Travel Tips

What flight attendants aren’t allowed to do

What flight attendants aren’t allowed to do

The (job) rules of the sky

There are always rules and regulations to follow at various companies, and flight attendants are no exception. However, since being a flight attendant is no ordinary job and they’ve seen some of the craziest things when flying, it makes sense that they have some more interesting rules they need to abide by. From keeping piercings and tattoos to a minimum and not raising their voice, read on to find out the unusual rules flight attendants need to follow on the job.

They can’t sleep when working on a flight

It’s tempting for passengers to get some sleep when on a flight, but flight attendants don’t always have that option. “Flight attendants cannot ever sleep while working a flight unless it is a flight of a certain time duration,” says Kiki Ward, an airline flight attendant and author of The Essential Guide to Becoming a Flight Attendant. However, there are some exceptions, like on international or long-haul flights where flight attendants can go to a designated area to take a rest break.

They can’t have tongue piercings

Many women get their ears pierced at a young age. However, piercings can’t extend to other parts of the body, especially the tongue. According to the British Airways, its uniform standards require a simple, elegant look. A single ear piercing is allowed and only one set of round-shaped earrings must be worn. No other visible body piercings including tongue, tongue retainer, and nose studs are allowed.

They can’t have tattoos on most airlines

Most airlines require that tattoos aren’t visible on a flight attendant’s face, neck, hands or arms, and if a tattoo can be seen under the uniform, an undergarment should be worn to cover it up. Air New Zealand’s tattoo policy however allows employees to have Tā Moko (traditional Māori tattooing, often on the face) and non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing the uniform or normal business attire.

They can’t talk loudly in the cabin

In a confined space like a cabin, one conversation can be heard by people rows away. “There are personal behavioural guidelines that flight attendants are asked to follow,” says Ward, such as not talking to one another loudly in the cabin, the galleys or on jump seats about personal lives, work, etc because voices carry on aeroplanes. There isn’t a lot of privacy on an plane, so everyone should be courteous to those around them.

Although if you’re bumped from your flight, you may feel less than courteous in your interactions with airline staff. 

Written by Madeline Wahl. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine,  here’s our best subscription offer.