What is it about?

The paper illustrates how the profession as cabin crew has changed from being a well-paid occupation in the 1970s for upper- and middle class females before getting married, to becoming a full-time job and a life-long career for women and men in Scandinavian aviation. Much indicates that the profession is again becoming a temporary one of demanding work with poor working conditions in an industry in crisis and a polarized and class-divided labour market. The scope for exercising emotional labour is today reduced and boundary regulation in interaction with passengers is now a central element in cabin work that is intensified, devalorized, and precarious.

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Why is it important?

Fierce competition and cheap airline tickets also have an impact on working conditions and work environment of cabin crew. The work is intensified, devalorized and becoming more insecure. This development will have practical consequences for the lives and families of cabin crew.


This analysis illustrates how work 'constructs' workers and how airlines are creating jobs that are noe sustainable for the employees. The current development in aviation and the changes in working conditions challenge key features in the Nordic model such as proper pay, decent work and life-long employment.

Ulla Forseth
Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Take-off, turbulence and turnaround, Equality Diversity and Inclusion An International Journal, September 2022, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/edi-09-2021-0249.
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