Long-haul airline Virgin Atlantic is to allow its cabin crew to display tattoos as part of a major personnel policy change. Sir Richard Branson’s airline had previously banned visible ink work, only hiring staff capable of concealing any marks under their uniform.
Until now, any Virgin Atlantic employee in uniform had to cover any visible tattoos with a long-sleeved shirt, bandages or makeup. Short-sleeved shirts are uniform standard, so a special long-sleeved shirt had to be requested.
Neck, face and head tattoos must always be covered, but this restriction is currently under review and the airline may change this policy, which has already been well received by cabin crew.
Estelle Hollingsworth, Human Resources Director at Virgin Atlantic, said: “At Virgin Atlantic we want everyone to be themselves and know they belong. Many people use tattoos to express their unique identity and our customer-facing and uniformed colleagues should not be excluded from doing so if they choose.
“That’s why, in line with our goal of inclusion and championing individuality, we’re relaxing our tattoo restrictions for all of our employees. We’re proud to be the airline that sees the world differently and empowers our employees to truly be themselves.”
Virgin Atlantic was one of the first carriers to relax strict make-up rules for cabin crew. Female staff were forced to wear makeup on duty until 2019 when it scrapped the rule, and also allowed them to wear trousers instead of skirts on duty.
Later this week, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would open up recruitment for its cabin crew again. In January, the airline received 5,000 applications for 400 positions and now plans to hire another 300 as demand for air travel returns.