The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union (FAU) claim cabin crew have noticed a rise in sexual harassment, often at the hands of their entitled frequent flyer passengers, and blame the unsolicited attention on their uniforms, which they are now asking their employer to revise.
Staff are complaining that the blouses and skirts are too short and too tight making it difficult for cabin crew to perform their duties without flashing too much flesh – especially when it comes to bending down or reaching to access equipment.
"Whenever a flight attendant bends down, her waistline is exposed," Flight Attendants Union secretary Michelle Choi told reporters.
"We believe the company intentionally does this to make us look a bit sexier and to let the passenger see more."
According to the FAU chairman, Julian Yau the uniform had been a source of substantial complaint from female cabin staff since it was introduced in 2011.
"The uniform represents the company and (should) also make the crew feel comfortable and confident", Yau said.
Choi also complained that loyalty club member's harassment is also systematically ignored by management and this is only adding to the provocation of the issue.
"They think it is part of their privilege … Afterwards, they believe they can apologise and everything is settled," said Choi.
According to Chinese reports, the onus is on the flight attendant to contact police if they wish to report instances of sexual assault and this only adds to crew members feeling less supported by their employer.
"When you report it to the flight manager… they tell you, 'It's your decision. Do you want to delay the flight by calling the police?'" Choi explains.
One study – conducted by the southern Chinese city's Equal Opportunities Commission in February – found 27 per cent of Hong Kong attendants had been sexually harassed while at work in the past 12 months.
According to the report the harassment included "patting, touching, kissing or pinching," or "staring in a sexual way" or as "sexual jokes and requests for sexual favours".
A whopping 86 per cent of the 392 participants who said they were sexually harassed were female.
In a statement to The South China Morning Post the airline condemned the harassment.
"We do not tolerate any form of harassment and take the issue of sexual harassment seriously," said Cathay Pacific in a statement.
"Crew are welcome to exchange their uniform any time if they feel the fit is not right," it added.
The Hong Kong airline claimed it had revised the design of the uniforms in response to staff feedback before the launch in 2011.