Can Flight Attendants have Tattoos?

Can Flight Attendants have Tattoos?

Airlines apply strict policies on hair style, makeup and jewelry. Often there are restrictions on tattoos and piercings. Can you be(come) a flight attendant wearing body art?

You are the Face!

As a crew member, you are the ambassador for your company in outstation.  You are also the face of the company for passengers onboard the airplane. They have plenty of time to look at you, not just two minutes, often two hours or more. Your uniform must be indisputable, your appearance must represent the airline’s brand image.

Not Visible?

For most airlines, the company policy states that piercings and tattoos “cannot be visible” when wearing the uniform. Meaning that you cannot have this kind of “personal expression” on your face, neck and ears, hands and wrists, lower arms and ankles. For female cabin crew, the latter may go up until the knees, even if the tattoo is not visible wearing pants. Not you, but the company decides if-and-when you can wear pants or stockings, for instance for medical reasons or during cold winter season. Airlines may have special rules around religious and heritage symbols, such as the Bindi (a red dot on the center of the forehead – Hindu tradition), or the Tā Moko (a permanent marking on body and face – Māori tradition).

But what is “not visible”? Generally, you’ll have to remove your piercings prior to reporting for duty. As for tattoos, some companies allow you to cover-up the area with adhesive bandage or makeup.

Despite the growing popularity of body art, there are still companies that will simply not hire you as crew member, when you have any tattoo, or when your tattoos cannot be covered by the garments. The same goes for piercings and ear stretchers that cannot be removed. Some company’s actually perform a body check for new joiners and hired cabin crew!

A limited number of airlines do allow tattoos to be visible to the passenger, as long as they are small, non-religious and/or non-offensive. If you have tattoos, and you are about to candidate for flight attendant, check the company’s grooming standards before going to your job interview. For hired crew, the same is true; make sure not to violate the company rules when you consider your first tattoo or your first piercing.


We asked around!

Our last week poll among 75K crew members using CrewLounge AERO, revealed that 87% of the participants believe that flight attendants can have tattoos. Around 9% is against tattoos in uniform, and 4% has no opinion. Among the crew members that voted ‘Pro’ tattoos, more than three-quarter accept that personal tattoos should not be visible when wearing the uniform. Others believe that tattoos can be visible as long as they are non-offensive.

Tattoos often express a personal opinion, which may not be in line with the company’s core values or harm the company’s image. Almost all crew members that participated in our poll therefore understand that airlines companies put in place restrictions.


How to hide?

Now that your body is “inked”, you may need to hide your tattoo using bandage coverings, dressing strips or conceal your tattoo with makeup. Here is a cute video tutorial on How-to conceal your tattoo in 6 simple steps:

What Now?

We see that airlines in many countries accept crew members with tattoos, as long as those are not visible when wearing the uniform. For some countries and some cultures, tattooing is a sin. For some religions, tattoos are haram, and therefore not allowed.

Having a tattoo should not ruin your dream of becoming a flight attendant, or for the same matter, becoming a pilot. If tattoos are not accepted by the company you like to work for, you’ll have to choose between removing the tattoos or looking for another employer. In either case, let your heart speak!

Top: Header picture featuring cabin crew member Geert Hanssens
Below: Gallery pictures featuring cabin crew members Daniel Fernando Osorio Soza – Maitè Boone – Valeria Ospitalieri – Geert Hanssens

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