Studies show that more than 1 in every 3 Americans have a tattoos. Of those that do, 70% have more than just one. Many people find tattoos to be a great way to express their creativity and personality.
But, what if you want to have a career as a flight attendant? Do airlines allow flight attendants and cabin crew to have visible tattoos? What about body piercings? Let’s take a look.
Can Flight Attendants have Tattoos?
Most airlines will not allow you to work as a flight attendant if you have visible tattoos. Airlines looks at flight attendants as the professionals that have the most direct impact with their passengers every day. They want to hire flight attendants that have a professional, neat, and clear appearance.
Airlines do not allow tattoos due to passengers potentially seeing them as unprofessional or even offensive.
If you already have a tattoo and it happens to not be visible, your best bet is to not mention it to any potential employers. If it is in a visible part of your body, you might be out of luck unless you have a way to cover it up while working. There is a good chance that if your tattoo is discovered and can be seen while working you’re employment will be terminated.
What if the Tattoo is Covered?
Most airlines won’t let you work as a flight attendant if you have a tattoo even if you cover it with a bandage or make-up. There are two reasons for this.
First, it sometimes is obvious that someone is purposely covering a tattoo and they don’t want passengers to see that you are concealing a tattoo. The other reason is that in some cases the make up or other cover-up might wear off or come off during a long trip exposing the tattoo. For those reasons, they won’t risk it.
Can Flight Attendants have Piercings?
The same goes for any piercings (aside from ear piercings for women). Airlines will not allow you to work as a flight attendant with visible face or body tattoos. Piercings on your tongue, nose, or other parts of your face/body will need to be removed before working as a flight attendant.
Make sure to remove your piercings both before the interview and before any shift you’ll be working.
At the Interview
If you have an upcoming interview with an airline to be a flight attendant or a member of the cabin crew, make sure you remove any piercings and cover any tattoos.
If the person interviewing you asks if you have any tattoos it’s in your best interest to say no. Assuming the tattoo you have is in a private place they would never see, then there’s no reason to share that you have one. If the tattoo is in a visible spot, you can be honest and tell them. Just know that this will likely prevent you from being hired.
Airline Specific Questions
Since policies can be different among the major airlines, we took the time to look up the tattoo policy at 5 of the largest airlines here in the United States.
American Airlines: American Airlines does not allow visible tattoos for flight attendants. They do however allow tattoos if their uniform covers the tatoo completely.
Delta Airlines: Delta Airlines does not allow visible tattoos for flight attendants that are visible while wearing the uniform.
United Airlines: United Airlines does not allow for flight attendants to have any tattoos that are visible while wearing their standard uniform.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines does not allow for any visible tattoos that are not covered by your uniform while working as a flight attendant
Jet Blue: Like the other 4 airlines mentioned, Jet Blue also does not allow for flight attendants to have visible tattoos that are not covered by their uniform while working.
Are you seeing the pattern here?
Tattoos in “Grey Areas”
You might be wondering if you’ll be allowed to work as a flight attendant if you have a tattoo in what some call a “grey area” like your ankles, upper arms, or other parts of your body that might be covered by some clothing but visible with other clothing.
The key is to make sure the tattoo is not visible while working. For example, if you have an upper arm tatto and the airline has the option to wear long sleeves, you’ll have to do that even when it’s warm out.
Airlines typically have policies in place to prevent flight attendants and cabin crew from having any visible tattoos or body piercings. Policies among different airlines might be slightly different and some might give more leeway than others. For that reason, make sure this is something you ask early on in the application process. Also, if you currently do not have any tattoos and are considering a career as a flight attendant, I would recommend not getting any tattoos.
Interested in becoming a flight attendant? Make sure to read this article that gives a great overview of the steps you can take. Also, we have articles covering both the pay and benefits of flight attendants.