Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
United Airlines plans big changes to its appearance and grooming standards for flight attendants and other frontline uniform-wearing employees beginning September 1, 2021. Included in the changes is the decision to allow visible tattoos for the first time in the company’s history, as well as a slew of other gender-neutral changes that will empower United flight attendants to be their authentic selves.
In the works for the last few years, the initial rollout of the updated appearance standards will apply just to flight attendants and customer service representatives with pilots and ramp service employees likely to follow at some point in 2022.
United told employees that it hopes the newly relaxed policy will “reflect a more modernized look, with inclusive standards that better permit freedom of gender expression so that employees can feel their best at work,” Simple Flying reported.
One of the biggest changes will be allowing front line employees to display visible, non-offensive tattoos. Other changes include allowing staffers, including male crew, to wear a variety of visible piercings such as nose studs.
Grooming standards will also be altered to do away with separate rules on hair, makeup and nail polish for men, women, non-binary and gender non-conforming employees.
In one picture shared with employees in an internal memo, United revealed how these standards might work: showing a male flight attendant with colored nail polish, a flight attendant with a nose stud and several ear piercings and a crew member with a wrist tattoo.
Kate Gebo, United’s executive vice president of human resource said of the changes: “As the face of United, our customer-facing teammates can provide an even better experience for our customers when they look and feel their best.”
“We’ve spent the last several years listening to the feedback we’ve received from our employees and our Business Resource Groups to develop these revised standards. We’re confident that these modernized and more gender-inclusive appearance standards will provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today.”
Last month, Air Canada had a visible tattoo ban struck down by an employment judge who ruled the policy was discriminatory and not reflective of wider society. Air New Zealand already allows its crew members to have visible tattoos, while new Icelandic airline PLAY will allow visible tattoos, alongside a gender neutral uniform.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.