Virgin Atlantic scraps strict make-up rules for female crew

virgin atlantic
Image credit: Virgin Atlantic

Something for the weekend: Commercial airline Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will no longer require female flight attendants to wear make-up while on duty, BBC News reports.

Virgin has stated that, while female employees are still welcome to make use of the lipstick and foundation palettes set out in its guidelines, they will now be permitted to work without make-up if they prefer. In addition, female staff will now automatically be able to opt for trousers over a skirt.

Virgin Atlantic’s iconic red uniform was originally designed by Arabella Pollen in 1984, and traditionally comprised a form-fitting skirt for female crew members, with trousers being made available only on request. From March 2019, women will be provided with trousers as part of their uniform package when hired, rather than having to ask.

Mark Anderson, executive vice president, customer, at Virgin Atlantic, said: “Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work.”

This is a move away from the strict codes of appearance generally associated with Virgin Atlantic’s highly coiffed crew, and towards the more modern environment espoused by an increasing number of competitors. British Airways, for example, hung up its own no-trousers rule in 2016.

In a comment for People magazine, Anderson added: “Our world-famous red uniform is something all of us at Virgin Atlantic are incredibly proud of. As an airline, we have always stood out from the crowd and done things differently to the rest of the industry.

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“We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals, while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we love a strong brightly coloured brand identity as much as the next person. However, we agree that in 2019, and on International Women’s Day no less, we should all be considering what traditions we could do without…