They say never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. If one looks at airline crews across the world, the one thing that stands out, at least for female in-flight attendants, is that almost all of them wear high heels. Male flight attendants wear formal shoes, which might also not be comfortable for long strolls.
Imagine, this is a business where most of the in-flight crew have to be on toes for most of the flight’s duration. For instance, in a short haul flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad the in-flight attendants do not get to sit. It’s barely a secret that most in-flight attendants wear high heels in the terminal and switch over to comfort footwear once the cabin doors are closed and the aircraft takes flight. This might play havoc with your uniform designer’s vision.
A flight attendant who once wore a pedometer on a flight, recently told Conde Nast Traveler that she clocked 10,000 steps on a Los Angeles to New York flight. All the while she was only serving customers and walking back and forth on the narrow aisle inside the aircraft. One’s not sure of the footwear she wore in this flight. But imagine, if she had to do it wearing high heels, that many airlines prescribe as the standard uniform for their crew.
It’s no secret that customer service levels drop when customer care personnel feel tired or uncomfortable. This can range from the shoes in the aircraft or to something as basic as the seats and the overall work ambience that one offers call centre employees. And this is not just true for the aviation business, but every industry where customer service plays a key role.
When Akasa Air, the latest entrant into the Indian airspace announced that it’s the first Indian airline to introduce sneakers or trainers as part of the uniform, it would have made many in-flight attendants jump in joy. An airline statement says that the outfit was designed keeping in mind “comfort for enhanced performance” and adds that shoe soles are made from recycled rubber and are lighter and softer. It claims to offer extra cushioning from toe to heel to ensure better comfort and support apart from being easy to maintain and clean.
Will employees with happy feet ensure more smiles from passengers inside the aircraft? Well, the flight for Akasa Air has just taken off and this will get clear only in the long haul.
(The author is the editor of ETBrandEquity.com. This weekly column offers a sneak peek into the discussions, debates and introspection in our editorial team.)
Read More: What Akasa Air’s sneakers tell you about customer service: Saturday Solologues, ET BrandEquity