United Airlines to update dress code for flight attendants, relax rules on tattoos, makeup, nose piercings

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The changes, which will take effect Sept. 1, will include “significant” and gender-inclusive revisions to the company’s current policies, according to an announcement provided to the airline’s employees on Wednesday. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – United Airlines is revising its appearance standards for flight attendants and other customer-facing employees to “reflect a more modernized look,” according to the carrier.

The changes, which will take effect Sept. 1, will include “significant” and gender-inclusive revisions to the company’s current policies on visible tattoos, nose rings, nails, hair and makeup, according to an announcement provided to the airline’s employees on Wednesday.

“As the face of United, our customer-facing teammates can provide an even better experience for our customers when they look and feel their best,” said Kate Gebo, executive vice president of HR and labor relations at United, in a statement shared to employees.

“We’ve spent the last several years listening to the feedback we’ve received from our employees and our Business Resource Groups to develop these revised standards. We’re confident that these modernized and more gender-inclusive appearance standards will provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today,” she added.

Along with the announcement, United Airlines released a preview image that had been shared with employees, which shows different United crew members with nose piercings, painted nails, makeup and visible tattoos.

United Airlines Revised Appearance Standards
United Airlines is revising its appearance standards for flight attendants and other customer-facing employees to “reflect a more modernized look,” according to the carrier. (United Airlines)

United declined to specify what exactly the revised standards would allow, instead referring to additional details to be released in July. However, a representative for the airline confirmed that previous guidelines prohibited visible tattoos and body piercings (other than earlobe piercings). Men were also not permitted to wear makeup or colored nail polish.

The updated guidelines will first apply to flight attendants and customer service representatives, United said, before expanding to other work groups including pilots and ramp service employees. Workers not covered under the first phase of the revised guidelines were instructed to continue following current dress codes for the time being.

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