Cabin Crew appearance and image: ALWAYS on point - by Ahmed Haouaria

24 Jan 2018

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.     

Andrew Grant


If you think it’s all about rolling meals and drinks carts through the aircraft cabin aisle, you are completely wrong.

You probably do not know how many hours operating flight attendants spend working on their image upstream each single departure. Appropriate crew are judged on appearance.

The image of the airline is vital to its reputation Cabin Crew are all educated this way: untidy crew equals messy standards.

As main point of contact for air passengers, cabin crew has always been seen as glamorous work since the 1930’s when Ellen Church first flew as a cabin crew, and despite several changes to the workplace, cabin crew, still hold this ‘glamorous’ label.

Grooming and appearance are of a great significance with the fact that it is quite repetitive serving food and drinks on each flight while persistently having to appear jovial and self-confident.

Cabin Crew are seen as representative of their airlines whenever they are in uniform. It is important they convey a professional and positive image each day they come to work.


1- The Image as part of corporate brand.

Major airlines cabin crew Image is a part of corporate brand with an impact on customer perception and choice.

This is why they are, as a rule committed to train Cabin Crew to be well groomed, have a pleasant personality, be friendly and sensitive to people’s needs. A positive attitude is essential, as is confidence, enthusiasm and a clear sense of professionalism.

As part of initial training, the grooming training sessions essentially emphasise on how each uniform piece is to be worn and how to properly accessorize at-work look with jewellery, hair styles and footwear. The main object is to help new hires flight attendant familiarize themselves with the standards and practically follow them.


2- The attitude and appearance matter. 

Our attitude and appearance are statements of how much we care.


While in uniform, flight attendants are required to reflect a neat and professional look. Adhering to the grooming standards and wearing the uniform as intended, conveys a consistent aspect and brand experience.


Grooming standards respect is part of building a strong reference. It is therefore essential that Cabin Crew follow to grooming standards and that they wear the uniform components according to company policies. It is Cabin Crew personal responsibility to appear all the time tidy while wearing the company uniform.


3- Never disregard personal appearance. It is part of Confidence source.

There is a belief that your "outer you" reflects your "inner you". If you look untidy and sloppy, it is presumed that you will do untidy and sloppy work.

“Confidence equals security equals positive emotion equals better performance,” says Tony Schwartz, the author of Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live. And yet he concedes that “insecurity plagues consciously or subconsciously every human being I’ve met.”


First impressions count: looking good and dressing appropriately are  key elements and provide higher level, of Confidence.

This takes you right to the centre of things.  So what will give you confidence?  Good looks plus good grooming; but that is not all.  Confidence means that when you are faced with an awkward situation, very frequent when flying, you should not get anxious and you should be able to accommodate oneself  to  unexpected conditions.  Confidence in other words means to be self assured always especially while dealing with an airlines customer.


If it is admitted that the universal role of cabin crew is the same no matter what airline, each airline is different. Every airline wants to be unique, but when it comes to grooming and appearance they are all demanding. This is part of personality type they are closely zooming.

So, there are common basic qualities that all airlines look for in their candidates.


4- Sky-high grooming standards

- Weight and body mass index (BMI)

Airlines generally require Cabin Crew to be “in proportion to the height”. What might be considered a “healthy weight” may be determined by the body mass index. Body Mass Index or BMI is the regular method to determine whether the body weight and the amount of body fat are in a healthy range. A BMI Metric Calculator uses a weight-to-height ratio (BMI = kg/m2) and assigns a number to the result.

Several airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways are reported to have specific guidelines for the physical appearance of their cabin crew and candidates should seek for related information before applying.

- Teeth

Good teeth and oral hygiene are also part of the list of requirements for major Airlines. Teeth should present a clean, natural appearance. Cabin Crew must have a full frontal complement of teeth. Dental retainers must be gum toned or clear. Braces should be clear or silver. Daily good oral hygiene should be practiced to ensure that the teeth present a clean, natural appearance. Breath sprays and mints are encouraged.

- Tattoos and piercings

Some passengers may find Tattoos and piercings rebellious or aggressive. That’s why most airlines do not allow any tattoos or piercings visible when the cabin crew are wearing their uniforms. Emirates and Etihad do not allow any visible tattoos even covered with cosmetics or jewellery, as cabin crew are expected to have “excellent personal presentation, style and image”, according to Etihad’s requirements.

- Hair and makeup

Airlines generally require flight attendants to have a well-groomed look that meets conventional standard.

They are trained by subject matter experts/professionals on recommended sequences to follow. This starts from using the correct skin care products to specific make-up routines.

Female cabin Crew will need to have a styled look with hair and makeup that would be appropriate in a professional environment and complements the uniform. For men, the hair must meet a conventional style which is appropriate for a professional environment. Shaven or sculptured styles and long hair are not permitted.

 As a general rule, makeup must be freshened as necessary, but never in front of the customer.

- Particular grooming requisites for male Cabin Crew  

Men have their own skin care and shaving routine. It is important that they also look after their skin especially because they have to shave before each flight.

Shaving can irritate the skin and cause dryness therefore certain tips regarding shaving would be helpful. i.e. a shaving oil can be used prior to shaving to help soften the hairs and moisturise the area, preventing skin irritation and dryness.

They can use a shaving brush to apply the shaving gel/foam as it acts as a natural exfoliator and helps with ingrown hairs. 


5- Approach attitude

An Emirates Airlines crew says, "Try and be confident but not over confident. Imagine you already have the cabin crew job, think good thoughts and look the part. Most importantly, smile."

A positive, smiley face will make the person you talk to immediately see you as friendly, cooperative, positive and a person easy to approach and work with.

Crew Resources Management wise mix with as many crew as you can, smile, talk and be friendly. This will show off your communication skills and ability to work with all kinds of people and systematically reflects positively on customer services performance.



Back to Andrew Grant quote, you may probably have heard, you only get one chance to make a positive first impression. When done, first impressions are lasting.

The airlines industry, as full and continuous interaction activity, is full of opportunities to make these first impressions. These crucial interactions can either make or break your ability to get first hired and then succeed as a cabin crew. In addition to job interviews, consider the impression you make when meeting new clients, interacting with customers, introducing yourself to a new team member.

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