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United Airlines to allow tattoos, piercings and individual hairstyles for flight attendants

Carrier adopts ‘gender inclusive’ appearance standards

Jade Bremner
Thursday 17 June 2021 11:03 BST
<p>United Airlines is updating its appearance standards so staff can feel comfortable at work and express themselves</p>

United Airlines is updating its appearance standards so staff can feel comfortable at work and express themselves

United Airlines has announced it will revise appearance standards for customer-facing employees to be more “inclusive”, offering them “freedom of gender expression”.

Customer service representatives and flight attendants will get the new “relaxed standards” look from 21 September, while pilots and ramp service employees will have their standards updated later down the line.

The new guidelines aim to “reflect a more modernized look, with inclusive standards that better permit freedom of gender expression so that employees can feel their best at work.”

Traditionally, airlines have enforced strict ‘grooming standards’, which often mean customer-facing staff cannot have tattoos or piercings on show. United is set to allow visible tattoos, individual hair and makeup styles, painted nails and nose piercings.

“We’re confident that these modernised and more gender-inclusive appearance standards will provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today,” said Kate Gebo, United Airlines’ Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP, reports One Mile at A Time.

Gebo and her colleagues have spent several years listening to the feedback from employees and Business Resource Groups on how to develop the newly revised standards.

This will be the first time the airline has drastically adapted its customer-facing appearance guidelines in more than a decade.

The company already runs a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programme in order to cultivate “a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture where all employees feel safe to be their authentic selves,” United states on its website.

“As the face of United, our customer-facing teammates can provide an even better experience for our customers when they look and feel their best,” said Gebo.

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