Air New Zealand Tattoo Policy in 2023 (Flight Attendants & Pilots)

While the aviation industry has visibly started relaxing its restrictions related to the number and placement of tattoos, many airlines are still very strict when it comes to visible ink.

It’s not uncommon for an airline to require that any visible tattoos be covered while on duty. As a result, many flight attendants and other airline employees have started getting their tattoos in places that can easily be hidden by clothing.

If you’re an aspiring flight attendant or a pilot and are considering joining the ranks of New Zealand’s biggest carrier, Air NZ, great!

In this article, we dive into the latest Air New Zealand tattoo policy to make sure you know exactly what you can and can’t have before taking to the skies.

Air New Zealand Tattoo Policy – All You Need to Know

If you’ve been worried about getting rejected from your dream job because of your tattoos, put your mind at ease – Air New Zealand is now one of the most tattoo-friendly airlines in the world! In fact, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to call it the most friendly.

The airline’s new tattoo policy was announced in September of 2019, and it’s a major victory for those with body art.

What’s Allowed

As thing stand, both the cabin and cockpit crew are allowed visible tattoos that don’t have to be hidden by the Air NZ uniform. What’s more, Air NZ is the world’s sole airline that allows face tattoos – as long as they’re Tā Moko (a traditional form of Māori body art).

Tā Moko tattoo

Tā Moko like this one is allowed by Air New Zealand

This is a huge shift in policy for the airline, which previously only allowed “small and discreet” tattoos that didn’t extend below the collarbone, above the wrist, or outside of a small square on the palm.

What’s Prohibited

Even though the airline’s policy is extremely lenient, there are, of course, some limitations.

Tattoos that are considered “offensive” or promote violence, gangs, drugs, or other illegal activity are not allowed. This is a pretty standard rule for most workplaces, so it’s not surprising to see it in Air NZ’s policy.

Additionally, any tattoos that could be deemed harmful to the airline’s image are also not allowed. For example, a tattoo of an airplane crash or something similar would not be allowed.

Other tattoo types that are a no-go according to the newest tattoo policy at Air NZ, include:

  • tattoos using expletives
  • tattoos containing inappropriate imagery to customers, ie. nudity
  • tattoos that are sexist or LGBTQIA-phobic

Reasons for the Tattoo Policy Change

As Air New Zealand puts it, the goal of the airline is to create an inclusive workplace that represents the diversity of Aotearoa.

Air New Zealand's flight attendant

Air New Zealand’s flight attendant

The most recent step in the brand’s journey toward really embracing diversity and building an environment where Air New Zealanders can be themselves and prosper is allowing its staff to express their uniqueness and cultural heritage through tattoos.

Re-Apply If You’ve Been Declined Before

In spite of the massive u-turn in policy, Air New Zealand says that if you’ve been declined a job in the past because of your tattoos, you can reapply.

The airline is also working on updating its uniform to make it more comfortable for those with larger or body-covering tattoos – though there’s no timeline for when this will be available.

So, if you’re looking for a change of scenery and want to work for one of the most innovative and inclusive airlines in the world, start polishing up your CV – because Air New Zealand is hiring!

What Airlines Will Hire You With Tattoos?

Other major airlines across the globe have been following the trend and updating their policies on tattoos in recent years.

While some have been a little slower to catch up, most are now far more tattoo-friendly than they were even just a few years ago.

If you’re not set on working for Air New Zealand, here are some other global airlines that have pretty lenient policies when it comes to allowing staff members to have visible tattoos:

  • Virgin Atlantic (UK) – similar to Air New Zealand, the British airline allows for an unlimited number of visible tattoos while in the uniform
  • Air Canada (CA) – small tattoos are allowed on visible body parts, following the “badge rule” (size-wise, tattoos can’t exceed the airline’s uniform badge)
  • Alaska Airlines (US) – offering the exact same tattoo policy as Air Canada

On the other hand, there are, naturally, other major airlines that could take a leaf out of Air New Zealand’s tattoo policy book and update their regulations to be more inclusive.

A few notable airlines that have more restrictive policies when it comes to visible tattoos include the two giants from neighboring AustraliaQantas and Virgin Australia. Both don’t allow visible tattoos at all.

In extreme cases, some airlines like Qatar Airways have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to tattoos – even if they’re covered by clothing, they’re not allowed. An example of such is Qatar Airways.