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Spanish Airline Fined €30,000 For Making Female Flight Attendants Wear Makeup and High Heels

Spanish Airline Fined €30,000 For Making Female Flight Attendants Wear Makeup and High Heels

a row of seats in an airplane

A popular Spanish airline has been slapped with a €30,000 fine for a “serious infraction” of Catalonia’s labour code because it required female flight attendants to wear high heels between 5 and 8 cm in height and makeup including foundation similar to their skin tone, eyeliner and black mascara.

The Labor Inspectorate of the Generalitat for the government of Catalonia has imposed the fine on the budget carrier Vueling following an official equality complaint by the Stavla union which represents cabin crew at the airline.

The Barcelona-based airline also prohibited female flight attendants from wearing fake eyelashes and required light grey or brown eye shadow and lips painted in a ‘discreet’ colour.

In contrast, male flight attendants were simply required to present a “clean and neat appearance” at work. There were no specific rules on what types of shoes they could or couldn’t wear and until recently, makeup rules for male crew didn’t exist.

As a result of its inspection, government inspectors believe Vueling’s dress code falls foul of local equality and labour rules and have proposed a €30,000 fine.

Following the official complaint, however, Vueling says it has been working with the union and has made some progressive changes to its uniform and appearance standards.

In an attempt to become more “inclusive”, the airline says makeup rules are now completely optional and apply to all flight attendants regardless of gender. Female crew have also been given more footwear options, including shorter 3 cm heels.

Vueling may appeal the ruling and could have the fine reduced or even eliminated altogether.

The airline is part of the Madrid-based IAG Group, which includes Spanish flag carrier Iberia and British Airways. Last year, BA updated its own uniform guidelines, allowing male cabin crew to wear makeup and carry a handbag.

British Airways stopped short of a more radical approach taken by rival Virgin Atlantic, which eliminated all traditional gender-based uniform rules last September.


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View Comments (2)
  • I mean, those female flight attendants accepted the job, didn’t they? No one forced them to work for the airline.
    Air travel has declined in class rapidly and it’s still going down. It’s so sad.

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