A look at if you can have piercings if you are a flight attendant

Can you have piercings as a flight attendant?

So, you want to be a flight attendant? Great! It’s an exciting and rewarding career. But before you can start your training, there are a few things you need to know about the dress code and appearance standards.

In this blog post, we will discuss piercings as part of the dress code for flight attendants. We’ll cover what is allowed and what is not allowed so that you can make an informed decision before applying for a job with an airline.

Why are there strict rules on piercings as a flight attendant?

There are two main reasons for the strict guidelines on piercings as a flight attendant: safety and professional appearance.

First and foremost, airlines must ensure the safety of their passengers. Flight attendants are responsible for ensuring that all emergency procedures are carried out properly in the event of an emergency.

To do this effectively, they need to be able to communicate clearly with passengers and crew members, and use a variety of safety equipment.

Airlines worry that some piercings may interfere with using safety equipment. As a result, many have strict flight attendant dress code policy’s prohibiting many types of piercings.

Flight attendant performing the safety demonstration
  • Hooped earrings or gauges may get stuck or caught when wearing a smoke hood, oxygen masks, or putting on a life jacket.
  • Tongue or lip piercings might interfere with clear communications and using an emergency whistle or megaphone.

Secondly, airline employees must maintain a professional appearance at all times. This includes not only how they dress, but also their facial expressions and body language.

Piercings can be seen as unprofessional, so most airlines have a policy against them. While this might seem backwards — and I don’t think all piercings look unprofessional — flight attendants travel across the globe, and interact with thousands of customers from different backgrounds. As a result, airlines tend to take a more traditional view on appearance standards.

Did you know…

Airline pilots also have a strict dress code. Airlines have the same concerns about piercings for pilots, therefore this part of uniform standards is identical for pilots and flight attendants.

Female pilots are allowed one small pair of studs only, with male pilots prohibited from any piercings at all.

Pilot piercing rules are the same as flight attendants

Piercings that are banned as a flight attendant

Some piercings are almost universally banned for flight attendants.

  • Large hoops, bars or dangly ear piercings
  • Gauges, or stretched piercings
  • Nose, lip, and tongue piercings
  • Visible surface piercings like eyebrow or wrist piercings
  • Brightly coloured piercings
Flight attendant piercings and tattoos

Note: Male cabin crew often get a bad deal, with most airlines prohibiting male flight attendants from any piercings at all. 

Piercings that are allowed as a flight attendant

The majority of commercial airlines allow one pair of studs to be warn as long as they are gold, silver, pearl, or diamond coloured.

Allowed cabin crew piercings include matching studs in silver diamonds or gold

Top tips:

  • Some US airlines — such as American Airlines and Delta, allow small earrings as long as they are smaller than a dime — that’s roughly 17 mm for our non-American friends!
  • Earrings or studs must be matching
  • If you are unsure and want to play it safe, a pair of matching silver studs are almost universally accepted by all international airlines
  • While most airlines prohibit body piercings, many flight attendants have belly button piercings — but I would remove them before an interview, and ensure they don’t have too much metal as they will set the airport scanners off.
  • A few airlines are beginning to relax their standards slightly, so it’s worth clarifying with HR beforehand. As an example, United Airlines allowed small nose piercings in a 2021 update of its uniform standards guide.

Our uniform standards require a simple, elegant look. A single ear piercing is allowed no more than 10mm in diameter, only one set of round shaped ear-rings must be worn. No other visible body piercings including tongue, tongue retainer and nose studs are allowed.

British Airways — Cabin Crew FAQs

Summary — So, can you have piercings as a flight attendant?

The answer is yes, but only if they are considered to be safe and professional looking. The most common piercings that are allowed are ears pierced with stud earrings in gold or silver.

Unfortunately all elements of cabin crew appearances are strictly regulated — from tattoos to braces — and piercings also fall under these regulations. Non-standard piercings (including gauges) and facial piercings are almost universally banned.

As ever, if you have any questions about the dress code or appearance standards for flight attendants, be sure to contact the airline before applying for a job, as standards vary across the globe.

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Alissa
Alissa

Flyingbynumber’s Resident Senior Flight Attendant — Alissa

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