10 Unspoken Rules That Flight Attendants Are Expected To Follow

Written by , BA Hons Indrani Karmakar BA Hons linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years

With the turn of the twentieth century, males first entered airlines as flight attendants. In 1930, a 25-year-old nurse became the first female attendant, and by 1936, women had almost fully supplanted men in this profession (1). Here in this article are some recent developments in flight attendant regulations and the most important qualifications for the job. Read on to know them all.

The Traditional 19th-Century Norms

The Traditional 19th-Century Norms
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Fifty to sixty years ago, flight attendants were expected to adhere to tough restrictions, such as maintaining a certain weight and body type and wearing tight, short gowns throughout the ’60s and ’70s. According to a former flight attendant who worked during the same era, flight attendants were required to wear a particular girdle to achieve the required body shape. A flight attendant may be sacked if she gained weight, turned 32–35 years old, or got married. Even though modern airlines do not impose draconian requirements on their staff, flight attendants are nonetheless expected to follow a specific image. Some examples of such regulations are presented below.

1. You Don’t Have To Be A Model To Be A Flight Attendant

You Don't Have To Be A Model To Be A Flight Attendant
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Flight attendants are not required to have a supermodel body type. Possessing an arm’s length of 6′′ to 9′′ is preferable at a minimum height of 5’2′′. They must have sufficient height to access the overhead luggage compartments. The BMI (body mass index) used to determine weight should be in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 (1). The criteria may change from airline to airline.

2. Some Airline Companies Don’t Set Age Limits On The Airhostesses

Some Airline Companies Don't Set Age Limits On The Airhostesses
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The minimum age varies between 18 and 21 for air hostesses on most airlines. Although the upper limit is rarely mentioned lest it is interpreted as discriminatory, women often start finding work on the ground beyond the age of thirty-two.

3. There Should Be No Visible Tattoos On The Skin

There Should Be No Visible Tattoos On The Skin
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A flight attendant represents the airline in the public eye. That’s why it’s unacceptable for them to have any visible scars or tattoos on their bodies. Acne, actinic keratosis, and tattoos are all in the same category. Most airlines allow for back and hip tattoos, but any tattoos on the ankle, forearm, or neck will disqualify you from being a flight attendant.

4. They Must Have A Good Vision

They Must Have A Good Vision
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Flight attendants are expected to have 20/20 eyesight, or to be able to wear contact lenses. Glasses are permitted on flights as long as they conform with the airline’s style guidelines.

5. They Need To Smile At Passengers Always

They Need To Smile At Passengers Always
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A big happy smile is required at all times for flight attendants to maintain passenger confidence. The teeth should be white and uniform. Some airlines employ flight attendants who don’t wear braces, while others are more accommodating when recruiting.

6. You Cannot Color Your Hair In Bright Colors

You Cannot Color Your Hair In Bright Colors
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Flight attendants are required to wear hair that reaches their shoulders, and they also have to abide by color restrictions. Some airlines go by all-natural hair dyes and always pay close attention to your roots. Some flight attendants opt for the ombre hairstyle, which requires a tuft to hide the lighter sections.

7. You Cannot Paint Your Nails In Minty Shades

You Cannot Paint Your Nails In Minty Shades
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Nail aesthetics are crucial for air hostesses. Nail length and polish color are both subjected to strict guidelines set by all airlines. The standard protocol includes neutral tones, French tips, or short red nails.

8. You Don’t Need Heavy Makeup

You Don't Need Heavy Makeup
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Makeup is compulsory for most airlines and should be subtle. However, some makeup hacks like eyelash extensions and bold lip colors are allowed. There are specific tones of red lipstick that aren’t allowed by certain airlines. Makeup such as foundation, lipstick, and eyeliner/shadow may be required at some workplaces.

9. You Need To Wear Heels In The Airport

You Need To Wear Heels In The Airport
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Although specific airline standards may vary, in most cases flight attendants are expected to wear high heels when on airport property. It’s stunning to look at, but unfortunately not very practical!

10. They Are Allowed To Wear Simple Jewelry And A Watch

They Are Allowed To Wear Simple Jewelry And A Watch
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While on duty, most airlines allow air hostesses one set of stone or pearl earrings and no more than two finger rings, including wedding rings. They are also required to wear a watch at all times. Since emergency situations such as an evacuation shouldn’t take more than 90 seconds, each crew member should keep track of time in the event of a crisis.

So, now that you know how particular some of the rules are for being a flight attendant, you will surely remember them on your next flight. They also have to undergo months of training to be able to qualify for the job. So which of these rules caught your attention? Let us know in the comments section!

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Indrani Karmakar

Indrani KarmakarSenior Social Writer

Indrani is a writer and artist who likes to add a dash of humor to everything she does. She has two years of experience in writing articles across beauty, health, and lifestyle genres. After graduating in Political Science from Calcutta University, she took a detour into the world of creativity and discovered her knack for social writing, advertising, designing, and...read full bio

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