Can pilots have tattoo?
Are Cabin Crew Tattoos Allowed? Flight Attendant Tattoo Policy
Can I apply to become a flight attendant even if I have tattoos? The short answer to this question is YES, you can have tattoos and still become a cabin crew, but it should NOT be visible when you are wearing the flight attendant uniform!
While some airlines will allow you to have tattoos, there are certain guidelines and regulations that you will need to follow.
First of all, it depends on which airline you want to work for. Some airlines have very strict rules when it comes to tattoos. For example, Emirates cabin crew are not allowed to have any visible tattoos when you wear their uniforms.
Other airlines are a bit more relaxed about it. For example, United Airlines have relaxed their tattoo rules and allow employees to have tattoos, provided they are the size of the employee’s work badge or smaller.
So before you get inked, make sure you do your research and find out the tattoo policy of the airline you want to work for.
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Why do airline companies have strict tattoo policies for cabin crew
Tattoos can be seen as unprofessional by airline companies. They can also be seen as a distraction and something that could negatively affect the customer experience. Airlines want their cabin crew to look professional and neat, and tattoos do not always reflect that image.
- First, many airlines have strict policies about visible tattoos. So if you have any tattoos that can’t be covered by your uniform, it may limit your ability to work for certain airlines.
- Second, even if an airline doesn’t have a tattoo policy, that doesn’t mean that they won’t prefer candidates without tattoos.
So if you’re serious about becoming a cabin crew, it’s probably best to avoid any visible tattoo.
Which Airlines Allow Cabin Crew to Have a Tattoo?
Most airlines will have a policy in place regarding tattoos. This is usually based on the cultural norms of the countries that the airline flies to. For example, some Middle Eastern countries may have stricter policies in place due to religious beliefs.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to keep your tattoos covered while at work. Some airlines may allow small, discreet tattoos but it is always best to check with your airline before going ahead with any ink.
American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Southwest and Delta Airlines allow employees to have tattoos so long as they cover it up using bandage or makeup.
United Airlines have announced new policies with appearance and have also relaxed their tattoo rules. They now allow employees to have tattoos, provided they are the size of the employee’s work badge or smaller.
Getting a Tattoo as a Cabin Crew
If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, it is also worth considering where on your body you will get it. Remember that you will be wearing a uniform for most of your working day and some areas may be more visible than others.
Overall, as long as you are willing to cover up your tattoos while at work, you should have no problem becoming a cabin crew member with ink. Just be sure to check with your airline first to make sure they are okay with it.
Can cabin crew hide their tattoos with a cover or makeup?
There is a lot of cabin crew who have tattoos, and while some airlines have no problem with this, others require that tattoos be covered while on duty.
It also depends on the location of the tattoo. If is on your chest or your back, you can easily cover it up with an undershirt beneath your uniform. So it is safe and okay.
However, if you have a tattoo on your arm or hand, you may need to check the policy with your airline employer. Some airlines strictly do not allow tattoos on visible parts of the body and they do not allow them even if the crew will inform them they will cover it with make-up, bandage, or an accessory.
There are a few cabin crew who have even had their tattoos removed in order to comply with their airline’s policy. In the end, it really depends on the airline and what their policy is. Some are more lenient than others, but most cabin crews are ultimately able to find a way to cover their tattoos while on duty.
I am a man, can I have a tattoo on my arm and still work as a flight attendant?
If you have a tattoo on your arm and it can be covered by your uniform (long or short sleeves), then it’s okay. Again, this depends on the company uniform and tattoo policies. Some airlines have short-sleeve uniforms so you have to check the length of the shirt.
I am a woman, I have a tattoo on my legs, can I still apply to work as a crew?
If the tattoo will be concealed as you wear your uniform, then it is still fine.
I have a tattoo on my back, can I work as a flight attendant?
Yes, you are allowed to wear undergarments in your uniform, and you won’t be taking off your shirt when you work, so you can have a tattoo on your back and still work as a crew.
Can I cover my tattoo with my watch?
It is on a case-to-case basis and it depends on how strict the airline company is. Most likely not as the usual rule is that the tattoo should be concealed by your crew uniform.
Video: Cabin Crew Tattoo Guide
Here’s a quick video guide uploaded on YouTube about flight attendants and tattoos:
Airline companies may view tattoos as unprofessional. They can also be seen as a disturbance and, perhaps, jeopardize the client’s experience. The airline staff wants to appear professional and neat, which is not always the case with tattoos.
If you’re serious about becoming a cabin crew member for an airline company with strict rules when it comes to tattoos, then make sure to do your research before getting anything done so that you can avoid any possible disqualification from employment based on appearance guidelines.
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Air India crew hide greys, follow strict makeup while global airlines allowing tattoo, piercing
Many airlines expect their crew to follow strict dress codes and decorum, but Air India’s commandments even instruct members on what to say and not to say on social media.
2 December, 2022 10:35 am IST
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A ir India has updated its ‘Cabin Crew Handbook’, a 39-page dossier on the dos and don’ts for its crew members. This Air Bible, as I like to call it, has instructed male crew members with deep receding hairline and balding patches to switch to a clean shaved or bald look.
“Bald look is allowed for crew with male balding patterns. Crew with U and V shape hairline on crown, visible scalp and large bald patches must keep a full bald look. Head must be shaved daily for a clean look. Crew cut is not permitted,” the updated handbook says. Not to forget that the hair “must be dandruff free at all times”.
The list is long. Beards are a strict no-no and male members must carry a shaving kit on every flight. Any spot of grey hair must be removed and dyed a natural shade or ‘company ruled colors’.
For female crew members, high top knots, low buns and pearl earrings are banned. Only diamond and gold studs can be adorned. Expensive stuff!
The Air Bible is quite considerate and well thought out in its project—in-depth tables of permitted eyeshadow shades, lipstick shades, nail paint shades of Bobbi Brown, HUDA beauty and M.A.C—all endeavouring to make up the Perfect Air Hostess. These requirements are part of the effort to construct a new image of the airline, which recently turned private.
Airlines around the world have changed
Cabin crew members of many airlines are expected to follow strict dress codes and decorum, but the Air Bible’s commandments go an extra mile, instructing the members on what to say and what not to say on social media. They must refrain from posting videos in uniforms and cannot “discuss politics, religious, company related issues”. Members of the crew have expressed their discomfort with the guidelines, as Hindustan Times quoted an Air India official saying, “Some think it is required for building the image of the airline, but others see it to be a little too much.” Another Air India employee had a different insight into the matter. In a conversation with ThePrint, they said that some of the employees were not resistant to the change. These include the new, more younger recruits, who have embraced the uniformity. However, the permanent employees, particularly the ones in their 40s feel discomfort with the change.
In early November, British Airways’ male pilots and cabin crew were allowed to have piercings and wear makeup for the first time, after the airline updated its guidelines with non-gender-specific rules. The Guardian reported: “All employees in uniform can wear mascara, false eyelashes and earrings…as well as carry accessories including handbags.” In September this year, Virgin Atlantic permitted cabin crew members to wear any uniform they like regardless of their gender and display tattoos. Aer Lingus and Japan Airlines have relaxed the rule requiring female cabin crew to wear high heels and skirts, while others have introduced new gender-neutral uniform items designed for comfort. And in South Korea, the domestic carrier Aero K Airlines said uniforms introduced in 2020—featuring sneakers and T-shirts—“were created with consideration and respect to better perform various duties regardless of age and gender.”
But not every airline has adapted to changing time. Singapore Airlines, which is renowned for its strict image guidelines, has been making its flight attendants wear the same uniform since 1968, with strict instruction to adhere to rules about hairstyle, lipstick colour and more. So, is Air India on a time travel machine with ‘Emergency Eject to Past’ mode on?
Air India is turning old-school (again)
Economist and author Shrayana Bhattacharya, in her book Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh, writes about the aviation sector employing young women as flight crew since the 1960s. By the late 1990s, the emergent Indian middle class had altered the ‘exclusive’ nature of flying. Airlines began hiring out-of-work models, beauty queens and aspiring actresses “who needed to make some cash until they got their big break—all personable young women not averse to hard work in exchange for traveling the world for adventure and financial freedom.” But this search for ‘adventure and financial freedom’ came with a huge cost.
In 2003, Frontline magazine reported that the company sacked cabin crew members, primarily women, for being overweight and those above 35 had to undergo internal gynaecological examinations once a year. Male crew members were not subjected to any medical examination. Moreover, women were allowed to have only two children while men did not have to adhere to this rule.
In 2018, then Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, requested Air India to sensitise its male employees after she reviewed the progress of cases of sexual harassment.
Given the long participation of women in the Indian aviation sector, the industry revealed how women’s role in the workforce is imagined in the patriarchal society, “with the female employee forever expected to be dutiful and beautiful, an item on display as opposed to a valued professional”, Bhattacharya writes. The Air Bible, with its detailed tables, charts and the dos and don’ts, perpetuates this notion and the pressure placed on the female body. And in return? Women are punished, shown the door more frequently, and left to nurse their dead careers. Game over.
Airlines around the world are waking up from archaic notions of gender norms and Western standards of beauty. Can Air India let its crew members breathe a little bit and make them stop sucking in their waistlines and hiding their silvery greys? That seems to be the only way for it to land in the 21st century.
Views are personal.
(Edited by Prashant)
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Tattoos in the Workplace Are an Evolving Issue in Hawai‘i
Visible tattoos, once a no-no in many local workplaces, are now more often a yes, a maybe or “it depends.” But beware: In some cases, companies need to act carefully because a hiring or firing decision based on a visible tattoo could have legal consequences.
Even Disney, which has a 20-page book-let called the “Disney Look” that governs the appearance of costumed and non-costumed “cast members,” has opened up to tattoos.
The latest edition of the booklet says: “Visible tattoos are permitted, with the exception of placement on the face, head or neck. Tattoos must be no larger than the cast member’s hand when fully extended with the fingers held together.”
Other restrictions remain. “Tattoos that depict nudity, offensive or inappropriate language or images, or violate company policies (including policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or any other protected category) are not permitted,” says Disney.
Similar rules now govern visible tattoos in many American workplaces, which have responded to the growing popularity of tattoos, especially among young adults. A 2019 poll by Ipsos, a major national polling firm, reported that 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo. That’s up from 21% in 2012.
There are differences by age: 40% of those age 18-34 have at least one tattoo, 36% of those age 35-54 and only 16% of those 55 and older.
Kalani Morse, an attorney and partner with Durrett Lang Morse, a law firm based in Honolulu, says that when making a hiring or employment decision, employers should be mindful of state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on someone’s race, religion, national origin or other protected categories. That means it might be illegal to fire someone (or not to hire a person) based on a visible tattoo that is tied to one or more of these protected categories.
Just as workplace dress codes should be gender neutral, it doesn’t make sense to have different rules on visible tattoos for men and women, Morse says.
“Obscene depictions, offensive hate speech and related slurs that are visible to customers and co-workers would likely meet the standard of prohibited tattoos for many employers. The larger and more visible the tattoo, the more likely it would be found offensive or inappropriate,” he says.
On the subject of religious tattoos, an analysis or investigation would be required to determine if any particular tattoo is an expression of a valid religious belief and practice, Morse says.
Religion and Culture
Rod Bridgers, an attorney and owner of the Law Office of Rod Bridgers LLLC, agrees that federal and state anti-discrimination laws should be followed when creating a policy on visible tattoos in the workplace. The cultural and ethnic significance of tattoos should also be considered, he says.
Not hiring someone because they have a visible Native Hawaiian tattoo might be considered discrimination because it would prevent that person from expressing their religious or cultural beliefs, according to Bridgers. He says that Native Hawaiian tattoos, called kakau, might be equated with a Christian wearing a cross tattoo or a Jew with a menorah tattoo.
“I think that as tattoos become more and more acceptable in society, as they have become over the last 20 years, I think we’re going to continue to evolve in our beliefs and someday there may be a case that says what’s an appropriate tattoo and what’s not an appropriate tattoo. But right now, I don’t know of any such cases,” Bridgers says.
He doesn’t think the size of the tattoo matters, but he believes the content and location does. Someone with a swear word tattooed on their forearm may be asked to cover it up at work, but if that person has tattoos all over their face, those would be hard to cover – and that’s something that should be considered when deciding to hire someone to work in a public place, he says.
Tattoos Based on Ancestry
Keone‘ulaikamakauhi Keli‘iokalani Makua, a Native Hawaiian tattoo practitioner, says Native Hawaiian tattoos are tied to an individual’s cultural and religious beliefs. When people go to Makua for a tattoo, he makes sure it’s “what they need,” in terms of the type of tattoo, its location and the individual’s cultural and family background.
He says that people who are critical of those with visible tattoos in general either don’t understand the significance of the tattoo or they assume that all people with tattoos are rebellious.
“I believe there is a negative stigma. I’ve encountered it. I’ve encountered it both here in Hawai‘i, in the continent and in Europe. And to be honest, people are fearful of things that they don’t know or understand. That’s like the bottom line everywhere in the world. People have a fear of things that they don’t know or they don’t understand.”
Makua says there has long been even greater stigma against women with visible tattoos than men.
However, he believes the world is slowly catching on to the tattoo culture – as well as the piercing culture – and that eventually, visible tattoos will be more often viewed in a positive light and will be more accepted in the workplace.
Hawaiian Airlines Policy
Hawaiian Airlines allows employees who are not in guest-facing positions (like baggage handlers, cargo agents and employees at corporate headquarters) to have visible tattoos that are not offensive. Employees who interact with customers (like flight attendants, guest service agents and pilots) cannot have visible tattoos. Marissa Villegas, a senior specialist of external communications at the airline, says the policy takes into consideration people who are sensitive about tattoos.
However, the airline is willing to make exceptions for those employees with visible tattoos that are culturally Hawaiian, Villegas says. All in all, she says, Hawaiian Airlines encourages their workers to maintain a professional appearance at work.
Jondi Anderson, director of human resources and labor relations for Servco Pacific. | Photo: Aaron Yoshino
Servco Pacific employees are encouraged to be their “authentic selves,” while upholding the company’s core value of being respectful to their customers, co-workers, business partners and community, says Jondi Anderson, director of human resources and labor relations.
She says the company does not have a specific tattoo policy and there hasn’t been an instance when an employee had to be counseled because of an offensive tattoo. Anderson says an offensive tattoo would be something that breaks one of the company’s core values or policies.
She personally believes tattoos are part of one’s identity and can tell a story. One of her four tattoos is a kakau that connects her to her Native Hawaiian ancestors and genealogy.
“My son has been begging for his kakau for many years,” she says. “Having turned 18 last year, he became more adamant about getting it – spending countless hours researching his genealogy. I caught myself telling him, ‘No, you can’t get it until you decide what career you want to have. You don’t want it to jeopardize your ability to get a job.’
“His response was, ‘This tattoo will mean more to me than any job – if I will not be accepted by a company because of my tattoo, I do not want to be there.’”
Does It Affect Performance
When creating a policy on tattoos in the workplace, Anderson thinks that employers should consider many things, including the connection between one’s appearance and their ability to do their job. They should also consider the consequences of excluding someone because they don’t fit a certain look and the message the company would send their employees by doing that, Anderson says.
City Mill created a policy in mid-2019 that allows team members to have visible tattoos, says Shannan Okinishi, marketing manager for the hardware store chain. She says the change reflected society’s changing attitudes, including toward tattoos and body piercings.
Okinishi says the company allows for “reasonable self-expression” and an HR manager would determine on a case-by-case basis if a visible tattoo is offensive.
“So, our actual policy says that if management determines an employee’s tattoos are offensive to co-workers, customers, vendors or others in the workplace, based on racial, sexual, religious, ethnic or any other characteristics or attributes of the sensitive or legally protective nature, the employee will be required to cover the tattoo. So that’s the wording on our policy [that] each team member agrees to in order to be employed here.”
Okinishi advises other companies to base their tattoo policy on the company’s core values and the employees’ values, as every company is different.
Dr. Shim Ching, board-certifed plastic surgeon and founder of Asia Pacific Plastic Surgery Inc., says people in the hospitality industry often want their tattoos removed. Ching notes that some cultures, such as Japanese and Korean, generally look down on someone with a visible tattoo working in a hotel or restaurant.
“I’ve had patients who’ve had tattoos on their hands or their wrists, and they’ve had to get those removed so that they could get the job they want,” he says.
“Even the military, where there’s a long-standing tradition of people having tattoos, I’ve had patients who have told me that things change. At some points, visible tattoos are just fine, it’s not an issue. At other points, it depends on the commanding officer or the branch of military and so on; they’re not supposed to have any tattoos that would be visible when they’re wearing their uniform.”
Ching says it’s harder to get a tattoo removed than to get one in the first place. The factors to consider are the cost, time and discomfort. His practice uses PicoSure lasers and the pulse of the laser feels like a rubber band snap; the discomfort ranges from mild to intense and depends on the tattoo’s location and the individual’s pain tolerance, according to Ching’s website.
Aaron Yoshino, staff photographer for Hawaii Business Magazine and its sister publications, is a big advocate of tattoos. He says it’s not right for companies to make a policy to dismiss an employee if their appearance or their skin color makes someone else uncomfortable. The same consideration should apply to tattoos.
Yoshino knows people who, when they get tattoos, purposely put them where they can be covered at work in case a future employer might reject them.
“I chose to get three-quarter sleeves on my arms because they are completely hidden by a long-sleeve button-up shirt and blazer. Many tattooed people choose to get tattoos in areas that are concealable in the most ‘professional’ of settings, mostly because we don’t want to deal with employers who will question our choices, not because we see our choices as ‘wrong,’ ” he says.
He believes kakau worn by Native Hawaiian people should be exempt from workplace restrictions, much like religious pieces of clothing such as the Jewish yarmulke.