PC Air To Employ ‘Third-Gendered’ Flight Attendants

LadyboyattendantsPC Airways is about to become the first Thai airline to employ "ladyboys" as flight attendants. From The Bangkok Post:

PC Air is due to commence its maiden commercial service, a charter flight for a tour group from Bangkok to Vientiane on Dec 24, and plans to inaugurate flights to two Chinese cities on a charter basis on Jan 23 next year.

The launch comes after a nine-month delay, which company reps said was occasioned by a desire to cash in on the glut of people traveling during the holiday season, rather than any financial shortfall. (To demonstrate his confidence in the airline's prospects, PC Air's sole proprietor, Peter Chan, elected not to lease the company's first airplane, an Airbus 310-222, and instead bought it outright for 1 billion Thai baht.)

PC Air offered a demo flight last week for members of the media. Aboard were the airline's four "ladyboy" flight attendants, pictured above. (Photo courtesy of Boonsong Kositchotethana. And no — "ladyboy" is not at all an un-PC term in Thailand.)

In the coming years, PC Air hopes to expand service to Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Japan, and Mr. Chan promises to continue hiring third-gendered flight attendants. The Post again:

"It's our policy to promote equality," he said.

Among [the airline's] first batch of 30 cabin attendants are four ladyboys, 19 females and seven males, all of whom are officially certified. One of the ladyboys is Thanyarat Chirapatpakorn (second from right in the photo), who was crowned Miss Tiffany Universe 2007 and is best known as a model and soap opera actress who uses the name "Nong Film".


  1. Brian says

    The article actually says PC Air is the first in the world to employ transexuals, which I would think was a pretty thinly researched claim. In fact, there are ladyboys all over the main Thai airline, Thai Airways, ground crew, ticket sales etc so I’d be surprised if they weren’t in the air as well, although I don’t remember seeing one. So while PC is probably not the first in Thailand or the world to hire transexuals, they definitely have the highest quota, over ten percent of their flight attendants are ladyboys!

  2. Chris says

    “Ladyboys”? Who came-up with that term? They’re trans-sexuals? Wouldn’t they prefer just to be called women (if they’ve completed the male-to-female physical transition)?

    Why should it make any difference if your female flight attendant used to be a man?

    Or are these cross-dressing men? Am I confused? Anyway, what’s the big deal?

  3. non-american says

    Not everywhere in the world do people think like Westerners. This insistence by transexuals that they be seen as just another member of the gender they’ve adopted, is a Western thing only.

  4. Gregv says

    @Chris: in Thailand, they take pride in their identity as ladyboys. The point Non-American made is an interesting one. I wonder sometimes how different gender-bending people’s identities and desire to change themselves would be if people were just accepted for their uniqueness, anywhere along the spectrum of genders.

  5. Chris says

    Fascinating…so “Ladyboys” try to bring attention to their trans-genderedness, or whatever it is?

    So they’re like drag queens, except without the over-the-top style?

    I learn something new every day!

  6. Paul R says

    Thailand is amazing. To bad I got stuck there during a coup, but them’s the brakes.

    The first and third of those ladyboys could easily pass as women, but I’m less sure they could pass as Thai.

  7. says

    This story is weird. I find it hard to believe that no other airline has ever employed a transgendered person. I would also find it hard to believe that no other airline has employed someone that self-identifies as a “ladyboy”. And on top of that, why make a specific deal out of your airline employing many ladyboys?

  8. Expat says

    My wife is a transgendered Thai woman. I’m bisexual. This is how I see it. People getting bent out of shape about the word ‘ladyboy’ (in Thailand) are missing the point. Ladyboy works because it’s easy for Thai people to pronounce in English. Most Thai folks have no use for English in their everyday life and English literacy is not exactly high. Would you really care what Thai word people used in Thai to describe you as long as it was factual and not considered derogatory?

  9. Expat says

    Thailand, contrary to popular belief, is not some kind of trans utopia. While it lacks the fervent hatred that is common in the west, and trans people are generally not afraid to transition white color discrimination is widespread and there are almost zero trans legal protections in Thailand. Trans people cannot even change their ID card. The soft bigotry of low expectations is the rule. White collar jobs, with few exceptions, are not given to Thai trans people. It is significant that an airline would choose to do this, and in many ways this is a bold step for greater trans equality in Thailand – sensationalistic as it is. I applaud it.

  10. Expat says

    “This insistence by transexuals that they be seen as just another member of the gender they’ve adopted, is a Western thing only.” It must be liberating to speak for millions of trans people across Asia, no? You certainly don’t speak for my Thai wife who just changed her driver’s license at the DMV. At the same time, there is certainly truth to this, even more so in India where there is a third gender option on passports. At the same time I wouldn’t insult your intellect by hazarding a guess of what the percentages look like, assuming you could possibly equalize the particularities of language and cultural perceptions of gender in 3.8 billion people.

  11. Mhmm says

    It’s amazing how some people simply draw conclusions by word of mouth and not by making an effort to actually MEET someone in the community. Children, this is willing ignorance. Meet a trans person.

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