7 Outdated Appearance Rules For Air Hostesses

Female flight attendants may now be able to wear trousers to work but here are some outdated rules that they still have to swear by…

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Female flight attendants may now be able to wear trousers to work but here are some outdated rules that they still have to swear by…

After a two-year dispute over the airline’s dress code, all female British Airways cabin crew have now been given official permission to wear trousers. Yes, you read that correctly, only now.

Female recruits after 2012 were forced to wear skirts unless they had official medical or religious exemption until last week when British Airways announced ‘while trousers are not a standard part of this [Ambassador] uniform, colleagues wishing to wear them can now request this through their manager.’

The recent decision has prompted global praise, giving hope to the cabin crews at Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and other airlines where skirts are still mandatory. We however had a different reaction: Seriously? Only now?!

It seems baffling that in a country where women won the right to vote almost a century ago, we still have to fight for the right to wear trousers to work.

Sexism seems to be alive and well at 30,000 feet and being a flight attendant for most airlines comes with a sizeable appearance rulebook, some of which is pretty outdated…

Mandatory heels Every female flight attendant must wear heels at the minimum height of 2-3 inches. Flights are exhausting enough in Stan Smiths, let alone a pair of stilletos so we sympathise entirely.

Red lips A flight attendant’s lip colour is apparently of vital importance. The shade should always be red and must match the airline’s signature hat, with the British Airways cabin crew using Clarins exclusively.

Clear skin Skincare is essential for appearance upkeep and female flight attendants are recommended certain routines that improve the appearance of their skin, sitting through intensive wash, tone and moisturise tutorials.

No colouring If you’ve got Ombre highlights or a shaved side, you can forget it. Hair should be styled conservatively, above the shoulder and must be natural.

Tights regulations Yes, that’s right - even your tights must conform to strict airline regulations with the maximum permitted hosiery density being 15 dernier. If you have any tattoos on your legs or feet, 15 dernier is not going to cover it and you will probably be sidelined.

A made up face Make up is mandatory, with bright lipstick and blusher expected as a minimum and foundation required to give contrast to the bold lip shade. The men on the other hand are only allowed concealer.

Matching manicure Long nails are expected of flight attendants, required to be at least an inch long and either painted as a French manicure or in exactly the same shade as their Clarins lipstick.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.