Virgin Atlantic flight attendants are now allowed to display their tattoos, making Virgin Atlantic the first major airline to allow its crew to rock visible ink.
Virgin Atlantic is letting its cabin crew work with their tattoos showing. This comes as part of a campaign centred around celebrating individuality – and also coincides with the industry, as The Guardian puts it, scrambling to hire more people as demand for air travel soars back to life after being suppressed during the earlier stages of the pandemic.
“Until now, the airline made employees cover up arm and leg tattoos, while workers were completely barred from having tattoos on body parts that couldn’t be completely covered,” Paddle Your Own Kanoo reports. This is common policy across basically every major carrier.
Estelle Hollingsworth, Virgin Atlantic’s chief people officer, said of the change: “At Virgin Atlantic, we want everyone to be themselves and know that they belong. Many people use tattoos to express their unique identities and our customer-facing and uniformed colleagues should not be excluded from doing so if they choose.”
It should also be noted that flight attendants still face limitations on just how much body art they display. “Facial and neck tattoos will remain banned for flight attendants – for now,” The Guardian reports, “although the airline is considering relaxing the rules at a later date.”
According to Fortune, “Neck and head tattoos must also be covered, but Virgin Atlantic said this was currently under review and the company was hoping to change this policy soon.”
Offensive or obscene tattoos, or ones that feature nudity, violence or drugs (or prison tatts) are also still banned.
At the time of writing, the only other two big airlines that allow cabin crew to show some kind of tattoo are United Airlines and Air New Zealand.
This isn’t the first time the Virgin brand has made headlines over tattoos. In 2018 they made waves when they announced they would have tattoo parlours on their Virgin Voyages cruises.