This post is all about unmasking the rules and regulations surrounding the tattoo culture within the aviation industry, specifically for flight attendants. We’ll be soaring through the frequently asked questions like “Can flight attendants have tattoos?”, “What are some of the most common airline policies?”, and “How do these policies differ across various airlines and countries?”
By the end of our flight today, you’ll be well-versed in the intricate relationship between tattoos and flight attendants, a knowledge tidbit you can casually drop at your next cocktail party. This isn’t just your average tattoo talk; it’s an exploration of art, expression, and conformity at 35,000 feet. Ready for take-off? Let’s jet into this intriguing world of tattoos in the skies.
Pursue a Career as a Flight Attendant
If you’ve been dreaming about a life in the skies as a flight attendant, you might have a few questions about tattoos and airline policy. Well, don’t you worry, as your trusty tattoo guide, I’ve done all the research and interviewing for you. Let’s just say, I’ve spent a lot of time in the tattoo trenches, collecting all the necessary insights from airline professionals and flight attendant training programs.
The truth is, when it comes to tattoos and flight attending, some opt to hide their ink with makeup or clothing. For others, however, tattoo removal becomes the only viable route to secure that coveted cabin crew position. Remember that time when I had to help a dear friend through a full-sleeve tattoo removal? Trust me, it was as dramatic as it sounds, but entirely worth it as she is now a flourishing flight attendant for a major airline.
To learn more, feel free to reach out to a tattoo removal specialist near you. You’ll find them as enlightening as I did!
Why Do Airlines have Appearance/Grooming Standards for Flight Attendants?
Wondering why airlines place such emphasis on the appearance of their flight attendants? Imagine your cabin crew as the face of the airline, the first line of interaction between the passengers and the company. Just like how I, as a tattoo artist, am the face of my studio, flight attendants represent their airlines. Your in-flight crew are your living, breathing brand ambassadors up in the sky!
Take it from me, how we present ourselves can often set the tone for how our customers perceive us. I recall a client who chose my studio over others simply because of my clean, professional appearance – despite my inked skin. Similarly, flight attendants need to adhere to a set of grooming standards during their training to uphold a unified, professional image.
No Visible Tattoos
The reality is, many major US airlines enforce a “no visible tattoos” policy when flight attendants are in uniform. Surprisingly, a number of budget airlines like Spirit, Southwest, and Frontier, aren’t far behind, adopting stricter tattoo regulations.
For those aspiring to join international airlines, you might come across even more stringent rules. Case in point, Middle Eastern airlines are generally a no-go zone for tattooed individuals.
If your skin sports some ink and you’re set on a flight attendant career, understanding each airline’s grooming standards should be high on your to-do list. This knowledge allows you to make informed decisions about which opportunities to pursue and whether tattoo removal is necessary before you even set foot in flight attendant school. Remember, it’s entirely possible to respect your job’s requirements while staying true to your personal form of expression. After all, that’s what we tattoo enthusiasts are all about, isn’t it?
Specific Policies By Airline
Below is a summary on the tattoo policies for flight attendants at various airlines:
- American Airlines: Flight attendants are not allowed to have any visible tattoos while in uniform1.
- Delta Airlines: Flight attendants are not allowed to have any visible tattoos while in uniform1.
- United Airlines: Flight attendants are allowed to have small tattoos in visible places. The airline defines “small” as being no bigger than the size of the uniform’s badge2.
- Southwest Airlines: Flight attendants are allowed to cover tattoos with pants, long sleeve shirts, hair, makeup, or with their scarf1.
- British Airways: Flight attendants are not allowed to have any visible tattoos while in uniform3.
- Emirates Airlines: Men are not allowed to have tattoos on the head, neck, arms, and hands. This also applies to the female crew who additionally have to be free of ink on their legs (from lower thighs to feet)4.
- Qantas Airlines: Pilots and flight attendants are not permitted to have any visible tattoos when wearing a Qantas uniform. The tattoo-free zones differ for male and female employees due to different uniforms5.
- Air Canada: Visible tattoos must be confined to a small area and can’t be on the head or neck. Tattoos cannot be offensive in any way6.
In a more general sense, many US carriers have a no-visible tattoo policy, with tattoos needing to be covered when in uniform. Some exceptions include Alaska Airlines and SkyWest, which allow small and tasteful tattoos, and United Airlines, which follows the badge rule7.
European carriers have similar policies to American airlines, with most having a no-visible-tattoo policy. The exception is Virgin Atlantic, which allows flight attendants to have an unlimited number of visible tattoos, with no size restrictions, as long as the tattoos are tasteful and not offensive7.
Asian and Oceanian airlines generally have strict no-visible tattoo policies. Notably, Air New Zealand is the only airline in the region that accepts visible tattoos on cabin crew7.
Please note that these policies may vary and are subject to change, and that there may be additional rules and guidelines beyond what is stated here. For the most accurate information, it is best to check with the specific airline directly.
Alternative Career Paths: Embracing Your Ink
isible tattoos. The good news is, there are plenty of other career paths in and outside the aviation industry that are more lenient when it comes to body art.
In the Aviation Industry
Starting right in the cockpit, many airlines have less stringent policies for pilots. While public-facing roles like flight attendants are expected to maintain a certain image, pilots have more leeway with their personal appearance. As a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to research each airline’s specific policies before pursuing this path.
Ground crew positions such as ramp agents, aircraft maintenance technicians, and cargo handlers also tend to have more relaxed tattoo policies. They play essential roles behind the scenes in ensuring smooth operations for each flight, and are typically not as visible to passengers.
Airline customer service representatives, while still interacting with the public, can often have tattoos as long as they’re not offensive or excessively large. This extends to positions in the airline’s offices or call centers, where the focus is less on appearance and more on skills and abilities.
If you’re open to venturing outside the aviation industry, there are even more opportunities where visible tattoos won’t be a roadblock. Creative fields such as graphic design, advertising, music, and arts are known to be generally tattoo-friendly. The tech industry, with its emphasis on skills over appearance, is also known for its relaxed policies on body art.
In the hospitality industry, many bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, especially those with a younger clientele or a hip, contemporary vibe, are open to staff with visible tattoos.
And let’s not forget the booming industry of tattoo artistry itself! As a tattoo artist, you not only get to proudly display your body art but also help others express their individuality and creativity through their own tattoos.
Whatever your chosen path, remember: your tattoos are a part of you, a personal canvas of your life’s journey. While it’s important to respect professional requirements, it’s equally essential to find a career that respects your individuality. In the end, it’s all about finding that perfect flight path that lets you soar while staying true to your unique self.
Navigating the colorful world of tattoos while reaching for the skies in your flight attendant career can seem as tricky as finding that perfect tattoo placement on a crowded canvas. However, armed with a bit of knowledge and a lot of determination, it’s more than possible to find your balance. If you’re an aspiring flight attendant considering a tattoo, the key is location, location, location. Strategically place your tattoo where it can be easily covered by a uniform or clothing, such as your torso, upper thigh, or even under your arm. The cost will vary depending on size and complexity, with smaller, simpler designs ranging from $50 to $200, while larger and more intricate pieces can set you back anywhere from $500 to over $1,000.
However, remember to weigh the potential risks and side effects. These can range from short-term issues like temporary pain, swelling, and redness to long-term complications like allergic reactions, skin infections, or complications in MRI scans.
Above all, it’s crucial to remember that while tattoos are a beautiful form of personal expression, they require thoughtful consideration, especially when entering professions with strict appearance guidelines. Your love for body art and your passion for a high-flying career need not be mutually exclusive; it just takes a bit of planning, understanding, and compromise. Here’s to finding your perfect balance in the sky-high world of flight attending and the deeply personal journey of tattooing!