Saudi Arabia: Keep the Saudi Woman Out of the Air!

I found an opinion piece in the Saudi Gazette to be an interesting read.   A Saudi airlines passenger was noticing that a foreign female flight attendant was having difficulty in communicating with a Saudi family.  This passenger suggested to his (Saudi) seatmate that perhaps Saudi Airlines should hire Saudi female flight attendants instead.  The seatmate took offense at the suggestion.

I can understand why there was offense at the suggestion of having Saudi female flight attendants.  Sadly, there is a reputation among foreign female flight attendants who work for Saudi Airlines.  Perhaps most of the reputation is unfounded but a percentage of it is not.

While I don’t know the actual numbers, I know enough where the foreign female flight attendants have “hooked up” with Saudi passengers.  They either became second wives or mistresses.

For some reason, the female flight attendants on Saudi flights are viewed as “fair game.”  The female flight attendants are generally attractive women from Morocco, Tunisia, Britain and Lebanon.  Some come from other countries but the ones mentioned seem to be the most prominent.  

At the same time, one has to look at Saudi Arabia’s customs and culture.  The Saudi women is to be protected and shielded.  She is not to mingle or be exposed to unrelated men.  As a result, many Saudi women and their families would not view a flight attendant as a suitable job for a Saudi woman.  Part of the job requirement would be to wait upon and serve unrelated men.

Saudi women can and do work for Saudi airlines but not in the sky.  They may work behind the counters at Saudi airlines or in other administrative roles.  But to place them in the small confines of an aircraft during a long flight will not be acceptable among the majority of Saudi society.


9 Responses

  1. I am sorry to sound mean, but Saudis need to realise that they are not the tail that wags the dog of the rest of the world. The olds in Saudia are fond of oppressing women. They will die someday, and perhaps then the young will be better.

  2. People get offended at the weirdest things. Big deal – the seatmate made a suggestion!

  3. i dont know whats the deal,there are saudi stewards in saudia airlines,and if foreign hostesses experience language barrier from a passenger they call on supversor,purser and stewards on flight which are all saudis…and yes sad to say that some relationships that are prohibited in islamic country happens there,which happens for sure in any other airline….

  4. Hi! After reading the excellent article, couple of questions come to mind.

    I heard couple of yrs ago that saudi air has female saudi pilots. Obviously, these female pilots are in the cockpit alone with their male colleagues for considerable time, without their guardian. Can someone enlighten me as to what rationale/reasoning saudi clerics used to allow this?

    Also, I was in kuwait and qutter last month on a business trip. I met quite a few saudi female students who were moonlighting as taxi drivers. If female segregation is mandated by islam, how come it is enforced in saudi and not in kuwait and qutter.

    Thank you in advance ….

  5. Is anybody surprised by this?

  6. Again this is purely from a male point of view, i think saudi women will welcome this oppurtunity ( atleast the ones i know) , good salary, travel and nice pay .

    It’s saudi men that have this obsession with the virtue of women , yet many of them are the ones not to be trusted when outside their sphere of saudi, saudi women who come outside seem to take the mantle of ‘representatives of their country’ well and behave beautifully with dignity and poise.
    hmm like someone said, moms need to educate their sons and more important their daughters and hopefully if we wait it out the next generation will atleast wake up and take the reins of change.

  7. No, wendy, I wasn’t surprised at all. It is the same with Saudi women trying to become nurses. So difficult.

  8. But yet they can climb a mountain!

  9. They sure can! Wooo Hoooo!!!!!

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