Flight attendants are required to meet certain appearance standards. This includes wearing makeup and having a specific hairstyle. But what about eyesight and medical requirements? Can flight attendants wear glasses? What about contact lenses?
In this quick blog post, we take a look at the rules around cabin crew glasses.
Can flight attendants wear glasses?
Generally, yes. Flight attendants can wear glasses in their airline uniform as long as they meet the appearance standards set by the airline.
This includes ensuring that the glasses are in line with the company’s branding and colour scheme, with some restrictions on frame styles.
However, there may be some restrictions on the type of glasses that can be worn — such as tinted lenses — and there is a minimum eyesight requirement.
Types of glasses allowed
Unlike piercings, tattoos, or hairstyles — with strictly applied rules — glasses are normally one of the least restrictive parts of cabin crew uniform standards.
Typically, most types of glasses are allowed as long as the lenses aren’t overly tinted and glasses are worn for medical reasons. Wearing frames for fashion is usually prohibited.
As ever, rules can vary between airlines. Some airlines are relaxed:
Must complement the uniform and be professional in style and colour.United Airlines uniform standards, 2021
While some airlines take a more prescriptive stance…
Sophisticated business-like appearance is acceptable, i.e., a moderate size for a plain or unframed glasses design. Acceptable frame colours: black, brown, burgundy, tortoiseshell colour, navy blue, silver or gold metal. Tinted optical lenses are acceptable only if eyes are visible.British Airways uniform standards guide
Can cabin crew wear contacts?
Yes. In general, it is often allowed for flight attendants to wear contact lenses. Airlines may require that contact lenses be prescription lenses — worn for medical reasons only — and that lenses are not coloured.
There are some rare eye conditions that require specialist hard lenses — such as Keratoconus. These hard lenses are prohibited by some airlines including Emirates, Qatar and Etihad.
Top tip: Bring both.
Contact lenses are a really personal preference, and if you are new to flying, I would advise bringing both contacts and glasses and find out what works for you. Some flight attendants find that long-haul flights dry their eyes out, and make contact lenses an irritation, preferring to switch back to wearing glasses.
Cabin crew don’t need 20/20 vision. However, flight attendants must meet a certain level of eyesight, even if it is corrected.
- Vision cannot be below this level, so in rare cases with particularly poor eyesight, prospective flight attendants may be unable to become crew without undergoing corrective surgery.
- There are also some medical conditions — such as diplopia (double vision) — that prohibit becoming a flight attendant.
Distant visual acuity with both eyes, with or without correction, should be 6/9 or better.UK Civil Aviation Authority
This means a cabin crew should be able to read an N5 eye chart — a small handheld reading exercise — at 30–50 cm. This can be performed with or without corrective glasses or contacts.
Like pilots, cabin crew also have a colourblind test in their initial medical. And should be able to pass 15/24 of the Ishihara test circles. For a quick check — in our guide to pilots vision, we’ve included a practise test.
There are several requirements for flight attendant eyesight:
As always, individual rules vary between airlines, so for specific queries its worth getting an up-to-date response from HR.