British Airways is believed to be making major changes to its uniform policy and grooming policy. This includes front-line employees, including pilots and cabin crew. Full details will be revealed in the coming weeks. According to company sources, planned changes include updates that reflect modern Britain.
One of the most significant headline changes is a series of gender-neutral, inclusive updates that will almost completely abolish gender-specific rules regarding hair, makeup, nail polish, and hats.
According to reports, the airline has been working on the new rules for many years. It had initially planned to release the changes along with a new uniform. British Airways is now free from the pandemic.
BA will continue to keep its purse strings tight but the airline will still push for the new uniform policy as part a larger effort to reflect the changes in society. The airline has been removing gender-specific greetings from its aircraft and airports over the past few weeks in an effort to be more inclusive.
These rule changes will also help to avoid a possible legal challenge after a number of controversies around BA's grooming policies and uniform policies in the past few years.
A senior union leader raised concerns about BA's sexualization of the uniform in 2019 and demanded that the airline "relegate expectations for makeup, heel length, and button-up jackets to history".
Diana Holland, assistant general secretary of Unite union, which represents many workgroups, including cabin crew, said that there was an overemphasis placed on everyone "looking the exact same" and that there were "clearly serious problems here of safety, health, dignity, respect, and equality."
British Airways soon changed a controversial policy, which required cabin crew to ask permission for their jackets to be taken off if they were too hot. British Airways was also forced to abandon a policy that required female cabin crew members to have a BA-issued handbag.
BA began allowing its younger cabin crew to wear trousers, rather than the company's skirt in yet another battle against the unions.
Although the tide is turning, United Airlines recently allowed cabin crew visible, non-offensive tattoos while in uniform. Air Canada's ban on visible tattoos was overturned earlier this year by a labor court. Air New Zealand allows employees to show tattoos in uniform.
PLAY, a new Icelandic airline, allows cabin crew visible tattoos.