Travel Tips

Shannen Findlay

Why Virgin's major rule change is confusing a lot of people

Why Virgin's major rule change is confusing a lot of people

It’s a game changer announcement that is the first of its kind for airlines worldwide – but it has triggered an unexpected response.

Virgin Atlantic says from now on, its female flight hostesses will no longer be required to wear make-up while working.

That’s not the only rule they are adjusting in 2019 – female flight attendants will now be supplied with pants as a part of their standard uniform, in addition to the famously worn red skirts. Before this announcement, hostesses had to specifically request to wear pants.

This new move by Virgin is a bold one in an industry that has a large focus on the appearance of female crew.

The UK-based airline founded by Richard Branson declared the change came after following feedback from staff.

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

Despite the “forward-thinking” move that has been congratulated by some for their “small but symbolic step” towards ridding sexism from plane cabins, others have not been so supportive.

People were surprised by the fact there was a make-up rule to begin with, and that the rule had not been removed before.

Strict rules govern that make-up and grooming of cabin crew is expected across the airline industry and not only women are expected to adhere to appearance standards.

Qantas requires female cabin crew to wear mascara and lip colour at the bare minimum, as well as only having minimal hairstyles – bun or ponytail, both siting low.

British Airways female crew are required to wear lipstick and blush as a minimum and to cover “obvious blemishes … wherever possible".

Emirates’ Imaging and Grooming Department demands a specific shade of “Emirates red” lipstick for female flight attendants to wear.

Many airlines require male flight attendants to wear a small amount of tinted moisturiser and to maintain their facial hair.

Do you think airline rules regarding make-up are exaggerated? Let us know in the comments below.