The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Bald patches and grey hair outlawed in new Air India cabin crew guidelines

The rules also apply when staff are travelling in their own time

Ella Doyle
Tuesday 29 November 2022 10:12 GMT
Air India was bought by Tata Group in January
Air India was bought by Tata Group in January (Getty Images)

Air India has reportedly outlawed grey hair, bald patches and receding hairlines for cabin crew in its updated staff guidelines.

A new 40-page booklet was given to employees in October this year, following a meeting about ‘grooming’.

It read: “Grey hair is not permitted. Grey hair must be regularly coloured in [a] natural shade. Fashion colours and henna are not permitted,” reports the Hindustan Times.

The guidance also tells staff that if men choose to wear rings they can only be wedding rings, and that only Sikh men can wear bracelets as they are a symbol of their faith.

These bracelets have to be maximum 0.5cm long, and must not feature any design, logo, or stones.

Female staff were also told only to wear gold and diamond studs, and men have been banned from having a crew cut.

The grooming guidance continued: “Crew with deep receding hairline and male balding patches must keep a clean shaved head/bald look. Head must be shaved daily. Crew cut is not permitted.”

But the rules don’t just apply while staff are working. Staff are also expected to adhere to them when travelling for future work.

The new policy reads: “While travelling as staff on duty, cabin crew who are scheduled to travel as passengers, when being positioned for flight/returning to base on completion of flight duty/training purpose, are deemed as travelling on duty and must be formally dressed as per office duty guidelines.”

The cabin crew union strongly objected to the new circular, after being previously told to expect BMI and weight checks. It said staff were objecting to the new grooming rules on mental health grounds.

The airline said that the policy was designed to protect cabin crew and passengers, as overweight staff could present a safety risk, the NZ Herald reports.

Other rules outlined in the updated guidance say women must match their nail colour with their lipstick and that tights must match their skin tone. Beards and beard shadow are not permitted for men, and they must carry a shaving kit on every flight.

Crew members are also barred from discussing politics, religion and Air India itself on social media.

Air India was bought by Tata Group at the beginning of this year, which announced plans to upgrade the carrier’s service.

The Independent has approached Air India and Tata Group for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in