Equality at 38,000 Feet: Virgin Airlines Ends Rules Requiring Female Flight Attendants to Wear Makeup

Equality at 38,000 Feet: Virgin Airlines No Longer Makes Female Flight Attendants Wear Makeup or Skirts
Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seen landing at London Heathrow International Airport, UK. Nicolas Economou/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hooray for gender equality! On Wednesday, March 6, Virgin Atlantic (the airline stars like Russell Brand, Rihanna and Daniel Radcliffe have been known to fly) announced that female flight attendants will no longer be required to wear makeup or and will now have more readily available uniform options.

In the past, the UK-based airline had a set of style guidelines that included instructions on what type of makeup the women were and were not allowed to wear. And while they were able to request trousers, they were not immediately provided as a uniform option, which wether intentional or not, made going for pants a tougher choice.

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“Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work,” the Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of customer Mark Anderson, said in a statement to CNN. “Our world famous red uniform is something all of us at Virgin Atlantic are incredibly proud of. As an airline, we have always stood out from the crowd and done things differently to the rest of the industry. We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style.”

According to CNN, Anderson explained that this push came thanks to customer feedback. The move has been framed as an attempt to bridge the gender gap that remains wide open in the airline industry. Meaning that most pilots are still men and flight attendants lean heavily female.

It’s no secret that these professionals have always had to adhere to a strict set of beauty standards. Since planes could fly, these women have been subject to a plethora of appearance requirements. Back in 2016, Cosmopolitan did an article in which flight attendants from all different airlines shared some of their craziest and most specific rules. For instance, one United Airlines flight attendant said that only two rings on each hand were allowed and another from American said that makeup must be freshened up when necessary, “but never in view of the customer.”

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