These Are the Most Ridiculous Airline Standards Flight Attendants Have to Meet
Being a flight attendant is hard work. Not only do you have to wait on grumpy customers, force travelers to check their bags (which can result in grumpy customers), and be on numerous flights a day with screaming babies, you have to meet some appalling — read: inappropriate — standards by your employer, too.
From the number of rings they’re allowed to wear (page 3) to their weight (page 4) and marital status (page 8) — yes, that’s still a thing — we share the most outdated and ridiculous standards flight attendants have to meet, ahead.
1. Natural hair color only
Flight attendants have to follow many beauty standards. That includes what color their hair can be. While airlines don’t require flight attendants to have virgin hair, they do not tolerate any hair color that isn’t considered natural-looking. In other words, only brunettes, blondes, and redheads are permitted.
Next: Men have beauty standards, too.
2. There is a mustache length requirement
While men are allowed to have mustaches, there are length requirements. According to The Telegraph, United Airlines does not allow mustaches that “extend more than ¼ inch below the sides of the mouth.”
Next: Airlines have bizarre rules about jewelry.
3. They can’t wear more than 3 rings
Another ridiculous flight attendant requirement? By Delta standards, they can’t wear more than three rings on their finger. In addition to rings, they can only wear small earrings and one small necklace at a time.
Next: This is probably the most offensive flight attendant requirement.
4. Their weight and height must be proportionate
Airlines have long been under fire for discriminating against applicants for their weight. And, sadly, nothing has really changed. Instead of giving a weight requirement, most airlines list “weight must be in proportion to height” as a standard. And flight attendant applicants must meet a body mass index of between 18 and 22.
Next: Airlines have no way of actually tracking this prerequisite.
5. They have to quit smoking 6 months before they even apply for the job
When it comes to flight attendants, health matters to airlines. That said, some airlines require flight attendant applicants to quit smoking six months before they even submit an application. While we understand why airlines don’t want flight attendants to be smokers, we don’t know how they keep track of this prerequisite.
Next: Height matters.
6. There are height requirements
In addition to weight requirements, many (if not all) airlines have strict height requirements. In fact, WestJet does not permit anyone above 6 foot 2. The most common height requirement for airlines is between 5 foot 2 and 6 foot 2 for both men and women.
Next: We have no idea why they would be required to obtain one of these.
7. They must have a driver’s license
We’re not sure why this even matters, but some airlines — including Allegiant, GoJet, and Piedmont — require flight attendants to obtain a driver’s license. Other airlines, such as Spirit, prefer it, but it’s not a necessity.
Next: Many believe this outdated requirement is not true — but sadly, it is.
8. They can’t be married
Believe it or not, some airlines — such as Jet Airways — still have rules against marriage. For a handful of airlines, fresh flight attendants (newbies!) cannot be married. Once they’re seasoned flight attendants, it is permitted.
There’s no word on whether a groom would have to ask the airline for its employee’s hand in marriage.
Next: More impossible beauty standards to meet
9. No acne, scars, or blemishes
One of the most shocking requirements? Many airlines require flight attendants to have perfect complexions — i.e., no acne, scars, or blemishes allowed. We’re not entirely sure airlines know how skin works, but everyone experiences a breakout from time to time. And discriminating against facial scars? Come on.
Next: Weight isn’t the only body requirement.
10. Their arm reach matters
By now, it’s no secret airlines have a lot to say about the physical appearance of flight attendants. So it should come of no surprise that many airlines have arm reach requirements. According to Emirates, flight attendants much be able to reach 212 centimeters (that’s almost 7 feet!) when standing on tiptoes.
Next: We hope glasses are an approved accessory.
11. They must have good eyesight
Good eyesight is also a must. Most — if not all — airlines require flight attendants to have use of all five senses, including good eyesight. No word on what “good eyesight” entails, but we hope fun glasses are an acceptable accessory.
Next: This standard is random, but true.
12. No nose hair
Fun fact: American Airlines is anti-nose hair. According to its flight attendant standards, “Noticeable hair in nostrils and in/on ears or underarms must be cut or otherwise removed.” Noted.
Next: We can’t believe airlines still require women to wear this.
13. Lipstick and lip gloss are mandatory
Believe it or not, lipstick and lip gloss are still mandatory for female flight attendants. While we thought this requirement would have died with some of the other outdated standards, it looks like it’s here to stay. Not only are flight attendants required to keep their lipstick and lip gloss in check, they also must refresh their makeup as needed.
Next: There’s a good reason for this requirement.
14. They must be able to lift 50 pounds
According to WestJet, flight attendants have to be strong. While this isn’t that crazy — after all, they have to help customers place bags in the overhead compartments — 50 pounds is a lot of weight.
Next: Airlines are not as inclusive as they say they are.
15. There are age requirements
Another fun fact: Most airlines still discriminate against age — only, it’s a little different than before. While it varies from airline to airline, flight attendant applicants have to meet a minimum age requirement. For some airlines, this age requirement is 19, and for others it’s 21.
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