Etiahd has an amazing new ad starring Nicole Kidman highlighting the revolutionary nature of its A380 First Class product.
Not everyone likes it, though. Laura Glading, the President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (representing American Airlines and US Airways FAs), sent Kidman a note decrying her appearance in the ad, lauding her efforts to advance women’s rights but stating–
“However, we believe those efforts are at odds with your prominent role in an advertising campaign for Etihad Airways,” Glading said. “The United Arab Emirates and their airlines are well-known in our industry for their discriminatory labor practices and deplorable treatment of female employees.”
Etihad, naturally, disputes this characterization and issued a statement claiming their employees gave working for Etihad a 93% approval rating and that pregnant FAs are offered ground service work during their pregnancy, can take maternity leave, then may return to the skies when they wish.
The letter did not address charges made by Glading that in the UAE men are permitted to beat their wives and there is no protection against women for rape.
To me, though, that seems like a non-sequitur. Human rights do not reflect the western mindset in many parts of the world and that seems to me a different issue than whether women are paid a fair wage to men when working for a Gulf carrier. The proxy war between U.S. and Gulf carriers continues, this time on a rather unexpected front.
In any case, the debate will continue and whatever your views on this issue, we must acknowledge that this new ad is amazing and does nicely highlight that Etihad has taken first class to the next level with its A380 First Class Apartments.