Can airline pilots have beards and tattoos?
In previous generations, pilots were required to be wholly clean-shaven and have no tattoos that were visible at all.
Is that still the case today?
Being a commercial airline pilot is a highly skilled job. Indeed, this occupation used to have a vast deal of respect associated with it.
Pilots are still reasonably well paid (how much do pilots make?) and still respected to some degree.
Still, the industry is far less respected and glamorised than it previously was in the ‘glory era’ of aviation. But we are incredibly lucky that air travel is now made available to many more due to the creation of low-cost airlines.
This is often where the question about whether an airline pilot can have a beard or whether an airline pilot can have tattoos comes from.\
Can Airline Pilots Have Beards?
In most large commercial airlines, pilots are allowed to have facial hair, as are the flight attendants.
However, this facial hair does need to be kept tidy (neatly trimmed) or stylish (longer beard styles) and shouldn’t make the aviation pilot look less professional.
Airlines have different standards regarding what is acceptable regarding pilots’ beards, and pilots must obey their uniform and appearance standards.
This is very much to keep the airline looking a certain way to the public and not due to safety unless the beard is so long and thick that it interrupts the safe use of an oxygen mask, but this is rare.
In previous times, pilots had to be entirely clean-shaven to keep up the appearance of a professional pilot. However, we live in a very different world now with different standards.
I have worked for two very large commercial airlines, and both have the same policy that facial hair is allowed as long as it is kept tidy to ensure a professional appearance is maintained at all times. This includes wearing a clean and well-fitted uniform also.
Can Airline Pilots Have Tattoos?
In previous times, pilots and cabin crew were not allowed visible tattoos.
However, these tattoo policies are changing in our ever-changing world, where individuals gain more power in the workplace every year. Indeed, Air Canada cabin crew are no longer required to cover tattoos, have them removed or remove facial piercings at work.
Commercial pilots will be allowed tattoos in some airlines as long as they are covered. This means if a pilot has a sleeve-type tattoo on their arm, they must wear a long sleeve shirt to cover it. Most major airlines do not allow tattoos that cannot be covered.
Both airlines I have worked for had the same policy regarding tattoos: they must not be visible.
However, as the world changes, these rules might likely become even more relaxed for airline pilots, similar to the rules for the Air Canada cabin crew.
Some believe that the rules regarding airline pilots not being allowed visible tattoos and piercings are limited to how they style their facial hair as old-fashioned and unnecessary.
What are your thoughts, though? Would it change your perception of an airline pilot if they were covered in tattoos, piercings and untidy facial hair? Or would you see them as the same, qualified professional?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below!