Tattoos are no longer exclusively associated with convicts and gangsters – and thank God for that.
However, despite the constantly growing acceptance of ink in societies, there are still some industries that look down on employees with tattoos.
Aviation is certainly one of them.
Most airlines are still strict when it comes to the tattooed crew (whether flight attendants or pilots) and that’s particularly the case with Middle East-based carriers such as Etihad.
If lately, you’ve been considering joining the ranks of Etihad Airways and you own a tattoo or two (or ten), you should definitely be up to date with current Etihad’s tattoo policy.
You can find it explained in detail below.
Etihad Tattoo Policy – All You Need to Know
Quite frankly, the news isn’t that great for tattooed people.
Unsurprisingly considering the airline’s origin, no visible tattoos are allowed amongst Etihad Airways’ crew. And by visible, we mean any tattoo that can be seen when wearing the airline’s uniform. Unlike some airlines, Etihad doesn’t allow concealers or bandages either.
Because men’s and women’s uniforms are different, the airline has established specific tattoo placement rules for each gender.
The restricted areas for male and female crews are slightly different, as seen in the image above.
- Tattoos on the hands, neck, face, or head of men are prohibited
- Tattoos on women’s hands, lower legs, necks, and faces are prohibited
As long as your tattoos are not in the “banned” areas, you’re good to go.
There is no cap on the number of tattoos you can have on your body as long as they can be easily hidden by your Etihad uniform.
While the policy is certainly strict, there are stricter ones. One of Etihad’s main competitors, Qatar Airways, has a complete ban on all tattoos – regardless of whether they can be seen or not (yes, your body gets screened during the recruiting process).
So, if you’re looking to join an airline in the Middle East, your options are rather limited.
Long-Sleeved Shirts to the Rescue
If you’re a person with arm tattoos and you really want to work for Etihad, you still have a chance.
The airline allows candidates to wear long-sleeved shirts during their shifts. While this is far from a guarantee, it does give you a fighting chance.
Just make sure that your tattoos are completely covered and that you’re comfortable working in long-sleeved shirts during the summer.
While it’s true that Etihad’s tattoo policy is rather strict, most European or US airlines have very similar rules.
If you are a proud owner of tattoos in the so-called visible areas and you can’t fathom the idea of working in long-sleeved shirts during the summer or removing your art, you’re not out of luck just yet.
- Related: Emirates Tattoo Policy
You can always try your luck with airlines that are less strict.
However, to do that, you’d have to be willing to relocate.
In Europe, leading the way when it comes to inclusivity, is one of the UK’s leading carriers – Virgin Atlantic. After the 2022 policy update, the airline allows people to show their tattoos as long as they’re tasteful and not offensive.
In the United States, Alaska Airlines & United Airlines have both introduced the “badge rule”, meaning that you’re allowed 1 visible tattoo as long as it doesn’t exceed the size of the uniform’s badge. SkyWest, on the other hand, allows for small and tasteful tattoos without specifying the acceptable dimensions.
While this is certainly not ideal, it’s a start. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more airlines following suit and becoming more inclusive.