It's that time of year again and -- in southern Germany, at least -- beer is in the air. For Oktoberfest, the annual beer festival held in the Bavarian capital of Munich, German airline Lufthansa has decided for the second year in a row to dress up flight crews in traditional Bavarian outfits.
The traditional clothing will be visible on Lufthansa flights between Munich and the destinations Denver, São Paolo and Beijing. Stewardesses will don the traditional "dirndl" outfit, in this case a long blue polka-dot dress, a white low-cut blouse with short sleeves and a long white apron. Stewards will wear a traditional Bavarian suit with a short-collared jacket. Two Chinese flight attendants on the Beijing route will be wearing dirndls, and check-in crews and customer service staff in Munich's airport will also be seen in full Bavarian regalia.
The company ran the same program last year on flights between Munich and Washington, Shanghai and Tokyo, and it was apparently a crowd pleaser. "The stewardesses in dirndl were a hit last year, particularly in Asia," said Lufthansa spokeswoman Bettina Rittberger. Travellers wanted to take photographs of the cabin crews, have their photographs taken with them and even wrote fan mail, she explained.
The budding tradition actually goes back 50 years to 1957, when Lufthansa dressed its stewardesses up in dirndls on flights between New York and Hamburg, and London and Munich -- blondes in blue and brunettes in pink.
This year's dress-up days will be held between Sept. 23 and Oct. 11 to coincide with Oktoberfest which officially runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 7. The festival draws more than 6 million visitors each year.
Bavaria is one of Germany's regions with the strongest historical traditions -- although many foreigners tend to equate Bavarian culture, including lederhosen and dirndls, with German culture as a whole.