Cabin Crew high heels – is it time to ditch them?

Female Cabin Crew are pushing back on high heels - "I'm not Stewardess Barbie!"

Female Cabin Crew have traditionally always worn high heels. But the world is changing, and some Cabin Crew are hitting out at airlines for their ‘outdated’ uniform policies.

“I’m not Stewardess Barbie!”

Spanish airline Iberia announced their first uniform revamp in 15 years. But female Iberian Cabin Crew have lashed out at the airline’s compulsory high heels.

It raises concerns that Cabin Crew are subject to old-fashioned, sexist uniform regulations. In today’s world where gender equality is uppermost in people’s minds, some Cabin Crew can’t believe that high heels are compulsory. The petition reads: ‘Iberia: DO NOT force us to wear heels. Let us choose!’

When ARE flat shoes allowed?

The majority of UK-based airlines can’t insist on Cabin Crew wearing high heels because of equality laws. But when was the last time you flew and saw Cabin Crew wearing flats?

Colombian startup Ultra Air alongside Ukrainian airline SkyUp already kit out their Cabin Crew in trainers as standard.

Ultra Air says this choice was based on safety as well as comfort. They recognise that spending hours on your feet while wearing high heels can be painful for Cabin Crew. Not only that, in an emergency situation, Cabin Crew can more easily assist passengers and supervise an evacuation in flat shoes.

Iberia will allow Cabin Crew to wear trainers or flat shoes but only between takeoff and landing. When passengers board, and while walking around the airport, Cabin Crew must wear their high heels. Cabin Crew are able to choose between a 6-inch heel or a shorter, 3-inch heel, although the uniform guide is still being finalised.

Cabin Crew often walk five or more miles a day! In heels that’s not an easy task!

Gender and uniforms

It’s not just about high heels either. More and more airlines are starting to update their Cabin Crew uniform regulations and grooming policies to reflect modern attitudes.

Virgin, BA, KLM and Japan Airlines all now allow female Cabin Crew to wear trousers.

However, there are calls to relax policies even further. Qantas currently stipulate that female Cabin Crew MUST wear make-up, while it’s forbidden for male staff. Male Cabin Crew are also banned from growing beards. As pressure grows to become more inclusive, the face of airlines may look quite different in the coming years.

What do you think?

High heels can make Cabin Crew look smart and professional. Virgin’s red lips and heels are an iconic image of the airline. Many Cabin Crew aspire to the job because it’s glamorous and exciting. Would you be keen to ditch the heels? Or do you think they’re an important Cabin Crew uniform staple? Get in touch and let us know!

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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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