It may seem strange that despite the feminist progress that has been made in the world in recent decades – and the past two years in particular – female cabin crew members have still been expected to wear make-up to work as a set-in-stone uniform requirement.
However this week, Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline to drop the outdated rule by announcing that their female flight attendants will no longer have to wear make-up during their shifts.
The airline introduced their new styling guidelines in a statement released on Monday 4 March, stating that female employees can now choose to work without make-up on or wear make up that fits the Virgin Atlantic uniform colour palette if they wish.
According to Executive Vice President of Customer, Mark Anderson, the decision was made to ‘increased level of comfort’ female flight attendants feel and ‘more choice on how they want to express themselves at work.’
Anderson’s official statement reads: ‘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. 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.
‘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. Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company.’
Additionally, the airline also announced in the new styling guidelines that female employees, who usually just received a tight red skirt as part of their uniform, will also now be offered trousers automatically rather than only when they are requested. This rule follows the update in uniform made by British Airways three years ago allowing both men and women to wear trousers if they wish.