Virgin Atlantic announced Monday that female cabin crew members are no longer required to wear makeup on flights. They will also be provided trousers as an option for their uniforms rather than having to request them.
According to Virgin Atlantic, these two changes mark a “significant change” in the airline industry.
“We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style,” Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of customer, said in a statement. “We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this.”
According to Anderson, the updated guidelines will also offer an “increased level of comfort,” as well as provide the staff with “more choice on how they want to express themselves at work. Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company.” As Anderson also noted, crew members are still allowed to wear makeup if they want to.
While the requirement may sound archaic, Virgin Atlantic is one of the first airlines to eliminate it for female staffers. According to The Independent, British Airways female staff members are asked to wear a minimum of lipstick. The Guardian adds that, as of 2015, all British Airways female crew are expected to also wear blush and to “groom and maintain” their eyebrows and conceal “obvious blemishes … wherever possible.” Emirates female staff, The Independent reported, are also encouraged to undergo a seven-step makeup routine, while United female cabin crew members are asked to apply makeup “conservatively” and avoid “extreme colors.”