Can a Flight Attendant have tattoos is a very common question aspiring Flight Attendants ask.
CAN A FLIGHT ATTENDANT HAVE TATTOOS?
With every generation, tattoos become more and more acceptable. Nowadays about a third of people have tattoos, and most people who do have tattoos will have more than just one. People may get tattoos to signify something important or memorable to them, or they may get them as a way to express their individuality. Some people get them in very visible places on their body, whereas others prefer to get them on areas of their body that can be easily covered by clothing – it’s all about personal preference.
But can having tattoos prevent you from landing a job as a Flight Attendant? Can Cabin Crew have tattoos? What about if the tattoo isn’t visible, can you still get a job as a Flight Attendant? You’ll find it all out here.
Can Flight Attendants Have Tattoos?
The truth is that for most airlines it is a requirement for Flight Attendants to not have tattoos in visible areas whilst wearing their Cabin Crew uniform. Most airlines will not hire someone as a Flight Attendant if they have any visible tattoos as they want all the Cabin Crew to look uniform – to look alike and to maintain a professional image.
Of course this is absolutely not to say that someone with tattoos can’t be professional, it’s just that many airlines believe that as Flight Attendants have the most face-to-face contact and impact with the passengers, that they think a ‘clean’ image without any tattoos looks better as an image for the company. Plus if their Cabin Crew don’t have any visible tattoos, it avoids potentially offending any passengers who may think that tattoos look unprofessional or offensive. In countries such as Japan and Vietnam, tattoos still carry a negative stigma.
Tattoos are also considered haram (forbidden) in Islam, so tattoos may offend some Muslim passengers. Therefore many airlines believe it is easier to just hire Cabin Crew without visible tattoos to avoid any potential ill-feelings or offence.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant If Your Tattoo Isn’t Visible In Uniform?
As mentioned earlier, many airlines will hire Flight Attendants if they have no visible tattoos in the Cabin Crew uniform. This basically means that if you were to put on the Flight Attendant uniform for the airline you are applying for, if you cannot see any tattoos on the visible parts of your skin that are still exposed then you would be okay.
At the Open Day/Assessment Day the assessors will visibly check to see if you have any tattoos in areas that can’t be covered by the Cabin Crew uniform for example your hands, wrists and neck. For female Cabin Crew the area in which there can be no tattoos is greater than that for male Cabin Crew. This is purely because female Cabin Crew have more skin exposed than male Flight Attendants when wearing the uniform.
For example female Flight Attendants will generally be in a skirt (although trousers are become a lot more popular in Cabin Crew uniform) and will wear shorter sleeve shirts than males. So they wouldn’t be able to have any visible tattoos on their lower arms, and from the knees including their feet either. Note that if you do have a visible tattoo, something simple like putting a badge over it or covering it in makeup often is not permitted – see below for more information on this.
Restrictions like this may be seen be some as one of the cons of being a Flight Attendant by some people as it may be seen as discriminatory and times are slowly changing – for example some airlines such as United Airlines are now starting to hire Cabin Crew with tattoos in visible places. Undoubtedly, more will follow in the future.
Tattoos Covered By Different Types Of Flight Attendant Uniform
Now depending on what the airlines specifies and what their Flight Attendant uniform is like, there are some body parts that may seem questionable as to whether you can have a tattoo there or not. For example upper arms as they may be covered by some uniform items (long sleeve shirts and blazers) but visible in short sleeve shirts. Also in some airlines the female Flight Attendants have a choice whether to wear trousers or a skirt. If there are uniform options and you have a tattoo that can be covered in one uniform item but not another eg (long sleeve/short sleeve shirt), then you’ll always have to wear the uniform item that covers the tattoo – even if it is hot.
Some airlines will physically check to see if you have tattoos, some will just ask you.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant If Your Tattoo Can Be Covered?
So you’ve got a tattoo in a visible place such as your wrist, but surely you can just cover it up with make, or a bandage or a plaster, right?
The short answer to that is no.
The majority of airlines will not hire you as a Flight Attendant if you have a tattoo in a visible area – even if you can cover it up with make-up or a bandage. This is because the make-up can wear off on long haul flights or can wash off, plus having a bandage on won’t look professional.
If you have a tattoo in a visible place I advise you to check the guidelines for different airlines and see if some are more laidback than others. If you do have a visible tattoo, then airlines outside of Asia and The Middle East are your best option. From what I have heard, the regional carriers in America have several Flight Attendants that have small wrist tattoos that they managed to cover with their watch (Flight Attendants have to wear a watch on duty) and always wore really tight long sleeved shirts. They were always really careful during training so as not to expose it, but whilst they were working onboard other Flight Attendants who saw it were laidback about it. However this may not be the case in every airline so don’t risk it.
United Airlines Flight Attendant Tattoo Policy
From September 1st 2021, United Airlines have allowed their Flight Attendants to have non-offensive tattoos in visible places. United Airlines have listened to feedback from their employers and believes these revised and modernised standards provide a more authentic representation of the people that make up United Airlines.
Of course there are some limitations surrounding these new standards. All visible tattoos must be smaller than the size of a work badge. They also cannot contain images of words deemed as offensive (such as swear words). They also cannot have more than one visible tattoo per arm. Tattoos are still not permitted on a Flight Attendant’s hands, neck or face.
The other large airlines in America however, – American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue still stick to the policy of having no visible tattoos whilst wearing the Flight Attendant uniform.
Can You Be A Flight Attendant In The Middle East (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar etc) If You Have Visible Tattoos?
When I had my Assessment Day for one of the big 3 Middle Eastern airlines (Qatar, Emirates, Etihad), I met one girl who put makeup on over her wrist tattoo. She got through to the final stage and was almost about to do her Final Interview, when the assessor saw a tiny bit of the makeup had faded off. The assessor shouted at her infront of all of us and sent her home straight away. The girl was crying and begging with the assessor to give her a chance. It was really awful and I definitely don’t recommend trying to trick the assessors especially if you are applying to be a Flight Attendant in The Middle East.
If she would have managed to hide it for the whole Assessment Day and make it through to become Cabin Crew, if her tattoo would have been discovered whilst she was working (which was bound to happen eventually), her employment would have been terminated straight away, so it is really not worth it. There is a high reporting culture in the Middle Eastern airlines so her fellow crew may have not been empathetic and would have reported her straight away.
The Middle Eastern airlines are more strict as they are based in Muslim countries (where tattoos aren’t really permitted). I remember when we had our medical checks in the first couple of days of our Initial Training, and we had to stand in front of the nurse in our underwear for her to inspect us (very briefly!). So even if you tricked the assessors on your Assessment Day, you will probably not be able to trick the nurse whilst standing there in your underwear.
If you do have a tattoo in an area that is visible, on the Assessment Day some airlines may be quite strict and will send you home straight away, before you have even given them your Cabin Crew CV. The hiring process for Cabin Crew is extremely competitive, and the assessors are looking for any reason to send someone home early so as to reduce the number of applicants they have to choose from.
All these guidelines about tattoos apply not only to prospective Flight Attendants, but also current Cabin Crew – they are not allowed to get any visible tattoos during their flying career.
Similar to the requirements surrounding tattoos, there are certain requirements when it comes to piercings for Flight Attendants. In most airlines, female Flight Attendants are only allowed to have one ear lobe piercing per ear. Nose and tongue piercings and piercings on other parts of the face or body that are visible when wearing the Cabin Crew uniform will need to be removed when working as a Flight Attendant. If a female has more than one piercing in her ear lobe she can only wear an earring in one hole per earlobe. In many airlines male Flight Attendants are not allowed to have piercings.
If you will be going to a Flight Attendant Assessment Day or have your Cabin Crew Interview coming up then make sure to remove your piercings beforehand. Females can wear one set of earrings in their earlobes – a safe bet is to go with a set of pearl stud earrings.
Most airlines do have policies in place to prevent any tattoos or body piercings being visible on Flight Attendants/Cabin Crew. These policies will vary between different airlines and some are more strict than others. Therefore check the guidelines for the specific airlines you want to apply for.
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