5 Cabin Crew Rules You Probably Don’t Know

Whilst cabin crew is a career that offers flexibility and adventure, it also comes with some strict rules and regulations. These help ensure passenger safety but also the professional image of each airline. While some guidelines are commonly known, others might surprise you. Here are five lesser-known rules that cabin crew members must abide by.


1. Public Conduct in Uniform

Ever seen a cabin crew scoffing down a Pret-a-Manger sandwich at the airport? Nope – well you probably won’t! When in uniform, cabin crew members must adhere to strict behaviour standards in public. This includes prohibitions on smoking, eating, or drinking while visible to the public. This rule is especially stringent in the Middle East, where breaking it can result in termination. Even in regions with more relaxed rules, like Europe and the UK, there are still guidelines that must be followed. 

2. Punctuality is Paramount

Missing a flight is not like missing a bus! But for cabin crew, punctuality is non-negotiable for every part of the job. Crew members must arrive on time for their pre-flight briefing. If they are late, even due to unavoidable circumstances like traffic accidents, they risk being sent home or placed on standby. Consistently being late, more than three times, can result in termination. Airline schedules are finely tuned, and any delay can cost the company significant money. The airline cannot afford to wait for tardy employees, as the ripple effect of delays can be substantial.

3. Mandatory Watches

Every cabin crew member must wear a watch. This requirement is not just about keeping time; watches are essential tools during medical emergencies, accident reports, and various flight-related tasks. The ability to accurately measure time can be crucial in emergency situations, making this a critical part of the uniform. Each airline has individual rules about its size and design to ensure it is both functional and professional.

4. Strict Tattoo and Piercing Policies

Although some airlines have recently relaxed their rules on visible tattoos (spearheaded by Virgin Atlantic), the general policy remains stringent. Most airlines do not allow tattoos that can be seen while in uniform. Piercings are similarly restricted, typically allowing only one set of earrings for women. Facial or tongue piercings are generally prohibited. These rules are in place to maintain the professional image of each airline and to avoid any distractions from the uniformity of the crew’s presentation.

5. Limited Jewellery

Cabin crew uniforms include very specific guidelines for jewellery. Generally, crew members are permitted to wear only one ring and one pair of earrings, which are usually pearl or diamond studs. Bracelets, necklaces, and other types of jewellery are not allowed. This restriction is partly to ensure uniformity and partly for safety reasons, as loose jewellery can pose a hazard during emergencies.


These rules highlight the rigorous standards cabin crew members must meet. Understanding them gives us greater appreciation for the discipline and commitment required to be part of an airline cabin crew. So next time you fly, remember that behind those friendly smiles and impeccable uniforms are professionals adhering to a strict set of rules to ensure your journey is safe and pleasant. 

If you’re ready to take to the skies then head to our online store now and grab our Get a Cabin Crew Job eCourse, which gives you all the insider tips, practical content and expert information you need to get your dream Cabin Crew job.

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Cabin Crew Wings Team

Our team of experts have the many years as Cabin Crew plus HR experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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