Vietnam’s budget airline has apologised for sending scantily-clad models to join the country’s football squad on a flight home.
Vietjet – best known for its air hostesses in bikinis – was slammed for the ‘cheap PR stunt’, after the team suffered a crushing defeat against Uzbekistan, at the Under-23 Asian Football Confederation Championship on Saturday.
Many in the communist nation were furious with the move and took to social media to condemn the airline – some even threatening to stage a boycott.
A model cuddles up to passengers on a Vietjet flight after the airline hired girls to welcome home Vietnam’s U’23 football team
A model struts down the aisle of the Vietjet flight as shocked passengers take photos
Others shared photos of the models, including one picture of an awkward-looking young man being embraced by a woman in a low-cut silver belly top and red underpants.
Pictures also showed the sequin and feather-adorned pinups posing on the private flight that Vietjet chartered for the team after the tournament.
‘Vietjet’s move was so rude, cheap, and offensive to the team, the fans and even its passengers,’ Facebook user Nguyen My Linh wrote in a post that received 1,700 likes and more than 100 shares by midday Monday.
Members of the Vietnam U’23 football team pose alongside a model on the Vietjet flight
Many online users said it was inappropriate to send the lingerie models to accompany the young men.
‘It’s disgusting. I will boycott Vietjet for this,’ Le Nguyen, an office worker, said.
Vietnam’s performance in the AFC elevated the athletes to national heroes.
The players were treated to a rock star welcome after they returned home on Sunday.
A passenger poses with one of the models, hired to welcome home the Vietnam U’23 football team from the Asian Football Confederation Championship
Hordes of flag-waving fans packed the streets of Hanoi to catch a glimpse of the team.
Vietjet apologised for its model stunt on Sunday, saying it was an ‘improvised move’ and not a well-thought out marketing strategy.
It said ‘relevant staff’ had been disciplined.