16th December 2022 – (Helsinki) A 50-year-old Chinese woman, Hu from Beijing applied for a flight attendant job to 3 airlines and was accepted. The news aroused widespread attention from mainland netizens, and it was once a hot search on Weibo. According to Mainland media reports, after losing her job, the woman became a flight attendant for the first time at the age of 41, but was later laid off due to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, the woman did not give up and began to learn Finnish, improve her skills, and was finally accepted by three airlines at the age of 50. Many netizens praised the woman’s efforts and admired her for being able to make such achievements at the age of 50. At the same time, it also triggered discussions among netizens about age discrimination in the Mainland workplace.
According to reports, Hu was born in Beijing, and in 1996, she went to Finland to study and settle down. After graduating, Hu joined an international trading company in Finland to work in sales, mainly making contacts with the Chinese companies. During this period, she got married and had children locally, and later changed jobs at several companies. However, many European countries fell into a debt crisis in 2010, and Hu could not escape the fate of being laid off. Before being laid off, Hu had already started looking for new job opportunities while developing the habit of exercising. In 2014. Hu saw Finnair’s recruitment information for flight attendants, which required proficiency in Chinese as a requirement, so she tried to apply, and later successfully passed the interview and medical examination. After six weeks of training, Hu put on the flight attendant uniform for the first time and started her career as a flight attendant. She said that she never made plans beforehand, and everything didn’t matter. It was only after the age of 40 that she began to find what she liked to do. Being a flight attendant was a new and wonderful experience.
However, the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 hit the global aviation industry hard, and Hu’s career as a flight attendant fell into a bottleneck. During the rehiring process by the company, she was not re-selected. However, losing her job did not cause a huge blow to her. During her unemployment period, Hu actively participated in nursing classes and learned Finnish. At the same time, she also paid attention to physical training and healthy diet. She participated in the Finnish Fitness National Championship and won the third place. Since then, Hu started to work as a part-time model, and has participated in the shootings of underwear, medical, cruise and other advertisements.
As the epidemic slowed down and the aviation industry picked up, Hu successively applied for the flight attendant positions of Lufthansa’s Eurowings and Finnair. As the oldest applicant in the interview, she successfully passed the interviews with her outstanding ability and experience, and was recruited by two companies. In June this year, Hu was transferred to another Finnish airline and became the only Chinese flight attendant. Hu said that the job of a European flight attendant does not have strict requirements on age, figure, and appearance, but pays more attention to the level of service and the degree of mastery of aviation safety procedures. Therefore, being older and having rich experience is an advantage when applying for a flight attendant.
Hu’s story inspired many netizens. She never restricted her life development because of her age, let alone give up on herself because of temporary frustration. Instead, she kept improving her professional skills and persisted in pursuing the career she loved. Hu said that she never cared about all kinds of anxiety, “If you want to change your life, you can only rely on your own efforts to fight for it.” On the other hand, after Hu’s story appeared on Weibo, Mainland netizens started a heated discussion on the cruel phenomenon of age discrimination in China’s workplace. It is reported that Chinese airlines will not hire women over the age of 40 as flight attendants, those who are over the age of 40 are usually assigned to other positions.