The acceptance of tattoos appears to have increased significantly over the past ten or so years, yet there are still many professions that, to put it frankly, discriminate against those who have them.
When it comes to tattoo restrictions, aviation seems to be one of the strictest industries around.
Many people (including those with tattoos or those who intend to get them!) have their hearts set on becoming flight attendants and all the exciting perks that come with it.
So the question that arises is, can you have tattoos as a flight attendant?
And the answer is – it depends. There’s no universal flight attendant tattoo policy shared by all carriers.
In order to give you a clear sense of what place gives you the best chance of scoring the job, below we will examine all the main airlines from various nations and continents.
Can Flight Attendants Have Tattoos? The General Picture
So, are there any airlines that allow tattoos for the cabin crew?
Looking at the overall picture, most commercial airlines do not let their flight attendants have tattoos that are easily visible. In other words, you must make sure that all of your ink is tucked away if you wish to maximize your chances of pursuing a career in aviation.
The good news is that there are some exceptions to this rule. While the number of tattoo-friendly carriers is still small, it’s definitely on the rise. Looking at the current trends, we can definitely expect an increase in the number of airlines that accept tattoos for both flight attendants and pilots.
Let’s now compare tattoo policies for cabin crew across many major carriers (both US and international).
Spoiler Alert: some airlines are OK with ink!
What Airlines Allow Flight Attendants to Have Tattoos?
If you have tattoos and want to be a flight attendant, there are two reasons to be optimistic.
To begin with, some airlines have already eased their tattoo restrictions dramatically.
And secondly, if your current country’s carrier has a stringent no-tattoo policy, you can always relocate.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular airlines and see what they think about tattooed flight attendants!
The great majority of carriers in the United States have a no-visible tattoo policy. That is, your tattoos should not be seen while wearing your cabin crew uniform. If they are, you must wear long-sleeved shirts over them at all times (although not all airlines will be okay with that).
In general, hiding the ink with skin-toned make-up or band-aids is not a good idea and will be rejected by most carriers.
The following airlines in the United States have no visible tattoo policy:
- American Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Delta Airlines
- Envoy Air
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Republic Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
So, what are the airlines that allow flight attendants to have tattoos?
There are now three US-based airlines that are willing to accept tattooed flight attendants.
- Alaska Airlines – the cabin crew is allowed to have modest visible tattoos, according to the newly-released “badge rule”. This means that visible tattoos cannot be larger than the uniform’s badge.
- SkyWest – the airline allows “small and tasteful” tattoos on flight attendants without specifying exact dimensions. Tattoos are evaluated on an individual basis.
- United Airlines has the same badge policy as Alaska Airlines.
With increased pressure from the tattooed community and an expanding number of tattooed aviation enthusiasts, it’s quite likely that more and more airlines will begin to allow tattooed flight attendants.
European carriers’ tattoo policies are quite similar to those of American airlines. Most airlines have a strict no-visible-tattoo policy, although some accept flight attendants with visible ink with no size restrictions.
The following are the major European airlines that do not permit tattooed flight attendants:
And which airlines allow tattoos for cabin crew in Europe?
As of now, the only EU-based airline that accepts tattooed flight attendants is Virgin Atlantic. At the same time, the UK-based airline is one of the most tattoo-friendly carriers worldwide!
Following the 2022 policy change, all flight attendants (and pilots) working for Virgin Atlantic are permitted to get an unlimited number of visible tattoos. There are also no size restrictions. All tattoos, however, must be tasteful and contain nothing that may be considered indecent, discriminating, or offensive.
Asia & Oceania Carriers
Asian and Oceanian airlines’ tattoo regulations are usually on par with those of their European and American equivalents, which means that most carriers have severe no-visible tattoo policies.
The following airlines do not allow cabin crew with visible tattoos:
Furthermore, Qatar Airways forbids even tattoos covered beneath the uniform. This is mostly down to the Muslim culture and traditions that are prevalent in most Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar.
So, what airlines allow tattoos in the region?
As of now, Air New Zealand is the only airline on the continent that accepts visible tattoos on cabin crew.
Why Are Airlines So Strict Regarding Tattoos?
So, why there are so few flight attendant jobs that allow tattoos?
Most airlines’ official stance is that they want their crew to look professional at all times. Unfortunately, in their minds, tattoos are associated with a certain “unprofessional” image.
While this is slowly changing, it will probably take a few more years before we see a major shift in policy.
Another reason some airlines are hesitant to allow visible tattoos on flight attendants is the fear of offending passengers from countries where body art is considered taboo.
Tattoos, for example, are regarded as haram (forbidden) by the majority of Muslims in the Middle East.
Is Tattoo Removal Worth It?
If you’re considering getting a tattoo removed, there are a few things you should take into account.
First and foremost, tattoo removal is an extremely painful process. The pain level is often bigger than that of getting the tattoo in the first place.
Secondly, it’s important to keep in mind that complete removal is sometimes not possible. Even with multiple sessions, the skin in the area will likely remain different to some degree.
Last but not least, tattoo removal treatments are quite expensive. The average cost per session ranges from $200 to $500, and most people require 5-10 sessions to see any significant results.
With all that being said, if you’re hell-bent on becoming a flight attendant, tattoo removal might be the way to go.
So, can you have tattoos and be a flight attendant?
It depends on the airline.
Some airlines are more lenient than others when it comes to visible tattoos. However, even the most lenient airlines still have some restrictions in place. So if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, make sure to check with your airline first to see what their policy is.
Despite the fact that most major airlines have a rigorous tattoo policy, there are also some that are more liberal. And the number of airlines with tattoo-friendly regulations is steadily growing. Patience seems to be the key in this game!