Virgin Atlantic is to let it’s male cabin crew wear makeup as part of a major push by the airline to let employees be their true selves at work. The London-based carrier highlighted the change in a new tv commercial that aims to promote the “rich individuality” of the airline’s employees and customers.
Set to the iconic LGBTQ+ Pride soundtrack of ‘I am what I am’, the one minute commercial is designed to deliberately make Virgin Atlantic stand out from the crowd of other airline crews.
Virgin Atlantic said it came up with the idea for the commercial after conducting research that revealed many passengers find crew at other airlines to be impersonal – no matter how uniform or smart they might appear.
“In contrast, Virgin Atlantic crew are encouraged to be their true selves on board and on the ground,” the airline said in a statement.
“They don’t follow a script and are seen to offer a more personal touch.”
This is the first ad campaign by the airline in more than two years and chief executive Shia Weiss says it’s important that employees are celebrated in Virgin Atlantic’s first post-pandemic comeback to television screens.
“At the core of our business is the understanding that every one of our people can be themselves at work and that they belong,” Weiss said on Thursday.
“They truly are the thing that sets us apart and the reason customers choose to fly with us. We know that the touchpoints that matter most and the experiences that differentiate Virgin Atlantic, are driven by our people and that’s why it was so important they’re at the heart of this campaign.”
Research has long indicated that the biggest factor on passenger satisfaction is the service provided by cabin crew but customers also frequently complain that service can feel robotic or scripted.
Virgin Atlantic ended a mandatory makeup policy for female cabin crew in early 2019 and at the same time allowed female crew to wear trousers and flat shoes for the first time.
British Airways is also said to be working on updated ‘grooming standards’ that will allow male cabin crew to wear makeup and grow long hair.
Neither British Airways or Virgin Atlantic have, however, revealed any plans for gender neutral uniforms and all uniform items are strictly segregated by gender. For example, a non-binary staff employee born as a man or a male identifying crew member would not be allowed to carry a handbag because these are only given to female identifying staffers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.