Virgin Atlantic flight attendants no longer have to wear make-up while on-duty. Picture: Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic flight attendants no longer have to wear make-up while on-duty. Picture: Virgin Atlantic

Most shocking part of new rule for hosties

IT'S the announcement that changes the game for airlines worldwide - and it has triggered an unexpected response.

Virgin Atlantic says from now, its female flight attendants will no longer have to wear make-up while on duty.

Not only that, they'll be provided with pants as part of their standard uniform, in addition to the airline's famous red skirts. Until now, female crew had to specifically ask to wear pants.

It's a bold move in an industry where a massive focus has long been on the appearance of female crew, and at least one airline uses bikini-clad staff to entertain male passengers on flights.

Virgin Atlantic, a UK-based airline founded by Richard Branson, said it made the change following feedback from staff.

 

Virgin Atlantic’s female flight attendants can now go make-up free, if they want. Picture: Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic’s female flight attendants can now go make-up free, if they want. Picture: Virgin Atlantic

 

"We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style," the airline's executive vice president for customers, Mark Anderson, said.

"We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this."

Before the rule change, blush, mascara and red lipstick were the minimum requirements for all female cabin crew.

 

The female cabin crew staff will also be given pants as part of their uniform, rather than having to ask for them first. Picture: Virgin Atlantic
The female cabin crew staff will also be given pants as part of their uniform, rather than having to ask for them first. Picture: Virgin Atlantic

 

Staff who still want to wear make-up are welcome to do so, following the airline's cosmetics style guide.

Most people are welcoming the move and congratulating the airline for the "small but symbolic step" towards ridding sexism from plane cabins.

But many people are stunned there was a make-up rule to begin with, and that it has taken this long to get rid of it.

Strict rules governing the make-up and grooming of cabin crew is standard across the airline industry.

Qantas requires its female cabin crew to wear a minimum of mascara and lip colour. They have two choices of hairstyles: a bun or a ponytail, both sitting low. The ponytail length can't exceed 30cm.

British Airways female crew are expected to wear lipstick and blush as a minimum, "groom and maintain" their eyebrows and conceal "obvious blemishes … wherever possible".

Emirates' Imaging and Grooming Department spells out the specific shade of "Emirates red" lipstick its female cabin crew must wear.

Emirates flight attendants are famously well-groomed. Picture: Derek Moore
Emirates flight attendants are famously well-groomed. Picture: Derek Moore

 

On Singapore Airlines, flight attendants are assigned eye shadow colours according to their roles in the cabin, and there are strict rules about their hairstyles and the accessories, including watches, rings and earrings, they can wear.

Some airlines have sparked major controversy with their requirements for female cabin crew.

In 2017, Israeli airline El Al said female flight attendants had to wear high heels while greeting passengers - reinstating a policy the airline had actually dropped years before - while in January, Pakistan International Airlines told its flight attendants to lose weight.