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Bizarre jet set world of a fashion leader

Date

Mark Hughes in New York

Air stewards who work on the private jet of Michael Jeffries, the Abercrombie and Fitch chief executive, are subject to a bizarre set of rules.

They are told what underwear to dress in, how toilet paper should be displayed and what words they should use when answering his questions.

The rules issued to staff in the 47-page Aircraft Standards manual also instruct staff to ensure that Take Me Home by Phil Collins is playing when passengers board the aircraft, papers at a US lawsuit have disclosed.

The manual also demands that staff reply "No problem" when a request is made by Mr Jeffries, 68, or his boyfriend Matthew Smith, and warns them not to use the phrases: "Sure" or "Just a minute". It instructs staff to wear black gloves when handling cutlery and white gloves when laying the table.

The rules regarding uniform are, however, perhaps the strictest. It states that all male staff should wear Abercrombie and Fitch aftershave, sunglasses and boxer briefs.

Each steward is provided with a winter coat that "may be worn to and from work and any time you work outside of the house". When it comes to the staff sweatshirt, the rules state: "The shirt should be tucked in at the front between the front two belt loops and none of the buttons should be fastened".

The handbook even has rules surrounding where exactly staff should seat Mr Jeffries's dogs, Ruby, Trouble and Sammy, when they are on board.

It confusingly states: "When Ruby and Trouble travel, Ruby will sit opposite Michael in the cabin, in Sammy's seat. When Sammy travels, Ruby will sit in Trouble's seat."

The handbook was disclosed as part of an age discrimination case brought by a former pilot, Michael Stephen Bustin, now 55, who said he was fired and replaced by a younger pilot.

The Daily Telegraph, London

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