No More Sleek Dresses And Crimson Lips: Virgin Atlantic’s Female Flight Attendants Can Now Go Makeup-Free
March 6th, 2019 / 5:51 PM
In a surprising move, Virgin Atlantic’s female flight attendants who are known to wear red skirts paired with red shoes and crimson lipstick, have been given the option to wear pants and not wear makeup.
“We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style,” Mark Anderson, an executive vice president with the company, 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.”
No makeup, more comfort
Virgin Atlantic said that its decision was made based on feedback from staff. Female crew members had to at least wear blush, mascara and red lipstick under the previous policy.
Female crew members of Virgin Atlantic were given a note stating that they were not required to wear any makeup any longer, but are welcome to apply the foundation and lipstick that the guidelines of the company recommended.
While pants were available previously only on request, now they have been made available as an option to all female attendants, and will also be provided as a standard when the airline is joined by a woman, reported The Indian Express.
Anderson said that the new guidelines offer both comfort to the team and more choice on how they wish to express themselves. On Twitter, some welcomed the move and some expressed shock over that fact that the makeup rule even existed.
One flight attendant, however, seemed to disagree. “In a customer-facing role, with the anti-social hours we do and in the terrible cabin lighting, frankly, I feel I need it to look semi-human,” Angela Caserta wrote on Facebook.
A New York-based advertising executive who gives speeches on gender and language, Elle Graham-Dixon, welcomed the move and recalled that she was once asked to wear a “nice dress” before appearing for a presentation at a job. She wore the dress but was shocked. “When a brand like Virgin signals, ‘This isn’t the stuff that matters,’ it paves the way for much-needed change,” she said.
Among other airlines, the “no pants” rule was recently dropped by British Airways, however, female flight attendants are still required to wear makeup. Comparatively, budget airlines such as Ryan Air and Easy Jet have more relaxed rules.
On American Airlines, female flight attendants have to wear lip gloss or lipstick. All female flight attendants are required to put on high heels to welcome passengers on the Israeli airline El Al. They cannot take the heels off until the passengers are seated. In January, a memo was sent by Pakistan International Airlines to its staff members, and six months were given to them to meet the weight limits of the company.
From the day we boarded our first flight, we have been given the idea that flight attendants, especially the women, have to be ‘beautiful’. Ever since Virgin Atlantic’s first flight in 1984, it has been known for the sleek cuts of the female flight attendants’ dresses and their bold, ruby red lips. However, its announcement on Monday, March 4, does show that a gradual shift is coming about in the aviation industry, where women would have the freedom to express themselves the way they want to because beauty can never be limited to sleek dresses, makeup and high heels.
Written by : Sumanti Sen
Edited by : Sromona Bhattacharyya