Startup Taiwanese Airline Starlux Uses Models To Promote Their Newest Long Haul Plane

Southwest Airlines is based at Dallas Love Field. Its ticker symbol is LUV and its heart logo adorns the front of its cabins. In the 1970s, however, it marketed itself as the “love airline” for its sexuality. Their cabin crew uniform, designed by the airline president’s wife, included hot pants and gogo boots. And marketing included “feminine spirit, fun and sex appeal.” Drinks were love potions and their automatic ticketing machines were “Quickies.”

However a U.S. airline can no longer hire only women as cabin crew, and on the basis of their looks. That was part of the transition away from the sexualizing of aviation in this country, and part of a broader cultural shift. While a Hooters waitress may be a ‘model who serves’ the Love Airlines case (Wilson v Southwest Airlines Co) found in 1981 that it wasn’t necessary to be a woman to fulfill the duties of a flight attendant and so wasn’t a permissible basis on which to discriminate under federal law.

The airline industry is still sexualized to a greater degree than in the U.S. in some other parts of the country, like parts of Asia.

VietJet, founded by Vietnam’s first self-made female billionaire, is known for promoting new routes with women wearing bikinis. They’ve developed the reputation as ‘the bikini airline’. However aviation and female sexuality is hardly limited to Asia.

Starlux Airlines is turning their newest Airbus A350 into a fashion show:

“Taste, starting from the flight: STARLUX Airlines transforms fashion into life from the cabin door, first class, business class, premium economy class, economy class, to the sky kitchen. Life fashion!” – reads the PR. 2/2

— Tomasz Śniedziewski (@TSniedziewski) January 17, 2023

To be honest I think new Starlux widebody aircraft are sexy and stylish even without non-flight certified models.

Another look at the First Class suite:

— Ishrion Aviation (@IshrionA) November 4, 2022

Taiwan’s new Starlux Airlines is fascinating. It’s a revenge play by the former Chairman of Star Alliance carrier EVA Air who was ousted after his father’s death, the victim of an estate squabble stemming from plural marriage. He was son to the founder’s second wife, and ousted by the children of the founder’s first wife.

In fact when he was ousted it was done in the humiliating way possible. He’s a pilot and and flown for EVA to Singapore, and when he was removed he wasn’t even allowed to act as pilot on the way back.

Here the now-Starlux Chairman is shown inspecting a new delivery aircraft.

StarLux has lost over $300 million since its founding in 2018 but expects to be profitable in five years. While they aren’t yet selling tickets to the U.S. they’ve talked about launching LAX flights this spring.

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