The British Airways will allow its male cabin crew and pilots “wear a touch of mascara” and lipstick. The airline wrote to all employees this week unveiling an updated uniform policy, which encourages staff to “be bold, be proud, be yourself” at work.
Male crew and pilots also will be allowed to paint their nails and were told that false eyelashes could help to add volume, although the airline is keen that crew do not go overboard. Strict hairstyle rules have been eased, with male staff permitted to have longer hair and to wear it in a bun. All staff, regardless of gender can now carry a handbag.
The policy review by BA comes weeks after Virgin Atlantic said it was making its uniforms gender-neutral and was introducing pronoun badges for staff and customers. Virgin said it would allow its crew, pilots and ground staff to choose whether to wear a skirt or trousers regardless of their gender so staff could “express their true identity”. Crew will be able to pick which outfit they wear to work, “no matter their gender, gender identity or gender expression”.
Virgin was one of the first airlines to relax rules on make-up in 2019 and in May it became the first big carrier to allow staff to display tattoos. BA said it would keep its ban on visible tattoos and would retain female specific uniforms. A source said the changes were part of a gradual updating of the uniform policy, which has included allowing staff to wear more rings and to use a wider palette of nail varnish colours.
Last year, BA said it had dropped the “ladies and gentlemen” prefix in its onboard announcements in an attempt to make “all customers feel welcome”. A spokesman for BA said: “We are proud of all of our colleagues at British Airways and are committed to an inclusive working environment. We have worked with our people to create updated guidelines for grooming, beauty and accessories, allowing our colleagues to bring the best, most authentic version of themselves to work.”