United Airlines relaxes rules on gender-specific uniforms

With commercial airline brands seeing an uptick in passenger defiance, at least one company is getting behind its flight crews to empower them at 30,000 feet.

United Airlines is relaxing some of its traditional uniform rules according to Forbes online. Starting on September 1, 2021, the popular airline will allow its employees to express themselves with a less restrictive dress code which includes hair, nails, tattoos, and makeup.

United's Kate Gebo is the executive vice president of HR and labor relations and she says the changes are being implemented because when employees look and feel their best they can provide customers with a better experience.

“We’ve spent the last several years listening to the feedback we’ve received from our employees and our Business Resource Groups to develop these revised standards," said Gebo. "We’re confident that these modernized and more gender-inclusive appearance standards will provide a more authentic representation of the people and cultures that make United the company it is today.”

Although precise details about the changes are yet to be officially released, Jay Singh at Simple Flying explains some of the particulars regarding the new uniform guidelines.

First, tattoos are now allowed to be visible if they are no larger than a nametag and they don't contain obscenities or expletives in either script or image. A crew member can have only one per arm and facial, neck, or hand ink is not allowed.

Any employee will be allowed to wear their hair down, but only at shoulder length or neatly tied in a bun.

The new policy will also allow male-identifying workers to wear nail polish. This rule was only permitted for female staff in the past. The stipulation is that colors and style should be tasteful and professional-looking.

The final change is that male crewmembers can finally wear makeup. Men can start using cosmetics as long as it's applied in a natural-looking, professional way.

United might be the first mid-priced airline to extend a hand to its diverse crewmembers. Whether passengers will notice the changes remains to be seen, but for employees, it seems this little boost in support might make it easier to come to work in such a high-pressure environment.

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