We all know that image and uniform is a big part of being cabin crew for an international airline – Yes, admittedly safety and security is always the most important function of a flight attendant but that being said, nearly every airline wants their cabin crew to do their job while also looking flawlessly good and representing the brand in a certain way.
Of course, some airlines go further than others to project a certain image. Singapore Airlines has a legendary obsession with image and uniform – especially for female cabin attendants. The fixation with achieving the desired look is so bad that cabin crew are told which hairstyle they must have from a list of approved looks. Once a hairstyle is selected, cabin crew are stuck with the look for the rest of their careers.
Not every airline is quite that obsessed with image but the Dubai-based airline Emirates is often lauded for achieving a very uniform and well-groomed look amongst its team of over 20,000 cabin crew. And it makes a difference – passengers are quick to judge and airlines are often rated on the overall look of their cabin crew.
It makes sense then that Emirates (or any other airline for that matter) would spend some time with their cabin crew – especially new recruits – teaching them how to achieve the brand’s look and honing their grooming skills.
Take, for example, your hands – They’re the first things a passenger see’s when they are served a meal. Dirty, dry or unmanicured hands will give a negative impression and could actually impact on the passenger’s enjoyment of their meal – suddenly they rate all of the airline’s catering as being unsatisfactory over one minor issue.
Or how about pimple prone skin? Passengers are likely to judge the flight attendant as being immature and therefore lacking in respect. The same is true for dirty, stained or unlaundered uniform – all these things seem inconsequential but they could actually impact a flight attendant’s ability to achieve their main purpose – safety and security.
But we just can’t help but think that Emirates has gone a little too far in a new video in which “Hollywood’s glam squad visit Emirates’ cabin crew training academy”. The video features a slew of celebrity makeup artists and serving (female) Emirates cabin crew as they hone their makeup skills.
For example, one makeup artist call’s the cabin crew the “little sky angels” while another focuses on them looking “beautiful all the time”. Another says Emirates cabin crew are held to a “higher standard” because “you guys are kind of a celebrity airline”.
Sadly, the video seems to focus on beauty and the thinking that all Emirates cabin crew are “beautiful”. Clearly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we would like to think that skill, talent and experience should count for more than beauty when it comes to being offered a job as cabin crew.
Worryingly, there’s also no male representation – and while we’re not saying Emirates should give its male cabin crew makeup tips (although a number of major airlines now allow men to wear makeup – and some definitely need a tutorial or two) it would be great it Emirates had made this tutorial more inclusive with helpful grooming tips for all gender’s.
Emirates is currently in the middle of a huge recruitment campaign so there will be plenty of new cabin crew learning the do’s and don’ts of the airline’s image and uniform policy over the coming months. A new series of tutorial videos will be uploaded on Emirates’ YouTube channel over the coming weeks – Hopefully, some will also include grooming tips for all.
And no, Emirates is definitely not alone in obsessing over female beauty – it’s an industry-wide problem which needs to be challenged. We’ve made our point clear – we understand and support the need for excellent levels of grooming in the aviation industry. These videos will no doubt benefit a lot of people (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing makeup) but we’d support any initiative to promote inclusiveness.