Can Cabin Crew Have Tattoos?

Tattoos are more popular than ever these days. It is estimated that one in five Britons now has a tattoo and in the USA that estimate rises to two in five. Many celebrity figures such as our ex-Prime Ministers wife, Samantha Cameron, David Beckham and Cheryl Cole are tattooed, which firmly puts tattooing in the mainstream, but what about when it comes to your chosen career of cabin crew?

So you turn up on time for the recruitment and assessment day. You’ve done all your background research, you are word perfect on your interview answers, your makeup looks impeccable, your hair is neatly arranged in a donut and measures no more than 11cm! You’re rocking that new interview suit, you have all the skills and experience the airline is looking for. In short, you are perfect for the job. But there’s a problem. You have a small tattoo on the collar line of your neck!

The bad news…

Sadly most airlines have very strict guidelines when it comes to their cabin crew tattoo policy.

The good news…

that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have any tattoos but ones that are ‘visible’ or on display on the hands, neck or face will generally stop you landing that dream job.

But that’s deeply unfair

I hear you cry….

I’m perfect for the job. My tattoos aren’t just my lifestyle choice they are an expression of my identity as much as a persons religion or beliefs are!

We hear what you’re saying and you’re not alone in feeling this tattoo-related discrimination. But companies & organisations that restrict tattoos are commonplace in the UK. Not only most major airlines but also the Metropolitan Police ban any visible ink on the face, hands or above the collar line, to name just one organisation.

We recently spoke to a number of airlines and the general opinion seems to be that; as each airlines’ cabin crew are in customer facing roles, visible tattoos can impact on the reputation of an airline and generally don’t portray the corporate image.

And so in summary…

Most airlines have very strict guidelines when it comes to their cabin crew tattoo policy but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have any tattoos, it’s just ones that are ‘visible’ will need to be covered up at all times whilst at work and in uniform. You will be free to display as many tattoos and piercings as you like in your free time down route on night stops.

And remember, you can always choose whether or not you would prefer to have a tattoo or your dream job.

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Michele is current serving long haul cabin crew & also an associate travel & tourism lecturer at Exeter College. Having worked within the aviation industry for over 30 years, both in the UK and the Middle East, she has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to share with us here at Cabin Crew Wings.

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  1. Hi,
    I have a tattoo on my left forearm, and it will be cover up with the full sleeves shirts and as per knowledge all the uniform for cabin in full shirt and blazer. Do I eligible for the cabin crew job ?

    1. As long as the uniform for the airline you’ve applied for fully covers your tattoos you should be fine!

    1. Hi there, for the majority of airlines tattoos are permitted as long as they are not visible and/or covered by your regulation uniform. You might find the information in this article useful.

  2. Hi

    I have a few tattoos on my forearms but with a long sleeve shirt would they be ok?
    You wouldn’t be able to see them below the sleeve.


    1. Hi Lee, if the airlines uniform covers up your tattoos then you should be ok. Good luck!

    1. The general rule is that if the airlines uniform covers your tattoo up then you are ok. As all airline uniforms vary it could be that some work better for you than others. Good luck!

  3. Hello–I have a small tatoo taht looks like a bracelt on my wrist and one on my inside forearm…
    I could wear make up to cover them…is that a possibility?

    1. Yes some crew do use cover up make-up for small tattoos however an easier, more long term solution would probably be having the tattoo removed. Is this something you would consider?

  4. Hello, I have just finnished my career working in the British army for the past 4 years and I have tattoos on both my hands, and I want to work for an airline out of Gatwick not just cabin crew anything would this affect my endeavours?

    1. Hi Curtis, to be Cabin Crew you will probably find that the tattoos on your hand will be a problem due to their visibility. Would you consider having them removed?

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