KLM Tattoo Policy in 2023 (Flight Attendants and Pilots)

The aviation industry continues to have one of the strictest attitudes against people with tattoos, despite the increasing acceptability of ink on a global scale.

Dutch airline KLM is expected to have a rather rigorous policy on tattoos among its employees given that it is one of the biggest European carriers.

If you see your future in the skies and your next career chapter at the Dutch giant, you should probably familiarize yourself with the latest KLM tattoo policy.

And you’re going to do that down below.

KLM tattoo policy highlights

KLM Tattoo Policy – All You Need to Know

Unfortunately, you won’t be receiving any good news, nor will those who enjoy body art and see their future with KLM.

The current tattoo policies at KLM are strict. No visible tattoos are permitted on the airline’s staff, including flight attendants and pilots, while they are on duty. Lufthansa does not permit the covering of tiny tattoos with a bandage or makeup.

What, then, exactly qualifies as a “visible tattoo”?

Anything that is visible when wearing a company uniform is prohibited. As a result, you cannot work for Lufthansa if you have tattoos on your hands, neck, or any other exposed body part.

Naturally, men’s and women’s uniforms at Lufthansa differ a bit. As a result, we could say that the airline has a gender-specific tattoo policy. For a clearer understanding of what is and what isn’t allowed for male and female crew, please see the illustration below.

KLM tattoo guidelines
KLM’s current tattoo restrictions

As you can see, neither gender is permitted to have tattoos on their head, face, neck, lower arms, or hands. In addition, women must not have any tattoos that extend below their lower thighs.

On the plus side, there are no restrictions on the number, kind, or size of tattoos on non-exposed body regions at the moment. So long as none of your tattoos are visible while wearing the uniform, you’re set to go.

This does not imply, however, that KLM will never modify its tattoo policy. In the future, the airline might review its policies and adopt more tolerant policies toward staff members who have body art.

Are Long Sleeve Shirts a Choice?

Long or short sleeves are available for the uniforms worn by KLM crew members. You might be scratching your head about whether wearing a long-sleeved shirt would be an alternative option if you have tattoos on your arms.

Well, if you have your heart set on working with KLM, it’s definitely worth a shot. In order to prevent any surprises during the application process, it is advised to be upfront about your tattoos when applying for a job and to state that you are ready to wear long sleeve shirts.

KLM crew
KLM crew

Although there is no assurance that it will solve the problem, doing this can improve your chances of landing a job. KLM is definitely likely to hire someone who is prepared to make a minor compromise (wearing long sleeve shirts).

Of course, you can always try to hide your tattoos with clothing or makeup, but no one will likely fall for this. Therefore, the effort probably isn’t worthwhile.

Alternatives to KLM

So which airline permits tattoos that are visible?

If KLM’s tattoo policy has led you to believe that the Dutch airline was the only one with restrictions, you’d be wrong.

Most airlines in Europe have a similar policy to KLM when it comes to tattoos. This implies that your alternatives are rather limited unless you’re ready to have your ink removed. British Airways, KLM, Ryanair, and Easyjet are some of the known examples of such airlines.

Virgin Atlantic is possibly the only example worth mentioning. The UK carrier dropped the prohibition on “tasteful” tattoos in visible areas in 2022, ushering in a change that is anticipated to have a significant impact on the whole industry.

US airlines Alaska Airlines and United Airlines use the “tag rule” to permit modest visible tattoos if you’re ready to move. Such tattoos can’t exceed size-wise the uniform’s badge. Skywest, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly define what a “small tattoo” means and evaluates applicants on a case-by-case basis.