The life of a flight attendant can seem glamorous and exciting when traveling the world, visiting exotic places, and enjoying new experiences. However, there is a lot of hard work involved too, and flight attendants often don’t get to spend any time exploring the destinations they fly to – other than sleeping off the jet lag in an airport hotel room!
Despite all this, there is always a lot of competition for flight attendant positions, and a lot of strict rules about who can apply. And even if you do manage to pass the tough interview process, many airlines can impose conditions on how their cabin crew should behave, both on and off the plane.
Check out the list below for the strict rules that flight attendants have to follow if they want to keep their job.
20 Must Be Unmarried
Most airlines have now scrapped their archaic rule that female flight attendants have to be unmarried, and married cabin crew are even allowed to wear their wedding rings while working.
However, Gulf Air, based in the Middle East, still insist that their female cabin crew are unwed when they start working and that they must ask the company’s permission before they do marry!
19 They Can't Be Too Short
A lot of the rules about who can and can’t work as a flight attendant revolve around safety reasons. As part of their responsibilities, attendants have to be able to perform certain tasks while on the job. For example, flight attendants can’t be too short, as they might struggle to reach items in the overhead bins.
18 Or Too Tall
Similarly, you can’t sign up to become a flight attendant if you are too tall – which is obvious when you think about the restricted space, especially on some smaller planes.
Rules on height can vary from airline to airline, but the upper limit is usually around 6ft 1in, which immediately rules out a lot of men who might want to become cabin crew.
17 Flight Crew Can't Be Overweight
As well as height restrictions, there are also weight restrictions for flight attendants – again because of safety reasons, not fat-shaming.
If an existing member of the cabin crew starts to put on weight, they won’t get fired immediately but can continue to work while they try and shed the extra pounds.
16 Makeup Is Mandatory
Times have changed since flight attendants were seen as nothing more than glamorous trolley dollies, yet female cabin crew members are still told that they must wear makeup by their employers. Virgin Airlines recently became the first airline to drop the mandatory makeup up rule for their female flight attendants.
15 But Cannot Be Too Bold
Other airlines may still consider makeup an essential part of being an effective flight attendant, but they don’t want their cabin crew to use bold colors or styles, such as heavy eyeliner or lipstick that clashes with their uniform.
Subtle and understated is the way to go, and flight attendants on long-haul flights must ensure they touch up their makeup without other passengers noticing.
14 Only Allowed To Wear One Pair Of Earrings
As with tattoos, airlines have strict rules about the piercings their staff are allowed to have. While working, flight attendants are only allowed to wear one discreet pair of studs in their ears. This is partly about ensuring that they appear professional but large earrings could also be a safety hazard in the event of an emergency.
13 Must Be At Least 18-Years-Old
Becoming a flight attendant is a dream job for many young people, who want the opportunity to travel the world while getting paid for the privilege. However, airlines will only recruit flight attendants who are at least 18 years old, with some airlines even preferring to wait until you have had your 21st birthday.
12 No Expressive Facial Hair
Men are increasingly signing up to become flight attendants alongside their female colleagues, and they also have to follow rules about their appearance. While facial hair is allowed, it must not be too long and has to be neatly trimmed – and don’t even think about giving yourself a stylish hipster handlebar mustache!
11 Have To Be Able To Swim
Cabin crew must also be able to swim, and this will be tested during the practical phase of their training when they have to prepare for what could happen if their plane lands on water.
This isn’t just for their own safety, but also so that they can swim to rescue passengers who might not have made it to the raft on their own.
10 No Visible Tattoos
Tattoos have become a lot more socially acceptable in recent years, and lots of young people have chosen to get inked in very visible areas.
Airlines haven’t quite kept up with the times however, and still insist that their cabin crew have no visible tattoos, such as on their face, neck or lower arms and legs.
9 Not Allowed To Accept Tips
It isn’t a hard and fast rule that flight attendants are not allowed to accept tips – some airlines allow, but most frown upon their staff accepting gratuities.
If you want to show your appreciation to the cabin crew on your flight, then the best thing you can do is to treat them with respect and make sure you always say thank you.
8 Hairstyles Have To Be Neat And Tidy
Female flight attendants also have to follow their airline’s rules when it comes to hairstyles, with most not allowing cabin crew with long hair to wear it down. Neat and tidy is the order of the day, with buns and ponytails a common sight when flight attendants are walking up and down the aisle of the plane.
7 They Can't Use All The Equipment In The First Aid Kit
It can be reassuring for passengers to know that their plane has a well-stocked first aid kit, but they might not feel so comfortable if they knew that flight attendants are not actually allowed to use all the equipment. They actually have to wait for a doctor or trained medical professional before some of the items in the first aid kit can be used.
6 Must Be Non-Smokers
Smoking has been banned on planes for years, but some airlines even forbid their flight attendants from smoking when they disembark. Some airlines merely prevent their staff from smoking in uniform, while Qatar Airlines forbid their cabin crew from smoking at all or from even having cigarettes in the house.
5 Have To Be Able To Stay On Their Feet A Long Time
One of the reasons that airlines have weight restrictions for their cabin crew is that flight attendants also have to be physically fit to do the job. Aside from the fact that they can be on their feet for hours on a long-haul flight, they also have to be fit enough to deal with any emergency incidents.
4 Have To Be Able To Lift Heavy Luggage
Some passengers think that the flight attendants are there to help them lift their luggage into the overhead bin when the truth is that there is no obligation for them to help an able-bodied person with their bags. Cabin crew do have to be able to lift heavy weights, however, as part of their safety responsibilities on board.
3 No Acne Or Other Blemishes
Makeup isn’t the only thing that airlines try to control when it comes to their cabin crew. They also insist that they take good care of their skin, even going so far as to recommend specific products. Anyone with acne or skin blemishes is unlikely to get their dream job as a flight attendant, even if they can over the marks with makeup.
2 Forbidden From Dyeing Their Hair "Unnatural" Colors
Flight attendants are allowed to dye their hair, so long as they stick to natural colors and make sure that their roots never start to show. Dyeing your hair “unnatural” colors, such as pink, purple or green is a definite no-no if you want to get work in a cabin crew.
1 Not Allowed To Drink While In Uniform
Airlines have strict rules on alcohol consumption for both cabin crew and passengers. Travelers who have had too much to drink can be stopped from boarding the plane, and flight attendants are obviously banned from drinking before their shift and from going to an airport bar while still wearing their uniform.
Sources: The Sun, Express, Market Watch, Travel and Leisure