American’s flight attendants union put out a statement calling out Nicole Kidman because somehow restricting flights by Middle East airlines, which will make air travel more expensive (including for women trying to fly from the UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere to the US) but will pad the bottom lines of US airlines is somehow good for women.
The 25,000 members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants greatly admire and appreciate your efforts to advance women’s rights around the world as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Using your profile and stature for such a noble endeavor is commendable. However, we believe those efforts are at odds with your prominent role in an advertising campaign for Etihad Airways. The United Arab Emirates and their airlines are well-known in our industry for their discriminatory labor practices and deplorable treatment of female employees. Therefore, the APFA must respectfully ask that you – as a leading advocate for women around the globe – not lend your voice, your image, and your good name to Etihad Airways, the second- largest airline in the UAE.
I saw the new Etihad Nicole Kidman ad several times airing on TV last week while in Sydney.
The ad highlights the new Etihad Residence which underscores the ‘halo effect’ that Etihad (and other Gulf carriers) invest in. Their hard product really isn’t better than that of US airlines, but they invest in making us think that it is.
Curiously, American’s flight attendants do not call on American Airlines to cease codesharing with Etihad or to sever ties with oneworld partner Qatar Airways. They do not take issue with American’s partners Gulf Air and Royal Jordanian. And I have yet to hear Delta’s flight attendants speak out against Skyteam member Saudia, despite Delta’s CEO absurdly linking Middle East airlines to 9/11 (while there is at least a reasonable case to be made that some members of the Saudi government were actually complicit in the 9/11 attacks).
Of course it isn’t just women’s rights that major airlines and their unions want to stop. It’s low prices from any source, such as Norwegian.
It’s a cynical ploy for protectionist corporate welfare. But invoking the name Nicole Kidman is good I suppose if you want publicity at any cost.