By Stacey Leasca
April 18, 2019

Dressing for the job you want may be important, but it should never require you to feel uncomfortable. However, it appears Norwegian Airlines isn't prioritizing female cabin crew’s comfort.

The Independent reported that Norwegian Airlines informed its female staffers that they must bring in a signed doctor’s note and keep it on them at all times if they wish to work in flats. The rule is reportedly listed in its 22-page dress code explainer, stating that heels must be “at least two centimeters tall.”

pamadeba/Getty Images

“It is almost comical that we face these issues in 2019,” Ingrid Hodnebo, a women’s spokesperson for Norway’s Socialist Left Party, told Norwegian newspaper VG. “While the rest of society has moved on, Norwegian is stuck in the Mad Men universe from the 1950s and ‘60s.”

According to the dress code, which was obtained by VG, women not only have to wear heels, but they must wear eye makeup and light foundation or a tinted moisturizer or powder at work. On the flip side, men are banned from wearing any makeup at all unless it’s used to cover a bruise or acne.

The Independent added, women must refrain from wearing more than two rings per hand and cannot wear any rings on their thumbs. Jewelry can only be made of gold or silver and absolutely no religious motifs are allowed.

“Uniform requirements are one thing, but to impose heels and makeup is going too far,” Anette Trettebergstuen, the Norwegian Labour Party’s women’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back. This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further.”

However, in a statement provided to The Independent, Norwegian explained that its “no flats” rule only applies to women’s footwear when worn outside the aircraft cabin.

“Like all global airlines, Norwegian has a comprehensive set of uniform guidelines to ensure that our flying crew represents our brand in a smart and consistent manner,” the statement read. “The guidelines were drafted with input from our pilot and cabin crew colleagues and have been well received, sharing many gender commonalities in addition to some specific male and female requirements.”

However silly the requirement may feel, by forcing people to wear heels — on or off the plane — Norwegian may actually be putting their staff in danger.

“From an osteopathic perspective, we’re looking for the body to be centered from head to toe. High heels put the foot at an angle and pull muscles and joints out of alignment, so the effects aren’t limited to the feet,” Sajid A. Surve, DO, co-director of the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health and an associate professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, explained to the American Osteopathic Association. “It’s not unusual for people who spend lots of time in high heels to have low back, neck, and shoulder pain because the shoes disrupt the natural form of the body.”

According to Dr. Surve, it’s best to avoid heels, narrow-pointed shoes, and especially stilettos. So, if you’re working for Norweigan, try to find Dr. Surve. Odds are he — or any other reasonable doctor — would be willing to write you a note. (And if you need any suggestions on footwear, here are 19 super comfortable shoes to try for your travels.)

Advertisement