So what’s the scoop with Cabin Crew and Tattoos? It’s one of the most popular questions asked by people looking to get into the career.
At the risk of being unpopular we’re going to tell it to you straight – Cabin Crew and tattoos don’t generally mix, particularly if you’re applying to a more prestigious or Middle Eastern airline.
You may have came across all kinds of advice online, and in Cabin Crew forums on how to cover tattoos with make-up and bandages or plasters. However, these solutions don’t fly with every airline – and you certainly won’t get away with it with an airline like Qatar, Etihad or Emirates.
That’s not to say you’re not allowed tattoos at all on your body – but for most airlines they must be completely covered while you’re in uniform.
We completely appreciate that this can be very frustrating – after all, tattoos are a piece of art, and can be absolutely stunning! But the rules are in place, and are unlikely to change in the near future.
Do Airlines Check for Tattoos?
Most airlines do a tattoo check as part of their open day or assessment day – if you try to hide your tattoos and this is discovered you’ll be asked to leave the process immediately. There may be exceptions if you’re in the process of having your tattoo professionally removed, and can prove to the panel that this will have been completed by the time you complete your training.
It can be heartbreaking considering tattoo removal if you’ve saved up to have a custom design done – but at the end of the day it depends how much you want to pursue a Cabin Crew career!
Airlines will generally accept tattoos on the following parts of your body (coloured in Orange):
Female crew generally can’t have tattoos on the head and neck, the tops of the arms to the hands and wrists, and the tops of the knees to the ankles and feet.
Male crew will not usually be accepted with tattoos on the head and neck, or the tops of the arms down to the hands and wrists.
Tattoos high up at the base of the neck/top of the spine may also cause issues depending on uniform. Basically, if the tattoo is not completely covered by the uniform then it is considered ‘visible’.
Also, bear in mind that even if you have a tattoo on an area that is not ‘visible’ – such as your back or chest – the airline might still make you comply with extra rules. A lot of airlines have white uniform shirts and tattoos might be able to be seen through this.
Are there exceptions?
Some airlines will allow Cabin Crew to have arm tattoos if they can be covered up. You’ll need to wear a long-sleeved undershirt and long-sleeved uniform shirt at all times.
You should check with your chosen airline to see if they allow this – European and North American airlines are generally considered more ‘relaxed’ in this respect but the rules and guidelines change frequently.
The airline may need to see photos of your tattoos to see if they comply with their rules. An arm tattoo that reaches all the way down to the wrist will not normally be accepted.
Qatar Airlines’ Rules
Qatar Airways does not allow Cabin Crew to have any tattoos. The State of Qatar follows a strict interpretation of Islam and tattoos are considered Haram – as such they’re forbidden. As a state-owned company, Qatar Airways does not hire flight attendants with any tattoos.
You are not allowed any tattoos at all, whether they are visible in your uniform or not. It’s important that you don’t lie about any tattoos as this will be checked during your medical examination.