Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew Are No Longer Required To Wear Makeup

Virgin Atlantic made some recent updates to their cabin crew uniform, a major highlight being that female cabin crew no longer have to wear makeup as part of their uniform. The update is signally progressive changes for females in the aviation industry.

Virgin Atlantic airplane takeoff
Virgin Atlantic airplane takeoff from runway via Pixabay.

Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew Uniform Update

Virgin, an airline known for its extravagant brand, announced updates to its uniform in favor of its female crew members. The female cabin crew is no longer required to wear makeup. Also, trousers will be provided as an option for female employees (before they had to be specially requested).  These are all major upgrades to the uniform policy, given the history of the role of females in the industry.

Female cabin crews are often spotlighted by the airlines in advertisements and represent the face of the company for the customers as they interact while in-flight. Airlines always ensured that the flight crew looked uniform by making mandatory policies for makeup and other physical appearance guidelines.

There has been a lot of media attention recently on feminist movements and gender equality in the workplace. The publicity may have been an influencing factor in Virgin Atlantic’s response to ease up on the dress code requirements for women.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus parked at gate
Virgin Atlantic updates it’s employee uniform for female flight attendants. Photo: Wikicommons

Mark Anderson, executive VP of customer at Virgin Atlantic, wants an “increased level of comfort” for employees and to “provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work.” He mentions that the decision to revise the uniform policy was based on employee feedback about the prior rules.

Feminist Shifts in the Industry

Uniform change isn’t the only recent headlines that have shown progressive movements for women in the aviation industry. Several other airlines are working on building sustainable gender equality.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways hopes to draw more women into the industry by recently launching the International Air Transport Association diversity and inclusion award. Lack of female representation in the industry has adverse effects on the ideal diversity that they wish to achieve. The organization expects to build interest for women, not just with Qatar Airways, but any role within the industry.

Virgin Atlantic 747 plane
Virgin Atlantic makes changes to its employee uniform. Photo: Wikimedia.

British Airways is another airline contributing to gender equality progress. Although the airline still requires women to wear some makeup, they recently began allowing women to wear trousers.  Trousers were once banned for female cabin crew, but some airlines are removing the stigma. A trend for new, budget airlines is to put less of an emphasis on cabin crew appearance. Some airline guidelines provide exact specifications such as where to buy makeup from and what colors you’re allowed to wear. Now, companies including Ryanair and EasyJet provide employees with a bit more freedom in what they wear to work.

Shifts in our perception of what to wear in the workplace have caused changes in the aviation uniform requirements. Female cabin crew appearance has always been a big deal in the industry. While they are still the forefront of the brand during flight, they are being made to feel more comfortable on the job. Having the choice of wearing makeup or not for the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew allows them more options in their appearance.