Many people have the goal of working in aviation as pilots or flight attendants.
Qantas, one of the largest Australian carriers, provides an opportunity to get paid to travel the world, encounter other cultures and make lifetime friendships.
However, not everyone qualifies to join cabin or cockpit staff due to still-existing discrimination against inked people in the industry.
With tattoos becoming mainstream, you’d hope that all major carriers would be adapting their policies – but sadly, this isn’t the case for Qantas.
If you’re a person with tattoos and are considering joining the airline as a flight attendant or a pilot, this article is for you.
Let’s dive into the latest tattoo policy at Qantas.
Qantas Tattoo Policy – All You Need to Know
While some major international players have already lifted their restrictions on tattoos, Qantas remains one of the companies with the strongest anti-tattoo policies.
According to the current policy, pilots and flight attendants are not permitted to have any visible tattoos when wearing a Qantas uniform.
Because the uniforms are slightly different for male and female employees, the tattoo-free zones differ as well.
The tattoo policy for the Qantas cabin and cockpit crew is shown in the image below.
As shown in the graphic, the currently prohibited regions are:
- For women – head, neck, lower thigh to the feet, arms, and hands
- For men – hands, arms, neck, and head
Qantas is okay with its personnel getting any number of tattoos, as long as they are hidden when wearing the uniform.
The company also doesn’t mind if employees acquire new tattoos while working for Qantas, so long as they aren’t visible while in the Qantas uniform.
Can a Long-Sleeve Shirt & Make-Up Cover the Tattoos?
If you’re willing to cover your arm tattoos with a long-sleeve shirt while on duty, you might still stand a chance of scoring the Qantas gig.
If you’re really determined to become a part of the Qantas team, it’s definitely worth asking the question during the recruitment process (or even before you start it).
What’s certain is that Qantas is giving its crew the option to wear long sleeves, but it’s unclear if this will guarantee that those with arm tattoos will be employed.
You can also ask about the possibility of covering up very small tattoos with makeup or even bandages. Again, it is best to discuss this choice directly with the airline.
Reasons for Airlines’ Strict Stance on Tattoos
The Australian airline is by no means the only one in the business with a strict tattoo policy. When it comes to their dress code, most airlines are very conservative.
The primary historical reasons for this are related to the respectable image that airlines aim to project. Most airlines like their employees to appear neat and professional and, no matter how sad it sounds, tattoos don’t really fit that image for many carriers.
When hiring a tattooed flight attendant or pilot, the biggest worry for airlines is that one of the visible tattoos will cause an uproar among passengers.
With the flight attendants being the face of the airline, it’s understandable that companies want to avoid any possible customer complaints.
Are Other Major Airlines Less Strict?
If you want to work in the aviation industry but don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of covering up your tattoos, you should look into opportunities outside of Australia.
This is due to the fact that, as things stand, most Australian airlines have a tattoo policy identical to Qantas. An obvious example is Virgin Australia.
In terms of tattoo acceptability, Virgin Atlantic is presently the most progressive airline in the world. Since a policy change in 2022, the airline now permits visible tattoos on workers as long as they are “tasteful and discreet.” Many individuals are hoping that the British airline’s decision will drive reform throughout the sector.
Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines all tolerate tiny visible tattoos throughout the United States and Canada under the “badge rule.” This means that the tattoo should not be larger than the airline’s emblem (or credit card).
Another US airline in favor of “small, tasteful” tattoos is Skywest.
As things stand, Qantas’ tattoo policy remains super-conservative, but that is standard for most major airlines.
If you don’t like the thought of covering up your tattoos, your best chance is to work for an airline headquartered outside of Australia.
At present, the aforementioned Virgin Atlantic appears to be the most tattoo-friendly airline, but there are plenty of other possibilities if you’re ready to relocate and start again.
Whatever you decide, always double-check with the airline before applying for a position. In the aviation sector, things may change rapidly, so it’s best to be cautious than sorry!
If you have firsthand knowledge of Qantas’ policy requirements, please share your expertise in the comments section below to assist other aspiring aviators!