Most jobs have strict rules to follow. Employees in various lines of work all have to adhere to the terms and policies outlined by their employer. This differs greatly from one job to the next, and of course some jobs have much more leniency compared to others.
When it comes to the good folks that work at the airport, the rules and regulations they have to follow tend to be stricter, and at times, more obscure than other jobs. Air travel is a serious business, so some of the rules they have to follow make sense considering what they’re responsible for. Other areas, however, are really obscure and leave us puzzled over their existence as they seem outdated and downright restrictive. Let’s take a look at 20 rules airport employees have to follow below.
20 Must Keep A Balanced Weight
This is another seemingly discriminatory regulation, but upon closer examination, it’s easy to understand the rationality behind it. A flight attendant who is obese can face challenges working within tight spaces of an aircraft. According to Forbes, Air India even serves low-fat food to its flight attendants, which certainly raises eyebrows. Maintaining a proper body weight is a job requirement for airline staff.
19 Must Be A Certain Height
While it seems discriminatory at first glance, this regulation is in place to ensure that those who are hired to work on a plane are able to properly execute their jobs. This involves tasks such as assisting passengers with overhead compartments.
This clearly has a height requirement, as someone who is too short would be unable to assist. On the other hand, someone that is too tall would find it very challenging to maneuver through an aircraft.
18 Pilot And Co-Pilot Meals Must Be Different
While this rule may sound quirky at first, the reasoning behind this is easily understandable. If both pilots are eating the same food, and something is wrong with the food—you guessed it, they will both be ill.
Passengers obviously can’t have that happen. At least one of them needs to be able to fly the plane!
17 Flight Crew Must Adhere To Rest Periods
Not all employers put regulations in place to ensure rest periods for their staff, so this is a much appreciated rule that is widely accepted and embraced. Flight crew must be prepared to handle any situation, and are often exposed to frequent jet lag and cramped conditions. They are relied upon to assist others in cases of emergency. It makes good sense to ensure they are well rested for each flight.
16 Males Must Maintain Facial Hair
The restrictive rules of self-expression are not just isolated to female airline staff. All men employed by the airport in any way, must adhere to some pretty strict restrictions regarding the appearance of their facial hair.
Reader’s Digest reports that United Airlines stipulates that men’s facial hair can’t extend 1 inch below their chin. In addition, mustaches can’t extend ¼ inch below the mouth. Would they actually measure this? It makes us wonder.
15 Must Be Strong Swimmers
While this may not be the first point that comes to mind when you think of airline staffing rules, it does make sense that flight staff must possess adequate swimming skills. On the rare yet possible occasion that there is an emergency landing in the water, the flight crew must be able to assist in ensuring everyone’s safety.
According to Cheat Sheet, all airlines embrace this rule, but British Airways takes it one step further by ensuring their flight crew meets certain minimums regarding how far they can swim, and how long they can tread water.
14 Must Follow Earring Restrictions
Once again, self expression is stifled within the employment regulations of airline workers. We’re not entirely sure why this particular rule is implemented, but according to Reader's Digest, flight staff are permitted to wear one pair of earrings only, not multiples, and they cannot have any piercings in cartilage.
To take it one step further, United Airlines attendants have to adhere to a policy which states their earrings can be “no larger than a U.S. quarter and no bigger than a dime.” That’s quite a precise regulation!
13 Only Basic Hair Styles Allowed
Staff uniformity and overall aesthetics are a major focal point for airline employers. In order to maintain professionalism and ensure a smooth and seamless transition for passengers, flight staff must style their hair in particular ways. They must ensure they are always recognizable and not stand out for all the wrong reasons.
According to a recent report by Reader’s Digest, some airlines are very particular, such as American Airlines. They restrict the level of curl and fullness of their staff’s hair, and implement a firm “no” on hair that's dyed a different color.
12 Flight Attendants Must Not Be Married
Just when you thought you’d heard it all! This is a rule that's definitely on its way out. It’s really difficult to justify this under current labor regulations, so there’s definitely some overhauling in progress on this rule. However, in the past, flight crews were not hired if they were married.
The fear at that time was that the flight crew would experience issues from their significant others when working aboard long-flights. In addition, married women were the most likely to get pregnant, resulting in their inability to work aboard the plane.
11 Acne Is Not Permitted
We’re pretty sure that if humans had the ability to control acne, there would be clear faces across the globe. Clearly, nobody can control it if they get a pimple or two on the average day.
Don’t count on getting an airline job if you have full-blown issues with acne, though. Flight staff are always face-forward and expected to present the best aesthetics possible for their employers and the brand as a whole. Those with acne issues beyond their control will sadly never gain employment at the airport.
10 Visible Tattoos Are A No-No
All airlines attempt to convey their brand as trustworthy and professional. Visible tattoos are a definite no-no, so keep this in mind before applying to an airline job!
Most major airlines do not allow workers to display their tattoos in an attempt to ensure their staff is conveyed as clean-cut and professional. Perception is everything in this line of work and optics matter.
9 Makeup Restrictions Apply
Self-expression is stifled for those who accept positions as airline staff. Most airlines regulate cosmetic use to ensure that none of their staff wears too much, or too little makeup while on the job.
The general consensus is that makeup is controlled by the airline across the board to some degree. Cheat Sheet reports that Emirates Airlines actually mandates that red lipstick be worn on each flight to create a sense of uniformity for their brand.
8 Vision Must Be Corrected, Or Correctable
It would be a good idea to ensure that those who are working aboard a plane maintain proper vision care. It is frowned upon to wear glasses for corrective vision, and many airlines gently “encourage” their staff to seek alternate forms of vision correction such as contact lenses or laser eye surgery.
If an airline employee has a vision problem which cannot be corrected, they can’t be relied upon to perform at their full potential to ensure the safety of the passengers. Therefore, they cannot be considered for a position in air travel.
7 Must Be Able To Lift Heavy Items
This goes without saying, but apparently they have to say it. Airport workers must be physically fit to the degree that they can lift heavy items. This covers the obvious points of being able to assist with overhead luggage and oversized, heavy bags. However, it also embraces an important safety issue. If a rescue is required, airline staff must be able to lift someone to safety or be in the proper physical condition to be able to physically assist passengers as needed.
6 Cannot Drink In Uniform
This is a rule that applies to most jobs and is firmly implemented for employees that work in all aspects of the airline. If they’d like to enjoy a beverage, they must change out of their uniforms to consume it.
Flight staff and airport workers are promptly fired if they are caught consuming alcohol while on the job. Not only does it send an unprofessional message, but it also causes lack of trust in their performance, along with issues surrounding safety.
5 Smoking Is Not Permitted
Not only is it bad for you, but smoking leaves a lingering odor as well. That wouldn’t be too pleasant within the close-quarters of a plane. Also worth noting, there’s nowhere to go for a “smoke break” and anything that gets lit just doesn’t belong on an aircraft anyway.
4 Must Stop Guests Who BYOB
Airport employees must strictly follow this regulation. Anyone caught trying to bring their own alcohol into an aircraft must promptly be stopped and the alcohol must then be removed.
It goes without saying that too much alcohol can lead to some outward behavior that would not be conducive to being crammed on a plane in a tight area. The staff must be able to regulate and monitor alcohol consumption to ensure a safe and uninterrupted flight for all passengers.
3 Cannot Accept Gifts Or Tips
While gifts and tips are generous and welcomed by most people, they can also easily be misconstrued as bribery or a “pay off” by other onlookers. Nobody can get any sort of advantage while on a flight.
In order to ensure the temptation of favoritism and bribery is stifled, airline workers are not permitted to accept gifts or tips of any kind. This keeps things streamlined and on the up-and-up at all times.
2 Must Wait For Doctor To Use Medical Kit
Strangely, airline staff is expected to assist those in need, yet they are not permitted to utilize all the supplies in the on-board medical kit. There is a doctor on board that needs to be readily available to assist with injuries that are more complex than what a band-aid can handle.
The flight staff needs a doctor’s permission to use certain objects from the medical kit, and must defer to the doctor’s orders regarding how and when to assist those who fall ill.
1 Must Stay Calm At All Times
In emergencies, passengers look to airline employees for direction, assistance, guidance and information. In order to maintain calm and be able to safely guide and instruct everyone as to next steps, the airline crew must maintain a cool and calm demeanor at all times.
It would only create more chaos in an already stressful environment if those who are supposed to guide us were in a state of panic themselves!
Sources: Cheat Sheet, Reader’s Digest, Forbes