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Why Is European Airline Ryanair Asking Flight Attendants to Lose Weight?

Ralph Orlowski, Getty Images

European budget airline Ryanair has vowed to avoid the fuel surcharges many of its competitors are now passing on to passengers, so it’s instituted a variety of measures to reduce the gas required for each trip. Among them? Asking flight attendants to lose weight.

A lighter plane means a need for less fuel, so the company now brings less ice on board each flight and has swapped out glassware for plastic. In addition, magazine racks are gone, the in-flight magazine is printed on thinner paper, and seats and beverage carts now weigh less. The carrier even considered — and rejected — an idea to remove the armrests between seats.

Now Ryanair has dangled a (low-calorie) carrot in front of its flight attendants, too: trim down and they’ll have the chance to be featured in the airline’s annual charity calendar.

“We cut costs wherever possible, and [all] the changes will represent a significant reduction in weight,” said Stephen McNamara, a spokesman for Ryanair. “Fuel is an integral part of the fare – you can’t fly passengers anywhere without it. We would rather make cost reductions and charge passengers for other services.”


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