types of roles for decades in the United States. Things have been slightly different in Japan. Cabin crews working for Japanese airlines were traditionally dominated by females up until very recently.
It was Japan’s smaller airlines that really got the trend of male flight attendants going. Small airlines have been using male-dominated cabin crews to set themselves apart from larger rivals within Japan, and more and more airlines have been seeking out male flight attendants as they deal with increasing physical demands inside cabins.
In addition, the surge in unruly or intoxicated passengers on flights has also contributed to the surge in demand for male flight attendants, and the fact that so many female flight attendants are returning to work after marriage and children is creating a shift in the way the profession is viewed in Japanese culture. More and more men are seeing the occupation as a respectable and viable career choice.
Star Flyer is one of the airlines embracing the idea of male flight attendants. The airline currently has eight men in its crew of 160. However, Star Flyer has announced its intention to hire at least six more male flight attendants by the time 2019’s summer travel season rolls around. The additions will help Star Flyer to catch up with carriers like Jetstar Japan.
Men already make up 15 percent of that low-cost carrier’s staff of flight attendants, which is way ahead of what Japan’s two major airlines are reporting. Men only account for about 1 percent of all of the flight attendants employed by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
How are other airlines based in Asia stacking up when it comes to employing male fight attendants? The trend is already considered to be part of the mainstream in the rest of Asia. For instance, men make up 40 percent of the flight attendants employed by Singapore Airlines and 10 percent of the flight attendants at Korean Air. Many airlines throughout Europe offer what is close to an even split when it comes to their crews. Air France is an example of this, too: More than 30 percent of the flight attendants at that airline are men.